Star Wars TNG?

By Christopher C. MacDonald


The “Christianized version”: “Oh Lord, do deliver this mine enemy a proper mauling that he shall be cut in two!…in Thy mercy…”

I hate sequels. I assume they are fun for the reunited cast and lucrative for the producers, but they are generally awful for the audience. Just mentioning City Slickers 2 or Highlander 2: The Quickening, evokes that sickening feeling of being duped by a dreadful second production.

The problem with sequels is that there is usually no more story to tell. The original film had a beginning, a middle and a definitive end. But as quick as you can say “box office grosses” writers are being hired to resurrect dead characters and figure out ways of doing the same successful story over again…yet…um…differently.
Where will it end? Can we be saved from Gump 2: Forrest Through the Trees and Notre Dame 2: Return of the Hump?

We can. It seems George Lucas has figured out how to give people more of what originally delighted them. We now have Star Wars: The Special Edition.  Opening on January 31, this re-mastered version of the 20 year-old hit has added scenes, improved visual effects and better sound. Scenes with Jabba the Hut, Bobba Fett and a more “scummy and tyrannical” Mos Eisley space port promise to greatly enhance the ground-breaking original. What fun!

We need a new cinematic saying: “What goes around comes around in the director’s digital re-master with additional scenes,” (DDRAS).  The rule should be: If the story isn’t truly over, do the sequel; but if it’s over, do a DDRAS.

Lucas has finished his 9 film run…but, like Star Trek, can we not forsee the money to be made from Star Wars: The Next Generation?

But before that happens we have all the re-making and re-editings and re-issuings and the 3D-ings and 4D-ings etc. first. The Star Wars trilogy invites a host of possible “alternate versions” for re-release. Here are just a few I’ve come up with.

The Renegade Droid version

Flashback scenes show that C3PO was originally a hairstylist (R2-D2 was 3PO’s professional styling caddie). In the Renegade Droid Version, C3PO is publicly ridiculed for his participation in the Princess’  Horns ‘O Plenty hairstyle debacle. When no one proves able to disassemble her braided pastry-like structures, the droids are arrested and scheduled for exile to the spice mines of Kesstle. The droids escape during the confusion of Vader’s attack on their ship and plan to open a beautician’s school in Mos Eisley. When 3PO and R2 discover rampant droid racism amidst the scum and tyranny of the space port, they hire mysterious stranger Han Solo to bust up the locals and restore order and commerce.

At the end of the film we see R2-D2, bitter and despairing over his lot in life, drinking himself to dis-assembly with gallons of WD-40 in his own private version of Leaving Mos Eisley.

The Mythopoetic version
George Lucas’ own studies with Joseph Campbell aided in this classical re-casting of the male myth of Iron Obi-Wan. Young Luke discovers the “hairy man” (Chewbacca) at the bottom of a Sarlac pit and enlists his help. Chewie leads him to his “male mother,” Iron Obi-Wan, who reveals that Luke’s father, Darth Vader, and controlling twin sister, Leia, are responsible for  abandoned him on the planet Tattoinne (which means “never-ending ball of dust”).

After Luke, Han and Chewie have captured Leia from her father’s Death Star and she says, “Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?”  Chewie demonstrates the “Rite of the Hairy Man” by ripping off one of Leia’s horns ‘O plenty. Luke follows suit, thus enacting the breaking-away ritual from his controlling twin sister.

True spiritual masculinity is re-established when Iron Obi-Wan defeats Lord Vader in battle and Luke self-publishes his first chapbook of poetry, Stories my Father Never Told Me.

The Original Face versions
Star Wars remains the same, but The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are completely re-mastered with actor Mark Hamill’s original “before-the-crash” face morphed onto his character’s body. These versions will not only replace the “pug-faced Luke” that Hamill’s plastic surgeon created after his car crash, but may answer the question, “How come Harrison Ford gets $5 million a picture while Mark Hamill is doing voice-overs for Batman?”

The Realist Version
Normal movie conventions are set aside in the Realist Version. For example, could aged Obi-wan really fight Darth Vader long enough to cause a diversion? The Realist Version goes like this:

Vader: I’ve been waiting for you Obi-wan
Obi-wan: You can’t win Darth, If you strike me down I shall…
PAPHHHHHISSSSSSTTTTT! With a flash of Vader’s lightsaber Obi-wan is disintegrated.  (tap tap)

There is no diversion, and as Vader steps down on Obi-wan’s empty cloak the rest of the rebel party are quickly arrested.

Han gets shipped off to Jabba in an overnight bag, the Droids packed off to the spice mines of Kesstle, Luke joins the Dark side and leads a rout of the rebellion forces (in exchange for 18 years of back allowance his father has neglected to pay), and Chewbacca becomes a throw-rug under the Emperor’s mantle.

The only problem with the Realist Version is the outcome. With no one left to fight and conquer, the Evil Empire has nothing left to do.

Vader: What is thy bidding my Master?
Emperor: I want you to wax the Shuttle.
Vader: It shall be done as you command, my Master.
Two days later.
Vader: I have finished waxing the Shuttle. What is thy bidding, my Master?
Emperor: I want you to clean all the windows of the Death Star!
Vader: You are indeed evil, my Master.

In the final scenes we find Darth in his boxer shorts, popping Hoth-filtered Tuscan Pale Ale, and channel-surfing through the 37,000 channels on the Death Star’s satellite array while muttering about the good old days of the Clone Wars.

While some of these DDRAS versions may be questionable, every one of them is better than a typical sequel. And if you still doubt me, rent Highlander 2: The Quickening, and watch it alongside the new 10th  Anniversary DDRAS of the original Highlander.

I don’t know. You tell me. Hehe…

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