OBI-SWAN: I had a Yoda soap when I was ten and I didn’t want to use it because I knew Yoda would disappear.
FROSTY SKYWALKER: Here’s a question no one has asked yet. Do you regret him making these movies?
SARAH S: No!
FROSTY SKYWALKER: Hold on. Let me put it out there. Do you wish these films had never been made and fans were screaming, “Man, I wish he had made more STAR WARS films”?
JEFF: Leave ‘em wanting more. That’s the key.
OBI-SWAN: I’m happy he’s making them. They may not be perfect as far as the fans are concerned, but it’s George Lucas making them, I’m happy he’s back directing, and I’m happy he’s back to STAR WARS. He’s going to be done with it with the next more, and my prayer is that he continues making all kinds of movies.
JOHN ROBIE: Like RADIOLAND MURDERS.
OBI-SWAN: In twenty years, we’re going to look back at these movies and say that they were very well crafted, interesting movies.
MORIARTY: Besides, you can’t totally hold RADIOLOAND MURDERS against him just like you can’t totally hold HOWARD THE DUCK or WILLOW against him. He didn’t direct those films.
DR. HFUHRUHURR: Let me tell you why I don’t regret that the new movies are being made... why none of us should regret it. Because here we are now, sitting down and talking about them. Obviously they had some impact on us.
MORIARTY: Even if you end up not liking the STAR WARS films this time out, tell me that they’re not going to be bars that you measure other films against. I mean, the reason that I got into film in the first place was because of my love of STAR WARS. One of the things that really brought me to the internet, that brought me to a lot of the friends I have now, is this round of STAR WARS fandom where the anticipation brought people together and it really reminded people of how much fun they had being fans. And I don’t think there was a sense of fandom out there the way there is now before STAR WARS started its comeback. I think it really galvanized the community again. I think it brought people back to, “I’m a fan of these movies. I’m a fan of this type of film.” And in a lot of ways, I think it has paved the way for studios to take risks on MATRIX sequels, on LORD OF THE RINGS. As much as I’m curious what would have happened if he had waited until after those to make the new films, I don’t know that we would have had those if he hadn’t come back because he kind of set the sign up: “Okay, it’s time to do these big, giant things again and let’s see what happens.” And I think these prequels gave a lot of other filmmakers permission to aim for the same bar.
JEFF: When you say the bar that these STAR WARS movies set, I think “I hope it’s not as bad as STAR WARS.”
MORIARTY: Do you think they would have pulled the trigger on LORD OF THE RINGS without a STAR WARS film?
BEAKS: Oh, absolutely. I think they would have done it. It would have been something else. It was time for these kinds of films to come back. MATRIX was already in the prep stages. Also I think that big filmmaking was back in a very big way because of TITANIC. And studios were ready to take massive gambles.
MORIARTY: So do you think the impact of the prequels has been negative?
BEAKS: No, but I think they’ve become irrelevant. Look at SPIDER-MAN last year. Lucas is now looking at the box office returns and saying, “Well, it looks like I’m kind of losing the battle.”
MORIARTY: He plays the self-fulfilling prophecy game, though. He’s always said, “The first one will be the biggest. The second one will do okay. The third one people might not like because it’s going to be dark. Not Quentin Tarantino dark, but dark for STAR WARS.”
BEAKS: I know he’s been saying dark...
MORIARTY: In twenty years, do you think there will be people who say, “I got into this business because I saw PHANTOM MENACE”?
FROSTY SKYWALKER: It’s going to be LORD OF THE RINGS.
BEAKS: Or SPY KIDS. Kids love SPY KIDS.
MICHELLE: Parents I know are not showing their kids the news STAR WARS movies. They’re showing them the original ones. They’re like, “We want our kids to see the originals.” I was trying to explain to a five-year that Anakin becomes Darth Vader...
SARAH: Don’t blow it for him.
MORIARTY: There’s no friendly rivalry. It’s like he’s tuning everybody else out. I think that one of the things that happens is the more insulated you get by this technology, the less you’re worried about human performances. Lucas makes such a big deal about editing within a frame. Suddenly, nobody gave the performances you’re watching. There’s no human connection. There’s no moments where it’s just Alec Guinness sitting in a room with Mark Hamill and they’re just talking, being actors. The great thing about Mark Hamill, he’s not the world’s greatest actor, but he is a great STAR WARS actor. If you watch him in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, the scene where he’s in Yoda’s hut, and Yoda’s making dinner, and Mark’s trying the food... he lives in that world! He believes every prop in that set has a reason and a purpose and a history. He sells it completely. When you’re acting and half the props aren’t on set and half the actors aren’t on set, none of that is allowed to happen. There’s no spontaneous, chemical whatever it is that makes a movie a movie. Tools are starting to get in the way. Tools suddenly aren’t about setting a filmmaker free, they’re about the filmmaker losing the sense of community and what happens on a set. When Harrison Ford can throw a line out that nobody was expecting and it happens in a take with somebody else, that person’s reaction is real. Now that has a harder time happening. It’s essential... in this final film especially, where it’s all about emotion. One of the things we keep hearing about RETURN OF THE KING is that emotionally this films kicks into high gear about ten minutes in and just goes and the whole movie you just sit there and shake. Because emotionally everything that’s happening, you’ve spent two movies building up to. And it’s payoff after payoff after payoff and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And it’s all human. It’s all about what people are building to. For good and for bad, that’s the film that everybody will judge EPISODE III by. They’re the closing chapters, wrapping it up, finishing it, and especially if RETURN OF THE KING delivers and becomes that film that I think it’s going to be, it’s going to set a really high bar emotionally.
FROSTY SKYWALKER: EPISODE III is not RETURN OF THE KING. RETURN OF THE JEDI is RETURN OF THE KING...
MORIARTY: And they dropped the ball on that.
FROSTY SKYWALKER: EPISODE III, when it’s all said and done, is the middle of THE TWO TOWERS.
OBI-SWAN: The first three films are very simple. You could play the first one without sound for somebody who’s never seen it, and they understand everything perfectly.
BEAKS: He tries that in EPISODE II, but again, borrowing from the old films.
MORIARTY: Has he bought into his own hype about the Joseph Campbell thing? “I’m creating modern myth.” Is he getting too hung up on that? How much of it now is him trying to bend the archetype to fit something that he’s trying to manufacture, instead of the naturalistic way he told the first stories? It feels almost like an accident that it fits that. It feels like he told the story he wanted to tell, then somebody said to him that it fits the Campbell model. Then he said, “Oh, my God. You’re right. I’m a genius.”
OBI-SWAN: All the films are accidents. The ones that are in a good way I think are NEW HOPE, EMPIRE, and CLONES.
SARAH S: Nobody had lower expectations for ATTACK OF THE CLONES than I did. Now, I’ve got horribly low expectations for this.
OBI-SWAN: I don’t know about that. I’ve always maintained that EPISODE III is the film Lucas has the best shot at getting right. When I hear disturbing reports, it makes me so sad because I could do EPISODE III.
JIMMY D: It’s sad because all he has to do is make it on par with EPISODE II. Everybody has such low expectations that if it’s good, it’s going to be great.
SARAH S: My favorite memory of first seeing ATTACK OF THE CLONES was when I walked out of the theater and said, “Holy shit! I loved it!”
MORIARTY: What I’ve heard about EPISODE III is that, although you won’t see Vader, what you’ll see is various characters over the course of the film who are wearing pieces that will eventually becomes Vader. Suggestions of design. In EPISODE II we’ve got the Techno Union dude and hear that in throughout EPISODE III we’ll see more of the devises that become Vader’s armor. They’ll be dropped like clues throughout the movie.
OBI-SWAN: Has anybody seen the new character Durge?
JOHN ROBIE: Who’s that?
OBI-SWAN: He’s a bounty hunter who’s in the CLONE WARS cartoons. Count Dooku has put him in Jango’s old position and I’ve heard a rumor that he might make an appearance in EPISODE III. The thing about him that I found most shocking, is that he basically is Darth Vader in design. He’s silver and you can see all his gears and hydraulics, but he’s got an extremely Vader-like look. He even has a similar helmet and breathing faceplate.
MORIARTY: Another thing I’ve heard from a reliable is that bounty hunters play a more dramatic role in this next film and that they are rather extreme in design... that they’re not just guys in suits.
OBI-SWAN: When I was told that Durge was probably going to be in EPISODE III, I was like, here he is, here’s Darth Vader, our first look, even though he technically isn’t Vader. It’s the same type of life-support armor.
MORIARTY: Boba Fett was introduced in an officially sanctioned cartoon. So he does have a tradition of introducing characters like this.
SARAH S: Do we know who gets killed in the next movie?
MORIARTY: In JEDI, the way Luke was supposed to take his father’s place is by killing Vader. That’s pretty well established. It’s what the Emperor says. Anakin’s got to kill Dooku this time. It’s got to happen. Looking at the way the story is constructed, looking at the echoes of the other films, he’ll have to kill Dooku and we’ll have to see that. That will be the moment that he steps up and becomes whatever. Now, will he be killing other Jedi? I’m curious how evil they’re gonna let him be on screen... how willing Lucas is gonna be to let him be full-blown bad guy in this movie for any length of it.
OBI-SWAN: And I wonder how Qui-Gon will fit into it.
MORIARTY: If they don’t do something more with Qui-Gon in EPISODE III, then it’s just bad storytelling. He’s such a major part of the first film.
SARAH: Are we going to see Anakin and Padme do it?
MORIARTY: I think because all of the STAR WARS films take place over the period of a few days, she’s gotta be pregnant when this film starts... knocked up and ready to go. We’ve gonna see kids this movie. She’s gotta be ready to pop.
SARAH S: I always thought they were hidden from their father, and he wasn’t sure if they were really his kids. I think that by the time she figures out she’s pregnant, we know he’s evil.
MORIARTY: You’d think, but there’s never been a STAR WARS film that’s taken place over more than three or four days. One of the things that suggests that we won’t see the twins in this movie, that we won’t see them born, is that he shot a scene in Tunisia, when they were doing EPISODE II, and the scene they shot was to go at the very end of EPISODE III. Obi-Wan goes to the Lars home with baby Luke, gives him to Owen and Beru, and then vanishes into the desert. Now it seems that Lucas has said that he’s not using the footage.
FROSTY SKYWALKER: Here’s my theory, and I could be very wrong about this. At the beginning of the film, we learn that Anakin has been focusing for years on locating Count Dooku. Meanwhile, Palpatine has been telling him, “The only way you’ll get revenge for your mom, is by killing Dooku.” Anakin is going to be becoming more evil. He’s going to face Dooku and take him out. Padme confides in Obi-Wan, “Hey, I’m pregnant. Anakin is becoming evil. He can’t have control of these kids. It’ll be the end of everything.” Obi-Wan says to her, “I’ll take care of you.” Anakin comes back and says, “Where’s Padme?” Basically Obi-Wan and Anakin then fight over Padme because Obi-Wan won’t reveal where she is.
MORIARTY: Which means no kids. We won’t see the separation of the twins.
FROSTY SKYWALKER: That’s the reason this movie is gonna fail, because it’s not going to be three hours with a one-year-later jump in the middle of the film...
OBI-SWAN: Intermission. EPSIODE III, parts one and two...
MORIARTY: He’s never done it, and he’ll never do it.
FROSTY SKYWALKER: That’s my point. The minute I heard that the movie will be a normal length, two hours ten minutes, that’s the minute I realized this shit ain’t gonna work. I do know when the movie starts, though. It starts at the very end of the Clone Wars.
MORIARTY: The Clone Wars happen almost entirely off camera. What most fans have waited sixteen, twenty years to see, essentially happens off stage.
SARAH S: We should go around the table and everyone should say what they’re afraid of most with EPISODE III.
MORIARTY: The thing that I’m most afraid of, and Obi-Swan knows this... my favorite character in any of the films, just for his quiet dignity in all three movies, I dearly love Chewbacca. I am so afraid of the reduction of dignity for that character in the next film. I’m afraid he’s going to become a walking fart joke.
BEAKS: How are they doing him? CG?
MORIARTY: It’s a costume. Peter Mayhew in costume, but I’m still afraid he’ll cut away for fart jokes with Chewbacca. If that happens, I’m going to be livid. It’s going to be a one more thing he’s ruined that he didn’t have to.
JEFF: I have two big fears. This film will suffer the nebulous nature that the last two did where you don’t know what’s going on, that there’s not even the semblance of an ending at the end of each film, that it believes that it’s leading up to something, with no closure. Future generations aren’t going to waste time putting the pieces together. They want to know what the story is. And the other fear, I’m really crossing my fingers that’s it’s not going to be one big commercial for toys, like the last two movies. There were just marketing tools. And if that’s what this last movie is, then I wish he’d just come out and say, “Guys, y’know what... I really need to make X billion dollars.”
DR. HFUHRUHURR: I’m most afraid of stupid little chases and Dexter Jetster style subplots that really have bearing on the main story the themes. He’s got so much stuff to tie up, and he’s going to get bogged down in a “really cool” chase and waste twenty-five minutes.
JIMMY D: I’m afraid of the fact that he’s bringing back all these old characters that leaves him so much less time to resolve the stuff that pertains to the main characters of this trilogy. I’ll feel cheated and robbed.
SARAH S: I’m actually right with you. My biggest fear is that there’s going to be a scene where there’s a character named Dan Solo who says, “This is my son, Han.” This is my fear now that I know that there are so many cameos coming.
BEAKS: My biggest fear is who conceived Anakin, and what about these Midichlorians? Is it going to be a virgin birth, he’s some Christ figure, which is okay, or are we going to learn Shmi was artificially inseminated? There’s a human element to these movies, something organic. I want this not to be a virgin birth. I want it to be something that was created by two people...
OBI-SWAN: Shmi and Palpatine?
BEAKS: If done wrong, it could destroy the whole fabric of the series.
ROBIE: I’m afraid we’re gonna see Yoda die. I know he doesn’t, obviously, but still... I’m terrified. That’s it. I just hope it’s good.
GREGOR SAMSA: Um... the thing I’m most afraid of seeing is too light heated of a film. I really want to see some dark stuff with Anakin. I really want to see a dark, throw you into your seat film. If it’s anything less than that, then I’m going to be totally disappointed.
MICHELLE: I agree with everything that was said beforehand, and I want it more like EMPIRE than any of the others. I want to see some violence. I want to see some Jedi get killed.
MORIARTY: I want to see a GODFATHER-like sequence, where all around the galaxy we see hit after hit after hit on the Jedi, and we realize that the web just got dropped. Hopefully, Coppola will whisper in his ear, “Hey, George, let me show you something...”
MICHELLE: I don’t mind if we don’t see him in the Darth Vader suit, as long as emotionally he’s Vader. I want to see Anakin’s face as he’s doing this.
SARAH: My biggest fear is that we’re not going to have a hero in the movie. It’s so gray right now because we’ve got Anakin going towards the darkside. And it can’t be Padme. She’s not a Han Solo. She’s not a Qui-Gon. She’s not. So my fear is that we’re not going to have some totally badass hero to carry the film.
SARAH S: Obi-Wan... come on...
FROSTY SKYWALKER: My biggest fear is that George Lucas is writing this movie. My biggest fear is that George Lucas is directing this movie. My biggest fear is that this film is going to look like a Saturday morning cartoon that has no basis in reality. Everything in EPISODES I and II is just a freakin’ cartoon. I know it sounds like I hate George, but I’m so thankful that he gave me what he gave me. STAR WARS gave me a lot and I’m thankful that it did, however, I just want it to be as great as I know it can be, and I’m so fearful that he can’t get the job done. I just wish he would let go and bring in people that truly love and want it to be as great as they remember it.
OBI-SWAN: In other words, Lucas needs to be Luke Skywalker at the end of NEW HOPE in the trench run. He needs to take away the electronic eye, use the force, and let go.
FROSTY SKYWALKER: Very good.
OBI-SWAN: My greatest fear is that possibly I know more about how the movie should be made than George does. Also, my biggest fear is that he doesn’t have the answers and that maybe he doesn’t care anymore. I hope I’m wrong and that he surprises us all. This is something I felt around the table, he needs to answer all the question. I am so frightened that he’s not going to do it and he’s not going to care.
So, like I said... we aren’t the only voices in fandom. We aren’t pretending our opinions supercede anyone else’s. Ultimately, your TalkBacks are just as important as anything we’ve got to say. As this series continues, we’ll invite other people to join us, and we’ll depend on your feedback, too.
We’re in the home stretch here, folks. Two years to go. And whether you’re afraid of what’s coming in 2005 or looking forward to it, we hope you’ll share the countdown with us.