Monday, November 25, 2013

Four Things Episode VII Probably Won't Have

There's been a lot of speculation on what characters and actors Star Wars Episode VII will have. While that's still all unconfirmed, I'm going to put forward some theories on what it won't have. 

1.  Bizarre names.

The recent Star Wars casting calls listed characters named Rachel and Thomas. At first, I thought these were code names, designed to throw keen-eyed fans off the scent in terms of who these characters are. 

But thinking further, I realized that the Original Trilogy used many more common English-language names than subsequent EU authors, or even the prequels, have done. The EU contains a lot of names like "Borsk Fey'lya" and "Empatojayos Brand."  There is a sort of Star Wars "sound" to some of the names that comes from a pretty even vowel-consonant distribution: Secura, Tahiri, Hondo Ohnaka.

Luke, Leia, and Han, though, are not uncommon English-language names. The movies also contain Kit, Jango, and Cody.
 
There are so many names in the EU that it's difficult to generalize, but the more I thought about it the more I thought that, while "Rachel" might still be a code name, it might not be too far off the mark.


2. Present-day jargon.

 J. J. Abrams told Time that dated terms for technology are one of his "pet peeves." 

I don’t often kick my feet up and ponder what it’ll be like 50 years from now, but I find myself — whether it’s been working on movies like Star Trek or a series like Almost Human — I do find myself asking what do I believe about what could happen. Frankly, one of my biggest pet peeves is the use of certain phrases that I just can’t for the life of me believe will exist five decades from now. 
Even little things. If you read a story about a hard drive, it’s like, There won’t be a hard drive! I’m not saying there won’t be a version of a memory cartridge or some obvious equivalent. If you’re telling a story about the future, we’re going to be bipeds, we’re going to be wearing clothes, we’ll live in structures, we’ll consume comestibles, we’ll inhale oxygen. They’re all things we know we’ll maintain. The truth is that almost every relationship — whether it’s between people or people and their work — there will always be these analogous situations you can get. The thing that drives me crazy is when it’s a literal connection to what exists now. When you think on a day-to-day basis how many little things we might say or refer to that if 30 years ago someone had said to you, “You know, I’ll text you in 10 minutes,” you’d be like, “What’d you say?” It would almost be like alien talk. You have to think in terms of practical dialogue. Producing a TV show or movie, there are just going to be certain phrases and terms that will be completely alien to us now, if we heard them from the future.
We don't know what new technology Abrams might invent or re-purpose for the movies, but it sounds like we can be sure that the language he uses for it won't become dated.
 
3. Nick Gillard.


Sadface.  The fight coordinator for Episode VII will bring in his own style. The sword fight, while ridiculous, was one of my favorite parts of J. J. Abrams' first Star Trek movie, so I have at least tentative hopes about that.

4. Tie-in games made by EA.

Another bit of information we got in the news-heavy back half of last week was that EA, one of the companies who holds the new Disney/ Star Wars license for games,  is going to "make sure that we weren’t doing a movie game, i.e., game based on the movie," according to EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen.  Tie-in games that follow the plot of the movies tend not to be very good, so I think this is no great loss, and could pave the way for other games that tell original stories in the Star Wars universe. One thing Episode VII probably will have, if the past few years have been any indication: a LEGO tie-in game.

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