Joss Whedon Says He Wouldn’t Bring Back Original Characters for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII

by     Posted 1 year, 253 days ago

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When it comes to the new Star Wars films, everybody has an opinion.  Of course it’s kind of hard to please absolutely everyone when it comes to arguably the most popular film franchise of all time, but ever since Disney announced that a new trilogy was on the way, fans have been speculating and debating like crazy over episodes 7, 8, and 9.  J.J. Abrams has officially been tapped to bring the first film to fruition and screenwriter Michael Arndt is currently working on the script, but unsurprisingly Disney and Lucasfilm have remained mum with regards to story details.

With a targeted 2015 release date looming, some minor pieces of info regarding the new trilogy have been surfacing here and there, and the biggest news nugget concerning Episode VII is undoubtedly the fact that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford are reportedly in discussions to reprise their characters in the new film.  Fans seem to be split on whether it’s a good idea to be revisiting old characters in the new trilogy, but one wildly popular filmmaker recently took sides in the debate as The Avengers director Joss Whedon says he wouldn’t be looking to the past in Episode VII if it were up to him.  Hit the jump for Whedon’s full thoughts on the subject.

star-wars-episode-iv-a-new-hope-imageWhen Disney first announced that it was buying Lucasfilm and plotting a new trilogy of Star Wars films, interest immediately turned to who would be chosen to direct the sequels.  One filmmaker that unsurprisingly surfaced on a number of lists was Joss Whedon, but he seemed an implausible choice given his heavy commitments to Marvel and The Avengers 2.  During a recent interview with Digital Spy for his upcoming Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon was asked for his thoughts on the return of the original Star Wars characters in the new movies and he said he would have taken the story in a different direction:

“You know, I wouldn’t go back, I’d go forward.  I would want to create characters that would resonate the way that they did.  I mean not that I don’t want to see [the new movies], I would be excited to, but I also feel like I would want to explore a very different part of that universe.”

star-wars-han-solo-harrison-fordThe interviewer then brought up the notion of recasting Han Solo in the rumored standalone film about Harrison Ford’s classic character, to which Whedon replied:

“That I would never want to do. Some things may not be rebooted.”

I’m actually with Whedon on this.  I feel like the new Star Wars films should focus on expanding the universe with new characters instead of clinging on to the past, even if Hamill, Fisher, and Ford only show up for minor roles.  Matt wrote an editorial on the subject of spinoffs featuring original trilogy characters recently, and he made some good points with regards to the new Star Wars trilogy’s relation to George Lucas’s original films.

What do you think, readers?  Is Whedon right, or do you think strong connective tissue between Abrams’ Episode VII and the original trilogy is essential?  Sound off in the comments below.

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  • NFP

    This all really depends on the story arc. Star Wars deals with MANY universal themes, but I tend to believe that the Father/Son arc is the major one. So to simply inject all new characters would be pointless to me. One would assume this newest trilogy, would still deal with this theme. Luke as the father now. I do hope that the original trio, only plays in the background, and gives us room for new characters, but to not have them in this circumstance would seem silly to me.

    Also agree, anything that isn’t episodes 7-9 should by all means be another corner of the Star Wars universe though! Although I would dig a Yoda movie, dealing with another portion of his life!

    • DREDD

      I agree mostly.
      I too would have liked a Yoda prequel, but i think the prequels have ruined that now, aswell as KOTOR, because the worlds created for those are so far removed from what i imagined the Star Wars prequel universe to look like as a kid. Yoda I imagined was like part of a seven samurai style simpler setting, where he and the other few were the first Jedi and the galaxy was smaller, less cluttered and simpler. I imagined Palpatine was a Jedi too but turned to the dark side and murdered the others, i also imagined him as also around 900 years old or so.
      To me, The star wars prequels looked like what it would look like if Disney owned Star Wars, and now that they do, it sounds like a Disney star wars is gonna be a very good thing instead. And if I’m right, Kathleen Kennedy could be the new Messiah!

      • Kevin G

        GREAT comment. Nails what makes the extended SW universe and prequels so empty to me. I remember the SW-related speculation and little bits of fiction peppered in popular sci-fi/monster magazines during the time of the OT, and it was so much more evocative than what we ended up officially getting. I don’t mean “let’s time travel back to the ’70s and stay there” when I say it, but Disney/Abrams, you should really go back and take a look at what people were envisioning about the SW universe, backstories, and side-stories back in the SW-Empire time frame. Some of it was no good, but there was a real strain of things that *felt* like Star Wars. Which none of the contemporary works do.

      • NFP

        Well put on so many levels.

      • USBVirusArrows

        Joss Whedon is a good writer THAT IS ALL. Why are people acting like his opinion about film making means anything? Can nerds and geeks please stop elevating mediocrity?

      • Dredd

        @ USBVirusArrows

        When you or I or anyone speaks on a movie forum, our opinions rarely mean anything, because chances are its just us fans, nerds geeks whatever you wanna call us, that read our opinions.
        BUT, when someone famous or in the business speaks, his voice is more likely to be heard by those making the movies we care about. When those opinions are wrong in the minds of us nerds and geeks, thats when shattered dreams can occur! So, his opinions may mean nothing to you, should they fall on the ears of those who matter, shit can go down!

        Example: Samuel L Jackson was on a British chat show called TFI Friday, early 90s (I was watching it at the time). He said “I would kill to be in a Star Wars movie”. A few years later, because of those exact comments, he got offered the job. Now, I’m not saying his role was bad, I’m just saying a loud voice can be heard with consequences.

  • Ramone

    If Luke, Han, and Leia are just there to help pass the torch (and so not appearing in subsequent sequels) I’m fine. I agree, they shouldn’t be the stars of Episode 7. The spinoffs should all be new characters introduced in Ep. 7. Have their story arcs culminate in Episode 8.

    I really don’t care what Han was like as a kid. Boba’s lifestyle is interesting, but we’ve got Fett fatigue. And the whole wonder about Yoda will be dispelled if we see him as a young, whatever species he is. NEW characters are the way to go!

    • Deadpool

      THIS.

  • DREDD

    Personally, I’m glad the decision was not left to Whedon then. As much as I like his idea, and would like to see that (AS WELL). I’m glad the sequel is going to feature the original cast to pass it on to their kids. Especially as the actors are old now, we will never get this chance again in the future, unless they try and synthetically recreate the actors like Arnie in Terminator 4, or Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy. That looked good, but not great! We have these actors, and its a continuation of their story. (outside the books, which from what I’ve read vary from fantastic to ridiculous to just horrible. )

    theres plenty of room for spin offs and expanded universe stuff too, and it sounds like all thats happening too, but this decision is the right one. The Star Wars we fell in love with has not been revisited properly for many years. The prequels have made star wars into an overdesigned gaudy mess, some of the games, ie force unleashed have turned Jedi into supermen, or KOTOR given us a 1000 years set in the past that looks like its set 1000 into the future. Wheres the Star Wars games of old that felt like Star Wars? ie X-Wing/tie fighter, Rogue Squadrons or Battlefield 3? I hope the new films stay true to the OT in vibe, yes its in the future and tech will be different, but these recent Star Wars have felt like they cater for kids with ADD. And have swapped movie magic with a movie toy machine.

  • The only character I’d want to see back is Luke

    Bringing Luke back would make the most sense as he’s now assumed the role of Jedi master and will be passing along his knowledge to a new generation. It actually makes the most sense as a continuation of the story to chronicle how Luke attempts to rebuild the Jedi order in the aftermath of the fall of the empire. Geriatric Han Solo I could do without.

  • Oviraptor

    Whedon is smart.

    • John

      Wheedon is dumb

      • chanandeler bong

        Says the guy who went ‘Whee’

      • Ur mom

        At least Whedon can spell JOHN correctly.

  • Strong Enough

    who cares what Joss says? Michael Ardnt is a better writer anyway.

    Whedon = No oscars ha!

  • M&M

    Typos are dumb… :p

  • Rob

    Why is this a debate when we don’t even know how involved they’ll be?? I don’t get it….can they not go in new directions just because the orig. characters are involved? I’m am 100% for bringing them back because I want to see them, but I’m also positive that they won’t be the focal point all the way through the 3 movies. I’d be fine either way, but I think that Abrams & Co. have bigger plans for this thing. I don’t give a rat’s a** about anyone’s opinion on this…have learned to wait till the final product is up on the screen to see for myself.

  • Strong Enough

    Ardnt is a better writer anyway.

    Whedon = No oscar

    ha!

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  • Ash Talon

    I really have no interest in seeing any of the original cast back. With all due respect to them, I really don’t want to see a 70 year old Han Solo. I can see Luke as a Jedi ghost guiding the next generation, though. Having the original cast pop in for cameos is going to seem awfully corny.

    • Flinderbahn

      Was it corny to have Anakin/Darth and Obi-Wan in all 6 movies to date? or 3PO and R2? or Yoda in 5 of them? Continuity is part of SW’s foundation.

      Lucas wanted the droids in every single movie, so I assume we’ll be seeing them again too. Fine by me.

      • Tim

        “Was it corny to have Anakin/Darth and Obi-Wan in all 6 movies to date? or 3PO and R2? or Yoda in 5 of them?”

        Yes. That’s one of the major downfalls of the prequels.

  • Kaluha

    I feel the same way too: the originals are classic entertainment and let’s leave it at that. I only want to see Han, Luke & Leia in their prime not when they are struggling with a cane

  • Roberto Da Costa

    Nothing is essential, or HAS to be included in order for this new Star Wars movie to be really good and worthy of contributing to the overall franchise. There are an infinite amount of ways they can make an amazing Star Wars VII – with, or w/o the original cast. Point is, with the right script, direction, acting and due diligence (etc) – anything is possible. So all this ‘essential’ talk is a faux point of contention.

  • Jared

    I would bring them back, but only in a supporting role; I would make them characters similar to Kenobi in the origianl trilogy. I would focus on their children, Jacen in particular. One character I would like ro see would be Darth Maul; while that sounds crazy, it could be a goos arc. He was supposed to be what Anakin became, the right hand to the Emperor; disregard the animated series as canon, but take tidbits from it to establish Maul’s reasoning and survival over the 30 years or so later this takes place. Have his mindset of that which sees the removal of the Sith as doing more harm than good towards tha balance of the Force; with nothing but Jedi, there is no balnce; white:black, good:evil, up:down, Jedi:Sith. And he brings this hatred down with an army of Sith and his own “rebel” army to enact balance. Take some points from The Old Republic games and have him rid the Sith of the “Rule of Two” and regain the Sith Empire. Have him personally battle Luke and Leia and beat them to a pulp, as they are beyond their prime, whereas he has been engulfed in rage and saught revenge. Han grabs Luke’s lightsabre to protect his and Leia’s family, only to be struck down by Maul. This will have a profound effect on Jacen and turn him to the Dark Side in seeking revenge for his slain father (different from the expanded unoverse writings). Focus on the children and the Jedi surrounding them from the new Jedi Academy and Republic. And please have a Jedi with dual sabres who can put them together to form the sabre staff (what Maul had in Episode I). Just my opinion, and it’s probably about to be ridiculedin 3 . . . 2 . . . 1.

  • MainFragger

    I personally hope they are in the first third of the first movie of the trilogy to hand off the torch to the next generation. But I also hope that Mara Jade is part of the storyline. I really want to see her kicking butt! I admit, I am have only read one Star Wars book, but she was in it, and I liked hehr instantly!

  • Mark Tornits

    Instead he would make a bunch of new characters that will all share the same personality traits and only be different by a singular unique skill and costume: AVENGERS.

  • M Kitchen

    The “Legacy Characters” can work if they play the roll of Obi-Wan Kenboi, and Mon Mothma, and Jan Dodonna.

    It won’t work so well if we get another “Old Indiana Jones” adventure.

  • Ryan

    Remind me…what has Joss Whedon done that’s so great and Oscar worthy?

    • Ur mom

      Well, he’s done a lot of great things, but no Oscars. But there are a lot of great things that didn’t get Oscars either. Just because he didn’t get Oscars, doesn’t mean he sucks!!

    • Arran

      A little movie you might have heard of, called TOY STORY!

  • JDUB

    Don’t bring back the old characters. The good part of Star Wars is the universe. People like the Jedi’s, Sith, Yoda (who I would classify more as being a part of the Star Wars universe than a character in the movies) space fight scenes, light sabers and the force. The Luke, Leah and Han Solo story ran it’s course and is over. It’s time to see what else is in the universe. Showing the Skywalker descendants would be so cheesy (e.g. the Lion King 2, little mermaid 2… (I am aware of how obscure these examples are, but that just proves the point. Try to name one movie that has pulled off telling the story of the kids of beloved characters)).

    • FilmDoctor

      How in the heck do you or anyone else know that the story’s run its course? I’d rather see Lucas’s vision played out. Maybe it’s worth it, but if it sucks, then it sucks! The first STAR WARS was kinda corny anyway. It was the humor and the effects that helped make it beloved. TESB was what made IV, V, and VI truly interesting. After that, ROTJ was kind of anti-climactic (by the way, it had three burping jokes).

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  • Butch 07

    Please being back suspense and real adolescent fun (as the millenium falcon chase in TESB), and get rid of ridiculous jokes for kids (Jar Jar, the pod race, anakin riding a fat cow). Kids will still enjoy it even if dialogues are not written for them to understand it all. And dont try to explain everything (For me, the midichlorians ruined my vision of the force when I was as a kid, since now, not everybody can be a jedi…).

    Bring back the elderly only for a couple minutes and a few Solo jokes towards an adolescent feminine jedi wannabe.

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  • Matthew Dean Shacallis

    It would literally make my life (although I know it probably won’t happen) if episode VII used some of the characters from the expanded universe books. Thrawn/Pellaeon and Mara Jade/Talon Karrde. All fantastic, unforgettable characters that would be great in the film.

    I’m a big fan of Wheaton’s work with Firefly, but not using ford,fisher or hamil? seriously? they should be playing a part in this movie..a reduced one, with the story focusing on their kids.

    Better yet, why not focus the next trilogy on the KOTOR 1/ SWTOR periods, 1000′s of years before the existing movies. Alot of great characters there, as well as a whole different feel to the star wars universe, and mandalorians. need I say more..
    Imagine the potential mass-crowd pleasing space ship battles and jedi vs sith wars. hello?!

    and also, a spin off movie about how Han Solo got to where he is in iv. His journeys as a young smuggler dude on Nar Shaddaa, and winning the Millenium Falcon..Can’t go wrong kids

  • Matthew Dean Shacallis

    It would literally make my life (although I know it probably won’t happen) if episode VII used some of the characters from the expanded universe books. Thrawn/Pellaeon and Mara Jade/Talon Karrde. All fantastic, unforgettable characters that would be great in the film.

    I’m a big fan of Wheaton’s work with Firefly, but not using ford,fisher or hamil? seriously? they should be playing a part in this movie..a reduced one, with the story focusing on their kids.

    Better yet, why not focus the next trilogy on the KOTOR 1/ SWTOR periods, 1000′s of years before the existing movies. Alot of great characters there, as well as a whole different feel to the star wars universe, and mandalorians. need I say more..
    Imagine the potential mass-crowd pleasing space ship battles and jedi vs sith wars. hello?!

    and also, a spin off movie about how Han Solo got to where he is in iv. His journeys as a young smuggler dude on Nar Shaddaa, and winning the Millenium Falcon..Can’t go wrong kids

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