When it was announced that Episode VII of Star Wars would start development, there was both excitement and trepidation in the air. While any canonical addition to the Star Wars universe is naturally intriuging, the horrid prequels had marred a once infallible franchise. J.J. Abrams, who has done an excellent job bringing Star Trek to a new generation of moviegoers, was announced to direct the newest movie and quelled some of those fears. But even a new director could use some advice from some of the most devoted fans. Here's a small wishlist of the the things that should and shouldn't make it in the next Star Wars movie.
No Jar Jar Binks
This just goes without saying. And this just doesn't apply to the annoying Gungan. This goes for any computer animated character that's clearly racist and is catered to sell as many toys to children as possible. The Star Wars franchise already has dozens of cool action figures and doesn't need another one taking up shelf space at the toy store. Please show some restraint and just leave these sort of characters in the trash bin. If a new kid-friendly character has to make it into the new movie, take a cue from the characters Pixar has created in their critically acclaimed movies. They're memorable, endearing but still manage to sell millions of toys to children everywhere.
Don't Ruin Han Solo
The prequels dramatically damaged the appeal of several of its iconic characters. It reduced the imposing and ruthless Darth Vader into a snivelling teenaged brat, and turned the wise and battle-hardened Obi-wan Kenobi to an ineffective commander and mentor. Although George Lucas insists that Greedo shot first, true Star Wars fans still believe that Han Solo is still the scruffy looking nerf herder they all idolized. Before the sequels were announced, fans were joyful that the prequels didn't even mention his name and thus kept his appeal intact. Now that sequels represent an opportunity to change all of that, fans are keeping their fingers crossed that Han Solo will remain the anti-hero they love and cherish.
Tone Down Lightsabers
Here's a tip: let a Jedi or Jedis use ingenuity, stratagem, or even the Force to get out of a pickle for once. Not every situation needs lightsabers whizzing around. Remember when the elder Kenobi used the Force to distract a couple of Stormtroopers who were in his way? It's simple, yet effective and stealthy. The prequels would've had him slash them in half and alerted the entire Star Destroyer to their presence. And for Chrissakes, duels shouldn't last 17 minutes long! It becomes boring to watch two actors twirling their batons for that long, and it simply gets in the way of actual storytelling. So for the sequels, exercise some restraint and just tone those lightsabers down.
Make Jedis and the Force Cool Again
There was a time when a single Jedi could inspire fear among a squad of Stormtroopers. After the prequels, we've seen Jedis were reduced to cannon fodder for droids, without so much as a fight. I think the problem with the prequels is that the Order let anybody and everybody in. They should take note of what Mark Zuckerberg said in The Social Network: it's about exclusivity. Not everyone should be Jedi. Only beings at the very least capable of deflecting blasters directed at them can be considered eligible for Jedi status. The rarity of such characters will only build upon the impressive aura the Jedis had in the original Trilogy.
Stop Paying Homages to the Original Trilogy
The original trilogy was a beloved set of movies that captured the imagination of a generation. However, fans of the those movies are also clamoring for something new. "I have a bad feeling about this" was repeated so often in the prequels that the phrase lost any luster it once had. Recreating scenes from the original scenes aren't poetic codas the bookend and tie together all the movies. They're simply the basest form of fan service, reaching out to nostalgia without actually contributing any form of quality to the film. These new movies should create new catchphrases, new iconic scenes, and display some form of originality.
Develop a Character-Driven Plot
All the glorious and beautiful special effects in Hollywood cannot create a compelling story. One of the reasons why the original trilogy is so beloved is because they had characters we simply cared about. It's basic screenwriting 101. Interesting and compelling characters drive the plot and make better movies. And please, keep it simple. Don't include any of that nonsense about the taxation of trade routes.