Film and TV

Bring Me the Head of Han Solo

Page 3 of 3

The cosmic generational comedown of the prequels remains fresh in our memories. The last and least terrible of them, Revenge of the Sith, hit theaters nine years ago this month, which means any Blade Runner-type critical reconsideration suggesting that perhaps we judged George Lucas's busy, noisy, lifeless latter-day movies too harshly would've happened by now. What enthusiasm there is for the upcoming films — and there is a lot — is on account of the still-strong residual affection for the original movies, though Lucas can't stop tinkering with them. And because Abrams seems like he just might have a clue how to inject some life back into Star Wars, as his two Star, er, Trek films have demonstrated.

And because of the return of the original cast.

Don't squander this opportunity to restore balance to the force, J.J. Abrams. The last thing the tarnished Star Wars brand needs now is another bored and noncommittal Harrison Ford performance. (If he wants to walk on and transform into a werewolf, like he did in Anchorman 2, that'd be fine.) The pattern set by the first two trilogies is that in the first chapter, a mentor is sacrificed: Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. In fact, Qui-Gon's slaying by Darth Maul, and the thrilling lightsaber duel surrounding it — more athletic than the one in Empire — is one of only a handful of scenes in the entire seven-hour prequel trilogy that achieves any emotional heft. The big Obi-Wan vs. Anakin fight two movies later, wherein Anakin sustains the injuries that will result in his rebirth as that mouth-breathing cyborg Darth Vader, needed to feel exponentially more dire than that earlier melee, given its significance in the saga. It didn't.

But then, Anakin lived — in the literal sense, anyway. And death is powerful. Especially in a genre where it's so rare and reversible.

To save Han Solo, we have to kill him.

Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

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Chris Klimek