Now that we have had two weeks to digest the most anticipated film to ever be released in the history of modern day cinema, let’s start talking numbers. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a monster hit at the box office. Becoming the fastest movie to gross over a billion dollars, the film is well on its way to shattering numerous box office records. It’s the fastest film to gross $500 million (and every figure below it), the largest box office opening weekend, the top holiday, the top weekend, and the top December gross, etc…
Star Wars is going to break every record out there for ticket sales. The reason? It’s not just the series that drew people in, it was the allure of seeing the original cast back in action. This is THE story all Star Wars fans wanted to see continued. The prequels were a nice appetizer, but we wanted the story after Return of the Jedi.
With so many people going to see Star Wars, there are bound to be endless discussions of what worked and what didn’t work with the new films. And everyone will have an opinion on the successes and failures of these films; and that’s okay. That is what movies are about.
So we are going to do a little digesting here and look forward to the 8th installment. Although there were certain things we believe could have been done much better in 7, we are excited about the prospects of number 8. And we crave more Star Wars, just as we did in The Force Awakens.
Here are 10 Predictions For Stars Wars 8
10. More Originality
Let’s hope Star Wars 8 isn’t a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back. Episode 7 was basically a new version of Episode IV, A New Hope. We watched as we began on the barren planet just as Luke had and we move on from there. We have our Darth Vader wannabe; we have our heroes rising up; and we have the next reincarnation of the Death Star. We get another lightsaber battle at the end of the film ala all other Star Wars films in which our apprentice is attempting to take down a bonafide villain, and finally, we get the simultaneous battle to stop the new Death Star from destroying the world. The similarities are striking and, for many fans, annoyingly similar. We want more than a rehash of the original 3 films. This is where Abrams and his team will need to be more creative. There wasn’t enough originality in The Force Awakens but I do believe in the 8th installment, we head in an entirely different direction and get a more effectively told story.
9. Sales Will Drop
That’s right, Star Wars 8 has no chance of competing with 7 when it comes to sales numbers. There are numerous factors to this, but no matter what, Star Wars 8 should easily top 1 billion at the box office. So it will be a success. However, even with the opportunity to make some story improvements and a better film next time around, Star Wars 8 is going to have one epic cloud hanging over its head: they killed Han Solo in the lamest way possible. Without Harrison Ford and his onscreen presence, the audience (at least some) is going to be turned off to the point that they won’t be sprinting to the box office. And J.J. Abrams could dangerously be treading in the direction of the prequels if he doesn’t effectively link the story together with our original cast members. But without a doubt, as The Force Awakens gobbles up every record in the cinematic sales book, number 8 has no chance to approach the build up to The Force Awakens.
8. Focus On The First Order
With The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams gives us only small tastes of the two large entities at play. When we look at good versus evil, we want a sense of the scope of what we’re talking about. With the original Star Wars films, it has been about the small rebel alliance scrapping it together to fight against the firm grip of The Empire led by the Dark Side. But in The Force Awakens, we get only tastes of the power of the “New Empire” and instead don’t have the successful build-up George Lucas so brilliantly created in the original series. It’s as if we spend so much time watching our lead character Rey become super-Jedi extraordinaire, that we don’t have time to evolve the overall scope of the film. In number 8, Abrams and his team will need to develop the overpowering scope of The First Order in a much better way to draw us in emotionally and get excited for the improbable victory of good versus evil. I think it’s a slam dunk to see this occur.
7. Luke Skywalker…Please Come Back!
We can only hope that this major build-up toward finally finding Luke Skywalker pays big dividends in the next two movies. If Luke leads the charge and lives, then fine. But if they are planning on taking him down, it better be a heck of a lot better than Han Solo’s terribly staged death. The reality is, we need something to grab onto as an audience here. The new characters are fine, but the reason we all waited this long was to see the original cast help repel the evil forces that loom. Luke Skywalker must be a big player in this. He can’t simply sacrifice himself ala Obi Wan Kenobi and we see the same cyclical story plots. We need originality with Luke Skywalker and we hope he can be a much bigger player in the next two movies to help us latch onto what awaits. I’m certain this will happen as Luke Skywalker is set up to be a powerful force in Episode 8.
6. Kylo Ren/Ben Solo Will Grow Up
Okay, when you have an arch villain, the last thing you want him to do is to throw tantrums and get his rear end kicked. But that is Kylo Ren through the majority of the first film in this relaunch. He showcases his power on occasion and then is unable to unlock Rey’s brain as if she were a highly trained Jedi already. Then Kylo Ren can barely defeat a sanitation Stormtrooper in Finn. Finn holds his own with a lightsaber that belongs to Luke Skywalker (don’t get me started about that plot point). Either way, we need Kylo Ren, our second coming of sorts to his grandfather, Darth Vader, to be a heck of a lot more mature and imposing. We need more strength and composure from our head villain. He just isn’t strong enough to be valued as evil at this point. Even the killing of his own father, Han Solo, is done with Kylo Ren whining about wanting to be good prior to him shoving his lightsaber through the hearts of all Star Wars fans everywhere. Episode 8 is going to show a much more powerful Ren and his evolution should be cemented in the next film. By becoming almost unstoppable in Episode 8, it will set up an epic conclusion in 9.
5. Princess Leia – More Than Just A Passenger
Talk about window dressing. Princess Leia was the most insignificant character displayed on film in a long time. This is Princess Leia! This is the fast-talking, smart-mouthed, strong woman who was able to evoke a ton of emotion in the original three films. But here, she poses as a leader for the resistance forces but barely shows any emotion. Her relationship with Han Solo is cold and strange. Even upon Han Solo’s death, Leia is removed and detached. We definitely need more from Princess Leia, just like Luke Skywalker, in the next film. We get the passing of the torch routine here, but the story could have been far better with Leia and we hope something happens in 8 to make this beloved character come to life again. She needs a lightsaber in her hands and we need Leia kicking some major butt! That’s my fearless prediction in 8; we will see a much more powerful Leia and her legend grow.
4. Finn’s Past
Finn so easily breaks free of his Stormtrooper role and is able to grab a lightsaber with ease, one wonders exactly what is going on here. There is going to be a lot more about Finn that evolves in Episode 8. I mean, there has to be. We like Finn a lot and he is one of the most effective characters in the film, but we need to understand more about his development and what is going on. I think in Episode 8, we start to unlock some of those secrets as we move forward. The lightsaber-wielding Finn will need an explanation as will his childhood and parents. Finn was taken when he was young and we suspect he has Jedi in him (he better). However, one wonders why the powers of the Dark Side would take someone with Jedi blood and make them a Stormtrooper that handles sanitation? We like Finn’s moxie, but we need more understanding.
3. Poe Dameron – Give Us More
Okay, we start this film with this brave, confident fighter pilot who is clearly built in the Han Solo mold. But as quickly as he makes an impact early in the film, Poe Dameron disappears. Once he escapes with Finn, they crash land. Then, Dameron is assumed to have died. The first character we bond to in the movie and…he disappears. He then suddenly reappears as if he never died in the crash and helps the Resistance. All right, we can let some of the story holes go here, because we are focusing on 8. We need more Poe Dameron and a better layout of who he is and what is going to happen with him. In 8, we should get that. We also should get Dameron creating a love triangle with Rey and Finn in some way. It will be a similar triangle that was created by Luke, Leia and Solo early in the first series. Either way, Finn and Poe Dameron had some good sparks on camera and we’d like to see more of their interaction as the story drives forward.
2. Supreme Leader Snoke
Much like a lot of what happened from The Force Awakens, it was somewhat a rehash of Episode IV. This is true of its strangely non-existent head villain, Supreme Leader Snoke. Snoke not only doesn’t make his physical presence felt in the film, but his holograms are a complete copy of the Emperor of the past. We need something different here. Snoke is clearly taking Kylo Ren under his wing so we want more physical contact. We should definitely get this in Episode 8 where Snoke should be a much bigger and more imposing player. The Dark Side will need to come alive in Episode 8 and Snoke and Ren should lead the way. There must be a build-up of darkness that overshadows the light to set up an epic Episode 9. This is where it must come from.
1. Luke and Leia
If there is one reunion we must have before Abrams steals away another one of our beloved characters, it is going to have to be Luke and Leia. Whereas with Leia and Solo, there was so little emotion, this reunion must be charged. In the first place, Luke was training Leia’s son who ends up being a Darth Vader in-the-making. Although Leia and Solo have passed the buck and basically blamed Ren’s evolution as having “too much Vader in him,” we want to see more passion. Leia must blame Luke for this. And in return, Luke must do far more to turn his nephew back to good.
This story plot MUST take center stage as the main emotional hook throughout Episodes 8 and 9. This is the hook that can allow us to overlook Han Solo’s tragic (and terribly done) death. We need this emotional hook to ride us to the end of this amazing series. Undoubtedly, Luke will sacrifice himself in the end for the betterment of good. We expect that, but we aren’t calling that for Episode 8. We hope Abrams leaves Luke’s tragic death for 9 to infuse the final film with an epic conclusion (but that’s a prediction for another day). Either way, we’d like to see Leia slap Luke across the face upon first meeting. Then, she should hug him. We need emotion and these two can definitely bring it to film number 8!