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The Jedi Mind Tricks of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

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A long time ago, in a release date far, far away…

The politics of Star Wars was a lot simpler in my Gen-X day. There was no Twitter universe to navigate for news on the latest and greatest tidbits on the newest chapter in the space saga. Not to sound like Andy Rooney, but back then, you had to browse the latest issue of Fangoria on some faraway newsstand to get whatever snapshot of The Empire Strikes Back you wanted in those days.

Yep, I’m middle-aged. Not at the level of Yoda, am I, but a Jennifer Aniston on Friends kind of old now. Not ready to live in some retirement community in a cave on Tatooine like Obi-Wan Kenobi, but also not so sure I could handle myself in a messy cantina bar fight either.

But the people in my age range get the idea: We grew up with Roger Moore as our James Bond and an Atari 2600 joystick in every garage. Pac-Man Fever was just not a Top 40 anthem of ours but also a suitable Ferris Bueller-like excuse to get us out of school for a day. And Woolworth’s was a much more sanitized version of a toothless Wal-Mart back then (A more elegant five-and-dime store for a more civilized time).

Okay, so now we’re all on the same page: Steven Spielberg was still wearing a baseball cap while directing Indiana Jones and the summer blockbuster we were all ‘Jonesin’ to see involved a small model of the Millennium Falcon outmaneuvering the bigger fleet of the Empire’s giant galactic warships.

And somewhere in between all this drama and spectacle was the PG-rated sexual tension between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher (and whether Han Solo was going to get to second base with Princess Leia or not in the engine room while the Wookie and the droids bickered in the background). The Ewoks and Empire aside, these were (more or less) wonderful times.

But now we pull a LOST flash-forward to present day, where the galaxy is not so seemingly far, far away. Star Wars: Episode VII now has a release date to hang our hopes on: December 18, 2015.

So what else do we have to go on? Lawrence Kasdan (the scribe behind Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back) is back co-writing the script for Episode VII with director and wonder boy, J.J. Abrams. John Williams is back composing the music that made the first three installments of this space saga pure magic. The beeping and original ‘tweeter’ R2-D2 (minus Kenny Baker) will return to once again help the jedi.

The rumors are abounding that a new model of the Millennium Falcon has been built and siting idle in some far off London hangar that is no substitute for the ice planet Hoth. And, of course, is it really any big secret that some of the original cast (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford) are going to back in some way, shape or blue-light form to represent the next clan of the Skywalker and Solo families?

Foolish it would be, to believe otherwise, hmmm?

So far,  here are some of the Internet rumors you might have come across:

  • Luke Skywalker is a Jedi Master who has taken a mistress and they named their love child after Ben Kenobi.
  • Han and Leia Solo are married with children and one of their twins turns to the dark side.
  • The Cloud City of Bespin has been converted into a jedi training facility.
  • And a brand-spanking evil Emperor is coming back in a new form of dark matter (that bears a strange resemblance to Daniel Day-Lewis) to destroy them all.

But will the magic be back?

Netflix and HDTV have replaced my cozy two-screen cinema. The billionaire Walton family has come down off their mountain and squashed the favorite department stores from my childhood with their very own capitalistic Death Star. Pitfall Harry from Activision has gotten carjacked from his jungle jeep by a roving gang of Grand Theft Auto thugs. And if Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes was still alive today he would most likely be telling a group of post-apocalyptic zombies to get off his lawn.

So I guess if Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls or Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace have taught us anything, it’s that (unless you own a time-traveling DeLorean, McFly) you can never truly go back. That being said, and all is well and good in the Star Wars universe, I guess I can only get in line with all the other clones and wait to buy my movie ticket for $24 at the latest and greatest 3-D mega-multi-screen IMAX theater on December 18, 2015.

But not before imparting one last piece of Jedi-council advice to J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan: Trust your instincts, search your feelings, and please bring back everyone’s favorite interstellar bounty hunter, Boba Fett (and more of him), this time around.

May the Force be with you. Always.

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About Chris McVetta

Chris McVetta is a writer and comedian from Cleveland, Ohio. He is a graduate from Cleveland State University and an alumni of The Second City comedy writing program. His first job in journalism was as an Editorial Assistant working with Harvey Pekar ("American Splendor") at The Free Times. Most recently, his was invited to speak at the Ray Browne conference on Pop Culture at Bowling Green State University.