5 Things We Want to See in the New ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy
2. Have a distinct villain
There is a reason why Darth Vader tops almost every list of best screen villains of all time. Everything about him was the perfect villain. He had the dark look, thanks to fabulous early designs by Ralph McQuarrie. He had a cloud of danger and villainy surrounding him at all times thanks to the vocal talents of James Earl Jones. Most of all he had a solid presence in the film that played up his back story, and gave him an air of mystery, which made him an intriguing villain. The character grew more iconic with each subsequent film. In A New Hope, he was an evil villain who lacked compassion, in Empire Strikes Back he was revealed to be more integral to the plot than anyone thought possible, and in Return of the Jedi he became redeemable. It was his story across these three films that made everyone clamor for the prequels.
The prequels lacked that common threat throughout the three films. The Phantom Menace had the shadowy Darth Sidious, who later becomes the Emperor we see in the original trilogy, and once again he has a right hand man, Darth Maul. Maul had the dark look need for a villain, and he had a great sense of danger. The problem was he had almost no back story to make him intriguing in the long run, and he was killed off before he could even establish himself as a foil for Obi-Wan and Anakin. The second film, Count Dooku is brought in, and despite professional villain, Christopher Lee, inhabiting the role, the most memorable thing about him was his kooky name. Finally the third film brought Sidious about, but once again we are given no significant backstory, and no reason to fear the character other than being told his a powerful bad guy. Lucas builds the character up for three films, and never gives the audience any real reason as to why he’s such a scary bad guy. Sure, we see him fight Yoda in the world’s best fight between geriatrics, but no motivation is given for the character. Add on top of it, they have Anakin turn into the film’s final villain in a sudden switch that makes little to no sense. A continuous villain could’ve raised the film to another level.
Are they going to fix it? Most likely they’ll look at the faults of the prequels and try to avoid those mistakes. Star Wars works in serial form, and it pays to have a growing villain throughout the series. Think of the slow build of Voldermort in the Harry Potter series, and how satisfying it was to learn his backstory, and how much better of a villain it made the books/films. Star Wars could do the same thing, building a sense of danger throughout the series, leading to a climatic end which leads the way for another threat.
Star Wars can still have minor villains, in the way it used Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, and more. It needs to establish one villain who reigns supreme over all these others, and is the true threat behind the stories. Will it ever be as successful as Darth Vader? Probably not. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle, but they might at least catch a spark.
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