I memorized every line of Return of the Jedi by junior high, every gesture, every upswell of the different leitmotifs. I was part of that generation that was just a couple years too young to have seen the trilogy in theaters, and so wore out VHS tapes over repeated viewings. I don’t remember a time before Star Wars, but I remember the confusion at being told that Return of the Jedi was it. That there were no more of these brilliant films. And so when the trailer for Episode I hit, I was sold, full stop. There were concerns last year when it became clear after the re-releases of the trilogy into theaters that the main cast would not be returning. But I think after you see the trailer, you’ll agree that was too premature.
My god! There’s no doubt for a moment that this is what we’ve been waiting for, that this is a Star Wars film after all these years of hoping. The LucasFilm logo, the orchestra beginning quietly, that distinctive whine of engines. And that hushed breathing of the first incarnation of the devil I ever knew, and the first taste of redemption. The screech of blasters, the hum of the light sabers, and then the sudden soaring of the main theme.
And the cast, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, and of course Ewan McGregor spinning a light saber. The dialogue is a little stilted, but that’s par for the course in this franchise, and Lucas was always blessed with actors good enough to pull off his words. This cast looks more than up to the task. Jake Lloyd is a wild card of course, because you just don’t know how well a child actor will hold up until he’s on screen. But given how awkward Mark Hamill was in the original Star Wars, it can’t be that much of a concern in relative terms.
We’ve also got this newly released poster, which I think sums up every hope we have for this film, with the way it has decided to go the much darker route of telling of the fall of a man instead of the rise of a hero:
Damn, the look and feel, the tone of both trailer and poster, it feels like the tragedy and darkness of Empire Strikes Back spread over a full three films, and I cannot wait for May 1999 to get here.