Remember how incredibly excited we all were to see The Force Awakens hit theaters? We posted reaction videos to the trailer, we speculated like crazy over the smallest amounts of released and leaked information, and we traveled to cinemas in droves to check out the latest installment in the Star Wars saga. And most of us loved the film. Finally, it felt like another great installment in the saga. No more whining about sand, Trade Federation meetings, or horrible CGI. Finally, this felt like the Star Wars we all loved as kids.
Then, of course, people started poking holes in the movie, the biggest and most persistent one being that The Force Awakens was nothing more than a recycled and recast version of A New Hope–a remix, if you will. However, just because The Force Awakens had reused ideas, did it really mean the film was the product of lazy writing? If you ask Kirby Ferguson over at Everything is a Remix, he’d say no. After all, just about every single story out there is some sort of a remix. Ferguson divides the creative process into three phases, where you copy something, transform it, and combine the new and old elements to make something new. Ultimately, The Force Awakens was meant to feel familiar from the start.
In the case of The Force Awakens, I think there were several reasons the film felt so familiar. The first and easiest answer is that we love nostalgia, but the other reason might be that J.J. Abrams wasn’t just creating a film from scratch. He had to rework the negative points of the series after Episodes I, II, and III left a sour taste in the mouths of many Star Wars fans. So for him to borrow so heavily was likely a choice to show viewers that the next generation of Star Wars movies would be like “the good ones.” However, by adding in new elements and exciting characters, they’ve laid the groundwork for an exciting story in Episode VIII.
So yeah, everything may be a remix, and Abrams may have borrowed heavily from the original Star Wars film. However, I think it was a clear intentional choice on his part. In the latest Everything Is a Remix video, Ferguson talks about how the best movies are able to toe the line between being familiar and being novel. So while the newest entry of the Star Wars franchise is definitely laced with familiarity, the upcoming movies will have to take a more novel approach keep fan interested. You can watch Ferguson explain it more in his latest Everything Is a Remix video:
What do you think? Are we over nostalgia and ready for something wholly new, or do you think that tapping into the familiar can help draw in more fans? Let me know what you think in the comments!
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