The era of the original trilogy will soon be over

Mark Hamill is now the only remaining (human) cast member from the original trilogy

Rian Johnson and the Star Wars cast at D23

The future of Star Wars has never been brighter.

Disney and Lucasfilm have both invested heavily in new TV series, movies, park attractions, video games and a weekly online show and many other noteworthy projects.

Even though I was too young to appreciate the release of Star Wars in May 1977 I’ve followed Star Wars my entire life and I’ve never known a time when so many media products and consumables existed.

For a short while when episode one came out it seemed as though everything was Star Wars. But the period since the Force Awakens has eclipsed that.

Star Wars 2.0

So it is with some trepidation that I approach the issue of a time when Star Wars, or more to the point the Star Wars movies, no longer feature original trilogy characters like Luke, Leia and Han.

Those three protagonists couldn’t and rightly shouldn’t be the only characters in this galaxy allowed to lead a film but for a little while longer they do fundamentally represent what Star Wars is all about.

I can see a time in the near future when we’ll have to say goodbye to those characters for the last time. Han leaving the storyline was awful but his demise set up the storyline of a new character. But in light of Carrie Fisher’s premature death we could do with Han still being around.

I was physically struck at the assembled cast of actors on the stage at D23, alongside director Rian Johnson. Every actor was new to Star Wars, except for Mark Hamill.

A precious brand

You could compare Lucasfilm and Star Wars to a car manufacturer. To survive both must bring out new incarnations of products and occasionally create something completely new.

No one in their right mind would say that we should reduce the amount of technology in cars, remove high tech lightweight materials or use less efficient engines. We love progress and we love new cars.

But many also love older vehicles from the 1940s and 1960s. Some because of their design, some for the feeling it gives them or the memories they stir from days gone past.

But imagine actually being there for the launch of very first Ford or Ferrari. What a feeling that must have been.

And that feels a little like Star Wars at the moment. We wouldn’t want to stop Rebels, Battlefront II or the Last Jedi from moving the our favourite franchise forward. But some of us do still remember being there for the very first Star Wars movies.

I was born around the time Star Wars opened in Mann’s Chinese Theatre – now Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. So I was too young to see it in the cinema, but from as early as I can remember it was a big part of my life and I loved it.

I did see Return of the Jedi in the cinema and that isn’t something I’ll ever forget. Neither will I forget taking my new young family to see The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi.

But forgive my melancholy. Even though we’re now in a period where, to continue the analogy, our most beloved models will soon be discontinued, let’s just make sure we enjoy their final journey. After all, for someone about to watch their first Star Wars film in the theatre it will be 1977 again.

Footnote:

I do appreciate that Anthony Daniels is an original cast member and also appears in the new movies. But for simplicity this article refers to human characters, rather than alien species or droids.

Image credit: StarWars.com

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