‘Star Wars’: Animated open letter to J.J. Abrams makes four demands

Sept. 27, 2013 | 11:56 a.m.

A new animated video calls on J.J. Abrams, director of the upcoming and highly controversial sequel “Star Wars: Episode VII,” to handle the beloved franchise with care.

Created by Prescott Harvey with the creative agency Sincerely, Truman, the animated open letter offers the director four rules “to make ‘Star Wars’ great again”: 1. The setting is the frontier; 2. The future is old; 3. The Force is mysterious; and 4. Star Wars isn’t cute.

“I’ve spent most of my recent years wondering why the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy was so awesome, and the new movies were so terrible,” Harvey told sci-fi site io9, which debuted the video. “I took an empirical approach, determining what elements were in the original movies that differed from the prequels. My first major epiphany was that, in the originals, the characters are always outside somewhere very remote. The environment and the wildlife are as much a threat as the empire. All three movies had this bushwacky, exploratory feel. Contrast that with the prequels, where the characters are often in cities, or in the galactic senate. In order for ‘Star Wars’ to feel like a true adventure, the setting has to be the frontier, and this became my first rule. After that I started brainstorming with friends, and reading online opinions. Gradually a script took shape.”

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Five months in the making, the two-minute animation features paper cutouts, beautifully painted characters, digital effects and more. The video also sports an a capella rendition of snippets of the original “Star Wars” score, to avoid copyright issues. The narration argues that “Star Wars” is a western, and that means beat-up old spaceships and plenty of danger.

“Walk into the wrong bar? Lose your arm,” the video warns. “Don’t pay your debts? End up in carbonite. The frontier is a dangerous place. It’s never cute or silly. It’s not child-proofed. It’s freaking ‘Star Wars,’ and Han always shoots first.”

The video’s creators have also created a petition, to be delivered along with the video to Disney’s offices.

What rules would you suggest for Abrams? Let us know in the comments.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+


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13 Responses to ‘Star Wars’: Animated open letter to J.J. Abrams makes four demands

  1. joewmaine says:

    And leave Star Trek alone – you never liked it and you don't get it!

  2. seedoubleyou says:

    The WORST thing that any film maker could do is listen to nerd fans who have completely redefined for themselves what Star Wars means then reacted angrily when it wasn't exactly the film they imagined it would be in their heads.

    For a year, so-called fans demanded that the next Star Trek story be about Khan, then when it turned out to be about Khan, they all whined tat they didn't like the story.

    After Firefly was cancelled, so-called fans demanded that a movie be made from the series and then, when the film was made, NO ONE went to see it.

    Abrams should make the Star Wars film that HE wants to make. If you don't like what he makes, well, at least you'll all have something new to complain about and you can all can stop whining about episodes one through three.

    • John W. says:

      Except, as a non-neardy or geeky Star Wars fan who watched it in the theater when it first came out, I have to agree with these four points. The prequels violated them and that's why they were mostly just terrible.

      Otherwise, your observations in your second and third paragraphs are correct. Also, all the Firefly freaks did likely see Serenity in the theaters, but their numbers are nothing compared to the size of audience a movie needs to be successful at the box office.

  3. Palpy says:

    I always thought Palpatine would have learned from his Master how to cheat death….and that would of course be by cloning yourself and transferring your brain/mind into brand new adult clone bodies every so many years….that was the way "to keep people from dying that some did not consider natural"…perhaps Palpatine as a safety precaution…a form of "insurance" is actually alive and well and it was one of his clones that we saw killed in Return of the Jedi….if you watch Return of The Jedi CLOSELY you will see Palpatine consulting with his personal "Imperial guards"…..perhaps he was discussing his leaving and having his Clone double take his place….it would be very similar to what Queen Padme used to do as a security measure…..one of her Maidens was her "double" and was why she was not killed in opening sence of Attack of the Clones….Don't forget Palpatine is from Naboo just like Padme was….these people from Naboo constantly use body doubles

  4. R Moriyama says:

    @Palpy: But that would mean that Palpatine had a clone as powerful as Dooku (throwing Force lightning)… but willing to sacrifice himself for his master (not a Sith attitude). In the novels, there WAS a clone Emperor (also a clone Luke).

    • Palpy says:

      Well it was not like the "Cloned" Palpatine willing went into nuclear reactor in Return of the Jedi…so it would not be that he willingly gave up his life for the Emperor…indeed, he seemed VERY surprised that Darth Vader picked him up in Return of the Jedi….when you watch Return of The Jedi there is a scene where he is having a discussion with his imperial guards but we do not hear what this discussion is about….why not have a flashback scene shot and show the switch…..I' telling you these people from Naboo like to use body doubles

  5. Edmund Watkins says:

    Why don’t any of these great movies have nudity? Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. all need nudity and lots of it. That would make them much better.

  6. Jose Carrillo says:

    The video is very well produced but the so-called rules imho shows that the authors are thinking inside the box, and have a leaning to the conventional. Star Wars don't have to be encapsulated in an especific environment. If the original trilogy was set in the frontier was because of the story. The future hero was in the frontier and the rebels were based there too. But if the story for the future trilogies is close to that known in the expanded universe, then the action will be set in the new republic, with Luke at the front of the new jedi order and the son and daughter of Leia and Han being in the presidential or so family. Of course, maybe the new rebels an villains could have been in the outer systems, but not all the story must develope ther. Second, not all star wars was old and dirty, the hero was poor and the rebels haven't the resources of the Empire, but th Death Star is very new and clean. If the story is set in the new republic, we must see new and clean ships. Third: We really don't need explanations? I think Star Wars is a great explanation of the Force, how through it people become good or evil, and since the episodede IV, Obi Wan Kenobi gives an explanation of the force. I think there's is more to tell about the force if Star Wars will continue. Finally, the fourth rule is not exactly true. Yes there were very dark scenes and places, but Star Wars did have very cute landscapes (remember the city on the clouds, Yavin, the two suns in tattoine and the most pretty of all: princess Leia in the golden bikini. But i agreed with that the films were not child proof. Please let Abrams and his team develope their ideas and bring us unexpected new things, places, characters and explanations without enmarking them in a box

  7. Arnold McMuffins says:

    I know you are making the new Star Wars film, as a Star Wars fan I am very excited at the prospect of a whole new Star Wars trilogy especially after the fiasco Revenge of the Sith which featured a distinct lack of a personal favorite of mine Jar Jar Binks, not enough screen time for what I can make a very strong case for is the strongest most dynamic character in the Star Wars universe. Remember when you were a kid Abrams, and you went to go see the Phantom Menace down at the drive through with a fist full o' pop corn and a mouth full of fizzy soda pop? Remember how you were delighted and amused as Jar Jar fumbled around the screen straight of the pantheon of comedic gods and into this story of lasers and magic? A character who while in the Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith saw his screen time dramatically cut compared to the legend that is the Phantom Menace. Here are some things I'd like to see in the new Star Wars movie (A Binks on Binks Kerfuffle) <— Possible Title

    1. More Slapstick with Binks of course

    2. 5 minute guitar solo played by Jar Jar with a band of Ewoks

    3. Jar Jar discovers he has the force in him (this was alluded to but never fully explored in other
    Star Wars films and television shows)

    4. Jar Jar Binks Christmas scene in which he is taking care of some orphans, teaching them that responsibility and school are cool.

    5. Binks while helping the orphans is visited by his troublemaker brother who rides a motorcycle and wears aviator like glasses, he has a switchblade/comb/lightsaber. At first Jar Jar is wary but after some hijinks and misunderstandings both learn that family is the greatest gift in the Universe.

    6. Bink's introduction into the film has to be played up that way when he finally does walk into the Millennium Falcon, as the new captain of course, fans will go wild with excitement

    7. Heart warming scene where Binks is called out and explains that he had a bad childhood had an abusive father and a pill popping mother, Binks spent most of his time out of the house and was picked on at school then finally he found a friend in his High School History teacher a Twi'lek by the name of Ryloth that gets him interested in learning, helps him with his skateboard technique and of course teaches him that a sense of humor can be a magical thing.


  8. Metz says:

    I was able to get a sneak peak of the new plot. The emperor doesn't die from the fall. He escapes the death star before it explodes which sends him back in time where he destroys Luke's home planet or Tatooine (which take out Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi). Leaving Leia to be trained by Yoda. Leaving the entire universe covered in lens flairs.

  9. David Stacey says:

    SOUND in Films
    If my uncle (Eric Stacey) were alive I would be writing to him, however a train and a stupid driver ended that option and United Artists lost a great director!

    Two general problems seem to exist with sound today:
    1)Actors are not learning how to throw their voice or receive training like stage actors of old.

    2) The music overpowers the spoken word. How do those sound engineers especially post production get hired!

    Nepotism, so the skilled get "overlooked" applies to both categories.

    With an aging population who are starting to have hearing problems they will be abandoning films as a lost cause.

    God bless you for your Star Trek movies, smile

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