Film and TV

Five Predictions About the New Star Wars Movie

That new J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Wars movie is off to an ignoble start:

Harrison Ford was injured last week on set of "Star Wars: Episode VII," and it looks like he may be sidelined from filming for a while. The Mirror reports the 71-year-old actor has sustained a broken ankle that could leave him off set for six to eight weeks.

Last week, it was reported a hydraulic door -- most likely belonging to the Millennium Falcon -- fell on the Ford, who is reprising his role as Han Solo in the sequel.

Ford's absence on set is causing production to shift around what scenes are being filmed.

The door from the Falcon fell on him? What a piece of junk. Still, I wouldn't worry too much about Ford's injury. "Shifts in production" notwithstanding, the following list shows a bum ankle won't have much of an impact.

Now then, using online sources, oft-repeated rumors, and good old fashioned wishful thinking, I've put together a list of predictions for Star Wars VII that you can take to the bank, provided they aren't accompanied by an actual financial transactions.

"She Needs Your Help, I'm Getting Too Old For This Sort Of Thing." In addition to Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and Anthony Daniels have all signed on for the new film. And while I've heard as many rumors as anyone that the old guard -- Ford especially -- will have substantial roles, I call bullshit.

This is studio misdirection to pique interest and get everybody thinking Han, Luke, Leia, et. al will be big parts of the movie, when in fact I'd be surprised if they were trotted out for much longer than to offer a transition to the new characters. Which brings me to:

"The Last Remnants of the Old Republic Will Be Swept Away Forever." How is this transition going to take place, you ask? Did you ever see Transformers: The Movie? Remember how they cleared the way for Rodimus Prime? This isn't to say *every* one of the old guard are going to die (they'll keep Chewie alive as long as they can find some seven footer to wear the suit), my guess is Han and Leia die protecting their (speculative) daughter, played by newcomer Daisy Ridley (Ford's on record as saying he wished Han died in Return of the Jedi, in case you think I'm totally off base here).

And maybe Luke shows up at the end to be heroically cut down by the new bad guy before Zan and Jayna Jedi take him out. This may be projection on my part, since I've been wishing death on Luke ever since "But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!"

My real (new) hope? That Ridley plays the central character and Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie have well-written, significant roles that don't involve gold bikinis or getting eaten by a rancor.

"You Will Never Find A More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy." While we're cleaning house, here are a few more things I bet we won't be seeing in the next (or any subsequent) movies:

Jar Jar - Mostly because, well, he's Jar Jar and we hate him. But throw in Watto, the Neimoidians, and any other embarrassing racial caricatures. Force ghosts - Why not just call them "exposition holographs" and be done with it? Ewoks - Clearly the Rebels should have sent these lethal and ingenious teddy bear creatures against Coruscant in the first place. Would've saved a lot of time. Midichlorians - Like I need to explain this. Trade Federations - "Taxation of trade routes" doesn't have quite the same *oomph* as GALACTIC CIVIL WAR, does it? Chewbacca's Extended Family - Unless you're finally going to let the Empire kill them off. Sayonara, "Lumpy."

"Boba Fett? Boba Fett?" I know in the books he escapes the Sarlacc and eventually has a final showdown with Han Solo, but give me a break. The "most feared" bounty hunter in the galaxy does nothing in the movies but stand around, whine to Darth Vader, and fly into the side of Jabba's barge. Fan favorite or not, let's speak no more of him or any of the other clones.

And finally...

"Don't Be Too Proud Of This [Extended Universe] You've Constructed." The EU has some interesting properties, but don't get too bunged up about not seeing the Thrawn or Mara Jade any time soon. If we've learned anything from the countless books, comics, TV series, and video games that have sprung from Star Wars, it's that there are plenty of stories for J.J. Abrams to tell.

Unless he just remakes Empire Strikes Back with added lens flare, in which case I'll just say the hell with it and play Knights of the Old Republic again.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar