(Warning: plot twists and story discussed in detail)
The Forced Turducken
One (1) putrefying carcass of once-popular movie franchise.
One (1) fanatic fan base composed of millions of acolytes (cerebral cortex removed).
One (1) director fast becoming better-known for rebooting tired old series than original projects.
One (1) evil empire bent on dominating the minds of youths all over the world.
1. Take splayed carcass, slice away extraneous extremities such as prequels (you can ask butcher to do this beforehand) to leave original narrative spine (assembled out of everything from Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress to the Flash Gordon serials to Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will) intact.
(Make sure to include a scene where the First Order's frightening new weapon is displayed, so when Han Solo rightly points out that it's just another Death Star they can show the original Death Star and say no it's bigger--size matters old fool! Ignore the feeling of familiarity tugging away in the far corner of your mind!)
2. Spraypaint carcass with state-of-the-art digital effects, digital sound recording, digital cinematography. A corpse needs to look its best for the funeral, and especially the artificially induced resurrection.
3. Deodorize heavily with John Williams' music--you can't put too much, so use industrial spray painter.
4. Smart move: use real locations in Ireland, New Mexico, Abu Dhabi, Iceland. Part of what made the prequels bad was the coloring-book flat blandness of much of the digitized backdrops. An opera--even a soapy one--lives or dies on its backdrops.
5. This will be a makeover not a remake much less a sequel, so we're not talking scintillating dialogue. The cheesy ("Show me again the power of the darkness and I'll let nothing stand in our way") and done-to-death ("I have a bad feeling about this") will do.
6. Use actors like Freema Agyeman, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, and above all Max Von Sydow in blink-and-you'll-miss-em cameos. This is a DOA corpse for superfans to pick over and gnaw on, not something you can enjoy in a single casual viewing. Religious text, if you like, to be read out loud every Sunday.
7. Avoid all suggestions that one guest appearance of ghostly Hayden Christensen should have set bad guy on the right path. Movie must be stretched out to 137 minutes, plus there's all the sequels to think about.
8. Folks have complained that for all the leaden awkwardness of George Lucas' prequels they offered something new, an extension of the Star Wars saga while Abrams' movie is just a collection of "Best of" moments.
Beg to differ--the whole stinking mess is a stitched-together Frankenstein creature meant to capitalize on the surprise success of the first movie, with vague ambitions of providing a new pop mythology for the United States, if not the world. Lucas succeeds beyond his wildest dreams--see Jorge Luis Borges "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"--but did we really need a new mythology? Some other reason to run around waving the arms screaming? Blessing each other as if there was no other force but the Force and Lucas is its prophet?*
*(Actually--and thanks to Irvin for pointing me in this direction--there is a far more pervading insidious and irresistible force: the power of American corporate marketing and publicity, not to mention Lucas' one genuine stroke of genius: licensed merchandise)
9. Carefully sew all the seams shut. Use more CGI if you like. Season liberally with intricate and arcane references to the previous chapters--go ahead go wild; not as if superfans will overdose on the stuff.
10. Blitz in oven at 500 degrees for twelve hours.
11. Pull out smoking incinerated cadaver and toss in garbage bin. Go enjoy some Kurosawa jidai-geki, the new season of Doctor Who, or Leni Riefenstahl's far superior Olympia instead. Life's too short and there are too many better movies to see.
12. Merry Christmas!