Joss Whedon Does Star Wars: Good Idea or the Best Idea?
It’s May 4th tomorrow, a day that traditionally just means we should be thinking about all things Star Wars, but let’s face it: Everyone is thinking about Marvel’s The Avengers instead. Which got me thinking: Would both the internet and fandom assembled collapse in on itself if Joss Whedon was handed the reins of George Lucas’ grand space opera?
The idea may seem like it’s come out of nowhere, but I’d respectfully disagree; I’ve long held the opinion that Firefly was essentially Han Solo fanfic without a Wookiee and with Summer Glau, and projects like that one, Buffy or even Avengers show that Whedon is completely comfortable with the group dynamic and epic storytelling scale necessary to do Star Wars justice – as well as the tonal mix of action, comedy and just plain “OMFG That’s AWESOME” that the original trilogy evoked when you first saw it.
Beyond that, I can’t help but feel that this is Whedon’s year again, for the first time since… what, his Buffy glory days? Between Avengers, Cabin In The Woods and the upcoming small-scale Much Ado About Nothing, it feels like he’s finally managed to balance the mainstream dazzle and cult appeal aspects of his career in a way that he’s never done before – while also being accepted by the mainstream in so much more of a way than he’s used to. Clearly, Joss Whedon is our Master now (again).
(I wonder if JJ Abrams is somewhere, going “Just you wait until Star Trek 2, you bastard, then we’ll see who the audience loves more!”)
Consider, then, the pop cultural status of Star Wars, which – Well, it’s fallen from its place at the heart of all nerddom, certainly, in recent years. That’s not necessarily the fault of anything other than its absence from mainstream culture – 3D re-releases aside, there hasn’t been any new Star Wars in years for those disinterested in the ongoing Clone Wars cartoon – but I can’t believe that neither George Lucas nor 20th Century Fox would like to change that if they could. The cultural climate is primed for new Star Wars in a way that it hasn’t been since before the prequels – CGI is now more accepted, genre is now more accepted, and the idea of continuity throughout movies is now more accepted than at any other time in cinematic history, I think – and, if we believe that Lucas is giving up the blockbusters for smaller scale, more personal movies, it’s just a matter of finding someone to take up the torch.
Just imagine what Whedon could do if given control of the Star Wars universe – The politics he could play with within the Jedi order, the fun he could have with the smugglers and bounty hunters and various hives of scum and villainy, or the multiple Big Bads that the Sith could provide. Considering some of the tropes and recurring themes of Whedon’s work so far, Star Wars feels like it could be his motherlode, if given the keys to the kingdom, and given his current status as Pop Cultural King, I can’t imagine anyone being more appropriate – or more successful – taking over from George Lucas than Whedon. It’s a match made in heaven – albeit a heaven from a long, long time ago, and in a galaxy far, far away.
The pairing makes so much sense to me that it’s obvious that it’d never happen, but I have to ask: Am I the only one who’s kind of sad about that?