I don’t know if you all have heard or not, but the first teaser for Star Wars came out. You very well might have missed it, since it received only slightly less fanfare than the moon landing. It was 88 seconds long, showed exactly jack about the movie, and it has been examined in more detail than DNA. Reactions ranged from over-the-top excitement to over-the-top rage. Strike that, those were the only two reactions.
I like Star Wars as much as the next person, and am pretty firmly in the ‘excited’ camp, but I have often said I like the idea of Star Wars considerably more than Star Wars itself. Up until about a week ago, the best thing about an Episode VII trailer was that it didn’t exist. Everything we knew about it was open, paint splattered in patterns of our own making on the blank canvas of non-existence. Then, in 88 seconds, everything we imagined it to be was removed and cold reality took shape.
And that’s why the idea of Star Wars is so great. The world building is incredibly well done, but what it does best is world tease. In the original trilogy, we never saw massive population centers. The moon of Yavin, Tatooine, Hoth- those were place no one in the galaxy went. Even Cloud City, for all its romance, is a mining outpost. Yet we got glimpses, ideas of what the rest of the universe was like, and we play in it like the giant sandbox it is.
The oft-cursed prequels made that sandbox a little smaller. They made us look at the population centers and what a galaxy with more than a couple Jedi was like, and none of them were in hiding. The next trilogy will do the same- until now, what happened after the Ewok party was all in our heads, and a few mediocre books.
Bummer, right? We want it, but we don’t, and none of us were hired to write or direct, so it will be the vision of another.
But this rant really isn’t about Star Wars. It’s about what the glory of science fiction really is. You can build an awesome world and tell an awesome story, but is that it? I think the best ones are the ones that invite new stories, the stories that are never committed to paper. That when a reader puts the book down, they wonder what wasn’t told.
Sometimes, the idea of a thing is better.