May The Fourth Be With Him…

Let’s face facts: times are tough and we could all use a little good news.

We’re living in a world with coronavirus and quarantines and fucking murder hornets. It’s all stressful and anxiety-inducing and enough to make us want to curl into a ball and wait for better times.

But that why it’s so important to celebrate when good news comes our way. And today, on Star Wars Day, we got some very good news.

Sometimes, the universe gives us a little bit of force right when we need it.

When news comes out of the Lucasfilms camp involving Star Wars, it is almost impossible for the “who” to outshine the “what”. That’s just the nature of the franchise; it may have began as the rebellion, but it is now the Death Star, plodding its way through the universe willing to destroy anything that would stand in the path of domination. Star Wars is, simply put, just too big to not be the main story.

Except this time.

News from Lucasfilms dropped hours ago that there would be a new Star Wars film. And while that’s awesome and exciting and there are a lot of nerds whose sabers are at full mast right now, what’s even better is who was chosen to write and direct it.

Taika Waititi will be the newest filmmaker to take people to a galaxy far, far away.

If you don’t know who Waititi is, you either have no interest in film or don’t care who’s making it.

In the last ten years, there have been few writer/directors who have impacted the world of cinema more, both commercially and artistically. He gave us the second-best Marvel film with Thor: Ragnarok and possible the second-best comedy of the last decade with What We Do In The Shadows, which he also helped turn into one of the funniest television shows on right now. Quite frankly, the fact that the won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Jojo Rabbit (which he also directed) last year seems like one of his smaller accomplishments at this point.

Short of the Coen Brothers, I cannot think of a name that would make me more excited to see a new Star Wars film. The choice seems inspired and perfect.

So, of course, all I can wonder is, “Are they going to fuck it up?”

If I had to give an immediate answer to my depressing question I just posited, I would be hopeful and say, “I don’t think so.” Because while there are things to worry about, there’s also a lot to give comfort.

Let’s get my fears out of the way first: Lucasfilms has a recent history of not being great with amazing directors. Perhaps the studio became gunshy after some of the backlash received by Rian Johnson’s brilliant The Last Jedi, but the precedent has not been great. Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie) were fired from the set of Solo for trying to add too much of a comedic touch and encouraging the actors to improvise. It’s rumored that JJ (Jar Jar) Abrams felt rushed and pressured against such a hard deadline to finish The Rise Of Skywalker, and that may be why a lot of that movies feels, well, rushed and pressured. Will Star Wars be too much for even a skilled visionary like Waititi to handle?

I don’t think so.

For starters, this is not his first bantha rodeo. Waititi has already worked in the Star Wars universe when he wrote and directed the season finale of the delightful and enjoyable The Mandalorian. Also, he’s worked with Marvel, and now all of it is Disney, so I think he knows what he’s getting into. Finally, you can be upset with the giant conglomeration that Disney has become, but they’re also still making absolutely wonderful movies. I’m bummed that Black Widow was delayed. I was waiting for more Disney fare. And I’m very excited about the following six words:

Untitled Taika Waititi Star Wars Film.

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