You can hardly sum up the entirety of three decades of anticipation with a single long scroll. The opening scroll will simply give you an idea of what has been going on. It is the actual opening scene of the movie which has to grab you as well as set the tone for everything which is to follow. In that spirit, one of the most important upcoming opening scenes will be Star Wars Episode VII. A really eye catching one will go a long way in not having to listen to the guy next to you say “This sucks.” Here are a few suggestions for making that eye-catching opening scene happen.
10. Mon Calamari
When people first saw the Gungan kingdom in The Phantom Menace, the instant assumption was that we were indeed looking at Mon Calamari, the home world of Admiral Ackbar. In the trailer for Attack of the Clones, we saw a glimpse of the world of the Cloners. People also naturally assumed that this would be the home of walking lobster men (and women.) We’re still waiting to actually see the place, sadly.
Every few years, the fashion industry will say something like “Orange is the new black.” This means that whatever particular color is now as hot as black once was (or could be again.) For Star Wars fans, the phrase should go “Mon Calamari is the new Kashyyyk.” Kashyyyk was the Wookie home world which was rumored to be part of a movie for decades (the Star Wars Holiday Special just did not seem to do it for people.) End all of the speculation, and just start Episode VII on Mon Calamari.
9. The Jedi Academy
The way that this would most likely run would be more like the last scene of Enter The Dragon, with all of the students practicing. You would just have to imagine it with light sabers. This would be a great way to introduce new younger characters, like Luke’s children or Han and Leia’s kids. It would also show in a single shot that the Order had been restored with Force-sensitive individuals in the last thirty years or so. If there is a younger evil or potentially evil character, then they could be introduced in a crowd shot as well. There could even be some hint as to their personality, or a potential conflict with the Solo kids. This could be used to set up a type of Potter/Malfoy conflict, which may potentially go back to earlier chapters in the saga.
8. The Assassination of Darth Plagueis
In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine tells Anakin about Darth Plagueis. Plagueis had found a way to use the Force to stop death, however Plagueis was then killed by someone that he trusted. The implication over the years has been that Plagueis was the Sith Master to Sidious’ Apprentice. In this scenario, you start the next chapter with a scene which probably took place before even the first chapter. In a sort of harkening to Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, start the film off with Sidious murdering Plagueis. The ensuing scenes would show the recruitment of Maul and Tyrannus in a voiceover, which brings us up to date. The trick here is to make the voice over in Palpatine’s voice, which may insinuate that it is a speech he gave long ago or possibly Palpatine is telling the story to someone in the “present day.”
7. Anakin Skywalker As A Force Ghost (The Hamlet Opening)
At the end of Return of the Jedi, you clearly see that Anakin Skywalker can be reached through “Force ghost-hood.” In the new movie, an Anakin ghost could add a true Shakespearean twist. The Anakin ghost could appear to Luke and give him some sort of information which might actually set Luke against the Solos. The unexpected conflict would murky the waters as to who would be the “good guys” and who would be the “bad guys” in the new trilogy. There is also no telling what the intentions would be of a “Ghost of Vader,” as we only really assume that everything was OK at the end of Episode VI. For all we know, he’s actually quite pissed.
6. The Death Star
An opening shot of the Death Star would be an immediate attention grab to the audience. It has been three decades. A functional Death Star was built in five years (even though it was not exactly complete.) A proper time frame has now passed in order to build a new one. The true intrigue would come if the ultimate weapon has been recreated by the New Republic. Much like building a nuclear arsenal, the debate would have surely raged as to whether the Republic should have built such a weapon. The existence of a Death Star in any form would also be too enticing for almost any seedy element of the galaxy to resist.
In essence, the New Republic could have spent the last three decades building as well as maintaining the potential element of their own destruction. If you show Leia on board a Death Star willingly, it would be a particularly conflicting image.
5. Death of a Major Character
This is a concept that mostly goes back to horror films. Specifically, it was first pioneered in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The audience assumed that since Janet Leigh was the star of the film, there was no way she would double as the victim. The same was true of Wes Craven’s original Scream movie.
By all accounts, Harrison Ford thought that Han Solo should have died in or before Return of the Jedi. What would happen if Han Solo was in all the commercials, on the trailer, and built up as a major player in the new trilogy, only to be killed off in the first five to ten minutes of the actual movie? No one would know what to expect for the rest of the movie, and even for the rest of the trilogy.
Ford, at his age and at this point in his career, is not adverse to doing cameos or putting one over on the audience, so he’d probably be cool with this, They’d have to be careful though; if this happened, then the rest of the trilogy might not be able to match that opening moment.
4. Ahsoka Tano (Sith Lord)
The Star Wars films have never been really good about incorporating what is known as the “expanded universe.” Most of the time, the people making the movies have not read, seen, or heard of anything from this universe. Well, they probably should, because there’s a lot of good stuff there. The Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which takes place right after Attack of the Clones, established the character of Ahsoka Tano as Anakin’s apprentice. However, she was not a character in Revenge of the Sith. This lead to rampant Internet speculation for years as to her fate.
Finally, it was revealed that she left the Jedi Order. This is intriguing in that it would not necessarily make her a target of the purge following “Order 66.” This might also mean that she never stopped being Anakin’s apprentice. In the shadows over the last thirty years, Tano may have become the Sith Master and may have an apprentice of her own. There is also the possibility that she might want to cherry pick an apprentice. This would be especially true if that person happened to bear the name Skywalker.
3. Elderly Mace Windu
Luke Skywalker survived losing his arm. Obi-Wan Kenobi survived falling through the city of Coruscant. Luke Skywalker also survived being hit by force lightning. The point? There is nothing about Mace Windu’s “death” that a true Jedi Master would not have been able to survive. With the passing of Yoda, the order could certainly use another Great Warrior to lead them, so why not Windu? He could have gone into hiding like Yoda and Kenobi did. After the war, an elderly Windu could have re-emerged. With the Force, Windu could have been granted an unnaturally long life (much the same way that the One Ring gave long life to Gollum.) The return of Windu would also foreshadow the return of other characters.
2. The “Two Towers” Opening
In the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf is showing being drawn into the center of the Earth by a Balrog. Gandalf’s fate is all but assured, and the rest of the Fellowship mourn his passing. Then, at the beginning of the The Two Towers, Gandalf is showing falling, but also fighting the Balrog and clinging to life. Frodo wakes up, and it has all been a dreamlike vision of what happened. However, it wasn’t completely a dream, as Gandalf lived on for real.
At the end of Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine is similarly shown cast down a shaft. Lightning bolts have engulfed him, and there is a huge explosion. Imagine if the opening scene of Episode VII started with the Emperor falling down the shaft. Palpatine would grab his light saber, and start controlling the lightning. The explosion is shown as aiding the Emperor’s escape, instead of his death. As he leaves cackling, Luke Skywalker wakes up in the modern day, chilled that the specter of the greatest evil the galaxy has ever known may not have died on the second Death Star.
1. The Return of Luke Skywalker
Again, the movies are not entirely respectful of the expanded universe. However, according to it, there was talk of Luke leaving the Rebellion after the events of the second Death Star. Star Wars VII would be the perfect vehicle to reveal young Skywalker’s ultimate fate.
Imagine is no one was able to find Luke, and he remained invisible for the next thirty years. Now imagine if he showed up unannounced after thirty years, to a completely unsuspecting Jedi Council. What happened to him, and why would he have to sneak in? Has he gone fully Sith? Did he come to warn Leia of some great evil? If you tease Luke’s disappearance in the opening scroll, then you will have the audience’s rapt attention from the first minute he is back on Coruscant.