Star Wars! (J.J. Abrams: We’re All Counting on You)

I watched the trailer for the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, yesterday. I mean, who didn’t? (If you just said you didn’t, what was so damn important yesterday that you didn’t watch the new Star Wars trailer? It was posted on Facebook like eight million times. Shut up and go watch it right now.) Although my skepticism persists after the debacle that was Episodes I, II, and III, as well as my eye-squinting confusion at J.J. Abrams directorial choices more generally, I have to say I am a little bit excited. Not a single racial stereotype to be seen. No Gunguns or Neimoidians babbling in broken English in the whole trailer. Also, Han Solo. HAN FREAKING SOLO.

My eye squinting at Abrams is two-fold: First, I squint out of reflex from all the annoying lens flares that blind me unexpectedly. Second, I squint at the baffling anti-canon storylines he managed to squish into my beloved Star Trek. Seriously, an alternate timeline in which Vulcan is obliterated is hard enough to cope with, but Spock and Uhura hooking up? Come on, that’s not even a … wha…I don’t …huh? I could have been on board with a Yeoman Janice Rand slash Spock romance, but Uhura? Nope. Suspension of disbelief  stretched too far. Snap. So, when I heard Abrams was the guy piloting the Corellian Corvette, I was naturally concerned (and squinting.)

If you watched the trailer you know it relied heavily, and perhaps intentionally, on the female character and the “black Stormtrooper.” Is that the preferred nomenclature we’re going with? “Black Stormtrooper”? Okay. Seems a bit clunky to me, but whatever, I’m already strapped in for this ride so let’s see where we go. Anyway, the female, whose name I have not yet learned (I’m sure Wookieepedia knows, but I haven’t looked it up—yet,) and the black stormtrooper (BS for short? see, the initials there are just not good) are featured prominently in the trailer that is desperately trying to pull a memory wipe on all of us who had such high hopes for Episode I only to have them crushed upon the shoals of terrible racial stereotypes like Jar Jar Binks, Nute Gunray, and Watto. I, for one, welcome this memory-erasing attempt to reengage my childhood love for Star Wars. It’s as though Agent J has arrived in his black suit, slipped on his sunglasses, and held up his Neuralyzer. All of a sudden, in a single flash, boom: episodes one, two, and three, completely forgotten.  Shut up and take my money, Abrams.

Oh crap, I just realized my money is going to Disney. This makes my eye-narrowing concern for the future of the galaxy far, far away three-fold. I know that Uncle Walt is dead and the multi-national corporate conglomerate in control of childhood innocence has worked hard to eliminate the racism and anti-Semitic undertones from its earlier films, but I worry. I’m a worrier. Actually, the accidently-on-purpose inclusion of racism and anti-Semitism in both Disney’s and Star Wars’ recent pasts make them a match made in the Magic Kingdom. And, let’s not forget the Smurfette Syndrome that both entities consistently suffered from. (And that goes for the original Star Wars films too.) Disney’s Frozen at least made some headway there.

I admit, the new trailer makes me hopeful. We’ll see if J.J. Abrams can wash Star Wars’ and Disney’s remaining sins away. Teasing fans with Han Solo and Chewbacca is a good start. Also, my current sexual orientation is a crashed Star Destroyer on the surface of Tatooine. How do you suppose the Jawas’ nomadic lifestyle will be impacted by the introduction of an entire Star Destroyer into their salvage operation? Someone should write a paper. That’s some uber-nerd fan fiction right there.

In summation, Han Solo is home. I hope I am too.