The June episode of Hyperspace Theories tackles ideas about speculation and storytelling from several different perspectives.
We begin with our intermittent Spoilers Beware segment in light of several recent news items about The Force Awakens. One of them – the upcoming line of themed makeup from Cover Girl – includes some tiny hints about movie dialogue in officially licensed products. We also discuss promotional art from Russia that seems to have escaped the veil of secrecy a bit early, and what appears to be a leaked screenshot from the film previously described in various rumor reports. If you don’t want to hear any speculation based on possible The Force Awakens actual material, then skip over this segment.
For our segment on the methodologies of speculating, we return to a fun way to consider how new Star Wars stories might unfold in the future: assessing the impact of various influences on the storytellers. This month we discuss acclaimed animated filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Although his influence on George Lucas is not as direct as other Japanese artists like Akira Kurosawa, he has been a direct influence on the creators of Star Wars Rebels. Dave Filoni has related that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy specifically identified Miyazaki as an artist the Rebels team should draw upon for inspiration. In sharing our reactions to Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away, we discuss Miyazaki’s approach to characters, plot, visuals, and storytelling and the ways in which we see his influence appearing in Rebels. Kay mentions a 2014 Rolling Stone feature which highlights five key elements of Miyazaki’s masterpieces.
The worldbuilding segment analyzes the idea of a story premised upon protagonists, perhaps even a galaxy, facing the problem of lack of resources. This conceit that can have a major impact on the characters and their story, because it can dramatically limit the options and choices available to the characters. The resources in short supply might be money, food, transportation, weapons or ammunition, or any other tangible or intangible asset that makes a difference to the characters’ success or failure. Based on the teaser trailers for The Force Awakens and the filmmakers’ stated desired to evoke the spirit of the Original Trilogy, we consider the possible impact a lack of resources might play in the storyline of the upcoming movie. One example considered is the rarity of the kyber crystals needed to construct lightsabers, as shown the Younglings and Utapau arcs of The Clone Wars and two Season 1 episodes of Star Wars Rebels.
Another element used in many stories, particularly space operas like Star Wars or pulp adventures like Indiana Jones, is the MacGuffin. Whether it’s the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail, the Death Star plans or the Maltese Falcon, a quest after a MacGuffin forms the basis for many memorable plots. While it is not certain that the plot of The Force Awakens is based around the pursuit of a MacGuffin, some rumors point in that direction. We consider what form the MacGuffin might take, who might be pursuing it, and what that might mean for the story of the film.
In our plot bunny giveaway segment, we share ideas already germinating for The Force Awakens based on the little known information so far.
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Kay tweets @Geek_Kay.