Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid |

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

The big news in entertainment circles this week, of course, was Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and the announcement that the “Star Wars” movies would be renewed for another trilogy starting in 2015. What has been overlooked in all the hoopla, however, is the question of how, exactly, Disney will breathe life back into a franchise that, while commercially successful, has sucked for the three or four most recent films.

When we last left Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and company, at the end of “Return of the Jedi,” Luke knew Leia was his sister, Han no longer owned the Millennium Falcon, the Death Star had been blown to smithereens for a second time, stormtrooper helmets were being used as an Ewok xylophone, and Jabba the Hutt, the Emperor, Darth Vader and pretty much every other evil person in the galaxy were all dead, massacred by the forces of good.

So where does the story go from there?

I’m sure there’s an actual answer to that question, since George Lucas supposedly wrote nine “Star Wars” tales, but having shown just how far awry he could go in the three most recent films, I’m not sure Disney entirely trusts Lucas’ vision. I’m guessing that Disney is going to turn things over to Pixar’s story people and let them tinker with the plot a little.

First off, they need to decide which characters people are most interested in at this point in the story and base the action around them. I think it’s safe to say that no one particularly cares what happens to Luke or Leia anymore. Luke should head off to the desert of Tatooine and be a hermit like his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Leia and Han should get married and go rule a planet somewhere, and C-3PO should be melted down for scrap metal just to shut him up. R2-D2 can live on.

By process of elimination, that leaves us with the only two characters who were still the least bit cool by the end of the movie: Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca. Lando, as you might recall, was back in the pilot’s seat of the Millennium Falcon, which had originally been his, and Chewbacca was living it up on Endor, a giant among Ewoks.

The opening scene practically writes itself: Lando swings by Endor to pick up Chewie, and all the Ewoks go berserk because this is the first time they’ve seen the only black man in the galaxy. Lando and Chewie barely escape with their lives.

From there, the natural course would be to follow the duo’s exploits as they warp-drive around the galaxy, and I think there’s a lot of material to be mined there. Lando’s a smooth cat and a Starfleet commander, and Chewbacca is 7-foot-3 and a favored son of the alliance, so I see them getting laid a lot. I know that’s typically really Disney’s style, but, as I said, this franchise needs something new.

For a bad guy in the next three movies, I think the writers will need to figure out a way to resurrect Jabba the Hutt – who was slain by Princess Leia in the gold bikini – if for no other reason than the chance to cast Honey Boo Boo’s mother in the role. There’s no way a resemblance that uncanny should go to waste. She was born to be Jabba, and she should get the opportunity.

Speaking of casting, I’m not sure Billy Dee Williams should continue as Lando. We all love Billy Dee, but no one has seen much of him since he was suavely telling us that Colt 45 malt liquor “works every time” back in the ’80s. Disney needs to cast someone the kids are a little more familiar with, and it seems to me the obvious answer is Chris Rock. Lando is a very dignified role, and nothing says gravitas like Rock.

Chewbacca should be embodied by NBA center Hasheem Thabeet, who stands 7-foot-3. This will save Disney money because the Chewbacca costume won’t have to be altered. Plus, it will give Thabeet a career when he washes out of the NBA in a year or two. The voice of Chewbacca should be supplied by a girl my old roommate used to date.

Anyway, back to the plot. Lando and Chewie are sleeping their way around the galaxy when Jabba somehow captures them. Jabba is just about to kill them when Buzz Lightyear flies in and saves the day.

Does that work for everybody? Perfect. Start making it.

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