Star Wars Scum and Villainy

Why the old ‘Star Wars’ cast should stay away from the new trilogy

Let's face it, 'Star Wars' isn't what it once was. Years of re-releases, CGI tinkering and corporate synergy has watered down the franchise to the point that everyone knows what it is, but not many people care.

There is cause for renewed hope with the announced sequel trilogy however, and not simply because George Lucas will be far far away from the production.

With LucasFilm under the management of long-time film producer Kathleen Kennedy, Oscar-winning scribe Michael Arndt writing the script and, of course, J.J. Abrams in the director's chair - all signs so far are positive.

[Related story : How J.J. Abrams was persuaded to direct 'Star Wars 7' ]

[Related story : Terence Stamp on 'Phantom Menace' misery ]

There's revived interest 'Star Wars', and not just from people employed to be enthusiastic or who are under the age of 10.

This sense of hope is also precisely why no one from the old 'Star Wars' films should return for the sequel trilogy.

There's a perfect opportunity with these new films to make the core of the series something of value again. Yes the original trilogy is still good and always will be, but what good the 'Star Wars' license has been used for since is limited to the occasional book, video game or cartoon.

Bringing back the old cast would be a cheap ploy, an attempt to rekindle the old magic when the best way to achieve that is to leave them with the remnants of their careers (apart from ol' Harrison) and simply learn the mistakes and successes of the past.

A new cast of young(ish) up-and-comers with a smattering of established thesps to carry them through is all that's required of casting. There's no need for big names to slap across a poster - this brand sells itself.

An understanding of how the series went from perfect fairy tale to an insufferable young Darth Vader yelling "Yippee!" is also crucial, and something Abrams will no doubt have being such a massive fan of the series from an early age.

Those involved are intelligent and talented enough to be more than capable of making a new 'Star Wars' which is measured, considered and thoroughly thought-through. There's no need to exceed expectations when George Lucas has already lowered them to subterranean levels.

After those prequels, people don't want bombastic "spectacle" that takes place entirely inside a computer. They just want a good film, one that works on a base level before it works on a blockbuster level.

There's no reason a descendent of the Skywalkers or Solos can't be the lead (in fact I think that would be ace) but set the story much further down the line, long after the lives of Luke, Leia and Han. Prove, like so many other entries into the overarching canon, that success can be found under the 'Star Wars' name without relying on established characters with "brand appeal".

J.J. Abrams may well be the man to do that. Does that mean he's our only hope? No, that would just be corny.