Look, I would absolutely love it if Episode 7 was an amazing movie. And I do have to admit the teaser trailer looks good.
This comic sums up the way most of my friends have been reacting to it:
But I’ve been burned before. I remember how excited we were in the late 90s, based on the delusion that new Star Wars would be as amazing as old Star Wars. I remember how there was a (false) rumor that they would show the first preview for Phantom Menace before the X-Files movie. As each preview was starting, everyone in the theater cheered in anticipation. Then when they really did show the preview before Meet Joe Black, people bought tickets to Meet Joe Black just to watch the previews and then walk out afterwards. We all thought back then that Episode one would be awesome.
Then there was the enormous let-down of seeing the actual movie. I’m convinced that this disappointment was a major contributing factor to the cynicism of the 2000s. We got the thing we had been wishing for our entire lives, and it turned out to be awful. The world just didn’t seem as bright and hopeful after that.
It’s easy to make a teaser trailer look good. The teaser for Phantom Menace looked incredible.
It doesn’t look so good now that we know the context of those clips – how annoying Jar Jar and Anakin are, the wooden dialog, the boring incoherent plot. But when the teaser was originally released, just seeing the Lucasfilm logo was enough to make us squeal with delight. There was a double-sided lightsaber, cool looking ships, thousands of droids, Samuel L. Jackson, and a fully emotive Yoda. We had no idea just how wrong it would all go.
Now people are getting their hopes up again. And it reminds me of this scene from Fanboys:
For those of you who didn’t watch the clip, the joke is that someone is so excited about the upcoming release of Phantom Menace that he gets a full back tattoo of Jar Jar, on the assumption that the character will kick all sorts of ass. We can laugh at that now. My fear is that by the end of the year, we will look back at those who were excited about The Force Awakens in the exact same way.
Nothing would make me happier than if I turn out to be completely wrong about this, and the movie is great beyond the fanboys’ wildest dreams. But for now, I’m not going to get my hopes up.