Imagine it’s the year 2115. Maybe the zombie apocalypse finally happened, maybe we’re facing the Blight seen in Interstellar, or maybe we’re all fleeing Mars for another planet. One thing for sure is that 100 years from now, the Force will have already awoken, noticed life has past it by, and it’ll be sad its old friends, those born prior to 2015, will have already died. Heck, those who will be born by the time of Ep. IX‘s release in 2019 would likely be on their way to becoming one with the Force too. But forget about whether your alive or not for a second and begin to wonder instead if Star Wars is still alive as a franchise in 2115, because as evergreen a property as it may be, can it really survive another 100 years, especially as is? Could those behind the franchise finally run out of ideas, letting Star Wars fade into everyone’s great-great-grandparent’s distant memories or could they have taken certain measures to ensure its survival for 100 more years? Enter ‘The Great Reboot of 2100.’
Let me start off by saying 2100 is just an arbitrary year I chose for the article and I am in fact not a time traveler come back to help you rest easy knowing your great-great-great-grandkids will still be able to love Star Wars 100 or more years from now. Instead, I’m just wondering aloud about the future of the franchise, which to us at the moment seems limitless, but in the very distant future it seems limited. As the first EU/Legends showed, it’s not hard to drive a franchise into a rut (I’m looking at you, everything post-New Jedi Order) and begin to lose the pizzazz of the original source material–even after a second movie trilogy–over a 30 year period. Sure, the incoming onslaught of content that (mostly) starts with The Force Awakens seems posed to survive past 30 years, but add another 70 to that and you can begin to see how it might not possibly last that long. I mean, can you imagine seeing Ep. LXIV in 2055? There’s no explicit guarantee this new crack at the saga will even make it 30 years before they force another reboot, so it’s not hard to imagine 85 years from now they might just wipe the entire slate clean, movies and all, and start from scratch.
That’s the gist of my imagined Great Reboot of 2100: All the upcoming and current content now considered canon, even the movies, would be lumped together into the Legacy universe, to live alongside Legends in the land of reboots (imagine Wookieepedia then!). The creatives behind the Reboot could pull from both Legacy and Legends, meshing all the known aspects of Star Wars together into some new saga, much like the current canon is handpicking from Legends to create something different but familiar; Think of The Star Wars comics from Dark Horse, where it was easy to find the familiar hidden within the content of the saga’s first draft. For an over-the-top example of a possible 2100 reboot: Leia, thought slain by her mother Padme, becomes Darth Moeder after giving birth to twins Han and Mara who go to live with their uncle Ben to hide from the Galactic Republic controlled by Revan. It has a sense of familiarity, but yet it’s purely insane and way different. And of course there are a list of endless questions that go along with the reboot: How much would change or stay the same? Where and when in-universe would the restart of the saga begin to take place? Could they be shooting scenes with actual spaceships and on different planets/moons? No matter the answers, it’s exciting to think of the endless possibilities a completely clean clean-slate would be like, which we’re only partly getting after the old EU became Legends. But as wondrous as it is to imagine all those new stories and what it could mean for storytelling opportunities, you have to remember what this all means to those of us living right now.
This ‘Great Reboot’ would mean everything you currently (and will) love about SW will be erased and moved aside for the continuation and survival of the franchise sometime in the conceivable future. Whether you’re still a die-hard Legends fan or not, all of the SW you know will be cast aside again. The initial thought about that for me was a little disconcerting to say the least. Swallowing the EU reboot of 2014 wasn’t that hard, because it was easy for me to realize I could still enjoy the Legends stories no matter if they were canon or not, much like the reboots comic book readers go through all the time. But when I considered all that I have already come to love about the new canon, like the comics, A New Dawn, and Star Wars Rebels, and all that I will likely come to love about it might be tossed aside again, it’s a harder pill to swallow. If I manage to live a good, long, and relatively relaxing life, I’ve got at least 70 more years to enjoy all this new SW and it’ll be ingrained into my consciousness much like the previous EU was to many. By then, I’ll probably be pissed if they’re talking about doing a Great Reboot already, but that all depends on the current SW as we know it lasting that long anyways (which doesn’t seem entirely possible, even though it’s already survived the prequel bashing). I bet the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have been rebooted several times before SW would undergo another one, but it’s really the only way to keep these stories alive. So I’m betting 95 year old me will realize another reboot is for the best and go happily into the Force, though probably shaking my fist and hollerin’ “those damn kids,” all the the way down.
But as easy it is to imagine a reboot of such proportions, what if there is no Great Reboot? As crazy as a complete reboot sounds, it’s even crazier to consider it’s totally possible no one will want to or try to reboot SW and the franchise will fade into the history books or trash. It’s almost uncomfortable to consider that possibility, considering the saga’s latest film is largely the most anticipated film of the decade, likely to make bookoo bucks at the box office, and re-kickstart the saga’s still steadily beating heart. The evergreen nature of the franchise ensures its survival for years to come, but all the unknown factors of the future might play a big part in SW dissipating into thin air, joining the Cosmic Force for time immemorial. Chief among those factors is the reality the franchise could be driven into the ground (too much of a good thing) or finds itself in another rut too deep for it to climb out of, both which could mean SW is too toxic a property in a world where only money talks (and will probably talk louder in the future). You might not be able to conceive of that future, but remember I’m a time traveler and I’ve already seen it happen. Or I’m not, but my mind is contemplating such a future because even if the future is always in motion, one should always be prepared.
Besides the ‘Great Reboot’ and sans reboot/death, I’ve thought of a somewhat happy third/middle option, one I consider to be the most interesting scenario: Historians/fans/filmmakers/etc. all basically decide the franchise should be retired as is in the near future, to preserve it’s legacy by no longer messing with it/rebooting it because they would consider SW having reached its zenith and they regard it as one the greatest storytelling achievements of mankind. It would be taught in school not because it’s relevant and cool, but because it’s the law, and would likely be considered as sacred as the Holy Grail or historical documents, like say the Declaration of Independence, though it would be signed by the founding fathers of filmmaking. Alright, so the final option is a pretty big gulp of wishful thinking, but it’s either that or reboot everything again and try to match the previous story’s quality and live up to those expectations. I think I’d agree with people in the future and decide to take the easy route by choosing the ‘retire SW’ option, because I can’t even begin to imagine how J.J. Abrams must feel having stepped into the big The Force Awakens shoes trying to find a way to subvert the insanely high expectations and bring on a new renaissance for the saga. But the easy route is one only the Sith will take, so maybe SW shouldn’t be retired and the challenge of starting anew should be accepted.
No matter the option, no matter the choice, SW as is will not be able to survive another 100 years without doing something to breathe new life into it. Even if we won’t be around for it–unless they find a way to dramatically alter a human being’s life cycle–I think it’s still an interesting thing to consider. So now that I have you sitting here thinking about an entire reboot, movies and all, how do you feel about such a concept? Would you be like those who still currently cling to the Legends universe, upset and ready to boycott all that is new? Or would you shrug and realize to keep the franchise you loved all your life alive, it’s a necessary evil? Will it even need a reboot? Or maybe you have a different option in mind for how the franchise can survive long into the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below and/or start a conversation with your friends, whether it be in-person or on social media (use #SWReboot2100 on Twitter).
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