JJ Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens reintroduced George Lucas' universe back into the mainstream. Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story proved that filmmakers could tell new stories outside of the Skywalker Saga, and audiences would respond. And later this year, Rian Johnson will attempt the first Star Wars sequel in years when he brings Star Wars: The Last Jedi to theaters. And yet, people still want to crap all over Force Awakens, which felt -- to some -- like a reheated A New Hope. On May the Fourth, a manufactured Star Wars holiday, South Park creator Matt Stone addressed the "manufactured" nature of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, critiquing:
I like the movie. I thought it had amazing acting and I don't wanna sit here and bad mouth that, but this is like lab-grown meat. This is a secondary derivative of something that was from 40 years ago. In fact, in a lot of ways, it's like the same movie [from] 40 years ago.
This is not a new slight aimed at JJ Abrams' efforts to bring Star Wars back to theaters after a 10-year absence. Comparisons between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in A New Hope are prevalent. Instead of a Death Star, there is a Starkiller base. Instead of Obi-Wan dying, we watch Han Solo (Harrison Ford) getting stabbed, then falling to his death. The beats are very similar. In fact, in this conversation with The Ringer, Matt Stone's partner in crime, Trey Parker, echoed a similar critique, saying:
To me, I kept equating it to the Happy Days reunion special where they would do that reunion thing where they get all the people back and they kinda do a half-ass story, but it's all just about having people walk onto camera and having everyone clap for them and everything, and that's exactly how the new Star Wars felt to me. It was just a reunion special. It was just a big, 'Remember this? Remember that? Remember this? Remember that?'
Now I can't watch the scene of Han and Chewbacca boarding the Millennium Falcon and stating "Chewie, we're home" without imagining a cheesy applause break that might have been reserved for Lenny or Squiggy on an episode of Laverne and Shirley.
The questions becomes, how much of a problem is this? Matt Stone and Trey Parker essentially admit that they still enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, while also acknowledging that JJ Abrams just resold them something that they enjoyed decades ago. Their bigger issue stemmed from a positive review for The Force Awakens in the New York Times, an elitist rag that the duo believes is obligated to crap on a Star Wars movie. Astute observation, boys. I look forward to your Rogue One review in about two years. And if Trey and Matt -- or you -- need information on the Upcoming Star Wars movies, hit up those words.