Anticipation is at an all-time high for J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Many moviegoers are excited by the prospect of returning to the galaxy far, far away and being reunited with the characters of the original trilogy as a new group of heroes and villains blazes a trail for the future. However, some are cautiously optimistic that Star Wars 7 will be an exhilarating space opera, because it wasn't too long ago the pop culture zeitgeist was in a similar state.
In 1999, the impending arrival of The Phantom Menace sent Star Wars fans into a frenzy, with many people camping out to get tickets and be among the first to see George Lucas' prequel trilogy. Of course, Episode I went down in infamy as one of the most disappointing movies ever, thanks to midichlorians, Jar-Jar Binks, and stilted political dialogue.
Even as the trailers and TV spots for The Force Awakens invoke strong emotions and feelings of nostalgia for millions around the world, others are finding it hard to buy into the hype after being burned so badly 16 years ago. After The Phantom Menace let many down, "what if it happens again?" is a question that Star Wars die-hards are almost afraid to ask.
A new video by Funny or Die explores this query, organizing a group therapy session among Star Wars fans who were let down by the prequels. They rehash their experience watching The Phantom Menace for the first time. One man in particular tries to come to grips with the fact that he initially thought the film was good before realizing he had been fooled by his own expectations. There's also some amusing commentary on younger Star Wars fans liking the prequels, symbolizing a generational gap that exists within the fan base.
The video doesn't pull any punches and reminds viewers that Abrams has had some missteps along the way, citing the mixed receptions of Super 8 and Star Trek Into Darkness. The director is a massive fan of the franchise and seems to understand how important it is to get Star Wars 7 "right," but nobody is perfect. All the trailers and TV spots have certainly been cause for much jubilation, but it's easy to forget that the previews for Episode I were captivating as well, which will hardly make any fan rest easy.
While peace of mind won't (potentially) be had until The Force Awakens comes out on December 18 for everyone to see, there are plenty of signs suggesting that the premiere will be a special occasion for Star Wars fans. Stars John Boyega and Daisy Ridley found the story to be very emotional, Simon Pegg called making the movie a "genuinely magical" experience, and even Harrison Ford had his passion for the series renewed after hearing the pitch. It is true that Episode VII could disappoint, but that's the case with any film before it's released. With so much riding on the success of Star Wars 7, it's a safe bet that Disney pulled out all the stops to make it a great time at the movies.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Funny or Die