In June 2014, it was announced that Lupita Nyong’o had joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Before it was revealed that she would be playing a CGI alien named Maz Kanata, I had my own theory about who she was. In the now non-canonical Star Wars Expanded Universe, Luke Skywalker marries (and has a son with) Emperor Palpatine’s Force-sensitive right hand assassin, Mara Jade. Mara Jade was written as a white woman with red hair but I became attached to the idea that they were reinterpreting the character for a more diverse universe. After the trailer, which showed fellow newcomer John Boyega wielding the Skywalker family lightsaber (which Mara Jade also used), I was confident that Nyong’o would be playing his mother…through flashbacks of course…to account for the age difference between her and Mark Hamill. Nope.
Sure, I still loved The Force Awakens, but I was all set for them to have the most iconic character in the Star Wars Expanded Universe make her big screen debut. Additionally, I was convinced that Max von Sydow was cast to replace Alec Guinness as the Force ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Wrong again. My second guess was that he would play an older Boba Fett. You guessed it, also wrong.
So what I’ve learned about myself and nerdy movies is that my speculation can detract from my enjoyment of actually seeing the movie. I’ve seen people on Twitter express a similar kind of sentiment because of all the trailers for Star Wars Rogue One but I don’t feel that way. Sure, I came to some conclusions with the Force Awakens because of the trailers but ultimately, they gave me that much-needed preview of Star Wars being back again. The last Rogue One trailer made me tear up a little.
I’ve since adopted a much more passive role with films. I’ll view the trailers and get excited like everyone else but I won’t try to create theories or postulate where everything is going beforehand. I extend this to actually watching movies. Lots of people will say that during a film they came to conclusions like “oh I knew he was evil” or “I saw that coming” which is great if that’s your thing. Sure, some clichéd plot lines and character archetypes are hard to miss, but I leave it to the director to tell me that story. Then after viewing, I like to pull it apart, dissect it and assess those artistic choices that were made. A bad movie is still bad but at least it isn’t as built up in my mind.
I’m not a hardcore comic book fan, by which I mean I’m familiar with most major heroes and villains but haven’t read that much in terms of comics. Iron Man 3 caused a decent bit of commotion when the villain, the Mandarin, was actually a stooge for the real antagonist. Everyone freaked out with the twist because they wanted to see the film version of this comic villain. I had no attachment to the character and loved that twist. I came into the movie just wanting to have a good time and left satisfied.
I guess that I think of movies like an old hoodie to be used often. I’d rather have the movie that I want to rewatch every week as opposed to the one that only works for that initial twist.