Anghus Houvouras on Vanity Fair’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens issue and its “The Empire Reboots” coverline…
Check out this cover for Vanity Fair’s June issue featuring the cast of the new Star Wars movie.
It’s a great looking photo. We get new cast members and old. A hint of the familiar with a taste of the unexpected. The beautiful photos of Annie Leibovitz is enough to get me take a look when it pops up on newsstands. However, everything else that surrounds this great image makes me question if the old media really has a firm grasp on geek culture.
The most immediately glaring issue with this issue is the headline.
The Empire Reboots?
Star War: The Force Awakens is not a reboot. Not unless the definition of the word has been changed while I was asleep. I suppose it’s possible. Lots of things happen while I’m sleeping. However, as of this moment, rebooting a movie or franchise involves starting over from scratch. Wiping the slate clean. Recasting pivotal roles. Erasing everything that has come before and retelling the story. But why be bothered with facts when you’re searching for a pithy headline?
Strike one: The Force Awakens is NOT a reboot.
Then there’s the little blurbs to the left. That last one sneaking in almost unnoticed
THE HIGH STAKES
“The high stakes?” he said in a register high enough to be mistaken for John Cleese in the Dead Parrot Sketch. The new Star Wars film has high stakes? In terms of the story, I would hope so. Millions of fans don’t get excited over the low stakes adventures of Han Solo and friends.
No, what they are most likely implying with ‘high stakes’ are the expectations from the studios and fans. As if there is some kind of theoretical scenario where Star Wars ends up as a massive disappointment to fans?
That already happened. It was called the prequels. We’ve already had three terrible Star Wars movies. In spite of their wretched storytelling and wooden acting, people still turned out in droves. Even after dealing with Jar Jar Binks and Boy Band Anakin, they still came back. There is not a scenario where this movie does not make a billion dollars. Even if you told me The Force Awakens was an interstellar snuff film with full frontal nudity, it still clears 10 figures.
For those of you all too ready to tell me that I’m nitpicking. I KNOW. It’s a sickness. But I do find humor in how out-of-touch mainstream media is with geek culture. This cover is a perfect example of a publication looking for a sales spike by tapping into the anticipation of The Force Awakens. Though it wouldn’t hurt for them to figure out the difference between a reboot and a sequel.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.