It's clear now that going back and examining the backstories of iconic sci-fi characters is the future of "Star Trek", "Star Wars", and maybe more sci-fi classics. And it seems fans are willing to accept the concept of at least the "Trek" prequels being alternate history tales that can't be considered canon based solely on the disparity of special effects. With "Star Wars" fans likely expecting a CGI feast in the newly proposed classic character prequels, does it matter if they're visually consistent with the original 1970s and '80s "Star Wars" trilogy?
An issue is there if fans still watch the untarnished versions of Episodes IV-VI. Even with the "Special Editions" George Lucas released in the 1990s, the leap forward in CGI since then has obviously been so dramatic that the prequels will make the "Star Wars" universe look like an utterly different world. Then again, J.J. Abrams might have taught a master class in creating a compromise between the original visions and the concept of revisionist history.
In the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot, you could give a cursory look at most scenes and think you were looking at the original style of the TV show. This was mostly in the costumes and a few basic architectural designs of the Enterprise. It was only in the extensive details where you noticed you were looking at something different and still appearing to be a time far beyond "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
The same balance will have to be done with Han Solo and his Millennium Falcon if we see his character and ship during the period just before the original "Star Wars" trilogy takes place. Regardless, it becomes more of a problem in the "Star Wars" world because the original trilogy's look is so compellingly set in stone. The visuals and original cast of "Star Trek" had the fortune of evolving their special effects through all the movie features.
If you've gone back to look at the original "Star Wars" trilogy recently, you'll note how much 1970s and early '80s styles were deftly incorporated into the films. The 1970s in cinematic sci-fi had a particular aesthetic translated through the wardrobe as seen in "Logan's Run" and similar futuristic adventures. There was no initial care that "Star Wars" took place long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, because it still looked like the late 1970s in a dynamic and celestial realm.
This provides a visual challenge to the Han Solo prequel in celebrating the above original style. "Star Wars" fans may adamantly want the stand-alone features to look as close as possible to the originals, especially considering the prequel trilogy still looks unbalanced matched with the original trilogy. Should there be a demand for keeping the same style, you can find some good news therein.
When the original "Star Wars" trilogy released on Blu-ray last year, the visuals of the movies held up extremely well. Unless there was a digital cleanup job, you couldn't see the original bells and whistles behind the more primitive but innovative special effects. It gives impetus to doing the movies in the original visual style without worrying about things looking out of modern context.
So let this be a callout to do the stand-alone prequel films in as close a visual and special effects style as the original era dictated for sake of familiarity. Otherwise, the franchise may have to deal with explaining how the future inadvertently ended up meddling with the past.
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