“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will go a long way to proving if George Lucas’ space saga truly has legs.
By “legs,” we mean a sustainable franchise that can be stretched like taffy.
It’s the first film that won’t feature a Solo or Skywalker (as far as we know…). It also won’t include (we hope) the following five characters. We may love “Star Wars,” but we could do without these annoying pieces of the beloved franchise:
5. Jar Jar Binks
Who else? Everything you’ve read about this character is true. He’s annoying, peculiar and rarely funny. Lucas’ creation became the symbol of how poorly realized the prequels proved. Jar Jar also got slammed as a racist construct with his odd speech patterns, which recalled the Stepin Fetchit archetype to some. The black actor behind the portrait, Ahmed Best, would beg to differ.
4. Young Anakin Skywalker
Poor Jake Lloyd. The child star got the gig of a lifetime — playing the boy who would grow up to be Darth Vader in the first “Star Wars” prequel. Too bad the movie proved a monumental letdown, in part because of Lloyd’s wooden turn. Most of the blame falls on Lucas, not only for choosing the overwhelmed child actor, but also for not coaxing him into a better performance. Either way, he would be the most annoying “Star Wars” character if not for a certain Gungan.
3. Salacious B. Crumb
The original “Star Wars” trilogy made the most of the era’s crude special effects. Even the Yoda puppet transformed into a creature we cared deeply about. That didn’t hold true for lil’ Salacious, the rat-like creature which cackled through the opening sequences of “Return of the Jedi.” He looked phony throughout, and his incessant laughter added little to the theatrics.
2. Jek Porkins
Yes, that’s the heavyset X-Wing fighter pilot’s name from “Star Wars: A New Hope.” It’s a pretty small role, but actor William Hootkins made himself famous by droning an infamous line, “Stay on target,” in that film before getting incinerated by enemy fire.
1. Queen Amidala
Natalie Portman earned an Oscar after endangering her career with her “Star Wars” detour. She’s a fine actress, but is anyone a fan of her doomed prequel heroine? Who could overcome the stilted dialogue and the lack of chemistry with co-star Hayden Christensen? Portman couldn’t. Any comparison between this queen and Princess Leia is both coincidental and wildly unflattering.