Getting back to the usual inanity, have you heard about the clever way JJ Abrams revealed the names of some of the new characters we’ll be seeing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? He had his marketing people take screen grabs from the trailer and mock up eight virtual “trading cards” in the same style as the classic card sets manufactured by the Topps company in the late ’70s, right down to the fuzzy image reproduction, the dust speckles, and the texture of the card stock… all the flaws that lent those old cards so much of their retro charm:
There is a cynical part of me that’s concerned JJ is pressing the nostalgia button a little too hard, and that trying to pastiche the original trilogy too thoroughly is going to backfire on him. I get the motivation — one of the complaints many people had with the prequels was that the look and tone of them was too different from the originals — but it’s not 1977 or even 1999 anymore, and basing too much of his sales pitch on the notion that he’s recaptured the experience we had back then is only going to set us all up for a massive letdown. At the very least, he might be doing his film a disservice by not letting it become a Star Wars for the 20-teens… by not allowing it to find its own identity. (“He’s got to follow his own path, no one can choose it for him.”)
And then on the other hand, my inner ten-year-old is hopping up and down and squealing, “Cool! Topps cards! They look like old Topps cards!” I’ve always loved those vintage trading cards — I still have all the random ones I collected as a kid, as well as complete sets I bought years later, and of all the vast quantities of Star Wars-themed junk I’ve amassed over the last 37 years, they remain among my very favorite items. I’m actually hoping these Force Awakens mock-ups get produced as a genuine, physical card set I can add to the collection. (I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s already in the works.)
To see the other four mock-ups (there are eight total), go here… and may the Force be with you!