Star Wars journalism is kicking into high gear right now, and so is my extreme annoyance with the loose semantics. Star Wars on screen has never been “rebooted.”
This morning I came across an article describing Star Wars Episodes I, II and III as “re-boots” of the Star Wars films. Phrases like “the Star Wars films” logically encompass every film made under the Star Wars franchise, i.e. Episodes I-VI. It’s incredibly frustrating, especially as we get closer to the release of sequel film Star Wars: Episode VII to see Episodes I-III constantly separated from Episodes IV-VI as if they are not all films about the same people and places in continuity with each other. I loath terms like “prequel trilogy”, “original trilogy” and “sequel trilogy”. They are all Star Wars films and they all have their own names and designations. I like using their episode numbers or subtitles. I wish more people did too. It seems obvious to me none of these films are reboots, reimaginings or remakes of any other Star Wars film, but apparently it is not that clear for others Star Wars is now one big nine part saga, at least when we’re talking about The Skywalker Saga.
I took to the internet to find a definition for the term “reboot” for this article and of course there isn’t one. Not in the way it’s being used for films at least. Merriam Webster refuses to define reboot as it’s own word, and most other dictionaries only refer to the process of shutting down and turning back on a computer, the usage of which actually originated from the idiom “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” which implies a fresh start.
re·boot (r-bt)tr.v.re·boot·ed, re·boot·ing, re·bootsTo turn (a computer or operating system) off and then on again; restart.
Remake: A straight re-telling of a story for the purpose of updating it for a contemporary audience, or making it accessible to a different culture or region.
Reboot: A course correction done with the purpose of restarting a franchise. A reset. Fealty to the original story or film is not a priority.
Re-Imagining: A re-telling of a story, but only in the broadest sense. Characters and some story elements may be retained, but mostly plot and story have been repurposed.