Why Leaving 'Episode VII' Out of the 'Star Wars' Title Doesn't Matter
by Ethan Anderton
November 6, 2014
Just this afternoon, the official title for Star Wars: Episode VII was announced as being Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While most of the focus should actually be on the title itself (which is just fine), there seem to be a fair amount of complaints and observations on what isn't there: the words Episode VII. Frankly, I'm not sure why this is such a big deal, especially when the argument for the inclusion of Episode VII in the title seems to just be to go along with the title pattern of the prequels, which most Star Wars fans have done nothing but complain about for years now. It's not as if there isn't a precedent for having a Star Wars title appear without an "Episode" number attached to it in the history of the whole saga. More below!
Case in point, all of the original films in the first Star Wars trilogy simply went by Star Wars (later called A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. On none of the original posters for any of these three films will you see a reference to which episode this film constitutes. The only place the "episode" clarification ever appeared in the original films was in the traditional opening crawl (it wasn't part of Star Wars originally). The use of "Episode [Number]" in the title was something that came about with the prequels. But even Revenge of the Sith didn't use Episode III in the title treatment at first:
— Adam Frazier (@AdamFrazier) November 6, 2014
Now Germain Lussier at SlashFilm and I had a discussion on Twitter about how "Episode VII" was left out of the title, and he said Lucasfilm confirmed that it wouldn't be part of the official title. Some people think this is evidence of the fact that this is a new direction for Star Wars, but we just saw why it's nothing out of the ordinary. In the end, it doesn't matter because fans will still refer to the movie as Episode VII just as much as the marketing will call the film solely by The Force Awakens. That's how it's always been since the prequels came out. Meanwhile, we all still mostly call the old films by their full titles. At the end of the day, it's just like Happy Gilmore says, "Gold jacket, green jacket, who gives a shit?"
So if you're going to complain about something, then let's talk about The Force Awakens as a title, because that's something for fans to talk about. Again, this title seems fine to me as it's mysterious, ominous and also raises some questions as to why The Force has been lying dormant this whole time. It's certainly better than The Phantom Menace, and less campy than Attack of the Clones. But honestly, they could have called this movie Tyler Perry's Star Wars and I would've still be stoked to see it. All right?