Everyone needs to stop saying that. You feel that way because you’ve had to deal with crappy sequels and TV shows!
You want a little secret? The best Star Wars ever made is THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY!!
Every other statement that contradicts that is false and “fake news.”
Star Wars is about the Hero’s Journey. The Original and Prequel trilogies supported this. The Clone Wars is a great episodic and serial TV show and deserves much debate and discussion.
ANDOR is a very interesting look at the galaxy from a more mundane perspective. Yet, unfortunately, this can still be seen as a bit boring for many. Its a difference from high action adventure to high drama. I remember people bitching about Phantom Menace was too political with all the “trade route disputes” talk. Yet, thats all ANDOR does. I’m exaggerating here but half the show is about politicians and dissidents arguing and debating on how to move money around or keep secrets to support a rebellion. This may be boring to many. Maybe those Star Wars fans are getting older and want to be entertained by the sophisticated aspects of the galaxy. I like it too but give me some more clues and a bit more action -since I want to have fun in this viewing experience.
For all of you that think you’ve seen the best Star Wars….step back…watch the Original Trilogy…and then re-evaluate your opinion…. it’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to say it’s good Star Wars…. but is it really the best? No not really.
Are we seeing delusions of grandeur with Andor because Book of Boba Fest and Obi-wan Kenobi were bad?
I’ve watched all 10 episodes. I keep hearing how great it is. Many viewers are saying it’s some of the best Star Wars ever. Or at least, the best Star Wars from Disney. These comments are coming from both dedicated Star Wars fans and fans of science fiction and other Sci-Fi.
I’m not sure I can give it that much credit.
Is it good Star Wars? Maybe. We’re so used to bad Star Wars recently, it’s hard to tell if this deserves its accolades.
I don’t hate it.
But as I’ve told my friends, it’s a bit slow. It’s a bit melodramatic. Feels like Downtown Abby in Space.
Yet, I think Downtown Abby presented character development better. There’s a lot of talking yet very little is said. Or at least, to push the plot along or even the point of the series. We get several minutes that feel like hours of lord-of-the-flies-like scenes of a young Andor and (of course) we have no clue what the language is or what they are saying. This is meant for us to learn more of Cassian Andor yet he says about 10 words an episode. Technically more time is spent with the supporting cast than Andor (which is an issue with almost everything Disney does of late).
While watching the show, I was trying to guess what’s the genre: suspense? thriller? heist movie? cops and robbers? political drama? Star Wars has always been action and adventure with a focus on the hero’s journey. The story of good vs. evil. Yet, I’m not sure what this is. I’ve seen 10 hours of it. That’s a lot of time. I feel like the writers are treating this like a government contract. Go nice and slow so they can stay employed for as long as possible.
As George was known to say, “Faster! More Intensity!” I felt this needed to move much faster. Throw the audience a bone. Stop trying to keep the viewer in the dark. It’s okay to give the audience something while keeping the characters in the dark. Instead this show keeps everyone in the dark.
Some have said, they like the show as it’s more for adult viewers. Some have said, Star Wars has always been for 12 year olds, but finally we have a Star Wars aimed at 35 year olds. Maybe. Yet, the original Star Wars facisnated everyone from 5 year olds (like myself in 1977) to 90 year olds. That’s the beauty of the original story. This new show doesn’t do that. Can that be a bad thing?
Well, maybe Andor needs more viewings, more analysis, and more discussion. All I want to say is: I want more Star Wars in my Star Wars….
As I stated, the movie started out with lots of potential. Yet, it didn’t know what it wanted to be. The writer and director didn’t create a natural extension of the Skywalker story. Instead, they created a story and production they thought the audience wanted. Or to be more precise, what the producer thought the audience wanted.
So, the new leadership at Lucasfilm decided to nix everything in the expanded universe. A horrible idea to millions of fans that spent decades enjoying the stories and respecting the chronology. But a fabulous idea for a new writing staff so they don’t have to worry about the past and all thats come before it. Or as I really think, they didn’t have a clue of any of that source material and like a slacker high school student, why actually read the book and know the material when you can just petition the teacher to throw out the textbook altogether. Yes, I am calling out those writers for not actually being SW fans and actually knowing the chronology. When you have a clean canvas you can create anything without remorse or worry.
As story development proceeded, The Force Awakens could literally be anything the writers could dream up. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that it fit in with the previous movies, character developement nor even the wishes of Mr. George Lucas. He handed treatments over yet Lucasfilm leadership decided to toss them and proceed with the what the rockstar director wanted.
Story may be the weak link but the saving grace was the art design and characters that were created. Except I think they needed a slight tweak….
What many fans saw as a copy cat of Star Wars New Hope, I actually took was part of a long history of Star Wars formula.
George Lucas used a similar formula with the Prequel Trilogy thus seeing something similar in the Sequel Trilogy wasn’t that surprising. If you compare The Phantom Menace to A New Hope you see several formulaic concepts: the discovery of a threat to peace, an rescue mission, a introduction of a main character through accident, an old mentor dies, a big battle to help liberate the galaxy (or planet) and a big celebration ceremony. See, those two movies were very similar. Yet, I will admit that formula went a little bit too far with The Force Awakens and did appear to be a remake of A New Hope. The first strike.
The movie opened with a problem. Luke is missing. The First Order has risen and taken advantage of the disappearance of Luke. Yet, I think the movie wasn’t clear on what it was meant to do. Why’s Luke missing? And how did the First Order become so powerful just because Luke disappeared? Why isn’t there a new Jedi Order helping protect the Galaxy?
The Star Killer Base, this trilogy’s version of the Death Star, is literally thrown in with no real reason to the story elements we were introduced to in the opening crawl. It felt like JJ Abrams was like “oh yeah, I need a Death Star-like thing to be the threat to everyone.” If the First Order arose and became a galactic threat since Luke disappeared, how long has Luke been gone? Was it weeks? Years? Decades? We never know. We have to know its been a while because the First Order has had time to raise massive amounts of capital, built a fleet of Star Destroyers, and had time to convert a planet into a gigantic laser gun. This can’t just be done in a few short years.
With oblivious plot holes, I never really believed the First Order as a real threat to our characters. Nor did I understand how they got so powerful when the Republic was still governing the galaxy. Was this something like Cobra was to G.I. Joe? I believe this is why fans critiqued the First Order so much. In 1977, we didn’t know the specifics how the Empire was born, and we didn’t need to know actually. But when we know how the characters defeated the Empire, to see a new clone of the Empire arise, the audience needs a bit of back story. Thus, I think the film’s villain (i.e. the Empire in OT and now the First Order in TFA) is cliche trope. There were so many other threats our old and new characters could have faced.
In 2005, we watched Episode III with great enthusiasm and excitement. Then, we were saddened when George Lucas announced that the Star Wars Saga was complete and there would be no more movies. The dreams of seeing Episode VII through IX (7-9) were destroyed. Yet, we excepted it as this was a story about the life and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.
Suddenly, George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney. Every fan suddenly realized maybe more Star Wars movies would be on the horizon. The news broke really fast that yes indeed Star Wars would return with a new Sequel Trilogy that would take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi. The movies would reunite the original trilogy cast and introduce new characters. When we got The Force Awakens, we were confronted with the truth that perhaps we were deceived. Just like the Jedi were deceived by Chancellor Palpatine and the Army of the Republic.
The new trilogy wasn’t going to focus on the classic characters. It was a clear and present bait and switch. The new characters were going to be the complete focus. The original characters weren’t even given the respect to be supporting characters. No, they were basically cameos. This was the first mistake made by Disney Star Wars. You sacrificed established characters. The right course would have been introduce the new characters but they should have been an extension of the classic character story.
Episode VII opens with a crawl that informs the audience Luke Skywalker is missing. I loved this concept. Like any classic fantasy story, we set up the quest. The journey the characters must take to resolve the conflict. Where could Luke be? Was he captured? Or was he just lost? I could see this resonating out of George Lucas mind and based on his appreciate for Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. Regardless of the reason behind Luke’s disappearance, it reminded me of the exile of Yoda. Yoda wasn’t running away from the problem. He was simply waiting for the opportunity of returning to the battle. After learning that Luke went in search of old and lost Jedi Temples, I figured this could have been his motivation. He was looking for the knowledge. He was waiting for the right time to return and take on the First Order.
Then, Last Jedi was released and our perception of Luke was destroyed….
Well, not ruined per se, but it was something the Prequels and the Sequels haven’t been able to live up to. Or perhaps they forgot about it — a key dramatic element of the Original Trilogy.
Everyone remembers the time they first saw that dramatic scene in Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader tells the young hero Luke Skywalker that he is in fact his father. The shock would plague some of us for nearly 3 years waiting for the release of Return of the Jedi. Yes, I was a kid, 8 years old, back then and saw it in the theater. I’m not sure I even believed it. I figured Vader was lying to Luke just to get him to turn to the Dark Side.
See, I was naive and believed Obi-wan Kenobi when he told Luke that Vader betrayed and murdered Luke’s father. Yet, once I saw ROTJ and the audience got its confirmation that Ben Kenobi lied, I learned a very important dramatic element of story telling. Some call it the “big reveal” or some might say “the redirect”. The goal is to surprise your audience with some information they weren’t expecting. This information is meant to change the dynamic of the characters relationship with one another. Not only providing melodrama but layers of complexity to the story.
Now, when the Prequels debuted in 1999 with The Phantom Menace, we knew this was going to be a story about a young Anakin Skywalker — Luke’s father. But what we didn’t know was how and what drove Anakin to the Dark Side. So millions of Star Wars fans waited and then we were disappointed. Okay, fine, we saw how he fell to the Dark Side, yet George Lucas made it a very long turn. Instead of something dramatic, we were told that Anakin was troubled and manipulated by Palpatine — spending over a decade slowly mind controlling him.
We all have the version of new Star Wars we wanted in our heads. My imagination over 20 years allowed me to think of a few different versions of the prequels. Yet, I know that is the definition of exaggerated anticipation — and there’s no way to be completely satisfied with the result. This is a common affliction in a Star Wars fan. We put too much of our own desires into future stories that we hopelessly know will never become reality. This is why a Star Wars fan can hate and love a movie at the same time.
In my Star Wars, Anakin fell to the dark side in one tragic and dramatic moment. Something very similar to what we saw in his final moment of his fall in Revenge of the Sith. But something much more powerful. I saw him using the Dark Side only to save someone he loved — i.e. the “young queen” (mother of Luke and Leia) but because it truly was the only way to save them. Almost to say, he sacrificed himself to save them. But this isn’t my point. Yet, I mention it as this could have been the “I am your father” moment. And maybe it should have been.
In all aspects of the Prequels, we never got this “reveal” moment. We were never shocked or surprised by the story. It really felt like the three movies were telegraphed to us in a very long exposition of images. I blame George Lucas for not giving us our surprise. Where was “I am your father” in the Prequels? We didn’t get it! Maybe Palpatine should have told Anakin that he was Anakin’s father? Or that Qui-Got was? Something. This is the same thing that happened in the Sequels. We almost had it with the tease on Rey’s parents but then we didn’t get anything. I believe if we had gotten this moment in Attack of the Clones or in The Last Jedi, those trilogies would be inherently better. But then, what do I know….
I heard an interesting theory that Queen Amidala was an SJW – a Social Justice Warrior. I found this hilariously inaccurate.
First lets start with some simple definitions courtesy of the internet:
Social Justice (noun) – justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
Social Justice Warrior (noun) – a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views.
Just with these simple definitions, there’s nothing that would point this ideology toward Queen Amidala of the Naboo. For one, I don’t recall Queen Amidala having issues with the Galactic Senate as she wanted to redistribute the wealth of rich businessmen (another thing she’s angry about! why not businesspeople or businessfolk?) and powerful politicians. Nope. Don’t recall that. Oh, it was because Queen Amidala wanted to stop the consumption of Shaak (yes, this is a real creature on Naboo raised for its meat). I think I recall her addressing the Senate on how this eating of meat causes toxic masculinity on those from Naboo and must be stopped. Nope. Second thought, I don’t recall that either. Oh, I know! It was that she insisted that all the future rulers of Naboo must be women! Yeah, that makes since. After Amidala, there was Queen Jamilla and after her, there was Queen Apailana. Yes! That must be it. Although according to canon there was a King before Queen Amidala, I’m sure she straightened that ship and made sure no more men ran Naboo. Perhaps this was the case as the canon does not refer to any other male leaders during and up to the time of the Galactic Empire. Just for the record, this is never stated on screen that Naboo went to a matriarchysociety.
Just the common sense definition of a Social Justice Warrior (or Activist) is someone who wants to change the society in which they live. This isn’t usually political or government level but a cultural change. The acceptance of not eating a certain food, the acceptance of a broad gender rule, or someone who wants the society to stop misusing animals.
Queen Amidala in no way expressed these views during the Prequel Trilogy. She was against an illegal blockade of her planet. This was completely a political move by the Senator from Naboo. Although we don’t understand that directly, we know that it was a way to give power to Palpatine and be sympothized to win the election of Grand Chancellor of the Republic.
The folks that say Amidala is a SJW also like to characterize that the entire Rebellion was a group of Social Justice Warriors. I find this just as ridiculous. The Rebels were not fighting for social change. They were fighting against a oppressive government. Okay I will concede a little…maybe 3%… that one could say fighting an evil tyrant and retorting freedom to the galaxy is a form of social change. Yet, just because I can understand the thought process doesn’t make it correct.
This is just the SJW trying to convince everyone that the term is not a bad thing but a good one. See, that’s what this person that I heard this from actually tried to convince me of. Hog Wash! Don’t be conned by it. The internet usually defines SJW as a bad definition of someone. Not a good one.
Analysis: know the diffference of terms. Don’t bend one into another. Fighting for societal freedom is in most regards the freedom of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This incorporates many different beliefs and cutlture practices. Social Movement Organizations (the institutions of the SJW) often try to push their political correctness on the whole. Examples can be PETA wanting a society that survives by not eating animals or animal products. Since there is nothing legally wrong with eating meat, this is considered a social activism. Do the lines blur? Maybe and could. That’s what’s usually the scary part.
In conclusion: Queen Amidala was not a SJW. Nor was the rebellion. Why? Because the man that created the characters and the story never defined it as so. It was merely a political story about tyranny and freedom – a classic story of good vs. evil. The Star Wars universe is so big, I doubt that one person would be able to change the societal views of millions of different species and cultures…..but what do I know!
As a young aspiring writer back in the 90s, I constantly looked up to other successful writers for direction.
Back then, I was mostly looking to write for stage and screen. I may have dreamed about writing a novel or something but my true dream was to be produced as a playwright or screenwriter. I was in Film School when I realized that to succeed in writing films I must mimic those great film makers and screen writers. I went so far as to write the exact same way as George Lucas wrote his movies. When, I learned that George writes only on yellow legal pads, I immediately went to Office Depot and bought a case of yellow legal pads. I wrote my next 2 plays on nothing but yellow legal pads and then transcribed them into a Word-processor in the computer lab.
I took a seminar with John Patrick Shanely – the screen writer of Moonstruck and Joe Vs. The Volcano – at CU and couldn’t believe I could be so lucky. It was open to Film Makers and Creative Writing majors and I called the reserve line before I could finish reading the flyer. Sitting there with him for a few days, I wanted to know how he wrote. Call me funny, but my questions weren’t philosophical. I wasn’t asking him what made him a better writer. But how he physically wrote. Did he plot things via an online? Did he block it out with index cards? Does he handwrite his writing on paper first or just type it directly it into the typewriter or computer? I do recall him giving me a weird look each time I asked him a question. Not the: what-are-you-smoking-weird look, but that of a curious mind. Almost as he was trying to understand my intent.
So, that’s how I wrote in the 90s. I’m not sure if that was successful as I didn’t get anywhere. But I don’t regret it. Yet, I’ve learned since, just write. Write. It doesn’t matter if you use a pencil. It’s not important if you write everything with a pen. Some just sit at the keyboard and let it flow out.
I will admit. I still like to use pen and paper to throw down ideas and outlines. Yet, I’m also trying to be more electronic and do it all digital. That’s why I bought a iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. But I think I may just be too analog and old school….
I find fun to think of “what-if” situations — the alternate history that could have happened if only something played out just slightly different. Similar to my alternate 80s/90s take on a Batman and Superman movie, there could have been another movie produced in the 80s if only the right creative minds had come together.
With the popularity of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books, the Tolkien estate wanted to produce Lord of the Rings. There was hope that the animated feature of the 70s would have been their overwhelming achievement. Yet, the two projects just didn’t capture the hearts of minds of fans. So, the Producers decided the story had to be told as a life action movie. Tolkien family wanted something in the likes of Star Wars.
Star Wars was the biggest movie of all time in the 1980s. The three movies of the Star Wars franchise wasn’t just movies it was a licensee jugganaut. From books to toys, the intellectual property would eventually make billions. So, why not Lord of the Rings. After, George Lucas finished with Return of the Jedi and had no future plans of any other Star Wars films, he was the perfect choice for a massive Lord of the Rings project. The project is pitched to Lucasfilm. And in 1984, George Lucas confirms his next film project is Lord of the Rings.
Being inspired by the books when he was in college, George is excited to tackle the story. One feature that George is most excited about is the story from the perspective of the hobbits — the halflings of Middle Earth. During the writing of Star Wars, George had considered filming it entirely with midgets — or small people. George was fascinated by the courageous “little people” living with the disability. He had worked with them to create iconic characters like Jawas and Ewoks. So, he knew he had to find the right ones to play Merry, Pippin, Samwise, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins.
George quickly sums it up that if there was 3 books in the Lord of the Rings cycle, then it could only be done with 3 movies – focusing on 1 book per film. With all the pre-production concluded, filming starts in 1985. The first movie is released in 1986 to huge reviews and massive box office returns. The second film arrives 3 years later — in 1989 and the last film — in 1992. Toy stores were flooded with Lord of the Rings action figures, board games and puzzles. Kids would hit the first day of school with Frodo and the all seeing Eye of Sauron t-shirts. Lucasfilm stuns the world with 3 massive trilogies — Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Lord of the rings.
This would have blown our geek and nerdy minds…. And possibly put a new level to those that enjoyed D&D and modern fantasy!
[note: this is not real but a possible history in film. Images are from Willow.]
It was 16 years between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menance – 25 years had past since George scribbled his idea for Star Wars and executed the next major phase of his story. That’s a lot of time. Also, that’s a lot of life to live between the two.
I believe George’s film making philosophy in the 1970s and early 1980s changed and is very different than his 1990s version. Or more specifically: his philosophy and attitude toward Star Wars. With all the examples I’ve provided and what he spoke about during the documentary From Star Wars to Jedi, he has definitely bent his filmmaking rules.
George, during another interview, admitted to this happening. His reason was children. He adopted 3 children from 1983 and the release of Episode I in 1999. He was making these movies for them. Or more generally – for children. Although by the time Revenge of th Sith came out I’m not sure I would say that was a kids movie (uh, man burning alive, duh). Yet, he definitely looked at this world through altered eyes.
I believe I was victim of something similar. When I was younger, my stories were so vast, incredible and fun. As I got older, I somehow stumped and blocked my efforts as my mind would question the rationale of the details. It was a difficult time. I subconsciously shutdown my own imagination. I think this happened to George. George wrote the Original Trilogy as an adult but with the spirit of his youth. As he got older, he wrote as from his youth but with a spirit of an adult.
I was disappointed. I had hoped he would have kept his original spirit. I also wish he had told himself, “if I was filming this movie in 1984 how would I have done it?” Allow the new technology to make it easier and sharper, but not lose the feel of the universe that had been shaped by real world limitations. Now, there will be no resolution as the torch has been passed. I’m not sure I have faith with the new direction. Yet, I think in the long run George lost faith in his youthful imagination. I struggled and sometimes still battle with my logical brain to keep my youthful imagination alive. As a writer, it’s imperative that the youthful imagination never is lost. I will vow to do my best….
The new Star Wars Prequels are not terrible. The movies don’t deserve hatred or fan outrage. Yet, I do wish they had been slightly different. Being a child in the late 70s and early 80s, I was the perfect age to enjoy the Original Trilogy. I also had 15 years of adult years, college study and personal imagination to overthink the next chapter.
The Force in the Prequels was simply forgotten. When it came time to explain important things, expand on the mythology, we simply didn’t get them. Almost like George couldn’t answer them himself (odd since this was his world – his creation). Or maybe he just didn’t want to revel his hand. Now, I’m not stating I needed more such as how or why it worked (so I definitely don’t want Midichlorians). Actually keeping it vague actually works for the story. But, why does Obi-Wan and Yoda disappear to the Force in the Original Trilogy but no one in the Prequel Trilogy does? This was a critical misfire for the saga. Yes, at the end of Revenge of the Sith, we get one line of dialog to “wrap” that mystery. But why wasn’t this slowly developed through the entire Prequel Trilogy. Why wasn’t the audience shown the Jedi more in tune with the Force? (not just using its magical powers) With Anakin, Qui-Gon should have just felt the Force stronger than he’d ever felt it before within Anakin. Instead of testing his blood, he should have told Obi-wan “There’s something about this boy! I’ve never felt a vergence of the Force like I have with him.” “Even around Master Yoda?” “Not even Master Yoda!” Their surprise is the cinematic story telling. Concluding in a test similar to the one Anakin got in front of the council, we, as an audience, know that Anakin is Force sensitive. He would and did perform tasks that are beyond that of an average Padawan. But still raw! (not the Rey syndrome!) Qui-gon’s original Force insight of Anakin would make sense with what we know from the OT: “I feel a presence I’ve not felt in a long time.” “It was a 1000 voices all screamed out in terror at once.” “Search your feelings.” “Leia is my sister.” – “Your insight serves you well!”.
Queen Amidala of the Naboo should have been a true royal monarch. There’s nothing wrong for a royal Queen ruling a world or people in a fantasy story. Actually, it would have made more sense. It would have been a positive look at a monarchy style government. Besides, the government of the galaxy is a democratic Galactic Republic with representatives of each member planet working together for a greater good. Well until, it became corrupt and open for an evil Emperor to take over. More important it would have stay true to George’s original story element of Anakin marrying a young queen. With some slight tweaking, Amidala would still get mixed up in the action as a Padme decoy. I always thought it would have been more powerful to see how Naboo suffered once the Empire formed and Amidala had to go into hiding. (maybe I’ll go into more details at some point). Secondly, Amidala wouldn’t die at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Naboo would fall to Imperial control. The Royal family would be imprisoned or forced into hiding. That scene in ROTS, where Yoda and Obi-wan decide to go into hiding, it should have included Amidala. Yoda asks, “what should we do with children. They are a threat to Anakin?” Bail Organa volunteers, “We will adopt the girl (smiles at Amidala), we’ve always wanted to adopt a girl. Your majesty, you will serve as her Nanny on Alderaan and you’ll be safe there.” Yoda questions, “what about the boy?” Obi-wan offers, “to his family on Tatooine. I will go and watch over him.” This also doesn’t deviate the facts we already know. Leia would have memories of her real mother because she was her nanny. Young Padme would still die young but thats a story for another time.
Easy fixes and the story wasn’t drastically changed. It doesn’t impact the sadness at the end of ROTS nor does it cause issues in wrapping up the Prequel Trilogy….
In the documentary, George gives some interesting insight on his film making philosophy. One of those insights: “you don’t have to spend much film time to create an environment.” George continues to say that sci-fi movies are notorious to do this to show off the amount of work and it slows the pace of the movie. Star Wars pulled this off. Perhaps it was simply there wasn’t a budget to do it. Yet, it worked as he said. I don’t need a 3-4 minute fly-over of Manhattan to get a sense the characters are in a big city. But when it came to the prequels, I found George was showing off more and more of the environments: Coruscant, Naboo, etc. The magic of CGI and digital paintings made them great eye candy but the feel of the movies changed.
George also stated, “my effort was to use less exposition and tell the story cinematically.” Again, the prequels are riddled with dialog to tell us where the action is going. The dialog is there to enrich the story – not tell us what we’re looking at: “They went up the ventilation shaft.” “There’s a problem with the main reactor!” Both were just seen only seconds ago. Either George thought we weren’t so bright or he was catering the story to a different audience (more on that later).
The Force was also one of the big issues with the Prequels. George needed to somehow convey that Anakin is more powerful in potential than other Force users / Jedi. But how do you do that? Simple. You make it a scientific explanation. In the previous Trilogy, The Force was a mystical entity, a source for a faith and religion. Yet, in the new Trilogy, it’s all about how many microbial parasites you have in your blood. More exposition. Dialog could have easily fixed this – would have benefited the story not try to explain it. I think this tarnished the mystery and power of The Force.
In the original expanded canon, it was told that Anakin Skywalker married a young queen. This was the mother of both Luke and Leia. We never got a name nor a true definition of her royal line. We really didn’t need it. The mystery was sorta interesting. Yet, now we have the opportunity in the Prequels to explore her character. Yet, is she really a Queen. No. George’s personal political opinion interfered with the fantasy. She needed to be elected to the position because an elected official seems more moral, right? Again, this failed the overall story in a galaxy, far, far away. And by the time she was married to Anakin and gave birth she was no longer a Queen but a simple Senator.
That last example could also lead into another one: changing the previous known canon. In Return of the Jedi, Luke asks Leia if she “remembers her mother, her real mother?” This clearly points to the idea that Leia as well as Luke and Han know she was the adopted daughter of Bail Organa. Could it just be an error in the writing and Luke is projecting his own knowledge toward Leia? Possibly. But why didn’t Leia freak out and say “what do you mean, real mother!?” By the time we got Revenge of the Sith, Padme Amidala died in child birth. So how could Leia possibly remember her. (I know fans have tried to explain this as Force memory) But why did it happen in the Prequels? George could have easily supported what he’d already told the audience.
These are just some examples. Next time, I’ll propose alternatives….
In 1983, Star Wars was finished with the release of Return of the Jedi. The hero’s journey was complete. The redemption of the father was successful and freedom was restored to the Galaxy.
Ten years passed. In 1993, George Lucas, finally pleases fans, stated he would return to do another Star Wars movie (starting a new trilogy). A couple years later, we got some hard evidence that he’s writing and producing this new movie. History noted that the release of The Phantom Menace (in 1999) was the most anticipated movie of all time. Being part of it, I would agree. George’s new movie could have never made a dollar but he would’ve still come out a billion dollars richer just in food and toy merchandizing. I don’t recall a time, then or since, that I saw the Star Wars logo more – Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Burger King ran promotions that had bobbles to collect while we bought value meals no one wanted. Companies like: Hasbro had action figures, Pepsi had collector cans, and Applause had vinyl statues. Not to mention, bed sheets, coffee cups, toothbrushes notepads, keychains, tennis shoes. I bet there was motor oil, toilet paper and dishwasher detergent.
I saw the movie at midnight. I actually saw it 7 times that first day. I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of it. Maybe I was just so desperate for Star Wars I took what I got and loved it on first sight alone. I watch it often – even 20 years later. It isn’t that bad. But, there are a few flaws in it. There is also several flaws in the other two films that would conclude the Prequel Trilogy.
There’s a Star Wars video that I’ve seen nearly as many times I’ve seen the movies. It’s called From Star Wars to Jedi, The Making of a Saga. For me, it was the quintessential behind the scenes documentary and the inspiration for my own creative theory and projects. It was the first time, as a kid and later as an adult, to get insight on George’s philosophy on the story and production. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a better one even today. The only better historical device for the films is the books written by J.W. Rinzler. I recommend any fan to watch.
George Lucas started creating his Star Wars in 1973. After several years, he would finish it with its release on 5/25/1977. He based it on his inspiration of movie serials, like Flash Gordon, and others movies (Kurosawa) as a child living in Modesto California. His enjoyment at the theater is one of the most obvious reasons why George entered film school back in the mid-1960s. He studied anthropology and literature, researched many aspects of mythology, like the works by Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth and Hero’s Journey, in his quest to tell great stories and the eventual creation of his galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars wasn’t straight up science fiction. It was more fantasy set in a universe with technology greater than our own. The story didn’t go so far as to convenience the audience the believability of the technology. Instead it was a simple story of good vs. evil, family truth and the hero’s journey that just happened to have starships. Star Wars was really just a sword and sorcery tale – the first one on film. We had swords: lightsabers. We had sorcery: The Force. Although we had this concept in literature with the likes of JRR Tolkien, there really wasn’t any movies. Not until the 1980s would films be made in the genre later dubbed: Sword and Sorcery! (the rise of D&D also helped but that’s a different topic)
During the creation process, George created fantastical situations like swords of light, armored troopers riding lizards, and sensing presences and life. We just got them. It wasn’t explained how or why it was. We didn’t care (at least my child self). The creator – the author – saw these things and believed them. The story worked because of it. In a sense, it was magic….