So… Episode VII. Wow, who ever thought we’d see this day. I haven’t seen it yet, and I probably won’t until the crowds die down some because I’m old curmudgeon at 32 years and I don’t want to sit in a crowded theater with a bunch of damn kids. (Also, thank you damn kids for continuing to read my ramblings) But I for one can’t wait to see General Thrawn, Mara Jade, Jacen and Jaina all on the big screen. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.
However, a thought did occur to me while trying to avoid spoilers in my online perusing: There is no scenario with this new movie in which George Lucas actually looks better to the fan base. Like at all. No matter what the reaction to this movie will be – short term, or long term (because in the short term people LOVED the prequels, and in the long term… well just google ‘Star Wars Prequels’ and see). And that kind of makes me sad.
To elaborate on my point, if the new films are a resounding success (to the fandom, not financially – they are pretty much a guaranteed win financially) then it will be heralded as solid, stone cold proof that George Lucas was an awful and terrible director who ruined his own franchise and it could only be redeemed once firmly removed from his hands. On the other hand, if the movie turns out to be despised and used as a curse the same way “Mass Effect 3’s Ending” is across the internet, then George Lucas will be considered a traitor for abandoning the fans and selling out to Disney whose grubby mousey hands ruined this beloved franchise.
Whoever wins, George Lucas loses and that makes me sad.
Why? Because I think George is one of the more inventive world-builders we’ve seen in the last few decades. That was the true gold of the Prequel films in my opinion and one of the reasons I love them so: they built the galaxy beyond a few space stations, two factions, and planets that are wholly a single biome. While the Original Trilogy was a classic tale of good versus evil, it didn’t leave you with much of an impression about what society was like. We saw a few worlds on the fringes that were barely inhabited if at all. Is that the way things worked? Was the Death Star the seat of government? Then why was it just built? Where does the Emperor live? What the heck was the senate that got dissolved in one line of dialogue? We got glimpses of a much bigger galaxy but saw nothing of it in the scrappy dogfights between a totalitarian government and the terrorists that fought against it. The prequels however gave you that. All of that. It explained how we got to the point of this battle of good & evil, how good intentions sent to the galaxy to hell when guided by someone who wasn’t interested in helping, and it built up the mythos in a way that the original films never even touched. I LOVED the prequels because George Lucas went from a classic hero myth of good v. bad and turned it into something that felt like a living galaxy.
So if nothing else, this post is for you, Mr. George Lucas. Thank you for the galaxy far far away that I’ve spent 32 years enjoying the heck out of (No, seriously, one of the ways I learned to read as a kid was Jabba’s subtitles). And here’s to Disney’s New Trilogy and may it find success and a place in the hearts of fans new and old alike.
May the Force Be With You, and The Force Shall Set You Free.