Sunday, May 31, 2015

31 Day Star Wars Challenge, Day 31: What Would I Say to George Lucas?

Via FAE Magazine
Dear George,

Can I call you George? I mean, I feel like I should be able to, considering how long I have followed everything you've ever created ... which is pretty much for the last two and a half decades of my life.

Anyway, I know I've done a lot of bitching over the past thirty days, and quite frankly, I don't take any of it back. You have earned all of the criticism I've posited in each of my posts, but you're a goddamn adult and should be used to it by now. It's not as if you haven't heard what I've written before, and you've managed to do pretty well for yourself in spite of it. As a matter of fact, you've profited beyond what most people dream of, so I guess you're laughing all the way to the bank. And then to charity, because that's apparently how you roll.

Do I think you ruined my childhood? Nope. I actually hate that concept. It's not like you went back in time and removed the original trilogy from existence. And even though I pull out my hair as I watch the prequels, I enjoy the hell out of them, while gritting my teeth as I admit it. You wanted to make fun movies, and well, you've succeeded there. Now, do I think you lost your way when creating the new films and when you had the opportunity to remaster the originals*? Yes. Yes, I do. Why? Because you didn't have your own real life version of Cordelia Chase or Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ready and willing to tell you when your plan is fucking dumb. Believe me, that is a valuable asset that could have saved you a lot of fan rage, although you can't please everyone. I wasn't even that bothered by your over-reliance on CGI; you got some new toys and wanted to show them off to your friends. But you seemed to forget the magic that everyone connected to when the original trilogy was released. Sure, the dialogue from A New Hope was somewhat clunky - "I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you." - and Return of the Jedi had some tough shoes to fill after the cinematic masterpiece that was The Empire Strikes Back. For the most part, though, there was something magical about your galaxy ... that over two decades later turned out to be populated with people as boring as they were insipid. You took a phenomenally fantastic character like Yoda and morphed him into a literal bouncing frog. You made us wonder why a beautiful, accomplished politician like Padme married a whiny douche bag. You had Darth Vader, a sympathetic character - albeit not blameless - and painted him as barely worthy of survival. He wasn't a tragic villain; he was every elite frat bro who felt the world owed him everything that I loathed in college.

I think you forgot what you are good at, George. You are a Big Idea Guy, who intuitively understands how myth binds us together (much like the Force itself), not the chump who worries about the details**. Instead of relying on people that would have jumped at the chance to work on a Star Wars film - ahem, me, even though I was only a freshman in high school when The Phantom Menace came out, but whatever, semantics - and would have brought fresh, exciting ideas to the table - and plus, now, you would be able to pay them handsomely instead of being on the budget for A New Hope - you chose to 1) write it yourself (which, fine, I guess) and 2) surround yourself with a bunch of human beings who wanted so badly to please you (which, duh, you created Star Wars) that they just nodded their heads when you mentioned Jar Jar Binks. Remember what I said about your own personal Cordy Chase up there? Yeah, that's where she would have come in. You really need a Cordy. Seriously, go watch Buffy, if you haven't already. You'll see what I mean. So much of what was wrong with the prequels could have been solved if she'd been at your side, rolling her eyes and bluntly telling you to go back to the drawing board.

But here's the thing: after all is said and done, the only thing that I can really do is say, "Thank you, sir." You have provided me with endless hours of entertainment, inspiration, and scholarly pursuits. I have made more instant friends by talking Star Wars than I have by conventional means, and there's a certain camaraderie that exists whenever another fan sees me wearing a Star Wars t-shirt, even if no words are exchanged. I find myself constantly comparing other plots, both real life and fictional, to both trilogies - you can ask Three - and I can only imagine that others do the same. I cannot think of a single other piece of fiction that has stuck with me as much as the story of your universe, and that's why I'm so passionate about it. It's why I did this damn challenge, for God's sake. I may have issues with various things - like the portrayal and utter dearth of relatable/likable female characters, for instance - but you still did so much right that I must tip my hat to you. Again, thank you, George, and I hope the new trilogy meets yours and my expectations. Because if it doesn't, I think I may just cry.

May the Force Truly Be with You,

Juju


BACK TO CHALLENGE

* I don't think I'll ever forgive you for taking out Sebastian Shaw and replacing him with Hayden Christensen in the finale of Return of the Jedi. He returned to the Light Side before his death, didn't he? Although, technically, he should have been in his mangled form, but whatever. Aesthetics. 
** I'm joking here. Every person has their own talents, and dammit, they should feel proud of them.
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