George Lucas Doesn’t Hate The Fans, He’s Just A Terrible Artist

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.

—-Leonardo Di Vinci

“Star Wars is like a woman who was once vibrant and beautiful but who has had an obscene amount of plastic surgery and hasn’t been allowed to age gracefully.”  —-Some Guy on a Star Wars Forum

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or simply aren’t a Star Wars fan or geek of any ilk, you most likely have been hearing the complaints about the changes made to the Star Wars movies in their upcoming blu-ray release.  Most of the recent controversy has centered around some added bits of dialogue given to Darth Vader during the climactic final battle between Vader, Palpatine, and Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.  In this newest version Darth Vader screams “No! Nooo!” as he picks up his Sith master and gives him the shaft.  A phrase that has already garnered some fan ridicule when it was used in Revenge of the Sith and now has them outraged due to its insertion into the iconic ending of the original trilogy.

Cover of the upcoming Star Wars Blu-Ray

Now many Star Wars fans out there already have several complaints to bring up against Uncle George, the bearded creator.  This recent tinkering with the saga seems to be the straw that infuriated the camel’s core fanbase.  Many other blogs and commentaries seem to imply that they feel George Lucas hates the fans, cares nothing for the Star Wars saga, and thinks that adding to, and messing with, the movies will encourage us gullible fans to shell out a few extra bucks in order to collect a newer version of the films.

But here’s how I see it.

From what I can tell George Lucas does NOT hate the fans of his movies, or think that they are fools.  On the contrary Lucas seems to take quite an interest in the fans and their activities.  He has personally attended several of the Star Wars Celebration conventions and I have personally seen him speak twice.  From all indications he seems actually quite congenial to, and appreciative of, his fans.  One quick example that comes to mind is when Uncle George was taking questions at one of the previously mentioned Star Wars Celebrations, when one particularly stereotypical geeky fan asked a very specific and involved question about buzz droids and particle shielding on Jedi starfighters.  George took a breath and was about to answer the inquiry before the other fans in the auditorium booed the awkward questioner down from the mic.  I remember personally yelling something along the lines of “Ask that kind of shit at a Trek convention!”  George Lucas however said nothing, and simply shrugged as if disappointed he didn’t get to answer.

George Lucas shakes hands with a young Jedi fan

What I’m getting at is that George Lucas could be so much more standoffish with his fans, he could be like the Emperor, mysterious and removed from the people.  Instead he seems to make appearances quite often, has dialogues with the fans, and has even given his take on a few of the popular criticisms about his work.

That’s not to say that George Lucas hasn’t made some mistakes in his work.  I am in no way simply pardoning Lucas for everything just because he takes a few minutes to chat with the fan boys.  Jarjar was waaaaay overdone.  Episode II is terrible.  Han shooting first was stupid.  He shouldn’t have directed the prequels.  And Indiana Jones 4 was total shit (but actually I put most of the blame for that debacle on the other major players involved with that one, Lucas’ story could have been one of my favorite Indy movies, but the execution was atrocious!)

Now onto the idea that Lucas hates the Star Wars universe, or simply has no regard for the established universe that is Star Wars.  I’ve commented on this before in my post about Lucas VS the Fan Boys.  Without repeating myself too much I’ll just restate that I’ve never felt, nor have I really seen any evidence to support the idea that Lucas simply doesn’t care about what changes he makes to the Star Wars universe.  On the contrary I have to say that if you’ve read any interviews with Dave Filoni, the director of the Clone Wars cartoon, or George Lucas himself, you’ll discover that there is quite a bit of thought and effort put into what new elements are added to the Star Wars universe through the cartoons, and film changes, and how those elements fit in with the existing Star Wars realm.  Sure Lucas makes changes to established and iconic scenes, and tinkers with works he’s already completed but I attribute that more to the idea that Lucas is a perfectionist who regularly thinks about how he wishes this or that scene had turned out better.  I don’t believe he makes changes on a whim, but instead foolishly makes these edits based on his current state of mind, and not his original inspired direction.  As a writer myself I can sympathize with wanting to tweak your work to make it just right.  That however has to happen before it is unleashed upon the world.

Which brings me to the last part of my rant.

“Lucas just wants to make a quick buck off the fans by making some unnecessary changes and putting the movies out on a new format.”  George Lucas knows how to make a buck, there is no denying that.  That son of a bitch is the grand master of merchandising and he established the style of promotion and rebranding that keeps a product fresh in the mind of the consumer.  He knows how to stretch something out and get the most from fan expectations and desires.  I’m convinced that the only reason we haven’t seen the live action Star Wars television series yet is because the Clone Wars was far more popular and successful than originally anticipated, so why show all your cards at once?  Get the most of the Clone Wars and when that winds down, ramp up the live action show once more.  Some might say it’s a dick move, but it’s just good business.  Hold onto those good ideas until you need them, and keep the product going.  It’s America, it’s capitalism.  So all our Star Wars dreams aren’t coming true all at once, too bad.

I believe Lucas does what he does in terms of changes, additions, tinkering, etc. because deep down George Lucas is still clinging to his indie film school roots.  Somewhere deep down there is still good in Lucas, he pictures himself as a hipster film geek who praises 2001: A Space Odyssey and Kurosawa movies.  He wants to try to perfect his art however and is afraid to let things go until they are “done right.”  The problem is of course that things are never done right, they’re just done as best as they can be.  As the above quote states art is never finished, only abandoned.  This of course means that George Lucas is a terrible artist in that he just can’t let go.  I’m not saying he shouldn’t have made the prequels or has done too much with the Clone Wars, on the contrary, for the most part, I really enjoy these new segments of the Star Wars saga (glaring annoyances aside.)  It just means that Lucas has to learn to let go.  When he stepped back from the directors chair on the original movies we found that his vision could be fulfilled just as well, if not better, through a different set of eyes.

A young George Lucas with his friend, a young Francis Ford Coppola

It is my theory that George Lucas is not a spiteful person, nor a solely greedy one.  If any maladjustment can be assigned to him I would say he suffers from excessive vainglory.  He wants his works to be the best, and remain the best.  Star Wars, his inarguable pinnacle achievement and best known creation was once the apex of movie making, a groundbreaking achievement in film.  He is slow to relinquish that glory and so attempts to make his art a continual work in progress, slowly adapting the state of the art practices of the present to his masterpiece of the past.  Without a doubt Lucas has been a pioneer in new technologies and styles of film making, but he is unable to completely let go of his pride and the earlier works that got him there.

That is why you fail.

That is all!

Unsung Casualties Of Star Wars

     Oh hello there, welcome back.  I have finally returned with another, if not untimely, post!  I was out of commission there for a few days due to the aforementioned technical difficulties I was having with the ol’ computing machine, and as such I was not able to get this post up for the Memorial Day weekend as I had planned.  Better late than never right?

     Anywho, as you should know by now my all-time favorite movies are the Star Wars films, hell the name of my blog is derived from C-3PO’s dialogue from the movies.  I know the Star Wars saga inside and out, I have particularly great nostalgia for the original trilogy but I also appreciate the prequel trilogy and I certainly don’t offhandedly dismiss episodes I, II, and III as some others might.  As far as I’m concerned the two trilogies represent two very different eras and achievements in film making, not to mention two very different periods in one film makers career.  One thing that I think we can agree all six Star Wars movies do have are wars, after all it would be quite a deceptive title for a movie series without them.  As with any war or series of wars there are a great many heroes on both sides.  Star Wars is chock full of memorable characters who, due to their bravery, strength, tactics, or leadership have gone on to become cinematic legends.  We all know Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.  Who could forget the Jedi generals and separatist commanders?  However those aren’t the folks I’m concerned about with this post, what about the other, lesser known heroes of Star Wars? Those soldiers who fought and died so that the better known big shots could continue the fight for the ideals and principles they believed in.  Those are the heroes I’d like to take a minute to remember, the unsung martyrs of the Star Wars saga.  Here are a few I think are worthy of mention:

Sometimes you get to pilot a fast ship, and sometimes you're dead.

NAME:  Tiree

HOME PLANET:  Corellia

RANK:  Pilot, point, Gold Squadron

CAMPAIGNS SERVED:  Corellia, Yavin

HOBBIES:  Making observations, painting, bird watching

PERSONAL INFO:  Tiree was a valued Y-Wing pilot set as point man for Gold Squadron over other more veteran members of the flight crew. Tiree flew during several skirmishes and was hand-picked to fly the Death Star mission. He was certified on both X-Wing and Y-Wing class fighters, though the Y-Wings are much slower, neither group really came out well from that battle now did they?

DEATH:  Electrocution from disrupted instrument panels after being hit by Darth Vader’s laser cannons. His ship later hit the Death Star’s trench
wall and exploded.

QUOTE:  “The guns. They’ve stopped.”

It takes a real man to apologize, a real dead man.

NAME: Lorth Needa

HOME PLANET: Coruscant

RANK: Captain, Imperial Star Destroyer Avenger, Death Squadron

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Clone Wars, Coruscant Defense, Hoth

HOBBIES: Apologizing, being honest, claiming responsibility

PERSONAL INFO: Captain Needa had an outstanding career and participated in several crucial battles during both the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War including the battle of Coruscant where his ship directly confronted and prevented the escape of General Grievous’ Invisible Hand, the ship that held then Supreme Chancellor Palpatine captive. Needa was awarded several commendations and awards for outstanding service and his family had a proud heritage of military service. Unfortunately for him, awards and clean records can’t capture renegade rebel starships, or even grant him enough prestige for an on-screen death.

DEATH: Force choked by Darth Vader Execution for treasonous acts against the Empire.

QUOTE: “I shall assume full responsibility for losing them, and apologize to Lord Vader.”

Dyer should have installed higher safety railings for the Endor bunker.

NAME: Dyer

HOME PLANET: Ralltiir

RANK: Colonel, Imperial Army, Stormtrooper Corps

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Bestine IV, Deep Space, Endor

HOBBIES: Giving orders, building and subsequently guarding installations.

PERSONAL INFO: Colonel Dyer was never one to play sports as a child, growing up on Ralltiir he was often teased about his inability to catch.  Given the nickname “Lamproid hands” in school (because Lamproids have no arms) Dyer eventually escaped such ridicule by joining the Galactic Empire, where his harsh discipline and desire to prove himself allowed him to flourish as a commander of an Imperial Stormtrooper detachment.  He was eventually given the prestigious honor of constructing and maintaining the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor.

DEATH: Knocked over a railing when hit with a tool box thrown by rebel general Han Solo. Fell into the bunker reactor core and was subsequently killed.

QUOTE: “Freeze!”

Sith Lords only like useful cowards, not nay saying recreants.

NAME: Daultay Dofine

HOME PLANET: Neimoidia

RANK: Captain, Droid Control Ship Saak’ak, Trade Federation

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Clak’dor VII Trade Riots, Naboo blockade

HOBBIES: Worrying, backstabbing, wringing his hands

PERSONAL INFO: Heralding from a well established family, the Dofine clan has held prominent positions within the forces of the Trade Federation for decades. Daultay used his connections and political scheming to attach himself to the fleet of Viceroy Nute Gunray. Dofine was ascending to a position of power within the Federation until his worrisome nature and fear of the supernatural powers of the Jedi got the best of him. Apparently Sith Lords don’t take kindly to being seen as powerless against the Jedi, who knew?

DEATH: After being dismissed from Gunray’s inner circle Daultay Dofine was killed aboard the droid control ship when it was destroyed by some
kid in orbit over Naboo.

QUOTE: “I’m not going in there with two Jedi. Send the droid.”

Corde' had the distinction of not being Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, or Rose Byrne.

NAME: Corde’

HOME PLANET: Naboo

RANK: Handmaiden, Royal Security Forces

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Naboo, Coruscant

HOBBIES: Wearing other people’s clothes, assuming identities, taking bullets, and feeling inadequate.

PERSONAL INFO: Although not officially members of the Naboo Royal Forces all handmaidens are trained in various small arms and hand to hand combat in order to protect the political figures they attend to. In the case of high-ranking leaders such as queens and senators that job description goes into working as public decoys. Some handmaidens assume the identity, characteristics, and mannerisms of those they are protecting, even impersonating their style of speech. Occasionally this of course means these decoys get snuffed by would-be assassins, which is somehow a failure on their part.

DEATH: Corde’ was killed in an explosion on a landing pad on Coruscant near the senate rotunda. The attack was aimed at Padme Amidala.

QUOTE: “I’m so sorry. I’ve failed you Senator.”

Don't talk to strangers kids, or people you know who suddenly have bloodshot yellow Sith eyes.

NAME: Sors Bandeam

HOME PLANET: Coruscant, Jedi Temple

RANK: Jedi youngling, Jakrab clan

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Operation: Knightfall, Defense of Jedi Temple

HOBBIES: Coloring, tugging at heart-strings, naively trusting
others

PERSONAL INFO: Sors began his Jedi career as an infant. The majority of his early life was under the care and tutelage of the wise and powerful Master Yoda. Prior to the clone attacks on Coruscant Sors and his clanmates were beginning to learn about sensing the Dark Side and being aware of impending danger. Unfortunately they hadn’t completed that training module before the issuing of Order 66. When the chaos of the attack on the Jedi Temple started Sors and the other younglings of Jakrab clan were scooted off to the High Council chambers for safety, there only members of the Jedi Council would have access.

DEATH: Sors was brutally cut down with the rest of his comrades by the newly initiated Sith Lord, Darth Vader.

QUOTE: “Master Skywalker, there are too many of them! What are we going to do?”

     Well there you have it just a few of the nameless faces from the Star Wars saga I believe deserved some recognition.  Before anyone tries to start in on me, let me just say that I absolutely mean no disrespect to the real soldiers who have fought, and continue to fight, in wars around the world.  I am honored and have the greatest respect for the men and women of the United States armed forces and I don’t want anyone to accuse me of taking the Memorial Day holiday lightly, this is all in good fun.  I suppose you could say that I simply prefer my wars to be of the fictional variety where none have to actually die.  It’s nice to observe a struggle that I know has been choreographed purely for entertainment purposes and displays a black and white picture of good versus evil which simply doesn’t exist in the real world.

That is all!