I have complicated feelings about George Lucas. Really complicated feelings. Sometimes I think, “I don’t like him but I respect him” and then I’m like, “But I don’t respect him much either.” And then I go, “no, this feeling is definitely respect, but I don’t think much of him.”
I own a shirt that says Show us on the trilogy where George hurt you, which, unlike the creators of the shirt, I got in 2014 to express my bitter disappointment over his selling the franchise to “white slavers” (his term). They made the shirt because they’re whiny babies about the prequel trilogy, but I think it sums up my betrayal far better. At the same time, though, I have a shirt boasting George Shot First.
I don’t know the man; I’ve never met him. These are impressions gleaned from behavior, interviews, biography, etc. But it seems to me that George Lucas is a egotistical control freak with social anxiety and no leadership skills. And if that makes you mad, keep in mind that we’re all humans and have flaws. I’m not criticizing him for his personality. He also has a stunning imagination, more knowledge of film than I could ever gain in a lifetime, and a filmmaker’s vision I could no more aspire to than I could aspire to paint the Mona Lisa. His ability to force control of everything in filming the PT resulted in weaker films than they should have been, but that’s balanced by the fact that the OT is weak in its own ways. So what? I’ve said it before: Star Wars is a coloring book. He gave us broad strokes and we can fill it in how we like. That’s the magic of it. That’s why it has universal appeal.
Even though I don’t like George Lucas very much, I’m awed by his accomplishments and I love his work. I have semi crippling social anxiety myself and know he must be some kind of hero level boss in order to overcome it and produce these films; and lest I become guilty of divorcing the trilogies from the EU, let me acknowledge that the EU ALSO CAME FROM GEORGE LUCAS. This was all his idea, his gift to fans. What did “fans” give him? Bile. A decade of harassment and derision.
I think he was manipulated and deceived into selling the Wars, manipulated like the Jedi Council by Senator Palpatine. And when he was tricked into selling his child to white slavers (as he stated in a 2015 interview Disney tried to hush up), the people who should have stood by him cheered instead. And now he’s had to helplessly watch as people who should have been his friends methodically shred his legacy and leave nothing but ashes and bones like a moisture farm after a Stormtrooper raid.
He deserves better. He deserves to have a true legacy, deserves to be allowed to retire. His mistakes should be acknowledged, but they also shouldn’t be held against him forever. We all have mistakes; ours are shrouded in privacy he’s denied.
So I’m setting aside one day a year to thank him. I’m setting aside the last Thursday of May to send him a thank you letter — the last Thursday in his birthday month, the month that gave us his films, the six greatest movies in the world. I think you should write to him, too. In fact, here’s a form letter you can use.
And here’s mine. My letter which should’ve reached him today — a true fan’s open letter to the creator of the Galaxy Far, Far Away. In celebration of the First Thanksgeorging Day.
May 23, 2016
5858 Lucas Valley Rd.
Nicasio, CA 94946
Dear Mr. Lucas,
I’m writing you this letter for a holiday called “Thanksgeorging Day.” It’s an obvious play on “Thanksgiving Day,” celebrated on the last Thursday of May, the month all Star Wars fans set aside to celebrate this wonderful and amazing thing you gave us.
I’m writing to thank you for that. Thank you so much for creating the Star Wars universe. You must have heard this many, many times – but I know you’ve heard other things, less positive things, nasty things as well. I want this holiday to drown out some of that negativity. I hope you can hear the voice of the muffled majority, your fans, the real fanatics who love what you did and are grateful for what you gave us.
It’s the truth: you gave us something no one else did – or could. The spark in your imagination that somehow combined space adventure with mythology and classical themes became a fire, and that fire in turn sparked our imaginations, too.
You once said in an interview that you made films that pleased you, and you were surprised and pleased that they delighted others, too. I just want you to know how much it means to me. Return of the Jedi woke something up in me, gave me my first passion, and the way Star Wars has shaped my life, I think it’s safe to say what you did has helped me become who and what I am today.
It’s not just the films, not just those six pieces of art that defined imagination for generations. It’s the expanded universe you also created, the stories you inspired, the characters you breathed to life and set on journeys written by others. There’s not a day that passes without me thinking about my friends from Star Wars – Luke Skywalker, so much like myself; Qui-Gon Jinn, so much how I’d like to be; even background characters that took on lives of their own, from Wedge Antilles to Lobot.
Your universe has been an encouragement and a pleasure to me when I most needed it. You’ve given me things I can never thank you enough for – but thank you for this universe, for inviting us to join you in it. I’m sorry you’re no longer a part of it, but your Star Wars will always be the (only) Star Wars to me. I just want you to know what a great gift you have given me and fans like me.