Archive for influences

A Moment That Made You Question Whether You Would Continue

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 18 July 2013 by Megan

This question is easily the one that got me started doing this challenge, and this challenge is why the blog still exists. Yes, there was a moment that made me think I was done and quitting, and it was a very recent moment.

It started when Disney bought Star Wars. I didn’t really care about that because George Lucas had been letting other people ruin his masterpiece for years, and Disney and Star Wars have been in bed practically since the beginning. I don’t understand why because Star Wars is most certainly not for little kids, but there you are. (Heck, I wouldn’t expose a little kid to Disney, if it boils down to it.) And even though I have loathed Disney since I was like seven years old, it really was no skin off my nose who owned the franchise. I figured it would mean lot more crappy Star Wars-themed cartoons — Lucasfilm had gotten big on that — but, well, I’d been handling that for  years.

But when I heard the announcement that the new Disney Star Wars film was going to be “Episode 7,” I closed down my browser and walked away. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t handle it. I know that back in the 70s, as the ambitious bearded fellow worked on his first low-budget film no one thought was going to go anywhere, he was talking four trilogies; Mark Hamill reported that in 1976, George was predicting “Episode XII” with Luke playing the aged mentor role. Yet in Alan Arnold’s 1979 book, Lucas’ “three trilogies” described only the arc we see in the six films, meaning he only ever had one story to tell without knowing how many films it would take to tell it. Also, for my entire life — I had a quotation from 1984 and can’t find it now — but from the year before I was born all the way up to  the 2010s, Lucas was not only saying he didn’t want to make any new Star Wars movies, but that he “only ever planned for six films.” Obviously, since he’d mentioned up to three trilogies, what that meant was he had only ever planned the story arc of Anakin’s fall and redemption. He’d told that story. He had no intention of telling any more; that’s why he turned things over to the Expanded Universe:

“There really isn’t any story to tell. It’s been covered in the books, and video games, and comic books which are things I think are incredibly creative” — George Lucas, Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2008.

And that had been in his mind for a long time. I have a clipping from a 1999 USA Today in which Lucas says he’s too old to make another Star Wars trilogy even if he wanted to. And he felt strongly enough about this that in 2010, it was even in his will forbidding anyone to make any more Star Wars films.

So when I heard the words “Disney-backed seventh Star Wars film,” my stomach turned. I couldn’t go anywhere on the internet or do anything I usually do without being confronted with it, and it made me sick to my stomach. Not only was it a complete betrayal of my sensibilities — things must end, and it’s good they end! — it’s turned Star Wars into a travesty like Land Before Time or Friday the 13th, strings of mediocre, money-grubbing sequels. Furthermore, the entire original cast coming back makes me feel fairly ill. Do you know what we loved about Han Solo? The fact that he wasn’t 75. I don’t want to see an aged Harrison Ford, who doesn’t even like Star Wars, crawling around mutilating his old role. Didn’t they learn anything from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? People are going to loathe seeing an elderly Han Solo.

Geriatric Wars

This about sums it up.

Speaking of people, this is where I got really sick of the whole thing: inexplicably, everyone on the entire internet is thrilled about this development. Now, here’s something you know about me: I love Episodes I-III. I love them, I love to watch them,  to curl up and cuddle with them, to think about them and look at pictures from them and buy products dedicated to them. However, all Star Wars fans know that the “stereotypical” (or at least the most vocal) Star Wars fans don’t. They love to complain, whine, hiss, claw, and curse about them. They love to burn Jar Jar in effigy and scream outrage at new CGI and bad dialogue. They also loathed Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

To me, this makes it obvious: if a person hates new Star Wars films and late Indiana Jones sequels, they are obviously going to hate new Star Wars movies, especially ones backed by a corporation as cash-hungry and research-ignorant as Disney. And yet I see no evidence that people realize this. I realized that all Star Wars fans want to do is anticipate a new movie, and the fact that they are going to hate the new movie has nothing to do with it. People who saw A New Hope in theaters have, generally hated every new Star Wars movie since (Ben Burtt reports that Empire Strikes Back was unpopular with the fans when it came out) and yet they still have the cognitive dissonance to froth at the mouth for a new one, which they are only going to turn around and hate.

I heard some truly chilling things. For example, someone shocked me to the core by saying that Episodes 7-9 would redeem the mistakes of the prequel trilogy, and if they failed, “we’ll just have to wait for Episodes 10-12 to fix it.” My jaw hit the floor and then I had to pick it up quickly to keep from vomiting on my keyboard. Yes, I was upset enough to feel pretty physically ill.

So I was done with Star Wars. The fans made no sense anymore. I was embarrassed to be seen with my new purse because people would keep asking me if I’d heard about the “new movies,” and the idea of new movies made me feel so sick I had trouble being polite. I couldn’t stand thinking about it. For the last year, I’ve felt as though everything I love has been brutally taken away, and with as much as Star Wars means to me, I just couldn’t handle it. I decided to quit: to pack it all up, pack it all in, and retire this blog.

Then I couldn’t figure out how to archive the blog without deleting all the content and at the same time found this challenge. And in doing the challenge, I have re-remembered how much I love Star Wars,  and how much it means to me — and I have remembered and realized that no matter what idiotic thing George does with it (ridiculous edits for the bluray, allowing the devil to make endless crappy sequels), no one can take away from me what I have from Star Wars, because my Star Wars is my own. And so here I am.

Star Wars movie poster

I still love you forever.

By the way, no: nothing will ever induce me to see the new films, just like nothing has ever induced me to read NJO. “It’s got to end somewhere, George” — Canon’s canon. For the first time, I see the point of this shirt, and want one so badly —

This is not an endorsement of this webcomic

This is not an endorsement of this webcomic

Something You Wished Would Happen But Never Did

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , , , on 21 March 2013 by Megan

What I really lament are all the missed opportunities for really integrating the films. They can really be extremely separate, and yet there’s no reason for this. Lucas put together a puzzle, but left off all the edge pieces. I wish, before writing the Prequels, that he had sat down with the Original Trilogy and a notebook, and written down everything everyone ever says about pre-ANH happenings, dates, ages, events, and then referenced or incorporated it in the scripts for E2 and E3. This is where the OT filmography is clearly more masterful, because there are moments in ANH that clearly wink at E3, which hadn’t even been made yet! It would be so easy for E3 to reference ANH, but it doesn’t! The absolute, bare bones, cement floor least Lucas could’ve done was establish a sensible timeline of minimum 22 years between E3 and ANH. As it is, he simply demonstrates he has no idea how aging works.

Missed opportunities between the prequel and original trilogy are rife, such as the relationship between Bail Organa and Obi-Wan Kenobi (“years ago you served with my father during the Clone Wars); the hint that Luke and Leia were born on Dagobah (“something familiar about this place — I feel like –” [I’ve been here before?]); and even Obi-Wan’s reputation, as Tarkin knows the name, and Vader’s hardly the reminisce-over-beers kind of guy. But they’re not the only missed opportunities I mourn.

The most glaring of all these missed opportunities is the relationship between Episode II and Episode III. E2 is universally accepted as the weak stepchild of the series, but so much of that is caused directly by things that never take place in E3! Attack of the Clones really didn’t unravel until the next film refused to pick up the threads. The weak places in both could have been negated if they had been approached as the same film split in two instead of as two separate films. Unfortunately, what we’re left with is a lot of untapped potential.

As the most obvious example, I present the huge mystery set up in E2 about who deleted Kamino from the Jedi Archives.

“Clear your minds” is Lucas’ mantra for a reason.

OBI-WAN: Master Yoda, who could delete information from the Jedi Archives? That’s impossible, isn’t it?

YODA: Dangerous and disturbing this puzzle is. Removed the data, someone must have, but who and why? Meditate upon this, I will.

— ten minutes earlier —

JOCOSTA NU: I hate to say it, but it appears that the system you’re looking for doesn’t exist. If an item does not appear in our records, it doesn’t exist!

Yes, who? The suspense is killing us! Ahem. I thought about and discussed this aspect of the movie for three years, only to find it was utterly forgotten and never addressed in Episode III, despite the enormous implications. Probably this forgotten plotline is one of my biggest regrets for things-that-didn’t-happen. Jocasta Nu’s over-quick denial, unhelpful demeanor, and (omitted) crush on Count Dooku all suggested that she was on the Separatist’s side. (While archivists are generally unhelpful even in real life — I learned that in library school — she’s over the top.) There is a lot to unpack in this whole thread, and I wish Lucas had taken it there. Even her name, Jocasta, after the wife-mother of Oedipus? There could have been so much more!

Episode III just starts too in medias res, you just can’t grasp what’s going on. I mean, I love the beginning of that movie, I really love it, but the prequels are so individualized, nothing draws them together or with the OT. The missed opportunities are pretty sad, things Lucas forgot, but I didn’t. George, I don’t forget. It makes for a lot of chaos, but the overall strength of the films make up for their obvious weaknesses — which is also true about the original trilogy, though that’s something the fanboys don’t like to notice.