17 December 2015

The Sadness of King George

George Lucas and some things he made.
No gaming talk today. Star Wars is foremost on my mind.

I feel sorry for George Lucas. He made one of the most popular movie series in history, and the new installment is premiering to very good reviews. Mr. Lucas is not taking part of the fun because this is not George's Star Wars.

Last month he talked about fretting seeing the film which director J.J. Abrams invited him for a private screening. I can see how he feels. He was Star Wars. It was his baby (with a lot of Gary Kurtz, the original co-producer whoquit when Lucas started turning Jedi kid friendly to sell those toys, and the forgotten Marcia Lucas, who helped shape the story and wasthe film editor that saved the Star Wars from obscurity in 1977. After he divorce from George Lucas in 1983 she has been excluded in the official history of the original trilogy, but it was a bad time for them both and he does not speak her name, only referring to her as his ex- when he has to). Now it belongs to Disney and a new era of writers and directors.

After the prequel trilogy, this is not a bad thing. All the new filmmakers grew up on Star Wars and get it, even if the prequels and the changes to the original trilogy show Lucas himself does not get what made the original three so good.

George and Marcia Lucas
Disney, after the purchase of the franchise, let Lucas make a pitch for Star Wars VII. They rejected it and announced they were going in a different direction. Around that time Lucas announced he was “done with Star Wars.” After seeing the new film a few weeks ago he avoided giving his opinion, only that “the fans will love it.” I interpret this as an acknowledgment that a lot of the fan base was disappointed with the prequels, and this is not what he would have done.

Martin Scorsese in on the record saying Star Wars was a terrible thing to happen to Lucas, moving him away from the other projects that could have had him be a great film maker with edgy films similar to THX-1138 or American Graffiti. Instead, Lucas turned to further escapist entertainment: the good (Indiana Jones) and the bad (Howard the Duck), and except for the prequels, giving up directing. Lucas could have done both big-budget fun and serious films, like his friend Steven Spielberg, but Scorsese points out how much Lucas changed in his career goals because of the success. Also, success changed his storytelling goals as well.

Original poster is worth big bucks
We have a past of what could have beens. The Revenge of the Jedi that did not have little teddy bears beating an advanced technological force, which I would have loved. Also, the bad was avoided like young street-urchin Han Solo with his adopted father Chewbacca in Episode III (yeah, that was an idea), or Boba Fett and Vader being brothers. Or Jar Jar, no wait, that happened. Some things cannot be unseen.

It looks like Disney and J.J. Abrams have a hit on their hands. Let's not forget who got us here in the first place. Lucas is an interesting duality that has played out over most of our lives. Let's not bad mouth him, he gave us something we cherish. This is his son going off to college, and he is the dad in the empty nest.

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