I was flipping through Netflix last night and wound up watching The People vs. George Lucas, a rather butthurt documentary about fans angry at George Lucas over his ruining of Star Wars over the years. I can agree with some of what they feel, but for the most part, I unfortunately ended up laughing at them. They say George Lucas fucked their childhood. I say you can’t fuck the willing.
I was introduced to Star Wars when I was a kid, my memory is fuzzy as to who exactly did it, but I believe it was our last babysitter (we had many) I had when I was probably ten or eleven. We watched the original trilogy that existed before the special edition remakes that came out in 97. Star Wars, like Star Trek, wasn’t quite a thing for me at the time, because I was still entrenched into comics, cartoons, and video games. It wouldn’t be until many years later when I started really sinking into science fiction that I would come to fully realize what it was. By this time, the special edition remakes were out, so naturally I watched them, and while I was keen enough to pick out most of the changes, that I could remember, I missed many of the changes that fans raged about, like “Han Shot First”. I was still, and still am, more of a Trek fan than Wars, but Star Wars held a place in my life connected to the role-playing game me and my friends in the Scouts played on camping trips through my years living in Indiana. When The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, I went to one of the showings with my mother, I think. She I believe actually saw the films when they came out in 1977, but I don’t think she has the same reaction that fans have of Lucas today. I enjoyed the film for what it was, Star Wars, but when compared to the previous material, something was off, but I couldn’t figure out what that was, and I didn’t bother with it until many, many years later.
I consider myself a fan of many things, games, anime, movies, and so on, but I don’t consider myself a hardcore fan of anything to the point where I feel I have to defend its honor when anyone threatens it. I’ve had plenty of people in my life tell me what I do sucks, or that I am a worthless pile of garbage, and it doesn’t bother me. But when I watch other fans get visibly buttfrustrated over their favorite thing being trashed, I can’t help but laugh a little. I understand their frustration, and can even sympathize, but who cares? I guess being a Gundam fan has really desensitized my need to feel hurt over constant re-writing and changing of the “universe” my favorite show exists in. There have been so many re-writes, alternate universes, re-re-writes, special editions, and so on of Gundam that if you started a thread on /m/ about it, a shitstorm would ensue. People are passionate about what they like, and will aggressively defend it, trash-talk what they don’t like, and try to cut you if you attack what they like. I think it’s downright silly. I’ve watched all three of the new Star Wars films, they don’t make sense in a lot of places, have ambiguous characters and plot points, but they still satisfy that inner child’s desire for lightsaber fights and space battles, the cornerstones of the original trilogy.
What made me really analyze the new movies though was the “Plinkett Reviews” by RedLetterMedia, a series of tongue-in-cheek reviews into why the new Star Wars films were bad not necessary because of the source material, but because George Lucas wrote a shitty story that made little sense, retconned his own universe, and highlighted the fact that the man simply does not give a shit about his fan base, or rather, his old fans. Those movies were made for new fans, for today’s generation. All of the nerds who grew up with the original trilogy and managed to procreate now have kids who they’re steering into the fold. These movies aimed to satisfy those younger minds. The old fans resent that so much it’s funny. Even that panel we went to about raising “geek children” at PAX East a few months ago had a lengthy debate on what order of the movies to show to their kids when introducing them to the Star Wars universe.
I am a geek, have been all my life. But oddly enough I am not compelled to turn my children into geeks in order to satisfy some self-serving need, or to resonate with other geek parents. If my children decide to take an interest in what I like, video games, science fiction, and the sort, I will do my best to respond with what I found good and let them decide for themselves if they agree or not, and if not, simply move on. I think that is a fair way of letting our children develop their own imaginations and ideas rather than forcing them to like what we like just to validate our own egos as parents. As far as George Lucas is concerned, it should be the same thing really. Star Wars doesn’t need ever detail spoon-fed to the viewer, it doesn’t need extra characters that aren’t essential to the story. Your audience will fill in the gaps with their imagination on their own. If you decide to ever make more Star Wars or something, keep that in mind.