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George Lucas Ruined
My Childhood and
Other Such Non-sense

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Enough With the
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How George Lucas Ruined My Childhood, and Other Such Nonsense

My Thoughts by Tom A. Wright

The Dreaded Jar Jar Binks.  Oh no!

With Disney's purchase of the Star Wars franchise, there have been a lot of online articles on making the next set of movies, and beyond.  With these articles, and sometimes even within them, there is the endless comments condemning George Lucas.  This wasn’t surprising because Lucas was guilty in the past of going back and changing his movies.  If you are a Star Wars fan and haven’t heard about the infamous ‘Greedo shot first’ controversy, than you are clearly not as big of a fan as you think.  (You can find plenty of info on this all over the Internet if you are interested in the details.)  Ever since then, more and more people seemed to jump on the ‘Let’s criticize Lucas’ bandwagon for changes made to the original 3 films.  When the prequels started, the bandwagon became even bigger.  Many older Star Wars fans didn’t like the new movies and were not shy about expressing it.  I can’t even tell you how many times I read or heard someone actually claim that George Lucas had ruined their childhoods.

I can honestly say that Lucas DID NOT ruin my childhood.  Sure, some of the changes he made to the earlier movies left me disappointed.  (Changing the Ewok song at the end of Episode VI is one of them.)  However, most of the changes he did were to improve the special effects to add a greater depth and reality to the movies that he originally wanted to incorporate, but didn’t have the time, money and technology to do so.

Now, just stop and think about that for a moment.  Before George Lucas came around, how many other Hollywood producers went back to films they’d made to try and make them better?  I personally have not heard of any.  On top of that, what most people don’t know is that once Star Wars became so popular that it spawned a huge string of books, Lucas felt a huge obligation to its fans.  He made sure that any author who wrote a Star Wars novel adhered to what already happened in the movies, kept any storyline from contradicting what was to come in the prequels, and also kept consistency from one novel to the next.

For me, the last one was a huge deal.  I have read dozens of Star Trek novels, many of which contradicted other novels.  There was no continuity at all, which many times made the book fail for me. I never had that problem with Star Wars.

The complaints I heard about all the prequels really baffles me.  Sure, the story concepts are completely different.  Episodes IV – VI dealt with our heroes fighting an uphill battle with an evil empire.  Episodes I – III were about the fight to save a democracy.  Two very different story lines.  There was absolutely no way movies about the fall of the Republic could have the same simple, innocence of a black and white fight between good and evil.  I believe therein lies the true animosity of the older Star Wars fans.  When all is said and done, they wanted the simple black and white and felt betrayed when they didn’t get it.  The younger audiences, who didn’t grow up with the originals, didn’t have the same tunnel-vision expectations.  The sad thing is, the older, complainer fans were obviously not paying attention during the heyday of the original trilogy.  Lucas openly talked about his intended story arc of the entire series enough that anyone could have foreseen that the prequels would have to be different.  Hell, I even remember an artist’s rendition of the duel between Obi Wan and Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar in a book of art about Star Wars that came out sometime around Ep. V or VI.  I also remember a quote by Lucas that defined the entire six movies as the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker. 

Lastly, many of these same complaining fans seem to be ecstatic by the news that the new director of the upcoming Star Wars films will be backing away from digital effects as much as possible.  I’ve read many complaints that the digital characters and special effects looked fake.  Really?  Obvious puppets look more realistic?  Plastic X-wing and Tie Fighters flying through space in a formation falsely tight in movement to one another, surrounded by obvious matte lines is more realistic than the fluid, but independent motion of the Jedi Starfighers and the Vulture Droids?  Depthless explosions of plastic miniatures looks more realistic that the ground battle on Geonosis?  Flat sets and obvious matte paintings look more realistic than the Senate Chamber?  A light saber duel on a static set of not much more then metal stairs is better than on a collapsing building falling into a river of lava?  I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with these people.  Sure, if you look hard enough you’ll find an element of two that may not look quite real.  They are far outnumbered by the elements that bring majestic depth to the worlds and aliens of the prequel movies. 

Personally, I love all of the Star Wars movies.  I’ve watched all many, many times.  The one thing I’ve noticed, though, is when I get a hankering to revisit a galaxy far, far away, I have been pulling out the prequels far more then the originals.  I don’t expect to change anyone else’s’ mind who doesn’t like the prequels.  Everyone has their own tastes, and is entitled to them.  My biggest concern is that Disney is listening too much to the whiners, and are not looking at the heart, depth and continuity provided by Lucas.  They need to respect ALL Star Wars movies, as well as the novels that followed. Not only does George Lucas deserve this respect, but so do ALL Star Wars fans.

October, 2013

Tom A. Wright
Copyright © 2012 Tom A. Wright