Welcome to the final installment of “You are all wrong.” If anyone is still bothering to read this stuff, you must be thinking get to the damn point already and so I will. When I saw Star Wars for the first time I was 3 years old. It is one of my earliest memories as child, and the first movie I remember seeing in a theater. All I really remember from that first viewing was the opening scene with Vader busting through the doors behind all the Storm Troopers and the ending scenes when the Death Star blew up. I was so transfixed by the movie I forgot to eat my popcorn, and in fact had dropped a full bucket of it on the ground without realizing it until the credits rolled.
I cannot adequately express the impact seeing that movie had on my life, but I know I am not alone, those of you who had a similar experience will understand, those who didn’t won’t. I think that is what people don’t get when Star Wars fans complain about what George Lucas has done to the series. They don’t understand that for those of us who saw the first Star Wars movies as they were being released they weren’t just movies. They were emotional touchstones, markers in our lives that helped shape how we viewed the world. There we mystic hermits and reluctant heroes, dark forces that could be overcome by faith friendship and courage. And then- then there were Ewoks.
In the first 2 Star Wars movies Lucas did not yet have total control. He was forced to make some changes… like making Luke a 17 year old kid instead of an 80 year old man, or making Han Solo a dashing pirate instead of some kind of alien human robot hybrid. He was surrounded by people who had the courage to tell him no, and the result was an amazing film. But then he got too big and powerful, once he had a little taste of power he wanted more and more. He took control of every aspect of the films, and surrounded him self with people who would follow his every command without question. He not only used his new found omnipotence to create the garbage that was the prequels, but he went back and “fixed” the stuff he wasn’t allowed to do the first time round. he shoved more and more special effects into the original films and even changed the nature of scenes to better conform to his new idea of what the movies should have been. This is all of course his right, they are his movies and he can do with them as he wishes, but we don’t have to like it and that is where Disney comes in.
We know from the first 2 parts of this post that both Lucas Films and Disney have the ability to make great movies and terrible movies. But here is the thing, Lucas hasn’t been able to make a good movie in over 30 years and there is nothing to indicate that would change over the next 30 years (assuming he lives to be 100). Disney on the other hand has made some good movies in the last 30 years, and since there is such huge potentional for money making madness with this franchise they have lots of incentive to put their best people on the project. See unlike Lucas Films, which relies entirely on one person, Disney can pull from a vast stable of talent when selecting the stewards of the Star Wars franchise. While I didn’t mention this in my best of section, Disney is the owner of Marvel Studies, and they made the brillant discision to hire none other than geek fan favorite Joss Whedon. You know, the guy who brought us such greats as: Firefly, Serentiy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Toy Story, Cabin in the Woods and wrote/director episodes of The Office, Angel, Glee, The Doll house, Parenthood, Roseane… yeah that guy.
So here he is. Our one great hope, a new hope if you will. A writer/director with bonfide sci-fi chops who has a long relationship with Disney. I’ve seen all sorts of names batted around for the w/d role of the new movies, Pete Yates, Michael Bay (god help us) Spielberg (eh), but this one seems the most obvious and the most awesome. And if Star Wars taught me anything, it is no matter how bad things might look at the last moment a saviour might swoop in blast away the bad guys and save the day. “You’re all clear, kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home!”