Hello all!!! So, today we bring you a great article from my good friend Jordan Duncan. He brings his take on the complete Star Wars saga that to some are controversial, but nonetheless valid. I am honored that he is willing to share this piece on the site. He is an amazing writer, and I hope this will not be the last we hear from him on It's All In My Head (the ball is in your court Jordan ;) ). So, if you like what you see head on over to his personal site here to read some more amazing pieces. Enjoy!
I should put a disclaimer. This isn’t a rant on Star Wars, it’s a rant on people who rant about Star Wars.
Gear up, it’s a long one.
I’m a Star Wars fan. I’ve been a Star Wars fan since the age of 12. I knew of Star Wars since I was about 5 or so. Funny side story, my introduction to Star Wars was Return of the Jedi. My father was watching it on TV one evening and all I remember was asking him what he was watching and he replied, “Star Wars”. I also remembered the bear-like Ewoks. So, from the age of 5 to about 12 I thought Star Wars WAS Return of the Jedi and only Return of the Jedi. I had no idea two other movies exists. But I found out about them, then I watched them, and that was my real introduction to Star Wars.
It was like a whole world of sci-fi was opened up to me. I lived and breathed Star Wars. Hey, I was 12. I ate that stuff up. I started collecting the figures, and bought the movies on VHS. But alas, this isn’t a stroll-down-memory-lane post. This is more of a people-need-to-stop-taking-things-so-seriously-and-realize-it’s-just-a-movie post.
First off I should say, I love Star Wars. LOVE IT! The original trilogy has been some of my favorite movies since I was 12 and it holds a special place in my heart no matter how many “updated” versions comes out. Yes, I remember loving the original theatrical versions. And I saw the “Special Editions” when they were released in the theater in the 1990s. I remember loving those as well. Now, I was in my early teens and I realized that many people liked Star Wars, but I was unaware how much dislike was garnered towards George Lucas for changing things until I was in my early adulthood. I started hearing things like “Han shot first…blah blah blah…it makes him less of a badass….blah blah blah…The Jabbas Palace dance scene was stupid..blah blah blah..” I really didn’t pay it much mind. I still thought the special edition of the trilogy wasn’t bad (Though since then I have changed my view on Han shooting first, It was a pretty bad idea)
Then the prequels started to come out when I was in high school. I realized that it was Anakin Skywalker’s story and not Luke’s. I knew I was getting in to something different. And it was. It was very different. But I felt that the core idea of Star Wars was still there. Sure the movies had some minor problems as far as acting goes. But that was it. Well, maybe that and Jar Jar Binks. I know that he’s one of the most hated characters in the Star Wars Saga, but with as hated as he is, he’s there for a reason story-wise. But Jar Jar isn’t the point. There are actually interesting parallels between these prequels and various mythologies from different cultures. Lucas based the idea of both trilogies off of author Joseph Campbell’s idea of the hero’s journey in the book “Hero With 1,000 Face. I’ve read this book and it’s one of my favorites. Check it out.
On to 2004. The Original Trilogy was released on DVD. Finally. Fans were waiting for this but were also slightly irked that it was the special edition and not the theatrical edition being released. They still bought it. Then word got out that Lucas further changed some things in this set from the previous special edition set. Namely digitizing Christensen in over Sebastian Shaw at the end of RotJ. At first I didn’t care because I finally had Star Wars on DVD. But then I saw it and I didn’t care for it. It just didn’t make sense to me. But I let it go. Whatever. I didn’t bitch and moan like others did.
Then 4 years later, in 2008, after much bitching and moaning from the fans about wanting the theatrical versions on DVD, it was finally released. Lucas threw the fanboys a bone. Not only were the theatricals released, but each movie came in a 2 DVD set of the theatrical AND the special edition. You had both versions of each movie. That way you could watch whatever version you wanted. Finally, I thought the bitching would stop. But it didn’t. People still griped about the damn prequels. They had what they were asking for, but felt the need to find something else to boo-hoo about so they reopened old wounds, so to speak.
Then the Blu-Ray set of the entire saga was released. And of course keeping with tradition, Lucas changed a thing or two here for this set. But in addition, he put a lot of cool extras on the set. Again, fanboys bitched. “It didn’t have this… The set didn’t include that…I wanted this.. blah blah blah”. I’ll go so far as to say that, yes I was bummed out that the set didn’t include theatrical versions only because a Blu-Ray disc can hold a lot of information and all 3 theatricals could have probably fit pretty easily on one blu-ray disc. But you know what, I’ve got the theatricals on DVD, so it was not a big deal. But that was my one and only complaint about the Blu-Ray set and it was such a minor one that it didn’t bother me.
Before I carry on I should say this. I understand. I GET it. I get why people are angry about this movie franchise. I get why people feel the need to bitch. I get that people feel like some of their childhood movies are being cheapened. I get it. I totally do. I love Star Wars as much as those people do. And yes, I do think it’s a little on the ridiculous side that with each format the movies are released on, something else “needs” to be changed. However, I’m just tired of the nerd-rage, tired of the geek rants, tired of the bullshit of people not letting something be as it is. Admittedly, I was also part of this hatred-ridden group of people at one point in time. But the more I thought about it, the more I found myself asking “What is the point of having all the animosity towards something that I can’t change? Why should I care?” My options are open. If I want to watch the prequels, I can. If I want to watch the Special Editions, I can. If I want to watch the theatrical editions, I can. What is the point of hating it? If I dislike something, I have the option of not watching it.
I had someone at work the other day attempt to start an argument with me about the prequels vs the original (theatrical) trilogy. I didn’t really argue back per say, but I did let my opinions be known. I told her outright that I felt the prequel trilogy wasn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be and that nothing will ever be able to touch what is the original trilogy. She then said something along the lines of “Yeah, but remember when you first watched the original trilogy, you were immersed in this world and lost yourself in it…” Then she just kind of left without me replying to what she said like she won this argument I didn’t know we were having. I don’t know what irked me more, the fact that she was being so fanboy/ fangirl biased or the fact that she left without hearing my point of view that she probably wouldn’t have agreed with. But I thought about it after she left and this is my answer to that question (This goes for the prequels and the Clone Wars animated series. Which is actually pretty good).
Do you remember when you first watched and got into Star Wars? I think it’s a safe bet to say that you were pretty young of age. We all were. Since we were young we were able to lose ourselves in anything we watched or read, not just the world of Star Wars. That’s why the prequels and the Clone Wars saga are so popular today amongst the younger crowd. Whereas we were first introduced to the original trilogy and loved it, children are being introduced to Star Wars via the prequels and the Clone Wars, and they love it. It’s no different from when we were young, really. We as adults over analyze movies whereas we as children were overcome by “movie magic”, so to speak. And as far as the changes to the original trilogy, it is what it is. You have two options: You can either deal with it, or you can not watch whatever version you don’t like. It’s that simple.
The long and short of it is that all this fanboy bitching and moaning will not change anything. It won’t make the prequels go away, it won’t make the special editions go away, it won’t change Lucas’ mind on how something is released [NOTE – At the time of this blog’s original posting (12-29-2011), Disney had not acquired Lucasfilm]. The Star Wars movies are his babies. He can do with them as he pleases whether if it’s for this reason or that. These movies will be released, re-released, re-re-released, and re-re-re-released however many times he wants to. He has the right to do whatever the hell he wants to them. However, you also have the right to not buy or watch them.
If one’s entire existence revolves around Ewoks blinking, Boba Fett’s voice change (which I’m sure Boba Fett fanboys had kittens over), Darth Vader’s “NOOOO” in RotJ, or any other kind of change to these movies, then maybe they need to get out more. And if anyone has lost any sleep over any of these things I’ve listed congrats, they’ve officially become that nerd-boy from Robot Chicken. They’re movies. They’re there for entertainment. They’re there for an escape. I understand there is an art to script writing and telling a story, but that’s not really my point. One doesn’t get paid in life to examine Star Wars unless you are Lucas or on Lucas’ staff [Note – And now Disney Imagineers]. They’re there for fun. Again, you can either accept it and deal with it, or not watch it. All six of these movies mean different things to different people. If you don’t like it, that’s OK. But if you do enjoy them all, hey guess what? That’s OK too. There’s no point in being angst-ridden about them because that won’t help you out in real life. With as much as I love the movies, they are just movies. It’s not that big of a deal.
How about we enjoy these films for what they are as opposed to hating them for what they aren’t?
May the Force Be With You.