By David Beilstein
WHAT can one say about Star Wars?
A cinematic legend — a commercial blockbuster? The return of mythological motifs couched in space fantasy for an emerging generation?
The list goes on.
The breaking news on Monday the Walt Disney Company has purchased LucasFilm LTD for a little more than $4 billion in cash and stock options has met a diverse reaction from industry insiders and the world of Star Wars fandom.
I happen to believe this was the best option for the Star Wars franchise.
Many looked upon the Star Wars prequels made between 1999-2005 as a gigantic letdown. The idea of new Star Wars films, then, anticipates more disappointment for these vocal rebels. Here’s the thing: the lack of excellence in the prequels suffered from tangible causes and effects — all of which, to my mind, do not exist anymore.
Stars Wars episode 7, 8, and 9 allow for new worlds and new character arcs — neither fans nor anyone else for that matter — have pre-imagined.
Lost scribe Damon Lindelof has said some goofy things on Twitter concerning this stew of activity. The cat’s a film and television geek of first rank. His literary skills are good — most of the time — and Lindelof did say something about the Star Wars prequels that should see daylight.
During the promotional tour for Sir Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, Lindelof — a writer on that film as well – explained his problem with the Star Wars prequels — that there was no dramatic possibility in the inevitable.
Mr Lindelof has a point.
From the first shot of Darth Vader — from the first moment Lord Vader’s back-story is explained, via Lucas’ infamous pointer-scenes, millions of fans around this earthy galaxy filmed that back-story in their own imaginations. More than couple times, no doubt.
I know I did — as a kid and as a man.
What the Star Wars universe consisted of — in terms of events and betrayals, of dramas and actions — looked like to get to the opening shot in Star Wars episode IV had been imagined by fans for more than twenty-years.
But George Lucas could only make the films he saw in his mind. And that is where the disconnect arose.
This explains the vast disappointment with the prequels. For me, the prequels version of Anakin Skywalker was nothing like whom I imagined the elder Skywalker to be. I imagined him to be a exciting, swashbuckling version of T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. In Anakin’s world, then, the possible overshadowed the probable, which in turn caused his conversion to the dark side of the force.
Instead, dammit, we got a stubborn, whiny Anakin — felled by love and a mother’s untimely death. A character much too hard to compare to Obi Won Kenobi’s description of Anakin Skywalker to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movie.
But who has imagined things — concretely – after 1983’s Return of The Jedi?
Add to this The Walt Disney Company’s handling of franchises of late like Marvel, Pixer, etc., — where the best and brightest cinematic talents have been forged to create quality cinematic product — one does have reasons for hope. Hope! Add to that squared, Kathleen Kennedy’s stewardship and control over at LucasFilm LTD inspires even more reason to look forward to 2015 without concern.
Kathleen Kennedy has produced some of Steven Spielberg’s best movies. She isn’t going to make terrible Star Wars movies and she will bring the most talented writers and directors into the loop.
It will never be said, but Kathleen Kennedy wants episodes 7, 8, and 9 to be as good — or better — than the original Star Wars trilogy.
I understand the disappointment of the naysayers. Such is natural.
But I actually think, honestly, we could be getting some great Star Wars movies here.