I grew up on Star Wars. For many of us born in the 70s, Star Wars served as our path into the Jungian archetypes that help animate the human soul. It connects us all through those heroes and villains with a thousand faces. Star Wars often stretched past mere story, and tapped into tropes deeper than the limits of its childish veneer. The first three films were important when I was eight years old, and they’re important now.
I, like many, are excited about the upcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. We need something good to put down our throats to wash out the bad taste of the prequels.
As a writer of pulp, I wondered what went wrong with Lucas’s last films. They are absolutely dreadful; they don’t even feel like Star Wars: that unique mix of 40s matinee, cutting edge special effects, and The Hero’s Journey. What the hell went wrong?
We get a recent clue from Irvin Kershner, director of the best Star Wars film of them all, The Empire Strikes Back. He stated that things started going wrong on Return of the Jedi (weakest of the original trilogy) because Lucas began to think more about marketing toys than the logical progression of the story, of the myth. In fact, Harrison Ford wanted to kill Han Solo off right in the beginning of Return of the Jedi to show a self-sacrifice, and to keep the audience on edge–they’d never know what to expect if such a key character died unexpectedly early on. Lucas was horrified: less Han Solo action figures to sell.
George Lucas betrayed our mythology–he was consumed by the dark side, so to speak.
When you “tweak” the original films by replacing backgrounds and adding scenes full of horrendous CGI–when you alter who shot who first, changing the feel of major characters on your whims–when you twist the story around to serve your greed over mythology–you lose the right to be High Priest of our collective tribal story.
Mr. Lucas: we are glad that you are gone.
The force–no matter how you tried to besmirch and disrespect the myths, characters, and story that serve as its foundations–will be with us… always.
Sometimes in myths, heroes die. Sometimes good characters turn evil. Mark Hamill rightly believed Luke should turn to the dark side, and was disappointed to learn that would not be the case–again, due to George Lucas. Perhaps the new film can remedy the problem.
Why are silly fans so passionate about these dumb movies? Because myth is powerful. It speaks to us beyond the terrible dialogue and plot holes of the films. Though we are ever grateful to Mr. Lucas’s initial genius with the films (and to his original film editor and wife, Marcia Lucas), we must object, disown, and rail against a betrayal of the myths that touched us, all for sickening commercialism.
By all accounts, the new Star Wars movie re-taps into the original mythos that made the franchise great in the first place. Let Mr. Lucas enjoy his billions from Disney–a small price to pay to keep his fumbling hands out of our childhood dreams.