May 8, 2008

What About Before The Empire Struck Back?

George Lucas is a hack who ripped off a lot of stories to make him a multibillionaire and has done a lot to piss off the fans he created over the last decade. You know, the folks that made him a multibillionaire?

I'm a fan, yes, but I'm not one of those fans that get orgasmic about everything Star Wars, including the upcoming animated retelling of the Clone Wars.

Yes, it's a retelling of the Clone Wars. The Clone Wars was already told in a microseries that aired on Cartoon Network a few years ago that chronicled the closing moments of Episode II and the opening moments of Episode III. The movie and upcoming series is going to delve into some of the story that the microseries couldn't get into.

Still, The Clone Wars should make for interesting television, but there's a sense of "been there, done that," and after three "prequel" films, the fans have grown weary of the characters.

We know what happened to Anakin Skywalker. We know the Clone Troopers turned on the Jedi Knights and nearly wiped them out. We know Senator Palpatine was Darth Sidious, who became Emperor of the Empire. We know what happened to Padme and who took in her "younglings" afterwards.

But the story is incomplete.

"I get asked all the time, 'What happens after "Return of the Jedi"?,' and there really is no answer for that. The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that's where that story ends." - George Lucas, LA Times, May 7, 2008

That's fine and all, and I'm okay with that. Unlike a lot of people, I can get that Lucas wouldn't want to do another three movies nor any non-published versions of the stories beyond the Ewok Onslaught. The books exist and have the characters moving on facing inner conflict and creating a future generation of heroes.

However, there are a pair of plotholes that need to be filled.

I don't think the story of how the Empire grew to become so oppressive and how Darth Vader grew to power has been told. I know there's a live-action Star Wars series in the works, but the main characters who survived Revenge of the Sith aren't going to be in it, nor will the upbringing of the Skywalker twins be discussed or shown. They're largely going to be populated mostly by characters you never heard of. The prelude to A New Hope will probably never be told.

Nobody cares about the new characters. They want Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2D2, C-3PO, and, of course, Darth Vader. There's hardly any stories about what happened after the award ceremony and before the Battle of Hoth. Did Luke ever understand what happened and occurred in the Death Star battle? When did Han and Leia find themselves drawn to each other? How did the enigmic Boba Fett, son of Jango, find notoriety in the Empire? How did Darth Vader rise to power to command a new generation of soldiers after the destruction of the Death Star (remember, he was second-in-command and largely a glorified soldier prior to the beginning of Empire)? These are questions that could have easily been answered by a new animated series.

But like Joe Quesada, George Lucas's ego makes him believe that he knows what the audience wants. And apparently, he feels that we want more Clone Wars, despite already seeing it animated prior to Episode III's release and in most of Episode III, and none of what happened between Episode IV and V nor what happens beyond Return of the Jedi.


Ellen Yu said...

Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog. I'm glad you liked my animation ^^

I think it is best for everyone if they just stop adding to the Star Wars franchise. Lucas looks up to Kurosawa, but what made Kurosawa so great was he kept reinventing his skills as a director.

I hate the market blandness of sequels. There are so many stories to tell in a lifetime. It's okay to expand on an idea as long as it has an end. There must always be an end to emulate life.

Great article for discussion Jeff :D

VWG said...

I use to think Lucas had my problem. ..I'd come up with a good plot line and get everything set in stone; then a month later I'd come up with something that totally trumps that plot and have to redo the entire thing. This is why I'm afraid of writing my stories down, it'll just end up moot..

But with the praticular brand of crazy that is the Star Wars series, I'm guessing Lucas got too impaticent and went ahead with it before he got the plot settled. That's why he keeps redoing Clone Wars, because every time he doesn't complete it to his liking.. ...Atleast, I think...

Sorry about not being around lately. I don't have a ToonZone account, so I couldn't respond to your blogs about the Upfront. ...and then there's Brawl..

Kris said...

You're more interested in Luke's sandy childhood on Tatooine than Jedis going to war? You are hardcore, sir.

Something set after Episode III would have been a more natural (and probably more interesting) progression, but I think they went with the Clone Wars because of who's available to them in that period. Folks do like those characters. Everyone has a favorite Jedi, even if they only know them as "that blue woman" or "that fish guy." They were background filler in prequels, and the Clone Wars were the only time they got to be cool. Before, they were boring politicians and after, they were, uh, boring corpses. A Clone Wars TV series is a good playground to tell stories with them alongside the more familiar characters.

I don't read them, but two of the Star Wars comics published by Dark Horse take place during both the gaps you wrote about, DARK TIMES (after III) and REBELLION (between IV and V), respectively. I think the stories of Darth Vader, Luke and the other movie characters are kept in the background, though, so that might torpedo any of your potential interest in them.

Oh, and you forgot another missing story: The ultimate fate of Jar Jar Binks. (A Jar Jar diss, I'm so 1999. Hyuck-hyuck.)

E.A. said...

Ellen's right. She has so much wisdom for someone who is so young.

I'm no longer as concerned with what Lucas does to his Star Wars franchise. He can remix and reshoot and re-edit the hell out of anything he wants, and yet he cannot undo the glory of the first three films nor the suckage of the following three. They will exist, in their original permutations, until all film is eviscerated into insignificance.