It’s not news that I love Star Wars, it’s not news the world loves Star Wars. I by no means believe liking Star Wars is either a substitute for an entire personality, or something unique or even really nerdy. But I also will not pretend not to really fucking love Star Wars, just because it does happen to be the cool thing now.
I am obviously not old enough to have seen the originals in theaters, and yes I saw the prequels in theaters. I was raised by an original Star Wars geek, who did see the movie in theaters. The love for Star Wars in this family is strong, my mother has it, I have it, and now my little cousin has it. Star Wars was something I was raised around. Whether that meant lounging on the life size Ewok teddy bear (this was a promotional item from Frido Lay, and my uncle worked for them) , or shooting my sister with the Millennium Falcon disk shooter. It was a constant. I’ve also had the pleasure of going to three Star Wars Weekends in Walt Disney World. Though unfortunately the last one, we were one week late. The prior week, Billie Dee Williams was there. Though I did get to see James Arnold Taylor, the voice actor behind the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I’ve heard they are stopping those weekends for the time being, which is unfortunate because the Symphony in the Stars was hands down the best fireworks show I’ve ever seen. Fucking fireworks paired with John Williams score, unreal.
This year especially, I’ve gotten even more into Star Wars. Which I think most people have, it’s hard not to when it’s everywhere you go. Disney slapped a logo on anything for this movie. All while still maintaining a fair amount of mystery surrounding the movies. But this year, this year, I dove deep into the wonderful world of Star Wars. I think for people who aren’t into this world, it’s hard to see why people care so much.
These movies and George Lucas, not only changed cinema forever but they raised generations of children and children at heart. They are just movies, but they aren’t to many people. They provide an escape from the world you live in. For 2 hours, you aren’t thinking about everything that’s going wrong in your life, because you’re worrying about everything going wrong in Luke, Leia and Han’s world. For those that grew up with the movies, seeing them all in theaters, they hold that nostalgia. They bring them back to that little 7 year old, wide eyed and excited to see this new film called Star Wars. They represents that 10 year old, thrilled out of her mind that the second movie Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, finally arrived. When they watch those movies, they remember being that kid, and somewhere inside them that kid is still there. That kid that’s been shoved down by the responsibilities and stresses of adulthood, is awoken when those glorious notes of music start. It’s Magic, and it allows you to once again even if it’s just until the credits roll, to believe in magic. Inside every adult is the little kid, the little kid who wasn’t good enough, the little kid who was in the middle of a nasty divorce, the kid who never had friends, the kid who used his imagination to escape his reality. We’re all just children dressed maybe a little better, and a little more cynical. But watching these movies, you can shed that costume. You can believe in the good of people, the light side, the Force. Obama recently spoke about George Lucas and this quote is really great:
“Think about how many young people searching for their place in the universe have thought to themselves, ‘If a kid from Tatooine moisture farm can go from bulls-eyeing womp rats in his T-16 to saving the galaxy, then maybe I can be something special too?’
There’s not a whole lot that has grown and continued over so many generations like Star Wars has. It’s been there for people through many different times in their lives. Many get the pleasure of sharing this magic with their own children now. Recently a dad filmed his son as he showed him Star Wars for the first time, while both questioned filled and adorable, I found something else just as adorable. The dad, had the same look of wonder in his eyes, as his young child next to him. Because no matter how many times you see it, it’s still so special. Sometimes the reason behind its specialness changes. For that man, it was special now because he was getting to share this part of his childhood with his own child. For me it’s special because honestly this new movie has really pushed me through this year. Days where I felt down, I watched Star Wars. I soaked up every behind the scenes or making of documentary there is. Because while the movies are magical, and you can watch and shut your brain off. You can watch and you don’t think that weird giant dog is at all weird, the floppy eared gungan is normal, and that beeping droid is loveable. But when the movie finishes, and the magic seems over. There is more. Just as magical, are the people behind the magic. George Lucas and ILM(Industrial Light & Magic), are insanely talented. The road blocks that George ran into while trying to make the originally trilogy is astounding. From paying a large sum of money out of his pocket for fines associated with running the credits at the end, to making the choice to leave the directors guild. These movies were no easy task, and not were the prequels. The real magic of Star Wars is that it’s so good when you watch it you don’t think about how they managed t o do that effect or scene. You’re so engrossed and entertained you don’t have time to wonder. But if you choose to really look into it, it’s both fascinating and incredibly impressive. Which brings me to George..
I can not even begin to describe surprised I am with every piece of hate I hear about George. People seem to forget that none of this would exist without him. None of this would exist if George didn’t pick up a camera and shoot first. What gets me is that he’s never done anything maliciously. He’s simply done what he’s always wanted, make movies he was proud of. He’s an artist who just wanted to do his art. He wanted to raise his kids. He wanted to donate so much money, because he never wanted this all. yet people still crucify the man, and it’s both incredibly disrespectful and sad. I know people say he doesn’t care because he’s sitting on his billions, but for god’s sake he’s still a human. He didn’t ruin your childhood, he created it, he created a childhood for another generation. The movies were always for kids, with the prequels he was creating the experience you had as a child, for the next generation. when he made the decision to go back and create the special editions, he was doing what he has every right to. He was finally able to create and finish HIS art in the way that at the time was just not available or possible yet. He was able to finished his original vision, and you all have vilified the man for that. If the creator says Greedo shot first then while you can interpret an artist’s work in whatever way you’d like, there is only one true intent and that is always the artists word. All he’s ever tried to do was be an artist creating the work they felt most proud of. So you can say he ruined your childhood but you’re wrong(this is a great article discussing this http://lasvegasweekly.com/ae/film/2015/dec/10/star-wars-defense-of-the-prequels/ ), and step back and think about what it did to his life to have fans of the very work he created turn their back on him? That’s not even getting to the fact that the prequels were actually pretty great. In the way they mimicked movies of the past, and rhymed with the originals. They truly are not only an important part of Star Wars but a good part of Star Wars. As for Jar Jae he is just as impressive, he marked the first time a walking. Talking animated motion capture creature walked about and interacted with real humans. He was very innovative and a big deal. Not to mention the clear inspiration from from both Goofy and Buster Keaton. Now of course, he’s divorced from Star Wars and I hope he’s getting to do those experimental films his heart desires. I hope he can enjoy his new museum and his young daughter. George, you certainly aren’t reading this, but I want to say thank you. Thank you for creating the art you wanted to, for pushing through all you did push through to create a world that brought and will bring many generations joy. As a creative person there’s few things worse than having to make anything that doesn’t feel like it’s you. Maybe not everyone gets that you weren’t trying to do anything but make good things and innovate, and maybe people will always be unfair to you. But me, although an irrelevant human, admire and thank you. Meesa thinks you rock.
I am genuinely a bit nervous for JJ, and the wrath (of Khan ;)) that he could face. Yet still, I think if he failed, I’m not sure he’d ever face the hate Lucas did. I have faith this movie will be good. Will it be the movie that George once envisioned, no. Is that better? I don’t think its inherently either. I think that George’s vision would have been true to the Star Wars story, and would have been nice to have him finish it out. But he’s not. And the story JJ and the following writers, producers and directors along with Kathleen Kennedy, is the story do Star Wars that will be the story of a generation. These are the stories my little cousin Brayden, will watch and then watch with his kids one day. Sure he may look up to Luke now(and hates Han), but I think he’ll grow up, thinking about Finn and Poe. Because at its heart, that’s what Star Wars has and always will be. Stories of families, and fathers, and good versus bad. Stories that carry you through you childhood, well into adulthood. And leave you as a a 50 something year old, making lightsaber noises.
With 4 days to the premiere, I hope you all got your tickets and are building excitement. I hope you can enter that theater and in the dark strip away layers of anger and skepticism and just enjoy the movie. Forget the world and just let the movie carry to the place the movies, books, tv shows and toys always have, to a galaxy far far away.