April 15th, 2011 | By: Michael Sheridan
I think it’s time to bury the hatchet. Let by-gones be by-gones. It’s all water under the bridge. Why cry over spilt milk.
In other words, get the fuck over it already.
I’ve been a Star Wars fan my entire life. Saw the original film more than a dozen times when I was a kid (and that’s when it was still in theaters). Seeing Empire Strikes Back at the Zigfield in Manhattan is a lasting memory for me. And Return of the Jedi was an epic experience and a sad time, because I knew that the ride was over. Star Wars had ended.
Oh, how little I knew in 1983.
First there were comics, then books, then the biggest news of all time: George Lucas, the master of the galaxy far, far away, was going to make more Star Wars movies. A new trilogy that would explore the Clone Wars and the era before Luke, Leia and Han Solo.
What an exciting time. The speculation was rampant. Internet rumor-mongering and leaks were not exactly at the state they are now, but things came trickling out. Images of tanks and droids, small nuggets of information about the movie.
Then, in 1999, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace arrived on the big screen. So what that every critic thought it was terrible, it was Star Wars mother fucker!
That opening weekend should have been a glorious time. It should have been the beginning of a new age of Star Wars adoration. What it became was the beginning of something else. Something twisted and evil.
The age of Lucas Hatred.
Everywhere I turned there were geeks in brown cloaks with their lightsabers hanging limp and lifeless. Everywhere there were dorks wearing stormtrooper armor smashing their helmets. Lifelong fans were burning their action figures and selling off their once envied Millenium Falcons at the nearest flea market.
And each of them were seething with anger and venom for the man they once called hero.
“George Lucas raped my childhood!” they whined.
Well… guess what? No he didn’t you nerf-herder. Lucas did something else, he made a movie that wasn’t really all that great.
He then went on to do it again with Episode II – Attack of the Clones. He nearly did it a third time, but Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is mostly good.
Yet years later, the hatred is still there. Still simmering. Still dished out by supposed fans who have grown bitter and old. Who have lost touch with their affection for films they once adored because they didn’t quite connect with the most recent additions to the lore.
Now, I’m not looking to make excuses for the prequels. I most certainly don’t hate them like so many others, but I recognize they generally pale in comparison to the original trilogy.
Do I wish they had been better? Sure. If I had been given the opportunity, would I have done them differently? Of course. But regardless of what many fans have argued, Star Wars doesn’t belong to me. I don’t own the stories simply because I’m a fan of them.
Star Wars is George Lucas’ domain, and he’s free to do with it what he chooses. You can elect not to like the direction he’s taken it, but to bitch and whine that he’s “raped my childhood” or some other nonsense is ridiculous.
And let’s really think about those original Star Wars movies. The prequels were plagued with some pretty lame acting, some terrible dialogue, and some questionable plot points.
Know what? The original trilogy had those things, too. You telling me Mark Hamill was flawless in Return of the Jedi? You saying that the dialogue was outstanding in those movies?
Come on. All the crap that pissed everyone off in the prequels can generally be found in the original films. The only difference is that we fans don’t see those movies quite the same way because we saw them as kids. We saw the prequels as adults, with an adult perspective.
Even so, the originals are still superior.
Of course, the new found hatred for Lucas isn’t just a result of the films. They also extended to his business practices. The release of multiple versions of the movies on VHS and DVD (and now Blu-ray). The marketing of toys and other knick-knacks. The games and toothpaste.
Again, all things that he did when the original films came out. In fact, much of the modern marketing practices in the film industry can be drawn back to the first trilogy. Reaching out to fans, developing toys, tie-ins, advertising, sound tracks. You name it, he made sure it happened back then.
My lord, he did a fucking holiday special for christ’s sake.
Lucas was a pimp from day one. Nothing has changed. The man has found ways to milk Star Wars for every penny, and he’s been doing it since before 1977. And all those fans spewing hatred would likely still be lapping it up if he hadn’t gone and made a few movies they didn’t quite like (and then had the nerve to make changes to the ones they did).
Now, more than a decade removed from the initial release of The Phantom Menace and years past the motion picture premiere of Episode III, fans cling to that hatred like it has value. Like it’s hip. Because only cool geeks hate Lucas.
Give me a fucking break.
People who hate Lucas were the ones who were silly enough to think the dude was perfect in the first place. And now they hate him because hey, that’s what every self respecting geek does these days.
Well, that’s just stupid. So I’ll say it and I’ll say it with pride: I DO NOT hate George Lucas. I’m not going to waste myself being bitter and angry. I’m just going to enjoy Star Wars as a fan, because despite all the crap and parts of it I don’t like (Han shot Greedo first, bitches!), I’m still glad to have it around. Still glad to have experienced it as a kid. And still happy to watch it again and again.
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