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« Alternate Star Wars: F--- it! Hes Luke Skywalker. | Main | The Force will NOT be with you always »

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FDChief

I'd say that there's at least a hope of seeing your Arthurian Star Wars because its creator isn't writing it. Lucas' greatest failing as a writer is his (so far as I can tell) complete inability to envision a world where good people do atrocious things for what seem to them to be perfectly good reasons.

One of the reasons I liked Karen Traviss' work on her Republic Commando series is that she really explored the whole moral dilemma presented by a supposedly-noble semi-monastic order of galactic peacekeepers leading a slave army. Her version of "Order 66" was an order of magnitude more interesting than Lucas'. In his version the clone troopers were robots who were - again - enslaved to a "control chip" in their heads. In hers, they were good soldiers obeying the lawful order of their Commander-in-Chief who had been the subject of an attempted Jedi coup...

Whenever presented with a similar sort of moral problem Lucas' answer has almost always to make the "bad guy" bad. At least here Kylo Ren appears to have some more dimension to him than the Sith characters outside Vader, so, hopefully, there will be a bit more adult moral complexity than the usual Lucas space opera.

But adult sexuality? Good luck. Expecting grownup sexual mores in a Star Wars film is like expecting grand opera from Care Bears. It ain't gonna happen and if it did you might wish it hadn't...

FDChief

...and I should add that if Adams' work in Star Trek is an indicator of his take on adult sexuality, well...umm...

FDChief

And while we're on the subject...Princess Unchained

TheRagingCelt

FWIW: Abrams isn't doing the next one. Rian Johnson (BRICK, LOOPER.) is.
As far as flashbacks go, I wouldn't expect any simply because the movies have never had them.
My guess is that Luke's backstory is going to be filled out in novels and/or a standalone movie down the line.

BetterYeti

I was 11 when I saw Star Wars (refuse to call it "ANH") on opening weekend with my older brothers. Embarrassingly life changing at the time. I still date my youth pre- and post-Stars Wars. So I can't adequately express the feeling when I saw my daughter -- who is a very mature and unsentimental 14 yo -- had changed her iPhone wallpaper to a picture of Rey.

Really enjoyed The Force Awakens and can live with the most common criticisms. My biggest quibble is that J.J. seemed to make the galaxy a very small place. In his version, the Kessel run should be measured in kilometers.

Kaleberg

Star Wars wasn't exactly life changing, but it was a pleasant break from the ponderous navel gazing movies that had dominated the 1970s. If nothing else Lucas respected the conventions and went with them. Those conventions have been around for millennia for a reason. Flouting them had nearly destroyed movies for me. Star Wars changed all that.

Also, for anyone who is into nitpicking the consistency of the fictional Star Wars universe, I always recommend the classic post: The History Channel Needs Better Writers.

http://squid314.livejournal.com/275614.html

It's about World War II.

El Jefe

Kaleberg,

Thanks for all of that (Star Wars mattered a bit more to me I suppose, but chiefly as a gateway drug for a young boy to other, later worlds, most fondly my dual Discworld-American citizenship. So far there's been no foofaraw in the Senate about that one.)

If I wanted to ramble I'd suggest that what we see as "Star Wars" is in fact two different visions of a shared universe -- Lucas' original, swashbuckling, delightful, emotionally immature, and messy Campbellian stew of 1977 (saved already by collaborators like the founders of ILM, Ralph MacQuarrie Praise Be Upon Him, and Lucas' first wife who turned the mishmash into a classic exposition of the old ways before he divorced her); and one that belonged to his most notable collaborators, at the writing level Lawrence Kasdan above all others, who did what he would so well with Raiders a few years later, take these pop-pulp ideas and raise them to the level of Story (the kind of thing you're talking about with "millennia old") and then humanize the archetypes in those Stories. (To some degree he also did it in Big Chill and Grand Canyon, taking rich Boomers and elite Angelenos, each of them citizens of tribes that self-referentially made themselves legends in their own minds, and making them interesting by confronting them with actual humanity.) Bringing back Kasdan, and the parts/levels of storytelling where he got out of Kasdan's way, was JJ Abrams' best decision about Force Awakens bar the tactile SFX.

Woth you all the way about the problems with Seventies cinema, both the navel gazing stuff and the more-hollow efforts to achieve what Star Wars hit on just right, and Raiders likewise (though its production trailed over into the Eighties), and that Empire Strikes Back transcended (paging Mr. Kasdan.) There were good movies made in that decade, plenty of them, but the ones you reference weren't them.

Recently a very well known popular historian, one feted here on the Left, wrote a particularly childish and unimportant piece about Star Wars (his work's actually been declining since midway through his second book, and the short stuff he's written, except for occasional reporting on his home town, has really gone south in a Brooks-of-the-Left kind of way lately, as though his Internet-chattering-class celebrity has at last truly gone to his head.) It's most interesting since it actually proves a point Kasdan spends most of TFA making by way of Story, but spelled out mostly in the background like the Big Chill Boomers confronting the mereness and preciousness of being just human, and Indy's path to emotional maturity and wisdom in Raiders. It's Kasdan's favorite mythic subject: the way people mistake ambition and honors and achievements for growing up, how they mistake adulthood for maturity, or take shortcuts in pursuit of wisdom that are really driven by fear or idealized fantasy. It's precisely what said author (won't name names, I don't need to be starting any flame wars at someone else's house) managed to do, talking about what they labeled "infantilization" of American culture in the later Seventies because (jazz hands) ZEITGEIST! Interestingly they recently spent a book praising films like The Godfather and The French Connection for being among those that opened the door for "auteur-driven" Hollywood (ask regular working studio folk, the cameramen and gaffers and the bit actors, how well that all worked out in the end. Also two words: Michael Cimino.) And for introducing new levels of thoughtfulness and maturity to American cinema (pre-Code gangster movies, noir, and the B&W psychological dramas of the late Fifties-early Sixties would like a word. I *hate* when fellow historians try to "do" pop culture and aren't actually competent at it.) This of course neglects the reason that The Godfather sold was because it was Story, a classic Greek tragedy in fact (fitting since Sicily is the most-Greek of Italy's regional cultures) despite Tom Hagen's allusions to Rome's fall in Part II, that just happened to coincide with another Greek tragedy, ably pointed out by our host in his recent review of that biography of Nixon's presidency. And French Connection? Classic Jacobean revenger's tragedy, *especially* the sequel but also the original, with the requisite bloody, confused, and self-defeating ending. Neither any of them unique to the moment, both in fact classic Stories built on classic lines (even flicks like Dirty Harry and Death Wish were increasingly-warped variations on the Jacobean revengers.)

There's a reason Stories last. And under Abrams' "I make things go ZOOM!" stuff in Force Awakens, most of which is bloody good fun I should add, Kasdan has offered a swan song of Story that is, in some ways, very much about our historical moment because in the architecture of Story, a lot of this moment is important but very little of it is new. My concern about Rian Johnson coming in is that, while he's a deeply skilled director and good at The Big Twist, I'm not sure he has that layered and most importantly emotionally mature (grown-up in a real sense) approach to Story that Kasdan has, and the chance to see the better "Star Wars" arc -- Larry's, not George's -- through to conclusion may get lost. The youngsters will still be awesome though.

FDChief,

Hello from the Willamette Valley! This post caused me at last to find your own blog. Totally agree with your view of Leia's/Carrie Fisher's performance. Interesting to watch so many confirmation-biased reviewers miss it. Want to bet not a one of them is over 35? :)

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