When Disney bought the franchise and Lucas’s outlines for the new episodes, they stated their freedom to develop them as they wished. “George knew we weren’t contractually bound to anything,” Iger wrote, “but he thought that our buying the story treatments was a tacit promise that we’d follow them, and he was disappointed that his story was being discarded.”
Lucas wanted something new with each movie, but Iger and his team wanted something Star Wars, “to not stray too far from what people loved and expected.” He doesn’t directly disagree with Lucas, but I’m glad the sequel films are not more like the prequels.
I remember enjoying The Force Awakens; I reviewed like this.
That pretty much sums it up without the slightest hint of a spoiler.
Marvel’s creator Stan Lee says the people behind the Marvel cinematic universe want to make successful movies. If that means they think an ultimate fan-fic mashup like Star Wars and Avengers together will make a great movie, well . . .
“I created the Avengers by taking many of our characters and making a team out of them,” Lee tells The Big Issue. “We can have as many characters join the Avengers as we want to for future movies. That might be fun, all of a sudden Luke Skywalker is an Avenger!”
Thanks to Charles Taylor’s work A Secular Age, I’ve come to believe the most important question about big entertainment is not “what is this movie/videogame/album about?” but “what is it for?” I don’t think we need another article analyzing the nitty-gritty thematic details of Star Wars. It is a simple, well-told tale of good versus evil with memorable characters and mammoth effects.
What I’m interested in is the function of Star Wars. When thousands of fans line up outside of theaters on December 17 to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens (of which I will be one), what will it be for?
His post links to another one, reviewing a presentation of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age with an application to the Star Wars prequels. What went wrong with those first three episodes added onto the well-loved space epic? Mike Cosper blames secularism.
The original trilogy, in all the ways it left questions open and invited imagination, in the way it used effects in a sparing way, was enchanted. It was an open world with questions to explore and a sense of the unknown. The prequels, then, made the mistake of disenchanting the world. The mysteries all had answers. Even the overwhelming presence of CGI has a “secular age” parallel: the overwhelming culture of production and consumption. When every moment is a visual feast, nothing is worth celebrating.
Herbert was a quintessential product of the libertarian culture of the Pacific coast, self-reliant and distrustful of centralised authority, yet with a mile-wide streak of utopian futurism and a concomitant willingness to experiment. He was also chronically broke. During the period he wrote Dune, his wife Beverly Ann was the main bread-winner, her own writing career sidelined by a job producing advertising copy for department stores.
… The prevailing publishing wisdom of the time had it that SF readers liked their stories short. Dune (400 pages in its first hardcover edition, almost 900 in the paperback on my desk) was rejected by more than 20 houses before being accepted by Chilton, a Philadelphia operation known for trade and hobby magazines such as Motor Age, Jewelers’ Circular and the no-doubt-diverting Dry Goods Economist.
“By rights,” Hari Kunzru writes, “Dune ought to have become a big movie. An attempt by the visionary Chilean film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky to bring it to the screen became one of the great “what if” stories of SF cinema…. But Jodorowsky’s prog-tastic project was strangled in the crib by risk-averse Hollywood producers.”
But the story actually did make it to the big screen–as the movie Star Wars. “Herbert knew he’d been ripped off, and thought he saw the ideas of other SF writers in Lucas’s money-spinning franchise. He and a number of colleagues formed a joke organisation called the We’re Too Big to Sue George Lucas Society.”
Blame Lucas, by all means, but let’s have a little more accountability all round: blame Francis Ford Coppola and Roman Polanski, too, for never regaining the majesty of The Godfather or Chinatown; blame the fractured way we access entertainment; blame the Weinstein brothers for helping to botch the resurgent interest in smart but populist cinema during the 90s; and, if we’re going to be thorough here, why not blame corporate studio ownership and mass consumerism as a whole?