Monday, September 06, 2010

Star Wars: How George Lucas destroyed a franchise

This particular post may be a bit rambling, as it's a combination of a slew of different conversations I had over the last few months about Star Wars. Red Letter Media's Star Wars prequel reviews sum up most of my problems with the series, but I'd like to touch on a few more. Nothing like clubbing a dead horse a bit more, right?

Lucas doesn't understand the word "balance"

While it has been endlessly debated, "balance" - the strict definition of the word can be summed up by "equilibrium." Wiping out the Jedi so that only two remain (Yoda and Obi Wan), the same as the presumed number of Sith (Palpatine and Vader) makes sense. The "prophecy" being that all Sith need to be wiped out for "balance" to occur is absurd and defies the definition of the word. If this is really what Lucas was going for he should have found a better word to describe the prophecy.

I like to think that Anakin/Vader brought "balance" by helping to destroy the unbalanced "light side" of the Jedi - and bringing equilibrium to the two sides. Think of it as poetic justice.

After all, in the Expanded Universe stories, there used to be thousands of "dark side" Jedi/Sith/or force-sensitive people out there. Wouldn't that mean that it was extremely unbalanced?

We have no one to root for

The problem is that the first time we see the Republic, it's corrupt through-and-through. We're never able to see it in its glory days.

The Republic is a bureaucratic nightmare - probably just a tinge better than the Empire's presumed iron-grip on its subjects. They debate endlessly while planets are invaded.

Honestly - I thought the intentions of the Separatists were a lot more noble than portrayed in the second and third prequel films. Sure they're being used as pawns by the Sith, but they want out - they wanted out of this corrupt, decadent Republic. In a twist of irony that probably would be beyond Lucas' grasp, it would have been really interesting to have seen the Rebels stem directly out of the remains of the Separatist movement.

The problem lies in that we're never really able to see the day-to-day life of someone in the Empire. Luke grows up relatively unaffected by the Empire on Tatooine because they're just not that interested in that speck of dust. We're given signs that the Empire is brutal - killing the Lars' because they harbored (unaware) the droids, as well as the Death Star, destroying planets in its path at the whims of both Grand Moff Tarkin and later, the Emperor himself. I think had we just a better peak into the brutal nature on a more personal, day-to-day level (beyond Luke's very personal involvement with them that kicked off his quest) the contrast would likely have been better, even keeping the Republic's entirely corrupt politics intact.

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