Sunday, November 18, 2012

Disney: VII, VIII, IX

So this post is pretty late in coming. Oh well.

Part of the reason I didn't write about this earlier is that I'd already written about the possibility of a sequel trilogy a couple of years ago. Also, to be honest, the reason this blog has had a total of two posts in a whole year (and none in the past nine months) is that I've been quickly losing interest in Star Wars.

Something that's always struck me about Star Wars is how it was crafted as an amalgamation of hundreds or thousands of different stories from fantasy and mythology. So, in much the same way that George Lucas delved deep into various mythologies to find the universal qualities to make Star Wars, I decided it'd be cool to delve into other fantasy and sci-fi stories, in order to get a larger view of the genres. Unfortunately, doing so only illuminated for me the fact that Star Wars is severely lacking.

Let's be honest: for as epic and wonderful as the Expanded Universe is, it's essentially a gigantic series of spin-off stories that gets trampled by the Star Wars films and TV series on a semi-regular basis. It's always been held back by Lucasfilm restrictions (the most they've been able to do is kill off Chewbacca; everyone else is in their elder years and somehow still alive despite decades of war), and rarely has it been truly worthy of the Star Wars name. Knights of the Old Republic, the Thrawn trilogy, and many other stories stand as notable examples to the contrary, but on the whole, the EU has suffered from simply being treated as a lesser aspect of the franchise.

Similarly, The Clone Wars, which is basically as canonical as the films, is also merely a spin-off, not the "primary" story. No matter what happens in The Clone Wars, most of it won't matter because most of the characters are from the films and can't be changed from what we know them to be in AOTC and ROTS. The galaxy won't be forever changed by The Clone Wars; it's changed by the events of the films.

Meanwhile, in other franchises, the primary story is much better-handled. In the Stargate universe, each of the three Stargate TV series (and the three movies) are equally capable of changing the direction of the entire story. In the Halo universe, nearly every story—whether it be a game, novel, or comic—is just as important to the story as anything other. Huge, epic (and canonical) facets of the universe are told in different forms of media, yet they all interweave between one another. Finally, the Star Trek universe has over 700 hour-long episodes and full-length movies, not even counting any of its expanded universe fiction or the single-season animated series.

To go from marathoning literally hundreds of episodes of Trek back to watching Star Wars is like learning to swim in a lake and then being dropped into a kiddie pool. Sometimes the six SW films are plenty deep enough. Certainly there's plenty of philosophical conversation to be had about them. But then (and perhaps more often) you hear Star Wars fans saying things like, "Oh, man! I just found something totally new about Star Wars! For one frame in the Special Edition VHS version of A New Hope, R2's red and blue light turns GREEN! Wow! I can't believe how deep and detailed these movies are! Thirty years later and I'm still discovering new things!"


I really can't describe how disheartening it is to see how shallow my fandom actually is. Yes, the Star Wars fan community is vibrant and wonderful. Wars fans are possibly the best fandom in existence, despite the angry sect of them that dominates internet message boards. Yes, The Clone Wars is great, for what it is. Yes, the EU is a very deep and endlessly detailed sub-universe. But as a whole, Star Wars needs a kick in its complacency.

That is exactly what I think this Disney purchase—coupled with George's retirement and the hiring of Kathleen Kennedy as his replacement—will provide. The fact that we're getting the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy—THE Sequel Trilogy, straight from George's notes and outlines—with an entirely new director and writer is amazing.

Currently over in The Clone Wars, there's a storyline going on that focuses on Jedi younglings learning to build their lightsabers. It's pretty fitting, as this news really has made a lot of older Star Wars fans feel like kids first discovering Star Wars again. What new galactic wonders will we see in the new trilogy? What will happen to the main characters from the OT? What new mysteries of the Force will we discover?

Despite the dark times of recent days, since the Disney and Sequel Trilogy announcement, I've been proud to once again think of myself as a Star Wars fan.

I'm excited enough that I'm actually going to go back and re-watch the entire Clone Wars series in chronological order, posting reviews for episodes that are missing on this blog. Should be fun.