Begin Transmission: Oct 29 2012
Star Wars lives again! With the news of Disney’s 4.6 billion dollar purchase of the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas the web was abuzz with chatter about what this all means. Will Disney ruin the immortal franchise and send millions of hardcore Star Wars fanatics into a full scale riot? Will this be the turning point to bring the franchise back to its long fabled prominence before the prequels? I can only speculate. What I can tell you is that NO ONE was happier than I was to hear the news that we will see an Episode 7, closely followed by a 8th and 9th as well! Was it the fact we were getting more Star Wars movies that excited me? Yes partially. Was it that Star Wars was out of the clutches of George Lucas who many said was becoming out of touch with his own product? No George has always been fine it my books.
My definitive answer to the reason for my joy was that FINALLY we were moving beyond the Clone Wars era and continuing the story of my beloved post prequel episodes. My Star Wars was NOT Jar Jar Binks, Senator Palpatine, Mace Windu, or an army of Clone Troopers that all looked exactly like Jango Fett. My heroes were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, C3Po, and R2D2. while enjoying the last three offerings every episode made me hungry for more of my generations Star Wars.
My first full exposure to Star Wars came in the form of a battered VHS tape rented from a movie rental wall in a furniture store in my home town who also sold the newest home theater revolution the VCR! This uber expensive device played these rectangular cassettes and every couple of week my family would rent our VCR and a arm full of movies for that weekend. Star Wars jumped out at me from the first time I saw the case. The hero stood tall with this lighted sword triumphantly held over his head while the beautiful princess sat at his feet with the ominous face of a bad guy loomed in the distance. It was magic. I remember that Saturday morning armed with 3 cans of Coke, and bag of Hostess potato chips I pressed play on my long corded 7 button VCR remote that stretch from the couch to the entertainment center and directly into my 100 foot long (Okay this is over estimating it but that bad boy was HUGE!) RCA top loading shiny silver video cassette recorder. From the first grainy whirl of the VCR heads and then BANG the roar of the 20th Century Fox logo exploding with that familiar tune the words STAR WARS exploded onto my TV screen and my life as a kid changed forever.
Star Wars was and still is my favorite overall movie of all time. The sheer exhilaration of seeing Luke Skywalker and Han Solo blast their way through the DeathStar to rescue the Princess was all I needed to become a Star Wars nerd. I was hooked, I collected the action figures, the lunch boxes, the bedsheets, the posters, glasses, shirts and whatever else that had a Star Wars something or other on them. I even ate C3POs cereal. (Horrible BTW!) Star Wars spawned sequels like The Empire Strikes Back (Technically considered the best of the series) and the Return Of The Jedi. The storyline’s were simple,no convoluted back story here. It was the Rebel alliance vs the evil Galactic Empire, The main bad guy was the father of our main hero, throw in lots of aliens and spaceships and you had magic. They even spawned two made for TV Ewok movies, two Saturday Morning Cartoon show (Ewoks and Droids), a Holiday special(Which is a blog in itself), and numerous guest spots on all kinds of TV shows ranging from The Muppet Show to Sesame Street. Star Wars was everywhere. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader were household names. Even after all the movies and shows went away Star Wars lived on in Comics, Novels, Kids books, Toy lines, and given a new life with the debut of the internet. The Original Trilogy was a widely regarded success that lived on through generation to generation. I loved my Star Wars…then came the prequels.
The Phantom Menace. The title alone sounded suspect. Before I begin I want to make it clear that I liked all three prequels, there was just certain things about them that took away from what I enjoyed from the original trilogy. First the story lines themselves were much more elaborate and not in a good way. The Phantom Menace involved The blocking of the Federations trade routes, elaborate senate meetings, and meetings of the Jedi council. Buildings looked serene and vanilla. People wore robes like Jedi’s but wait isnt that Samuel L Jackson? Bored yet? So were millions of movie goers expecting a feel good roller coaster ride like the DeathStar battle in a New Hope or Jedi. Instead we got a Pod race scene where all that was at stake was a mechanical part of the good guys spaceship.The main battle in the movie involved thousands of lifeless CGI dummies called battle droids who are so easily defeated that a Jedi could destroy one with the wave of his or her hand. The droids were up against a nation of Gungan’s. Jar Jar Bink,s was a Gungan if you cannot make the connection here. How were we to care about armies of poorly designed toys fighting a race of fish people. The authenticity was not there. The spaceships look very slick and streamlined almost video game in their appearance. Sure they looked good on the screen but did not have the battle ready look of a Tie fighter or a X-wing. There was plenty of good about Menace however, I left out the Jedi Darth Maul battle which was a choreographer’s dream to execute. We had a great space battle in the vein of Return of the Jedi. Plus we had Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jin,playing a Jedi as straight as you possibly can. The other two prequels had their moments as well with a fantastic wrap up with Revenge Of The Sith. Alas this was not MY Star Wars. They did not attempt to wet the whistle of the original trilogy fans with anything that came afterwards.
The prequels brought two animated series, games , toys, etc. all based in this universe. Star wars was everywhere and I basked in the thought that I would see something pertaining to events during or after the original trilogy. Nothing. We got Clone Troopers and more Clone Troopers, and more different colored Clone troopers. The original animated Clone Wars series of animated shorts was technical excellence but could have expanded its scope and missed a key opportunity to explore what happened after the prequels. Then we got a digitally animated Clone Wars TV show. Bland and soulless, the show still lives on despite truly not being very good but was a success. Still we did not move past the Clone Era.
Then came the exciting talks of a live action Star Wars Tv series…based in the Clone Wars era again. It was like they had every intention of never exploring the original trilogy concept. As a fan I was demoralized. Star Wars was a cold political lifeless shell of its existence. Yes there were bright spots but its like seeing an oasis in a desert up ahead , dying of thirst and never being able to drink. I would never get to enjoy my original generation of Star wars, I would not get another big screen adventure of Han and Luke, or even an animated version. Lucas was done with the franchise.
Flash forward to Oct. 29 2012 it is announced that Lucas has sold the rights of Lucasfilm to Disney and the world of social media explodes with rumors and speculation. Suddenly secret meetings with Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher happen. Episode seven is openly discussed and a date sent for 2015. So the Star Wars fan in me was rekindled, my Clone Wars depression went away. Suddenly we get to see events after the original trilogy which is my wish all along. So once again it seems cool to be a Star wars fan. Hell even Angry Birds is doing a Star wars oriented game based on you guessed it..The Original Star Wars Episode 4! Even the Bird people get it right.
So heroes I hope we have enjoyed our transmission..now back to the Satellite.
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Update: July 14 2013. Looks like the ground work for this movie is being laid. Director J.J Abrams has been selected to helm the project and original cast members Fisher, Ford and Hamill seem set to reprise their roles.