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Star Wars: In Defense of George Lucas

On 15 December 2016, a friend and I went to a theatre to watch a film on its opening night.  The movie:  Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story.
For the second year in a row, a new Star Wars film had hit the cinema stream of commerce, care of the Walt Disney Company.  For the second year in a row, a voluminous amount of time, energy, creativity, and money had been spent to generate an interest (i.e., a buzz) into the minds of cinephiles around the world, enticing them with trailers and teaser trailers and television snippets and spots of scenes from the film itself.  And for the second year in a row, having watched Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story, I left a movie theatre feeling slighted and disappointed.
Yet, unlike the previous year, after I had watched Star Wars:  Episode VII:  The Force Awakens, this time, my footsteps and my thoughts carried with them an additional feeling:  one of dread.  Over the past year, I thought, something had been lost in translation with not one—but two—Star Wars films.  And my sense of apprehension came not so much from the monolithic corporation known as the Walt Disney Company nor from its latest installment in a Star Wars cinematic universe; rather, the dread that I now felt on that evening came from the individuals who had sat around me in the theatre as we watched Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story, together.
* * *
My experience with Star Wars began in 1977.  In short:  On opening night, my mother took me to a theatre to see a film called Star Wars.  Not Star Wars:  Episode IV:  A New Hope.  That came later.  It was just Star Wars.  I was four-years-old going on five-years-old, and I was the living embodiment of but a part of the target audience for which George Lucas had created his latest motion picture:  the children.
To say that the original film Star Wars and its two sequels impacted my life is an understatement.  Nothing that I have seen in a movie theatre since has even come close to tying those three Star Wars films (i.e., Episodes IV, V, and VI).  True, not a one of them is perfect.  Each one has its cinematic flaws, from the original theatrical release to the restored and later revised versions that George Lucas and his fellow colleagues at Lucasfilm, Ltd., fashioned together over several decades, and, in the process, generated seemingly endless innovative cinematic tools along the way.
Through Star Wars, when I was but a mere child of the 1970s, living my most formative, developmental years through one of the most dynamic periods in the albeit brief history of the United States of America, George Lucas was the man who introduced me to the written works of his friend and mentor, the late Joseph Campbell.  Through Star Wars, George Lucas was the man who acquainted me with the works of one of the greatest directors, screenplay authors, and film editors the human race has yet to create, the late Akira Kurosawa.  Through Star Wars, George Lucas was the man who warned me about the potential dangers that lurk within the machinery of human technology when demagogues and religious fundamentalists wield it for self-serving purposes.  As a child, Star Wars touched within my brain the monomyth embedded within our collective human DNA consciousness.
* * *
Years passed, and I became a man.
In 1999, George Lucas asked me to consider taking a trip to a cinema to see his latest film:  Star Wars:  Episode I:  The Phantom Menace.  Then, in 2002, he inquired as to whether I might travel to a theatre and watch Star Wars:  Episode II:  Attack of the Clones.  And then, in 2005, he wondered once more if I might not journey to a cinema not so very far away to see Star Wars:  Episode III:  Revenge of the Sith.
Not a one of these requests from George Lucas was a personal invitation; instead, each one came from a similar type of time, energy, creativity, and money that the Walt Disney Company has spent on its two Star Wars films—that is, since it assumed the rights to the Lucasfilm, Ltd., intellectual properties.
* * *
Lots of folks have opinions about Star Wars.  Which films are better?  The original three?  Or the three that followed (i.e., the prequels)?  And Golly Gee Willickers, what is one to make, these days, of Mickey’s take on Star Wars?
One need spend only a few minutes on the World Wide Web to learn that opinions on the matter are wide and varied.  But amidst the heated discussions, a theme emerges from the debate:  a fair amount of Star Wars invective is directed at its creator:  George Lucas.
Which seems more than a bit unfair, don’t you think?
After all, taking proverbial potshots at the man who asked his associates at Lucasfilm, Ltd., (and elsewhere) to collaborate on a multi-film project that would eventually yield iconic cinematic characters like Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Grand Moff Tarkin, Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, the Sarlacc Pit, Wicket, C-3PO, R2-D2, Yoda, Jawas, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Stormtroopers, the Rebellion, the Empire, X-Wings, Y-Wings, Tie Fighters, AT-ATs, AT-STs, Speeder Bikes, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, the Trade Federation, General Grievous, the Jedi Temple, the Death Star (both one and two), the Gungans, Watto, and, yes, even Jar Jar Binks, . . . well, . . . when you create a fictional universe populated with characters that bring a new zest to tried and true archetypal plot twists, perhaps then and only then may you discover that you possess some authorial ground from which you can quibble. . . .
* * *
Which brings me back to opening night, when I saw Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story. . . .
* * *
At its root, the artistic medium of the silver screen (i.e., film) is voyeuristic in nature, and the people who attend the theatre are nothing more than voyeurs.  The late director Alfred Hitchcock understood the parallel that exists between film and voyeurism.  As such, a viewing of his movie Rear Window will serve as a model to understand the power that film has on the beholder.  Theatre audiences—even of one—spy on the comings and goings of others in a movie, and sometimes get in return an intense emotional gratification after suspending their disbelief.
So, when I entered the theatre to see Rogue One, I did so with an open mind and with no expectations.  But I knew the film was in trouble throughout the opening scene.  As it played, I thought back to the opening chapter of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, noting how that quiet, but ever so chilling, introductory scene was far superior to this one.  The cinematography in Rogue One was stunning, and, at times in these first few minutes of the film, I thought that I had traveled to Iceland once again (a fabulous nation) to see Bruce Wayne and Ra’s al Ghul at swordplay on an ice sheet in Batman Begins or that I would soon meet a Space Jockey storming toward me with the intent to murder me in the first-degree in Prometheus.
Throughout the entirety of the film, the audience applauded four times.  The first eruption came at the end of the opening scene as the screen reflected the marquee of the picture’s name set against the backdrop of the vacuum of outer space (and the fourth and final burst of applause came during the closing credits of the film).  But I didn’t clap.  In fact, I wondered why so many people did clap.  For that scene?  Seriously?  Where was the drama in it precisely?  Did I miss something?  Where was the tension?  How come Director Orson Krennic had his pilot set down his T-3c Delta-class Imperial shuttle so far away from Galen Erso’s farm?  Was Director Krennic wearing an Apple watch that day, and somehow needed to pick up a few more steps through his Activity app?  And how come the film’s director, Gareth Edwards, who clearly wanted to show at the outset the crushing weight of the reach and power of the Empire through a quiet introductory scene, did not show the inside of Director Krennic’s shuttle?  Why not show the pilot and the co-pilot steering the shuttle over Galen Erso’s farm a few times, checking with their scanners for possible ground-to-air defenses?  Then, after finding none, why not show the shuttle simply land on Galen Erso’s front yard, rather than what happens in the film:  a shot of one marathon of a walk by Director Krennic from his shuttle to Galen Erso’s farm with Director Krennic’s armed guard in tow.
* * *
The next hour of the film unfolded, and it was one hot mess.  Just as J.J. Abrams did the previous year with The Force Awakens, here, Rogue One gave its supposed obligatory “fan service” to the Star Wars crowd, interspersing throughout the picture one iconic Star Wars character after another without little invention or wit.  Discreetly, I checked my watch in the dark from time to time whenever these characters appeared on the screen, and timed their appearance from the moment the film had begun (after twenty-two minutes of previews of coming attractions ended, which had been preceded by twenty minutes of excessively loud commercials and upcoming television shows, recapitulating the entire presentation for the latecomers who scrambled to find a seat so as to reinforce the notion of conspicuous consumption to the assemblage).  But meanwhile, during Rogue One, I did my part in the Star Wars effort to learn something, anything about these new characters—both the protagonists and the antagonists.
And insofar as the primary protagonists who comprised the Rogue One crew, I watched a mentor-mentee relationship never transpire on the screen between Saw Gerrera and Jyn Erso, unlike the ones that I could recall happening between (1) Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, (2) Yoda and Luke Skywalker, (3) Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, (4) Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, (5) Darth Sidious and Darth Maul, and (6) Emperor Palpatine (“Execute Order 66.”) and Darth Vader.
As a matter of fact, I did not get to learn anything much about Jyn Erso—you know, the heroine of the film.  She had a shady past.  Check.  She could do stuff with computers.  Check.  She could fire blasters.  Check.  She was sassy.  Check.  She had mad arm strength and jumping abilities tied to her hand-to-eye coordination that would make even Peter Parker blush.  Check.  But none of these things that she did in the movie had been established through action or dialogue.  I just had to accept it at face value.  And yet, unlike the protagonists and the antagonists throughout Episodes I through VI did establish through action or dialogue their capabilities and their emotions (howsoever you may feel about those films), the titular heroine of Jyn Erso of Rogue One had been allotted no real, quality time for her character to develop.  But she was not alone.  Her teammates also swelled within those ranks.
For instance, I met a pilot, Bodhi Rook (not to be confused with a Buddha under a Bodhi tree), who defected from the Empire, but who did not get to show me his actual piloting prowess.  I was introduced to not one—but two—men of East Asian descent, one of whom, Chirrut Îmwe, a blind man with refined martial arts skills (and who could even shoot Tie Fighters right out of the sky better than any sniper marksman alive today), intoned the phrase “I am the Force, the Force is with me” (ad infinitum), and another, Baze Malbus (Bad Bus?), who carried a mighty boomstick of a laser blaster, but then did not use it all that much.  I met a Latino, Cassian Andor, whose character had the most human development, but which frequently employed tired and trite character arcs seen in countless movies from the past.  And finally, I came to know an Imperial robot, K-2SO, which the Rebellion had reprogrammed.  K-2SO was an interesting droid, except for when it served as the comic device of the film, riffing on some of C-3PO’s best one-liners like some sort of improvisational jazz artist.  Heading into Rogue One, K-2SO was the character for whom I held out the most promise, only to watch as it fell flat on its face (literally).
Many a scene was a close-up shot of an actor’s face, soon followed by another close-up shot of another actor’s face.  Bodies also crowded into shots, but with no real purpose and with no tangible performance that helped to move the motion picture along (save for Jimmy Smits, because that guy is just plain awesome).  Sometimes, the lines that an actor delivered did not even appear on the screen.  The film’s modus operandi was:  rather than show you, I shall tell you (through boring exposition that happened at the most inopportune time within a scene).  One wasted possibility followed by another wasted opportunity for cinematic magic.  However, that said, because I believe one should seek to present solutions to the problems that afflict the human race, I would suggest that, if I were to introduce the most important characters in a brand new Star Wars film, then I would diligently bone up on my studies of the works of a director whose influence on Star Wars is undeniable so as to take better advantage on how to populate a screen with actors and set pieces like a painter does on a canvas with her supplies, brush strokes, and creative mindfulness.
And as for the new antagonists in Rogue One, . . . well, . . . I learned that Director Krennic enjoyed long walks on Icelandic volcanic soil before intimidating other people who reside on remote planets.  He also liked to whine.  And scream.  And shout.  And sometimes pout.
Director Krennic’s Stormtrooper guard, donned entirely in suits of black armor, seemed rather imposing at the beginning of the film, walking alongside Director Krennic, getting a breath of fresh planetary air, relieved to be free from the recycled air that hummed through the central heat and air conditioning unit on Director Krennic’s T-3c Delta-class Imperial shuttle.  But when they were ultimately called into action, like Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens, they were not all that impressive when push came to shove, in the end, if at all.
And yet, one thing still holds true in Star Wars films:  Stormtroopers:  worst . . . soldiers . . . ever!!!  I mean, is it any wonder Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and Grand Moff Tarkin looked the way that they did?  Those guys did all the heavy lifting!  Stormtroopers couldn’t hit a Womp Rat with their blasters, even if they tried.  Faceless soldiers walking.  Faceless soldiers marching.  Faceless soldiers running.  Faceless soldiers flipping after getting hit from a laser blast.  Wave after wave of Stormtroopers.  Everywhere.  Falling.  One by one.  Or en masse.  Their individual identities hidden from me, so that I am asked to regard them as some faceless, nameless enemy, as the Rebels lay waste to them like non-player characters in some sort of video game.
And the Rebellion?  Well, I saw faces.  Lots of faces.  Lots of diverse faces.  Lots of shades and hues of the many colors that comprise the human skin pigmentation spectrum (even when hidden under prosthetic special effects or computer-generated imagery).  And that was fabulous to see.  But I never got to know or feel anything for these Rebellion soldiers, including the rag-tag mercenaries who accompanied the primary protagonists of the Rogue One attack force.  They were bodies for slaughter, filling empty spaces in empty static camera shots, on land or by air.
Finally, as for its depiction of war, seeing as how Rogue One billed itself as a war film, I found it interesting to note the profound lack of blood and dismemberment and of casualties of warfare throughout the movie.  If Rogue One were to have been a “dark,” “somber” war film set within the Star Wars cinematic universe, then surely some of the Industrial Light & Magic software models used in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan to re-create the storming of the beaches of Normandy would have served the film well on the isles of Maldives—I mean, Scarif. . . .
* * *
And speaking of oldies but goodies, two of the most iconic Star Wars antagonists appear in Rogue One.  The first:  Grand Moff Tarkin.  The late, but still great, Peter Cushing showed up several times throughout the film, entirely through computer-generated imagery (and with a phenomenal performance from voice actor Stephen Stanton).  But the moment Grand Moff Tarkin made his first entrance onto the proverbial film’s stage, a gentlemen seated in the row behind me, but a bit to my right, declared to the sold-out crowd packed inside of the theatre, “Well, that looks fucking fake!”  (He then said no more once he realized the error of his ways.)  And yet, his interruption broke my suspension of disbelief, even though I was mighty impressed at the lengths that numerous men and women took to bring Peter Cushing back to life as Grand Moff Tarkin.  The Hammer Film Productions in which he appeared would be quite proud of you, Lucasfilm, Ltd., indeed (and Count Dooku, too).
And then, there was Darth Vader.  Anyone who saw the movie trailer for Rogue One would have known that Anakin Skywalker would return.  I surmised that Darth Vader would appear at least twice in the film:  once somewhere in the middle, and then at the bitter end.  (I was right, . . . I was right.)  James Earl Jones was back as well.  And it was lovely to listen to his voice coming through loud and clear.
But did Darth Vader really need to strut his stuff on a catwalk before he had a little chitchat with Director Krennic?  I mean, had the Victoria’s Secret models ended their show right before Darth Vader decided to take his turn to show off his garments?  And was that temple of his located on Mustafar or Mordor?  He lived in a creepy temple, with lots of shadows.  Was it not possible to have him use those shadows to reinforce one of the key tenets of the Dark Side of the Force:  you know, fear?
At the point when Darth Vader began walking toward Director Krennic on the catwalk, the audience (save for me) erupted into applause for the second time.  Now, I understood why so many in that theatre applauded seeing Darth Vader, but something in the back of my mind raised an ever so tiny flag.  And it was the reason that I ultimately decided to pen this little essay. . . .
* * *
The third time that the audience erupted into applause, however, was when Darth Vader returned at the end of the film.
To be brief:  The plans of the Death Star (the first one) have been uploaded through an Imperial satellite link on the planet Scarif to a Rebel spaceship.  Then, the plans have been uploaded a second time, only now onto an oversized thumb drive, which looks more like a personal computer’s hard drive.  Rebel Alliance troops, dressed in the garb of those whom we first meet in the beginning of the original 1977 Star Wars film, are off to deliver the plans to someone who is not too far away inside another, smaller Rebel spaceship that awaits the plans’ arrival in the hangar of the larger Rebellion vessel.  To do so, however, the troops must pass through white halls depicted in the original opening sequence of the 1977 film.  And Darth Vader is in pursuit, and with him is a phalanx of Stormtroopers.
The race, as they say, is on.
But was it?
On the one hand, an impressive tiny little action scene is tucked into this movie, showing Darth Vader as only Star Wars fans have imagined him as being for ever so long.  He is a force unto his own.  He seems unstoppable.  He might be invincible.  He can levitate and strangle one person at the same time, while deflecting blaster shots that come his way.  And if his lightsaber is within striking distance of you, . . . well, . . . fuhgeddaboutit.
But on the other hand, what I experienced, in the span of maybe a minute or two of actual screen time of Darth Vader in action, was the following:  the audience cheered for Darth Vader.  They rallied behind the bad guy.  They pulled for the chap who helped Emperor Palpatine murder his friends, his teachers, and his colleagues in the Jedi Temple and elsewhere throughout the Republic.  They praised the bloke who, in a fit of rage, strangled on Mustafar his wife, Padmé Amidala, which eventually led to her death as she gave birth to Luke and Leia.  They cried out in ecstasy for the father who would slice his own son’s right hand off in a lightsaber duel.  They rooted for the father who threatened his son that, if he would not turn to the Dark Side of the Force, he would kill him and pursue his sister instead, bringing her to the Emperor.  At the moment in this film in Rogue One, Darth Vader is a long ways away from the sorry state of consolation at the end of Return of the Jedi, knowing that he once was a man named Anakin Skywalker, a man who did a great many terrible things. . . .
* * *
The first problem with this scene is one of cinematic technique:  It did not have the proper set-up.  Tragedy and comedy both require a set-up before the delivery of high drama or high comedy can pack a punch.  The cinematography of the chase would have been better served if the director, Gareth Edwards, had used a steady-cam like the late Stanley Kubrick did in The Shining, as Danny rode his tricycle in the haunted hallways of the Overlook Hotel.  Imperial code breakers should have been shown in cut shots (to thus speed up the action and intensity of the chase) making several successful attempts to seal doors within the Rebel spaceship.  The labyrinth would thus get tighter, and the minotaur ever closer to its victims.  Slightly more drawn out reaction shots of frightened, panicked, but determined Rebellion soldiers running in the labyrinth while carrying the Death Star plans would have increased the pace of Darth Vader’s pursuit to sustain the suspense, so that when the plans were passed through the gap of a door, with white light shining through the glass on the other side and through the crack itself, offering visually the ever so slim prospect of hope for the Rebellion, as Darth Vader stands in a darkened doorway, the hallway before him lit with the red light emanating from the ceiling above him and his automated recycled breathing announcing his presence to the Rebels stuck in the tunnel and his lightsaber flashing the color of red at his side, then and only then would the action in the blocked passage have delivered its full impact on the viewer.
But there is one other problem with this scene:  Darth Vader has always been one to fear, never to cheer (save for at the end of Return of the Jedi).  He is one of the greatest incarnations of a fictional villain that any human mind has created—not just in cinematic history but in all of human artistic history.  Still, he is the bad guy, and to sit in a packed theatre with my fellow Americans as they cheered for Darth Vader to slay the good guys, . . . well, . . . it left me with a feeling that a great number of the supposed Star Wars fans have long forgotten what a man named George Lucas once sought to teach those of us who became inspired by his siren song when we were nothing more than children.
For that scene to have the most impact, the most bang for its buck, the crowd needs to be on the side of the Rebellion, which hearkens back to the beginning of the film of Rogue One and all the way through the trials and tribulations of the Rebellion.  Thus, when those Death Star plans are on the move, with Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers in hot pursuit, the audience needs to cry out at the Rebels’ missteps in the halls.  The audience needs to scream when Imperial code breakers hack into doors and lock them, barring the Rebels access to a side passage, forcing them to proceed through a different hallway, bringing them ever closer to Darth Vader.  The crowd needs to feel their hearts beat just a little bit faster, and maybe feel a skosh warmer under their shirts and blouses as Darth Vader directs his Stormtroopers to react instantaneously to his commands as he leads the chase from within the Rebellion spaceship.  And the audience needs to shout out in exultation when the Death Star plans pass through the door that stands ajar and into the hands of another Rebel soldier (and maybe, if shot, performed, and cut in the editing room even better, shed a few tears for those from the Rebellion who died in the line of duty at the hands of the one and only Sith Lord known as Darth Vader).
* * *
Toward the end of his life, the late Joseph Campbell had a clever discussion with Bill Moyers on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  They discussed many things, but primarily the study of human mythology, which was Campbell’s literary passion.  The majority of the broadcasted hours happened at Skywalker Ranch.  I recommend watching it in its entirety; however, in the interim, should you decide to finish this essay of mine, then before you do, watch this ever so brief clip, letting it serve as a reminder about the true meaning behind the mythos of Star Wars:  it’s about the hero’s journey, both yours and mine.
* * *
In a nutshell, the plot of Rogue One reminded me of a World War II-inspired film entitled The Guns of Navarone.  The look of the Empire in Star Wars has forever been an amalgamation of the Axis powers—both the Japanese Empire and the German Empire (i.e., the Third Reich, or the Nazis, if you will).  Even some of the space battles featured in the original Star Wars film drew their inspiration from a short movie that George Lucas had put together on the fly, cobbling World War II footage so as to help his colleagues in the early days of the Industrial Light & Magic workshop during production of the film better understand the kind of visuals that George Lucas wanted to see on the silver screen.
Star Wars is more than a throwback to Flash Gordon movie serials or World War II motifs, for it incorporates African, Occidental, Oriental, and Native American cultural motifs throughout its tapestry.  And when that crowd erupted into ecstasy during Rogue One, watching as Darth Vader sliced to ribbons and choked the life force out of Rebel soldiers, I began to wonder what had happened to all of these supposed Star Wars fans, the ones who for years have been so rude and so condescending to George Lucas.  And their reasons?  Far too many for me to explain.  However, if you have not seen the documentary The People vs. George Lucas, then perhaps that will give you a sense of the lengths to which many Star Wars fans will take their lines of reasoning about their “love-hate” relationship with the creator of Star Wars:  George Lucas.
But to listen as that audience screamed in jubilation as Darth Vader mowed down Rebellion soldiers, I knew that night that the entire script of Star Wars had somehow been flipped, like it had with The Force Awakens.  After all, if Star Wars fans now root for the Empire, then, as Spock might suggest, logically speaking, that means that the Rebellion are now the bad guys.
Mmm. . . .  You know, now that I think about it, the Rebel Alliance always was a seedy-looking group of obviously dubious individuals, some of whom followed an ancient religion.  And some of those religious practitioners carried lethal lightsabers, using them at will to kill others with impunity.  And to make matters worse, the Rebels constantly stole and destroyed Imperial property.  K-2SO in Rogue One is a case in point.  In fact, the Rebellion slaughtered Stormtroopers repeatedly, Imperial soldiers who merely were tasked with directives to complete and maintained order throughout the galaxy, in the midst of so much criminality from the likes of the Rebel Alliance, the Hutt Family, and cutthroat mercenaries, like Zam Wessell, Dengar, IG-88, Bossk, Jango Fett and his son, Boba.  Also, that would explain why Stormtroopers did their utmost best never to hit anyone with their blaster fire unless lethal force was required.  They were highly trained Imperial soldiers, not unlike the men and women who comprise the military and paramilitary units throughout the United States of America.  They simply sought to pacify a crowd, to arrest criminals and to bring them to justice, using checkpoints at designated locations in crowded city planetary streets.
My G-d!  I understand it all now:  the Rebellion was a terrorist organization, and Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and Grand Moff Tarkin, on behalf of the democratically elected Empire, were acting in the name of freedom and democracy to bring about peace and justice throughout the entirety of the galaxy. . . .
* * *
Okay.  Maybe that’s not what Star Wars is really all about.  But when one looks at the acts of the United States of America today—both at home and abroad on planet Earth—one wonders if the (American) Empire is at play right in this here galaxy.  For instance, the design of yesteryear Nazi storm trooper helmets sure did cross the Atlantic, only now to don the heads of an ever more militarized American constabulary.  And come to think of it, American law enforcement entities always seem to infiltrate and label environmental activists, economic objectors, and grass-roots organizations as radicals and extremists (and, dare I say, possibly even terrorists?), even though, in the end, many of these same law enforcement agents use violence to quell peaceful organizations that seek social change whenever “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” occurs.  And, sadly, even in the twenty-first century, far too many souls still seem to justify violent heinous acts against their fellow Man and Mother Nature in the name of their religion.
You know, for G-d and country (and money), and all that jazz.
* * *
In conclusion, I would like to say the following:
First, to those Star Wars fans who saw Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story with me on 15 December 2016, and to those who likewise lost their minds when they forgot to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys as they, too, watched Rogue One:  May the Force be with you . . . always.  But your support for the Dark Side of the Force is duly noted because I know that you feel that George Lucas let you down with his prequels (i.e., Episodes I through III).  Therefore, if you were one who cheered for Darth Vader’s murderous rampage in Rogue One, then you should consider why you craved it (and spent years moaning and crying and complaining about the man who brought the entire Star Wars universe to you in the first place) and why you still desire it to this very day.  After all, no Stormtrooper ever forced you at the point of a blaster to buy Star Wars tickets to see a George Lucas film, or the Star Wars toys that you possess(ed), or the Star Wars clothes that you wear, or the copies of Star Wars movies and video games that you shelve within your personal film library in your homes.
Second, to the Walt Disney Company:  While the potential for cinematic greatness in your first two Star Wars films showed promise, they have failed to deliver.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, you big old C-Corporation, you, what with your limited liability protection extended to your directors, officers, shareholders, and employees (but only to human beings or to human creations—like corporations or ships—because, I’m afraid, dear Mickey, you will find that your status as Walt Disney Company property is quite operational under the American legal system); what with your perpetual existence (because not only are corporations “persons” under the eyes of the American legal system but also “eternal”—contrary to what we know about individual human life forms, who also qualify as “persons”—except for that immortality bit); and, finally, what with all of that income that must satisfy the demands of double-taxation in the interests of Uncle Sam.  How else will he fund his Imperial ambitions if transnational corporate persons refuse to join hands with real American persons and pay their patriotic fair share in taxes to support the troops overseas who must quash the terrorist rebellions, in the name of monopoly, perpetual warfare, and environmental degradation.  To be completely honest:  Star Wars:  Episode VII:  The Force Awakens and now Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story, though proverbial sacred cash cows, do not even come remotely close to provide the “feels” that both the original three Star Wars films or the prequels (howsoever one feels about them) gave to the human populace the world over, having started their humble journey in the mind of its creator:  George Lucas.  But hope springs eternal, and, maybe one day, you will sign a contract with an innovative director, screenwriter, and film editor to create a Star Wars movie that builds upon the work of George Lucas, rather than what you are doing at present:  trying desperately to recapture the magic that I experienced as a child in 1977.
And third, last but most certainly not least, to George Lucas:  should you ever read this little essay of mine, I want you to know the following:  while I may have some ever so slight authorial quibbles with your Star Wars films, they pale in comparison to the overall impact that your fantasy space opera fairy tale has had upon me, all of which began, a long time ago, in a year now somewhat far, far away, as I sat beside my mother in a darkened movie theatre in May of 1977, my tiny feet not even able to touch the floor as I sat on my theatre seat, following the call of the hero’s journey through the life of Luke Skywalker and his friends. . . .
As one of the members of that generation of children for whom you made the film Star Wars and its sequels and prequels; as one who grew up watching in fascination as you changed the ways in which films, television shows, and commercials could be made; and as one who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Lucasfilm, Ltd., is just as important (if not more important) than even the likes of Microsoft or Apple, I just want to say the following:
Thank you.
Travis Ray Garner

Copyright © 2016 Travis Ray Garner
All rights reserved.

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Dear President Obama:
Today, you said the following:
Everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team.We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first, we’re Americans first.We’re patriots first.

But you know what, Mr. President?That’s not necessarily true.After all, I’m not sad.
Because in 2000 I left the Democratic Party.I watched back then in dismay and disgust how the Democratic Party and the Republican Party establishments attacked the greatest American lawyer to graduate from Harvard University to date (from your alma mater, as a matter of fact):Ralph Nader—a man who has done far more to protect and advocate on behalf of all Americans than anyone else that comes to mind.
And today, I no longer know for what the Democratic Party stands.
Perhaps a few examples will illustrate my point.
First, you ignored the single-payer, public option to the Affordable Care Act, allowing th…

Judge Kavanaugh Et Alia Are Not in "good Behaviour"

On Tuesday, 4 September 2018, members of the United States Senate shall begin to conduct a Supreme Court of the United States of America confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Michael Kavanaugh.  Judge Kavanaugh comes from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  It is one of several appeals courts within the intermediate level of the American federal judiciary.  Beneath it are the United States District Courts, and above it is the highest court in the land—the Supreme Court of the United States of America.[1]
When the confirmation hearing ends, members of the United States Senate will decide (i.e., vote) on whether Judge Kavanaugh shall serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.  This expository essay finds not only that Judge Kavanaugh is no longer in “good Behaviour” but also that his likely confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States of America is unconstitutional.[2]
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