Blog 695: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 2

The handful of lines about midichlorians singlehandedly destroyed the power and the mystery of the Force, turning subtle mysticism into hard science. Both have their place in different franchises, yes, but we like Star Wars for its subtle mysticism.

Let us discuss the ill-fated but pivotal character Anakin Skywalker and how he (child acting aside) is brutally mishanded by the narrative of the prequel trilogy.

No transcripts this time, just some additional thoughts in the post.

Anakin

Setting-warp is one of my biggest pet hates in franchises. You’ve probably heard me ranting about it before, either in life or on here.

It happened to Deus Ex with Human Revolution, it happened to Indiana Jones with the Crystal Skull, it happened to Star Wars in The Phantom Menace (and then again in different ways in The Force Awakens). In those others it could be a symptom of different authors, different creative teams, extrapolating in different directions counter to the original author’s intent. But here, The Phantom Menace was written by Lucas as much as the original trilogy — so how did the original author manage to lose track of his own mythology?

It’s all about extrapolation. Big budget industries in general seem to have serious trouble extrapolating events and settings consistently. My theory is that it’s marketing conflict — new writers being forced to use existing franchises for the brand recognition and guaranteed windfall regardless of narrative satisfaction, but not really engaging with those original franchises. 99.9% of my problems with prequel and sequel narratives in triple-A industries would be alleviated by switching them to stand-alone stories in brand new mythologies.

Fuck.


I do really like the idea of having Anakin’s fall to the dark side in the second film.

So instead of having Darth Vader just flip in the last thirty minutes of a four or five-hour trilogy, have him turn much earlier — so we can have that whole third film of seeing Darth Vader growing in villainy, embracing the anger that Obi Wan suppressed before. Then we could have a bit more of the the rise of the Empire, too, because right now these major changes in the state of the galaxy are too-quick jumps jammed on the end of the third film.

But we’ll get to Revenge of the Sith soon enough.


I had, of course, to get a Jedi Knight II reference in there somewhere. It’s one of my favourite examples of the inherent good in the Expanded Universe. Yes, there’s dreadful stuff in there, but in casting all that aside Disney have also cast aside some good, solid, logical and coherent extrapolation.

The more horrifying thing, of course, is that The Force Awakens has replaced it with something worse. Our Death Star is bigger! Our Emperor is bigger! Our R2D2 is cuter! Say what you like about the prequels, the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of the Empire are two stories that lead the galaxy to A New Hope. Return of the Jedi does not in a million years lead to The Force Awakens. Arghh, bananas.

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3 thoughts on “Blog 695: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 2

  1. Interesting ideas, but I wonder if you’re trying to reinterpret Phantom Menace as a gritty/sophisticated film for teens and adults?

    I get the impression that for many fans in the 90s, Star Wars grew up as they did, with the Dark Horse comics giving us …well, darker themes and storylines. Trouble is, Star Wars has always been conceived of as something for children or “young people”. So when the older fans were presented with a very simplistic, juvenile film they couldn’t accept it.

    There’s a ton of stuff in this I agree with, and a ton that makes me think “hm, I get where you’re coming from, but I think George Lucas probably had the right idea (if not the execution of it)”.

    I’d rabbit on, but I think it’s impolite to post a massive wall of text on other people’s social media. We should catch up over beers. 🙂

    Like

    • To be honest, I think it’s more Chris that wants everything to be I’m The Batman than me and I just get carried away with him, but I’ll stand by Anakin being far too squeaky-clean to be convincing as the precursor to Vader. Maybe he doesn’t need to be murdering sand people left right and centre, but The Phantom Menace definitely needs something more. (Maybe make him relish the destruction of the Droid Control Ship rather than have it happening basically by accident?)

      Walls of text are fine, that’s the point of having comments on and it makes the place looks more alive! But if you’re going to the NaNoWriMo kick-off party on Sunday, we can totally bore everyone else to tears deconstructing Star Wars for the fiftieth time… Just let’s pre-agree to not get started on The Force Awakens…

      Liked by 1 person

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