So, I started an Oscar Wrap-Up blog, which I usually write to finish up my Oscar coverage after the awards have been handed out, but honestly, my heart wasn’t into it this year. The show itself was, blah, and the awards basically went to the people we expected them to go to. Therefore, I am skipping it, and going to something I really want to discuss…”Star Wars.”
I would argue that things haven’t been this exciting for “Star Wars” fans since the build-up to “Episode I- The Phantom Menace.” The “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” TV series on Cartoon Network, which just finished up its fifth and final season, proved that not everything that came out of the prequel era was all bad, and, of course, more theatrical films are on the horizon as Lucasfilm was sold to Disney by its namesake, and none other than J.J. Abrams was signed on to usher in a new era of “Star Wars” with the first of a promised trilogy numbering VII-IX, featuring the original three stars, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher.
I’ll admit, the prospect of new “Star Wars” films, especially ones that brought back the original characters, have me a bit nervous. I mean, after all, the prequels proved just how vulnerable this saga is to silliness. But the more I’ve become acquainted with the idea, and the more I’ve heard about how Disney and Lucasfilm (now headed by the great producer, Kathleen Kennedy) are bringing the elements together, the less anxious I’m feeling about more “Star Wars” films. (Having writers like Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasden, who co-scripted “Empire” and “Jedi,” on board doesn’t hurt, either.)
Unlike many, the prequel trilogy (and the 2008 “Clone Wars” tie-in feature) didn’t dampen my fandom of the franchise, although I did have to rethink it. Yes, there’s plenty of cringe-worthy moments in the prequels, and no, the stories don’t have the mythic sense of adventure and destiny the original trilogy did (although “Revenge of the Sith” came closest), but I am able to watch all three films without projectile vomiting all over my television screen, though having the great riffs from the folks at RiffTrax to play helps a great deal with that. And yes, I’m a purest who has refused to purchase the Blu-Ray box set because of George Lucas’s refusal to allow the theatrical versions of the original trilogy to be restored, and released on this great home media format, as I discussed in an earlier blog.
However, in the end, I am a “Star Wars” fan– always have been, and always will be. I love the memories and emotions the original trilogy conjure in me to this day, which my friend Ron and I watched in an impromptu marathon recently that was great fun. I love joking about, and recoiling from, the prequels. I own the terrific documentary, “The People vs. George Lucas,” which only proves how much love there remains for the franchise, even if it’s gone through some rough patches of late. Two of my favorite video games are “LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga” for the Wii, and “Angry Birds Star Wars” for my iPhone, and I’ve played epic games of “Star Wars” Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit. Hell, I even bought a copy of the infamously horrible “Star Wars Holiday Special” a couple of years ago at Dragon*Con, which should be required viewing for ANYONE who honestly thinks the prequels are the worst thing to happen to “Star Wars” on George Lucas’s watch. I plan on watching the entire “Clone Wars” series at some point, as well as owning it to share with any kids I might be blessed to have in the future. I’ve never really gotten into the Expanded Universe via books and comics, but only because I’m less of a reader and more of a viewer.
2015 or 2016 (whichever one we’re lucky enough to get “Star Wars: Episode VII” in) seems too distant to return to George Lucas’s galaxy far, far away, but I’m looking forward to doing so. To see what J.J. Abrams, one of the great “geek” auteurs of our time, brings to the franchise. To see what new and exciting themes John Williams, and maybe other composers, are able to add to an already-rich musical canon. And more importantly, to get a further look at the larger universe of “Star Wars,” which honestly, is a big reason why I can still look at the prequels without knocking myself unconscious with a lightsaber.
Now, time to go hunting for my “Star Wars” action figures again…
Thanks for listening,