Good friend of the blog, Paul F. McDonald, author of the outstanding book, The Star Wars Heresies: Interpreting the Themes, Symbols, and Philosophies of Episodes I-III (I highly recommend this book to any Star Wars fan wishing to explore the deeper meanings of the Saga), recently wrote a brief essay on his site entitled, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Paul examines a growing ambivalence he felt regarding Star Wars in a post-Lucas world, but how two things brought him back to full-throated Star Wars fandom: 1) Star Wars Rebels, and 2) the Force Awakens Teaser. I certainly agreed with him about Rebels, and the news coming out of the Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One panel filled me with excitement. But I still had a great deal of concern about the future of Star Wars sans George Lucas. Could Lucasfilm tell the kinds of rich, deeply layer stories George had with the Saga and The Clone Wars. There was kind of a maddening tug of war going on with the fan within me. On the one hand there was all kinds of news coming out of Celebration that as a fan really got me jazzed, however, JJ’s statements about the themes of Star Wars and his constant catering to a particular portion of the fanbase still left me deeply troubled.
But, Paul brought up one great point in his essay that I had to consider… one of the central themes of the Prequel Trilogy is learning to let go of the things we are attached to… and that even included George. George is gone, and I needed to come to terms with that. While that is something I’m going to still wrestle with for some time, looking back on the hundreds and hundres of Star Wars stories told in books, comics, and short stories I’ve collected over the years there have been plenty of Star Wars stories told by authors that have the same depth and emotional resonance as George’s Saga. One book in particular, “Kenobi,” by frequent Star Wars novelist John Jackson Miller, is one of the finest Star Wars tales ever told and would be a worthy addition to the Star Wars film legacy. Star Wars didn’t just have to be about George and his wishes, and although I still wish George was involved at Lucasfilm, those days are gone.
I needed to let go…
I still stand by my earlier criticisms of JJ Abrams, and I still have a lot of concern about the film he will deliver in December. Not because of Lucas’ absence, but Abrams abilities as filmmaker and storyteller, and his own views of the Saga which I find to be very constrictive. But overall I have to admit the materials coming out of Lucasfilm since George’s departure have only honored what came before, and have fit in quite nicely as part of a larger tapestry of the overall Saga. From the remaining Clone Wars stories, to Rebels, and the books and comics, it’s clear the Star Wars Story Group, led by Kiri Hart, takes its job seriously, and will do their best to deliver quality Star Wars stories that even George would be proud to have his name attached to.
The final piece which really helped me to let go of George and just try to enjoy the Star Wars that was coming was rewatching a special video produced for starwars.com following the release of Revenge of the Sith. The Journey was a two part video released the Summer of 85 as both a “Thank you” to George, and a “Thank you” to the fans. While Clone Wars had been announced by George it appeared the cinematic Saga was over and George would soon retire leaving Star Wars to television. As fans we would no longer share that communal bond in a darkened theater and would have to be content enjoying the Saga, and stories to come, in the comfort of our living rooms…. no longer joined as fans. Looking at this video as a “goodbye,” from George really helped me say “Farewell,” to him as the guardian of the Star Wars galaxy.
(These videos are only available via starwars.com, but are also included as part of the bonus content for the recent Star Wars Digital Movie Collection)
I’ll still have plenty of things to say about Star Wars coming from Disney, and if I think Disney/Lucasfilm goes off the rails with certain stories I’ll still be posting my criticisms. But now is the time for me to sit back, and enjoy the ride ahead. I really need to heed the advise of those paragons of wisdom, once trapped on the Satellite of Love, who famously quipped: “Just repeat to yourself it’s just a show, I should really just relax.”