I hate the prequels.
Actually, that's not entirely true, but I mostly hate them, and I've never really written out why
, at least not here. I'm not the only kid who hated the prequels. Hell, I wasn't exactly a kid when I first saw the movies, impoverished as my childhood was by parents who never thought to show them to me until the cinematic rerelease. But I did see them, as a barely-teenaged girl, and I loved them. And when my not-quite-uncle told me to read the Thrawn Trilogy, I jumped into the Star Wars expanded universe and I never looked back. At times I drifted (and yes, the disinterest the prequels was at least partly responsible at times). At times it pissed me off, or I wondered why I was bothering. But I really don't know how to quit Star Wars. It's...beautiful in its absurd enormity. I don't know of another world that is as expansive and that tries as hard to incorporate every last damn thing into a single quasi-coherent universe, everything from cracked-out 70s Marvel comics to poorly-written, bland books aimed at 7 year olds to sparsely written, epic, brainwarping philosophical novels about torture, to 100% pure-grade action-thrillers. Even in the face of Lucas endlessly trying to reinvent the stuff we love, and writing over it like the kid with the biggest paintbrush yelling that his dad owns the wall anyway.
There's such crap stuck in there, but somehow, Star Wars teaches me the meaning of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
It even gives me some piece of mind about the prequels. Not because it makes them good, but because it helps make them irrelevant. It helps tell other stories around them that build up until in my mind, there are prequel-shaped holes, and the movies are just another hamfisted attempt to convey a piece of history. Just another Glove of Darth Vader
masquerading as a Traitor
Because dear god, those movies were awful. ( Here is why, in detail. )
So yeah. The prequels. I hate them. I reject them from my mythology as anything more than badly rendered versions of events.
Because Star Wars, as so many of its media tie-ins will tell you, is a modern myth. It's my
mythic cycle, for sure.
But you know what kind of annoys me? The contradiction of the franchise's attempts to monetize that notion. To simultaneously tell us that Star Wars is popular because it taps into something primal and mythic in us, while at the same time telling us that this is due entirely to the genius of George Lucas.
I'm not trying to say that the guy didn't have an amazing idea, or pull off three fantastic movies, and another I can stand to watch without wanting to gouge my eyes out.
But I am saying that if you claim that your success is down to your skill at evoking wider mythic resonances, then claim credit for that skill
, not for the wider mythic resonances themselves. Acknowledge your sources. (And yes, A New Hope is a fabulous movie, and I have no moral issue with him stealing large tracts of the plot from The Hidden Fortress, but, you know, he did
And most importantly, acknowledge that myths become public property.
Perhaps the greatest measure of the original trilogy's success is that it became so mythic, enormous parts of not only fandom, but the general viewing public, rejected his attempts to bolt on these additions so violently he became, if not an outright disliked, at least one of the most divisive figures in his own following.
So what was the point of this post? I'm not entirely sure. Mainly, I guess, that I love
Star Wars. It's mine, and George Lucas can't have it.