Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Problem with Star Wars

Last week I posted my top ten favorite movies list and I pointed out that, despite sleeping next to a 2 ½ foot Lego Death Star, I didn’t have a single Star Wars film on my list. The reason being:
I’m sick of Star Wars.
That’s right folks. You heard it first.
Let me take a step back and explain: When I was a kid the original Star Wars films were re-released with all of George Lucas’s touch ups and add-ons and my dad thought it would be great for my brother and I to see these films in the theater like he did. I was mesmerized by the galaxy far far away and instantly fell in love with the sweeping space drama. I was still a kid when The Phantom Menace came out and fell in love with that film too, and even now I still defend that it’s not THAT bad of a film, just not what everyone was hoping for (And for the record, yes, Jar Jar was annoying but you only really had to deal with him for one movie. I thought Luke was WAY more irritating and he’s in three. Just saying.).
So at one point I was a huge Star Wars fan. I read books about Star Wars, played games about Star Wars, and had as many toys as I could get my hands on, but that’s when I started noticing the problem. It started when in the toy aisle I noticed an action figure for one of the dancers in Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi. It wasn't the green gal with the legs on her head, it was the chick who looked like Ursula’s mother. My young mind thought “Who on Earth would want this thing?” and that’s when I started seeing the problem.
Remember that scene in New Hope when they walk into the Canteena and it’s full of Muppets? It’s supposed to show that the universe Luke and Obi Wan live in is full of aliens and strange creatures, and makes the bar more threatening because of how different everyone is. Did you know that every single one of those Muppets has a backstory, characterization, and that it’s all written down in a dozen books somewhere? Most of these things even have action figures!
And that’s my problem: Star Wars is too big! The Canteena example is just a small piece of the picture, as there are literally hundreds of books that take place all over the Star Wars universe. One series, Shadows of the Empire, became so popular that they actually briefly got their own toy line! I’d be forgiving if they were all part of one continuous story, but half of them contradict each other and go over the same periods of time with different outcomes. If that’s not enough you can check out the Knights of the Old Republic storylines (Admittedly the Knights of the Old Republic video game is one of my favorite games of all time but my point still stands) which takes place about 1000 years BEFORE New Hope! 1000 years? What is this the Bible? Who is going to need history about something from 1000 years before?
We also have all these mid-story stories like that Clone Wars TV series, which I just can’t get into. First of all I hate the CG and second I just don’t see how a show like that can have any significant character arch if we already know the outcome-why we’ve known the outcome for over 30 years! He’s Darth Vader! He’s Luke’s father! Get over it!
Disney has announced that starting next year they will be releasing a new Star Wars film every year starting with Episode 7 and that every other year will be a film about someone’s backstory, IE Han and Boba Fett and my thought is: WHY? Han Solo was a well written character, a scoundrel yet moral, a person who seems lost but who found a cause to fight for, who cares how he grew up? It’s like that new Monsters U film, I don’t care how Han and Chewbacca or Mike and Sully met, you already established that they were friends and have been together for a while, why do we need to go back and show how they met? It’s just adding more clutter to an already cluttered mess of a continuity.
Now I know what you’re going to tell me: Other properties do this too. Comic books have flashbacks and continuity adjustments all the time and Star Trek has tons of media written about it too, but here’s my thing: At DC comics there is literally an entire department devoted to making sure whatever continuity they’re currently running stays consistent, so that if someone writes a story about Catwoman meeting Bane some guy can say “Actually they met at a villain/hero mixer in Florida and they exchanged email addresses…”, and all of Star Trek’s books and films are all kept within one established continuity, despite being written by different authors at different periods of time. So when I pick up a Star Trek book I know I’ll probably be reading about a certain period of time and won’t get lost.
Here’s my last word: Star Wars as a whole is a mess. Yes, there are good things, even great things, floating around, but the massive atrocity that is the continuity has lately been turning me off. I miss Star Wars, I miss a fascinating space drama, but I’m not willing to dig through mountains of trash to find it.



  1. What are you talking about? There is nothing after 1983 in the Star Wars universe. At least, that's the world I like to live in.

  2. My wife just bought me the original versions of 4,5, and 6 on VHS at a yard sale. So awesome.

  3. Just because there are expansions to the universe doesn't mean you have to acknowledge them.

  4. It CAN be confusing, but in Star Wars, films are absolute canon. Nothing supersedes them. TV shows take secondary place, and since they have, I guess, the official George Lucas stamp of approval (the CGI Clone Wars series, anyway), they're the closest thing to Episodes I-VI in terms of "what happened" in that universe. Since Episode VII is an "original story", all Star Wars EU media post-Jedi has the potential to become alternate universe stuff, anyways.