Adopting a Prequel Child
I was born in 1975, which was a fine year to be born in. One of my first clear full colour memories was seeing T-47s swooping over a glacial plain whilst AT-AT walkers rattled off a fusillade of laser bolts at them. That put me on a road that has brought me here, through many wonders and pleasures. There have been a fair few moments of horror and pain on my science fiction path, who could forget the gut wrenching hell of having to watch Gil Gerard for an hour just to spot any new shots of the ThunderFighters, the Draconia or Colonel Deering? Even the slightly less awful appearances of Boxey in Battlestar Galactica left a bad taste in the mouth.
One can only assume that the child characters (Boxey, Twiki, Telemachus for example) in sci-fi were put in to attract a theoretical child's audience. I am forced to wonder if any studio actually ran any kind of study to find out if kids actually DID watch for these annoyances. I suspect kids found them even more annoying than adults did. Thank the maker they've very nearly extinct. There were no kid characters on Stargate, Andromeda or the last three Star Treks.
Around the time I was exposed to Empire, A New Hope was being re-run. A few years later, Jedi rolled onto the screen. Over the next twenty five years I must have seen the Star Wars films a hundred times apiece. Possibly more. I got amazingly excited when the rumours started about the NEW Star Wars films. I put off seeing the Phantom Menace a whole week just so I could realistically expect to avoid having the film spoilt by the whoops and yells of other fans. I loved that film. OK, Jar-Jar is annoying (but I'm reliably told he did his job; six year olds love him) and I cannot understand why Jake Lloyd was cast as Anakin because he clearly misunderstood the concept of acting, but other than that, it ROCKED.
Attack of the Clones came along, and again, I loved it. Not especially keen on the over abundance of C-3PO's jokes, but otherwise, awesome.
Revenge of the Sith rocked in seriously rocky ways. Well, OK, Anakin seemed to fall a tad quickly, maybe. Who would have thought ol' George would have the brass ones to have Anakin's fall commence with the butchery of young children? Not me.
During the release of the new trilogy I began noticing a disturbing tendency amongst fellow Star Wars fans. People began to generate strong criticism of the films based solely on what they had wanted to see. Some people wanted to see Thrawn in RotS. When he didn't appear, some people thought it indicated a bad film. This was to me just one indication of a trend I thoroughly endorsed, because I understand one thing very clearly, something a lot of Star Wars fans do not;
George Lucas doesn't give a damn about the expanded universe.
By hius own statements he's not read the pulp books, the awful comics or the roleplaying games. He simply doesn't give two damns. And why should he? He makes Star Wars films according to his own agenda, his own vision. He also makes them MUCH BETTER than anyone else. Take, for example, Boba Fett. The expanded universe has him as a quasi hero, a former Mandalorian super-commando, and a former journeyman protector named Jaster Mereel who survives immersion in a Sarlaac (which displays a typical trait of having taken literally a line from Jabba about its digestive habits) to go on for many years alternating between Batman like super-ability and comedic incompetence. George has him a clone of a modestly competent bounty hunter who zigs when he should have zagged and gets eaten by a monster. One of these is a plausible secondary character, the other is pure pap.
There are going to be dozens of other examples, I'll spare you all but one more, the issue of travel times. Thing about that is that it has been assumed that it takes a while to get from A to B. Quite why this has been assumed I have no idea, certainly the only references we get to travel times in the classic films indicate very short travel times; a few hours at most is enough for Piett to state that they could be on the other side of the galaxy by now. of course one would be a fool to take this literally, but it is clear that he's indicating a great distance. It takes a few minutes to jump to Alderaan from Tatooine, just long enough to tidy away the cockpit, saunter into the living room, have a chat, and then, beep beep beep, we're coming up on Alderaan. Why then ought it come as some kind of shock that whilst using state of the art military hardware Yoda can zip from Coruscant to Kamino, and then on to Geonosis in a day or so?
Why? Because there are plenty of people out there who simply can't let their preconceptions drop. It should have been obvious, as the prequels were released, more and more of the expanded universe stuff was going to have to be thrown out. I guess the thing that really bites me is that there are a lot of people out there who don't seem to understand that it is GOOD that it had to get thrown out, because most of the expanded universe stuff is pulp and garbage and wasn't worth having in the first place. I mean, a resurrected emperor? Didn't it occur to someone somewhere at Dark Horse that resurrecting the emperor was an insult to the story of Star Wars? Vader's sacrifice is made completely moot, and the whole hero arc that is the very foundation of the story is corrupted and broken. I find it tremendously annoying that Dark Empire is one of the few expanded universe elements that hasn't GOT to be thrown away, it just really OUGHT to be.
To sum up,
if you're one of those people who whinge and whine about the prequels
not being 'true' Star Wars, get over it, it's not YOUR film, it's George's
film. George makes much better films than you do. George is pretty much
universally credited with having changed the way the entire entertainment
industry functions, whereas you've bought a lot of popcorn. Ner.