Screen Rant: the Star Wars sequels take “far more thematically from the prequels” than from the original trilogy

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From Screen Rant:

“Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy is often credited for its original trilogy aesthetic, but it takes far more thematically from the prequels. […]

Star Wars fandom is no stranger to debate, and one of the biggest ones right out the gate with the sequel trilogy was the perception that it was actually ignoring the prequels for the sake of original trilogy nostalgia, and while it’s true that, to an extent, the sequels look more like the original trilogy, thematically they harken back to the more complicated story of the prequels.

When Star Wars first arrived in theaters back in 1977, Lucas drew inspiration from the adventure serials he had enjoyed as a youth, like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. These stories centered on a clear-cut division between good and evil, and it was the universal battle between the two that the original trilogy aims to communicate. The heroes, by and large, wear white and/or bright colors, while the villain is a part-man, part-machine creature in a terrifying black suit. Even the lightsabers are color-coordinated. […]

THE PREQUELS SUBVERTED WHAT AUDIENCES THOUGHT ABOUT THEIR HEROES

Then came the prequels. Suddenly, the badass Jedi-turned-Sith Darth Vader was a peppy little podracer prodigy, and the wisdom and power of the Jedi was ultimately revealed to be mired by arrogance. Blinded by the dark side and their own pride, the Jedi Council — epitomized by Yoda himself — consistently fails to make the right decisions, failing to see that the Dark Lord of the Sith was right under their nose the whole tie, allowing Chancellor Palpatine claim more and more power and ascend to the role of Emperor.

Even Obi-Wan Kenobi is first presented as a pompous padawan learner who doesn’t develop into the hero we know until well into Revenge of the Sith. The entire foundation of righteousness that Obi-Wan and Yoda represent in the original trilogy is recontextualized by the prequels, which aim to shed new light on the characters and explore the truth that led the Republic to its doom and the Jedi to near-extinction at the hands of the Chosen One.

THE DISNEY MOVIES ARE ABOUT PROCESSING AND MOVING ON FROM THE FAILURES OF THE PREQUEL TRILOGY

As you might imagine, that’s exactly what the new films, especially The Last Jedi, are commenting on. Luke himself even points out how the “hypocrisy” and “hubris” of the Jedi played an integral role in creating the Empire, and for this reason, he is convinced that the only way for the galaxy (i.e., the Star Wars saga itself) to survive is for the Jedi to be removed from the equation entirely. Meanwhile, his nephew — the main villain of this trilogy — worships his grandfather’s dark deeds, hoping to restore his greatness unto the galaxy. In a sort of meta-commentary, Kylo Ren could represent the fans who are yearning for the original trilogy, lacking the full context of how Anakin became Vader or why Luke won by throwing his lightsaber, not striking Vader down.

Yoda even reaches forth from the beyond to confess to Luke that “the greatest teacher, failure is.” His entire appearance in The Last Jedi is predicated on a need to let go of the Jedi’s past mistakes, drawing a smooth parallel between his failure to stop Darth Sidious from claiming control of the galaxy and Luke’s failure to recreate the Jedi Order in his own image. Although it remains to be seen how Episode IX will wrap up this thematic throughline, it doesn’t take much scrutiny to reveal the meta-commentary that the sequel trilogy is going for.

RECONCILING THE PAST TRILOGIES SO THAT THE SAGA CAN LIVE ON

While the Disney Star Wars films ultimately condemn not the prequel trilogy itself but the actions of its heroes, they certainly don’t shy away from referencing and incorporating certain elements into the stories they’re trying to tell. Take that Solo villain cameo, for example. In fact, every single one of the four films that Disney has released since taking ownership has included references, cameos and narrative ties to the prequels. You could even say that one of the greatest objectives of the sequel trilogy is the unification of all that has come before, equally legitimizing both trilogies while allowing fans to accept them all and move on.

In The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata discusses the never-ending fight against evil in its many forms, name-checking the Sith, the Empire, and the First Order as various incarnations of the same struggle. Then, of course, there is the philosophical debate between Kylo “Let the past die” Ren and Rey’s desire to salvage what remains of the Jedi, even if all she ultimately saves is the Order’s sacred texts. These two central pillars of the sequel trilogy find themselves in a philosophical quarrel over how to treat the future of the Star Wars galaxy, and no film captures that conversation as much as The Last Jedi.

In that respect, Rian Johnson’s film — and the vitriolic response some fans have had to it — embodies a transitional period for the saga. By bringing back the themes of the prequels and the cast of the original trilogy, the Disney films are tying the whole saga together once and for all. After all, what comes next in the main saga, spinoffs aside, will likely not be beholden to either the original trilogy or the prequels. And it shouldn’t have to. The Star Wars universe is a vast one with infinite storytelling potential. As J.J. Abrams once explained, the purpose of the sequel trilogy is to “reclaim the story,” and that mission is well on its way to being accomplished.”

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When George Lucas abandoned Star Wars because of fan harassment, film journalists were fine with it

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran reportedly deleted her Instagram posts because of fan harassment. Many film journalists and bloggers are now loudly supporting her. Tran shouldn’t trust them too much, though. As soon as she does a movie they hate, most of them won’t care if she’s harassed anymore.

When George Lucas made the Prequels and altered the Original Trilogy, many fans went nuts. Some compared the creator of Star Wars to a rapist. Others fantasized about killing him. It went on for many years. In January 2012, Lucas finally announced that he would retire from Lucasfilm and the movie business.

“Why would I make any more,” Lucas says of the “Star Wars” movies, “when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”

Later in the year, he sold Lucasfilm to Disney and chose Kathleen Kennedy to take over and supervize the future Star Wars movies.

“It was fine before the Internet,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek following the Lucasfilm sale. “But now . . . it’s gotten very vicious and very personal. You just say, ‘Why do I need to do this?’ ”

(source: Vanity Fair)

You’ll hardly find articles condemning the endless bashing of George Lucas. Most film journalists and bloggers were fine with it. At that time, they agreed with the infuriated fans on the Prequels and the Special Editions, so they chose to tolerate all their excesses.


Check out the previous posts about the harassment of Ahmed Best and Newsweek’s poor behaviour towards Jake Lloyd.

Cancelled Star Wars Battlefront IV art shows dark side Obi-Wan, Jedi Maul and other variations from the saga

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From Eurogamer:

“This fresh gallery of Star Wars art offers a glimpse at what might have been – had British developer Free Radical Design got to make its Star Wars Battlefront 4.

That’s right, Battlefront 4 – which was already in the planning stages when Free Radical’s promising Battlefront 3 project was shut down, all the way back in 2006.

This gallery of concept images reveals a strikingly different approach – a ‘what if?’ scenario where the events of the Star Wars prequels would play out differently.

Anakin would have killed Yoda and murdered Padmé, which would have caused Obi-Wan and then Luke to fall to the dark side. On the flipside, Darth Maul and Count Dooku would have been Jedi. […]”


Check out the whole gallery at imgur.

ComicBook.com: The Special Editions brought ‘many positive changes to the saga’

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From Comicbook.com:

“In the mid-’90s, Star Wars creator George Lucas embarked on an ambitious project, as he revisited the films that earned him his legacy and made a variety of changes to them. 20 years later, these “Special Edition” versions of the Star Wars trilogy are still highly debated pieces of film history, as fans contest the decisions Lucas made with his films […]

Many fans may dismiss the Special Edition trilogy, but these updated versions of the film brought along with it many positive changes to the saga.

Check out why we think it’s important to honor the tweaks George Lucas made to the original Star Wars for its Special Edition!

SLIDE 1/7 – CULTURAL RELEVANCE

The original films were events that captured the attention of almost the whole world, creating a global sensation whose effects are still felt today. For audiences who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, the only way to witness the films was on the small scale. […]

Lucasfilm was so aware of this fact, that the first teasers for the Special Edition featured ships flying out of a television set to showcase how much more effective the film is on the big screen.

Additionally, the release of the Special Editions helped reignite interest in the series two years prior to The Phantom Menace landing in theaters, building the anticipation for that film.

SLIDE 2/7 – BOX OFFICE DOMINATION

[…] Over the course of its run, the Star Wars Special Edition ended up taking in nearly $140 million domestically, helping it earn the film a domestic grand total of over $460 million.

The film might not have enjoyed its reign as the top-grossing domestic release for too long, as 1997’s Titanic would eventually go on to earn over $600 million domestically, but the Special Editions helped show that audiences were just as interested as ever to head to the theater for a Star Wars film.

SLIDE 3/7 – DELETED SCENES
[…] Lucas’ incorporation of deleted scenes showed audiences our first glimpses of new footage since the original films’ debut, which helped satiate our anticipation for the upcoming prequels.

One of the deleted scenes that was edited back into the Special Edition of Star Wars featured Luke reuniting with his old friend Biggs, which helped pay off Luke’s complaints earlier in the film about all of his friends leaving home to become pilots. The brief interaction helped remind audiences that Luke never anticipated he’d get thrown into the Rebellion, but merely felt a calling that couldn’t be ignored.

Another deleted scene featured Han interacting with Jabba the Hutt, which was filmed before Jabba was fully conceptualized. The scene establishes the connection between the two characters and, while not pertinent to enjoy Return of the Jedi, the scene serves as an example of how a filmmaker’s ideas for a character can change over the years.

SLIDE 4/7 – SCOPE OF THE STORY

When the film was originally created, digital effects were incredibly rudimentary, with Lucas’ work helping pave the way for other filmmakers, effectively revolutionizing cinema. Despite the advanced ’70s techniques, CGI had evolved drastically in 20 years, allowing Lucas to expand the scale of the saga.

A notable change to the Star Wars Special Edition was the establishing shots of Mos Eisley as Obi-Wan and Luke departed on their mission. The updated film showed off a variety of new creatures and vehicles, as well as show off the size of Mos Eisley and the spaceport’s bizarre architecture.

Much of the film features interior locations, whether it be various rooms on the Death Star, cockpits or cantinas, making the film feel somewhat contained, with these new establishing shots helping show off how large this universe was. […]

SLIDE 6/7 – LUKE’S LANDSPEEDER

While it’s easy to look back fondly at the original Star Wars and romanticize many of the film’s components, we often overlook that there are distracting shortcomings due to lack of technical solutions.

To convey a speeder that hovered across the terrain with ease, the film took an incredibly lo-fi approach to removing the speeder’s wheels by merely smearing vaseline over the camera’s lens. After knowing this detail, you can’t help but watch that original footage and acknowledge that the scene merely looks like someone smeared vaseline over the lens.

This poor quality effect doesn’t ruin the movie, but the transparency of cockpits in Snowspeeders in The Empire Strikes Back also help remind audiences that the effects in the film are far from perfect, sometimes to a distracting degree.

SLIDE 7/7 – BATTLE OF YAVIN
Erasing the vaseline from Luke’s speeder was only the beginning of how the original film’s effects could get an upgrade, with the Battle of Yavin elevating to an all-new level thanks to advanced special effects techniques.
The sequence may have only featured a handful of new shots, but the overhaul of the film’s already impressive effects helped solidify these final scenes in the film as some of the most exciting moments in the entire saga, even maintaining their status as some of the best aerial battles ever put to film.

To cap off the sequence, the explosion of the Death Star was amplified, helping create a much larger sense of scale compared to the original, fiery explosion.”

NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney praises The Phantom Menace and the original trilogy changes

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From The Comeback:

“Ryan Blaney is one of the rising stars of NASCAR. […]

But if there’s one thing Ryan Blaney loves when he’s off the track, it’s Star Wars. The superfan loves the franchise and loves talking about Star Wars. Blaney got to meet Daisy Ridley (Rey) and even went through the entire history of Star Wars while on the road. Blaney is also a spokesperson for Star Wars Battlefront II which comes out on PS4, Xbox One and PC on Nov. 17.

As someone who is just starting to get into the Star Wars franchise, I wanted to talk to an expert and get their thoughts of how to get into it. So I went to Dover and met Ryan Blaney to ask how he became a fan and to get his thoughts on George Lucas constantly tweaking his previous creations.

Phillip Bupp: How did you get to be a Star Wars fan?

Ryan Blaney: Hmm, I don’t know. My parents and my family were never really a fan of them. When I saw the first one, Episode I Phantom Menace, that came out when I was 6 or 7. I think that time was you’re at that age where you’re just figuring out what you like. And when I saw the first one, I thought it was pretty cool and it kind of stuck with me. So I just saw it as a little kid and thought it was the right time and I enjoyed it and it’s been neat to keep enjoying it. I’m 23 now and that’s been pretty cool. I like the storylines in it and I like that other world. So yeah, I saw it and stuck with it. […]

PB: I really wanted to interview you about Star Wars because I am just now getting into Star Wars. I didn’t start watching until I was 27 and that was a couple years ago so I’m starting a bit later. Now I’ve heard from many people about different ways to watch the franchise for the first time. Either, I’ve been told to skip the prequels or watch the first six in a certain order and everything else. What would you say would be the best way for a first timer to watch Star Wars?

Blaney: The way I saw it, because I was young and I saw Episode I, I went I, II, III and then I watched the originals. So I guess you could say I watched them in [chronological] order. And other people have different opinions whether you should watch the originals first and then the prequels. I don’t really think there’s a wrong way to seeing them, it’s just whatever you want to do.

But I guess if there is a wrong way you could see them, it would be if you kinda jumped episodes. Either watch IV, V, VI and then I, II, III or go from I all the way to VI, so whichever is up to your preference.

PB: Yeah, I still need to watch the prequels, those are the only ones I haven’t seen yet. I’ve seen everything else.

Blaney: Yep.

PB: Something that Star Wars fans have been somewhat divided on is George Lucas constantly tweaking his previous movies. Do you like that he is constantly tweaking his previous creations or do you want him to leave them alone?

Blaney: I think you gotta tweak things. A part of me wants it, [along with] a lot of people like it to just leave it. Everybody tweaks things the way that somebody wants to do their movies. That’s their thought, that’s their movies. If other people think they can do it better, then make your own movie [laughter]. But I don’t mind tweaking things, I think it’s kinda cool. And whatever he wants to do, I’m along for the ride regardless really. […]

PB: Now of all the movies, which one’s your favorite?

Blaney: Honestly, really because it’s the first one I saw, Episode I is my favorite because it got me hooked on Star Wars. Darth Maul is probably my favorite character of the whole franchise. So it’ll go Phantom Menace first, even though there’s some things I don’t like about it. And then I like Empire [Strikes Back], that’s easily number two. Just Phantom Menace because it’s the first one I saw as a kid and it’ll always be special to me. […]”

Dork Side of the Force defends George Lucas, the Prequels and the Original Trilogy changes

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From Dork Side of the Force:

“Today an article crossed my path from Epic Stream that stated there are problems “ruining” the Star Wars franchise. The media source listed and broke down 10 reasons how the franchise has basically lost its way.

Even though the article is very articulate and well written, I completely disagree with its conclusions. In fact, I believe the 10 reasons that are brought up actually make Star Wars far better and not worse.

The article criticized everything from George Lucas, to the Prequels, to nostalgia, and more. Here is our counter to each point of their 10 arguments. […]

8. Thank you, George Lucas.

Their argument: That George Lucas was not the main reason for their success. They credited others (writers and directors) with more of the reason for the success of Star Wars, not the Lucas.

Our counter: Even though I agree that teamwork is key to Star Wars being what it is today and that the actors, Lawrence Kasdan, the writers, and the story group are critical to their success; they do not deserve most of the credit, Lucas does.

Lucas took all the risk when he first introduced Star Wars. If it fails, then he fails. If the creator didn’t take a chance on these directors, actors, and writers to help him create his vision, then they would not be successful. George Lucas deserves most of the credit.

Plus it was his vision for the animated series Clone Wars, which took the franchise to a whole new level. Thank you, George and we give you most of the praise and credit for Star Wars. […]

4. The remastered versions of Star Wars enhance the story.

Their argument: The remastered versions of the movies makes the Original Trilogy unrecognizable.

Our counter: These new changes actually make the original movies even more recognizable.

Every time these new additions are released, it introduces Star Wars to a whole new audience that may never have seen them before.

It’s also creative and makes the movies more fun.

An example of the revised versions adding to the originals is Hayden Christensen’s version of Anakin being displayed as a Force ghost at the end. Instead of having a guy we’ve never seen standing there with Obi Wan and Yoda, the portrayed and recognizable version of the character prevents confusion and connects the Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy together. […]

1. The Enduring Legacy

Their argument: That The Prequels ruined everything about Star Wars.

Our counter: That viewpoint could not be further from the truth, in my opinion.The Prequels expanded and gave us backstory that we’ve always wanted. We got vast worlds, intriguing politics, the Jedi in great numbers, and an origins story of the Emperor.

They mentioned the point of The Phantom Menace explaining too much of the Force i.e with midi-chlorians. I thought it was a nice touch showing the science of The Force, but still leaving much mystery on how it works.

Their biggest blunder was saying that Episode III was the worst of them all. In fact, I believe that Revenge of the Sith was the best of not only The Prequels but on the same level with any of the originals. Hayden’s portrayal of Anakin/Vader was dark, moving, and had a vast amount humanity that was just brilliant.

Remember, George Lucas wanted to set Vader as the victim, not the villain. Revenge of the Sith achieved that goal and displayed just how tragic Darth Vader really was.

We also got the Clone Wars and a plethora of prequel stories that spawned from the movies.”