Probably the most read thing I’ve ever written for Geek Hard was the fifth piece I did for this column. On the off chance you’re reading this and didn’t read that particular column, it was entitled: George Lucas, That Girl You Can’t Say No To. I’m still kind of proud of it to this day.
A lot has changed since 2012. George Lucas no longer owns Star Wars or Lucas Films and has handed over the reigns to a younger generation of film makers who grew up on the original franchise. A lot of people were worried when Disney bought the property, much in the same way people were worried when Disney bought Marvel; everyone thought the sky was falling when in fact it did not. Marvel Comics has rolled on more or less as normal (currently the only problem I see is their annoyance at not having the Fantastic Four film rights and now seem to be doing anything they can not to promote those character). And while this may have happened anyways, you could argue that Marvel Studios is a lot like Pixar. Even the worst Marvel film is still decent (everyone has their own particular worst one, for me I’d say it’s probably Iron Man 2).
So, I had my hopes high for Star Wars. George Lucas would be reduced to an advisory role (maybe even helped with the story but that is yet unconfirmed) which is something I felt the series needed. Clone Wars, the cg animated series, was proof enough that Star Wars could have great storytelling without Lucas directly at the helm.
Then we got word who was going to be running the show for at least one Star Wars film, the first new Star Wars film since the prequels, and nerds promptly lost their shit. J.J. Abrams seems to draw on both sides of nerds, especially after his reboot of Star Trek. A lot of nerds either saw him as the second coming or the Anti-Christ. A good chunk of us waited with baited breath to see what he could pull off. This past Friday, we got out first look.
Speaking for myself, the teaser showed a lot of promise and made me feel like a six year old again. And then the internet nitpickers came out of the woodwork. “Why does the bad guy have a stupid lightsaber?” Who cares? I’m more interested in who the fucking bad guy is.
At the same time, I kind of get. If you go back to when Episode 1 was first released, most reviews were not bad. You take a good portion of the people who say they don’t like it today, go back to that time and these same people are whistling slightly different tunes. They got burned and now as a pre-emptive strike, I think a number of them are shitting all over the this teaser trailer just so they don’t look like jack-asses.
I’m not here to say that The Force Awakens is going to be incredible. I’ve only seen a very brief portion of the film via the teaser. I am optimistic though and here’s why:
George Lucas did not direct this or write the screenplay.
I love George Lucas for bringing me Star Wars. It’s one of a handful of films that I can say, without exaggerating, changed my life. As I said in my initial column years ago, I think George Lucas is a phenomenal mind when it comes to story and ideas. He is not a great screenwriter or director. I think if you managed to get an interview with Lucas, he’d probably admit to that now. J.J. Abrams is a solid director and was also smart enough to bring on Lawrence Kasdan, the guy who wrote the two best Sat Wars films – The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as screenwriter.
For current evidence that this is a good thing, watch Star Wars Rebels. No Lucas in sight and as much I loved Clone Wars, I’m enjoying Rebels a lot more.
Does this mean the movie will be perfect? No but it’s a hell of a good start.
So to nerds who are already getting their backs up against the wall, relax. It’s not horrible yet. Take enjoyment where you can get it, take it with a sense of optimism or don’t but don’t nitpick at it because you’re still mad about the prequels.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!