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An open letter to J.J. Abrams about making Star Wars VII

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There’s nothing coming out of the London based Star Wars camp, as of late, that has me even remotely interested in how this will all turn out. No one really knows how or what, J.J. Abrams, will do with this beloved franchise. All we have to go on are his previous films, which aren’t bad, but they weren’t all that great either. This humorous open letter to the God of lens-flares, is the work of Prescott Harvey an employee at Sincerely Truman, a marketing company in Portland Oregon.

The short video talks about what every Star Wars fan has gone over and over in his or her head since the prequels “What made Star Wars great?”. I am posting this video because, for the most part, I totally agree with the films critiques. My only question is why didn’t someone do a video like this for George Lucas before he embarked upon raping our childhood with rusty tools?

Was it because we thought the film was in good hands, even though the introduction of the Ewok‘s foreshadowed the apocalypse? We should’ve been equally as hard on George, but we trusted him through three prequels, each time hoping it would eventually get better and it didn’t.

So now, in the year of our Lord 2013, we’ve decided to say something, well…for the sake of those that made this video and fans like me, I hope it gets heard. I especially hope J.J. Abrams pays particular attention to the part in the video about the mystery of the Jedi (an idea I proposed in a previous article on MITNG).

It’s important to keep in mind, for  those of us who grew up on A New Hope, The Empire… and Return.., that at the end of the day, it’s about money and no one has ever crossed the mouse and lived to talk about it.

J.J. Abrams, I give you all the respect in the world for taking on something like this. God Speed…you fool.

Has the Jedi mysticism in Star Wars been lost over the years

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The years have not been kind to the Jedi, a once benevolent group of mystics who occasionally had to do battle with the forces of evil to create balance in the universe. Remember when Star Wars was just about Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Darth Vader? It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to say those names and actually feel that same level of honor, one might feel, being inducted into a secret society.

This was another one of my random thoughts, I had while slinging hash at my job and thought “hey…maybe there’s others out there who feel the same way”…so I decided to expound on it.

Call me crazy, but when you watch Star Wars: A New Hope, didn’t you get the sense that the Jedi’s were still a bit aloof, even when they were accepted by the Republic. They still seemed nomadic in their ways and very hard to understand at times and like searching for a new Dalai Lama, a Jedi seemed to me to be very…very hard to come by even before the slaughter, but not anymore.

How many Jedi’s does this Star Wars really need?

For me, the answers simple, but for those hellbent on making JEDI-star-wars-jedi-23833947-1024-768money off this franchise, the answers “there can never be too many”. Now with the Star Wars :The Old Republic MMORPG, everyone and their uncle can be a  Jedi, as if in Ben’s time, they were just handing out lightsaber’s  like government cheese.

Perhaps it’s because I haven’t read any of the spin off novels and comic books, except Timothy Zahn’s “Heir To The Empire”, but hasn’t this always been about the movies and not the books?

Sure, I too envision a world of yet unheard of Jedi, all with new and fascinating force skills, and belonging to interesting new races, but one must draw a line between recklessness and tangibility…yes, even in fantasy, this is what makes fantasy great. Isn’t it?

I didn’t need to see the Jedi Council in “The Phantom Menace”. Why couldn’t it have been just another level of the myth, one that we all subscribed to, but didn’t literally have to see? I mean can anyone, outside of the hardcore, name the members of the council or the race they belonged too? I know I can’t.

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This wasn’t the only thing that bothered me, assuming the Jedi were the Templar’s of their time, there was nothing to suggest a monk lifestyle other than the robes they wore, which brings me back to Ben, in the first film. He was unlike any of the so-called Jedi we saw in Episodes I, II and III. He was like the “Oracle” in The Matrix. Simple, careful, always aware of his emotions and above all…humble. Certainly not the order we saw in the prequels with their spacious penthouse view of Coruscant. There’s nothing about the Jedi’s in the new movies that says ancient or mystic. In that way, I could see why something like the Sith would want to destroy them, but I highly doubt George was thinking about this when he embarked upon creating that reheated piece of fodder known as ‘the prequels”. He was just going for flash, forgoing any of the mysticism we became fond of in “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” and replacing it with smoke and mirrors. Now everyone has the force, Leia, Han Solo, their kids and all the while, the ones who’ve remained more benevolent, clandestine, and shrouded in secrecy is the Sith.

I will even go as far as saying that “the “Sith” is the last bit of true Star Wars left, ironically enough”.

They are the one’s Hollywood unknowingly have made an “anomaly” in all this mess. We got bit’s and pieces of who they are in every film, but no visit to their planet or meeting with the council or glimpses into what it takes to become one. Again, if you’ve read any of the Dark Horse comics you already know a lot about the Sith, but for the majority of moviegoers, there’s nothing. This is the model the Jedi’s/George Lucas, should’ve followed before he decided to blanket the screen with so many meaningless characters and colorful light sabers. This over saturation made the loss of their kind even more unceremonious than it already was. Not only were thousands of Jedi slain, we only knew the names of only a handful of them.

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What’s real important to understand is that when George Lucas wrote A New Hope, back in the seventies he, as a film student, was deeply into Akira Kurosawa films like “Rashomon”, “Seven Samurai” and “Ran”. He peppered “A New Hope” with all sorts of Japanese inspired aesthetics like Luke and Ben’s Hakama garb and even replaced Samurai katanas with light sabers. The colors white and black, used in the Tao symbol for balance, are also represented throughout the film, demonstrating duality and then there’s Yoda, who was essentially a small green version of Pat Morita from The Karate Kid. Course there’s the blatant Nazi symbolism embraced by the Empire, but I  want to get into that.

What I’m saying is it took Luke Skywalker three films to become a full fledged Jedi. He had to learn how to control his emotions and discipline himself, a fact that was done away with with the introduction of Medichlorian’s in the prequels. The images of Luke doing the handstand in the swamps with Yoda and him taking the shots from his impromptu blast-shield training on the Falcon, are still etched in my mind. Now, no longer is this rigorous training necessary when your born with this ability. Really? Could they have made the Jedi anymore elitists?

Look, for every short coming the Star Wars franchise has faced in the last decade, there are a million more yet to come, but can we at least agree that the franchise has lost that bit (I use that term lightly) of magic that made the original great? No artist, I know, has ever finished a song, painting or script without stepping back several times to look at what he or she has done and asking themselves “It this still me?”, “Is this still inspired?” These are questions, I’m afraid, George never asked himself, instead, as if he had no idea what he’d created two decades ago, he proceeded to go more west with the storyline than east, like he originally intended.

I won’t even ask you if whether approaching Star Wars from A New Hope point of view, is even worth it anymore, but it would be nice if the reigning science fiction/fantasy mutilator J.J. Abrams, would take this into consideration as he begins work on Star Wars Episode VII, but given his track record with Star Trek, I ‘d say don’t count on it and with that I leave you with the immortal words of C3PO…”We’re doomed.”

Lukesaberanh

MITNG reviews Brian K.Vaughn and Fiona Staples SAGA #7

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Man, leave it to the in-laws to go and muck up a perfect getaway vacation. Okay, so maybe it’s not a trip to Fiji, but it is some place our heroes, Marko and Alana, can go where there isn’t a war going on. Their plans to “leave it all behind” are thwarted when Marko’s parents arrive, by way of magic, on their ship, and not only throw a major wrench in their plans, but they annihilate their disembodied baby sitter Izabel in the process…damn. Things are really getting buck in issue #7 of the Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples classic… SAGA.

I don’t know how Brian manages to bring that uncanny human element to characters who are larger than life, but he does. After reading the SAGA trade 1-6 last year, I couldn’t wait for this new series to begin. Saga #7 is as controlled and as chocked full of character driven plots as ever. The thread of love is constantly weaving it’s strange web throughout this trippy story of inter-galatic war and the effect is wide spread. Something tells me the universe wants these two to succeed in raising this family, but there are so many forces at work against them. Forces that sooner or later will ask the star-crossed lovers the question of all questions “is our love worth all this?”.

Issues 7-12 are out now, but I’m just a little slow getting to them, so this write up is more or less for those of you who have no idea what SAGA is. It’s complicated, as is all love stories, but I hope I was able to enlighten you, at least about issue #7.

SAGA Website

Y: THE LAST MAN writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN returns to comics with red-hot artist FIONA STAPLES for an all-new ONGOING SERIES! Star Wars-style action collides with Game of Thrones-esque drama in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers, as new parents Marko and Alana risk everything to raise their child amidst a never-ending galactic war.

 

 

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