Thank The Maker

in #geeklast year

Like most Star Wars fanatics my age, I have a rather bizarre "relationship" with The Maker of the phenomenon that has shaped much of my pop culture life. I used quotes around "relationship" because I have never, nor will ever, meet George Lucas. Although there is no relationship, I have fantasized many times about what I would say to him if I ever met him.





If I had met him between the years 1977 and 1997, the conversation would have been quite simple. I would drop to my knees, burst into tears, and repeatedly "Thank The Maker" for creating the coolest thing I had ever seen and for providing a common bond between every boy born in the 1970s... oh and the toys. The many, many, many, many, awesome toys!

If the unlikely meeting occurred some time between 1997 to 2013, there would have been tears, but they would not have been mine. They would have been generated by a swift kick to Lucas' exhaust port.

Why the change?

In 1997 George Lucas decided to release the "specialized" editions of his Sci-Fi masterpiece. The most memorable of the wrecking balls Lucas took to my childhood was the scene that has inspired my handle here. Two years later, he followed up with The Jar Jar and horrible acting filled Prequels. By the time Darth Vader turned into Frankenstein at the end of Revenge of the Sith, I had completely forgotten why I would have once greeted George Lucas with tears of appreciation and joy.





Boy do I feel dumb.

And it is not for my attitude that spanned the 70's, 80s's and most of the 90's. It is because I forgot something very important. Today I saw a story that reminded me of what Star Wars and every fantasy movie, TV show, and comic book is all about.

When speaking with Jon Favreau about the upcoming series The Mandalorian, Lucas gave Favreau (and all of us aging fanboys) a very important piece of advice. He said,

"... the real audience for all stories and all myths is the kids that are coming of age. We enjoy the stories as adults, but really, storytelling is about imparting the wisdom of the previous generations on to the children who are becoming adults, and giving them a context for how to behave and how to learn the lessons of the past without making the mistakes on their own. ”

Things like Star Wars, Stranger Things and The Marvel movies are for kids. Those kids need to be the ultimate judge of whether or not their creators succeeded. If us adults happen to like them too, then that is simply icing on the cake.





Luckily for me, Lucas' recent quote was only a reminder of what I learned back in 2013. That was the year I finally broke down and showed the prequels to my son Timmy who was 8-years old at the time. It took Timmy about 10 seconds to tear down all of the bitterness I had developed over the previous 16 years. It turns out that all it took was a question uttered from the lips attached to tiny little face looking up in wonder as Anakin and Obi-Wan battled on a lava covered planet.

What was the question you might ask?

"Dad, did they film this in a real volcano?"

Timmy saved me from my dark side.





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I may be able to provide a bit of insight here. I was born in the late '70s and so I'm one of the last of the Gen X-ers. By the time the last of the episodes premiered in theaters, I was only 5 years old, so I missed the boat completely there. I remember other kids my age had the toys when I got a little older, but because we didn't have cable in the rural area where I grew up, I never saw the movies even after they were released on video and were playing on HBO. I remember one movie being on at someone's house while we were playing cops and robbers, but I never sat down and watched any of the movies all the way through as a kid.

My full introduction to them was actually just before the digitized versions premiered. I went to college at a tech school (RIT) so the majority of people I knew were computer science or engineering nerds, most of whom were huge Star Wars fanboys. I mean, action figures, costumes, the whole nine yards. One of my friends had the originals on VHS I think, which we watched in the lounge on my floor, then I saw the CGI versions right after. I actually did think that the CGI stuff was somehow worse than the primitive special effects they used in the originals, but otherwise the story seemed pretty much the same to me. My friends? They were like you. Furious about the corruption of their childhood fantasy.

I also went to see the prequels in the theater. I felt the same way about those as the digitized versions of the original movies. They seemed pretty much the same as ever. The special effects were obvious and kind of bad, but so was the original movies. They used trash cans as robots for Pete's sake.

I think my opinion differs for the specific reason that I watched all of them as an adult. In the originals, I wasn't able to suspend disbelief and overlook the bad acting, the hokey dialogue and the very obvious-to-me-as-an-adult special effects. I think that they're fantastic stories and lots of fun, but I was never drawn in by my them, nor did I identify with the characters like my friends who experienced them as children. I simply didn't understand what all the fuss was about.

This sort of confirms what Lucas is saying. He didn't make the films for me when I was a Freshman and Sophomore in college. He made it for children who are trying to sort out the world's complexity and the meaning in their own lives. Looked at through this lens, Jar Jar, or any of the new characters for that matter, while annoying even to me sometimes, doesn't bother me so much in the context of how worthy of the originals that movie was. There was some of that annoyance in the originals IMO. I remember one of my younger cousins getting a Jar Jar action figure for Christmas that year, so the spirit was alive and well, and that's ultimately all that matters when that's the target audience. It's the same guy, making the same kinds of movies, just using more modern techniques and different actors. There's nothing wrong with that.

Got to love kids!

Yes indeed children always find the right questions and save our inner child.

Posted using Partiko iOS

The kids are ultimately the consumers of tomorrow so they are going to be primed for certain things that may encourage positive feelings now and get them to buy below par shit in the future, all about getting them while they're impressionable

A bit cynical... but I certainly can't argue with you.

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