In 2017, George Lucas told a story to the crowd at Star Wars Celebration that Star Wars was always meant to be “enjoyed by 12-year-olds”. He also doubled down by bashing the “mean” critics, and told us what Star Wars was meant to be in his mind:
“Friendships, honestly, trust, doing the right thing, living on the right side and avoiding the dark side. Those are the things it was meant to do.”George Lucas, 2017 Star Wars Celebration
Lucas is the creator of the Star Wars universe, and if that is his vision, he is entitled to it. What he is not entitled to, however, is dictating what the film means to the legions of fans that fell in love with his galaxy far, far away. I was only three at the time, but I went to see Star Wars in 1977 with my parents. I remember it like Leia remembers her mother. Images, really… feelings. The one I remember extremely well is going to see The Empire Strikes Back when I was six, and the indelible impact it had on my young mind. Then, I experienced Return of the Jedi at age nine. Those films spoke to me at a young age with words and images I’ll never forget. Then, I grew up.
Hey George, Star Wars is for grown-ups, too
Here’s where George Lucas gets it wrong. The next installment of Star Wars comes along when I am 25-years-old. I’m still a major Star Wars geek and absorbing all the glory of a Star Wars movie opening night at a popular crowded theater. People came in costume. Jedi robes and Storm Trooper helmets were everywhere. The theater erupted in applause at the opening crawl. It was an awesome thing to see. The impact Uncle George’s creation had on people was immeasurable. Queue the arrival of Jar-Jar-frickin’-Binks—the worst character EVER conceived in Star Wars.
Grown-up me felt betrayed. Even at 9-years-old I struggled to like the Ewoks. 25-year-old me really struggled with Jar-Jar. Not the Gungans as a species, just that babbling moron that was speaking pig-Latin to Obi-wan and Qui-Gon, and just mucking up my childhood memories of the story. Part of me thinks George knew this going into the release. I think that’s why he gave Jar-Jar such an important pivot role in the Senate, giving Palpatine what he needed to create the Empire. I believe some cultures refer to people like that as “useful idiots”.
George’s “Jesus” moment
Also at the 2017 event, Lucas recalled a memory about shooting a scene from one of the prequel movies in Spain. He said there where “thousands” of Star Wars fans line up to meet him.
“There were all these tiny kids. They were all reaching their hands out, and they had no idea what was happening, but all they wanted to do was touch my hand. That’s all I’ve ever wanted, and it reminds me why I continue to do it.”George Lucas
Fans need to be careful here. Without argument, George gave us an extraordinary universe. Let’s face it, many of us would rather live in his than the one we’re in. But when people start acting like this, it sets a precedent for a God complex. Not saying George has that problem, but think about it. The Creator (whichever one you believe in) gave us many wonderful things on Earth, then created the mosquito. George created many wonderful things in his universe, then creates Jar-Jar, and then insults everyone else he created by declaring it his most favorite creation? Let’s leave Ewan McGregor to play Jesus, George, and just help guide Disney to make a good movie, will ya?
The undeniable success of an “adult” Star Wars
No, not THAT kind of adult Star Wars. We’ll leave that to Robot Chicken. I’m talking about Rogue One. The Mandalorian. What part of these are for 12-year-olds? Not much. Rogue One has been fan-approved as the better of the Disney-era Star Wars films. The opening shot of The Mandalorian trailer tells you that it’s going to be light on humor and heavy on good ol’ dark action. Fans love Rogue One. The Mandalorian has fans excited for Star Wars again. Why do you think that is? It’s because it leaves out the kiddie stuff. These are the stories that grew up.
For the record, Star Wars: Resistance appears to be getting this message. Season one was campy, a little goofy, but good enough that an adult fan could watch it with their kids and still enjoy it. The season two trailer looks to be taking a more serious turn. It looks pretty darn good. And don’t even mention The Clone Wars. It’s been awesome from the start.
Remember, this is just a movie after all
Jinn and Kenobi were the pinnacle of Jedi patience, and deserve the titles of Master, or Saint if you want to. If Star Wars were real, I would undoubtedly be a Sith. I say that because if I had a light saber and Jar-Jar Binks was within range, he’d be half the Gungan he used to be just for speaking. There are many fans that feel that way, and there are many who don’t. I still see comments about how people loved Binks and his antics. They are likely the same people who found the character of Roger Rabbit as endearing. He wasn’t. And neither is Binks. Search your feelings.
A reminder for the more fanatical fans among us: The character on the screen needs to be separated from the actor. Ahmed Best by all accounts is a wonderful person and actor, same goes for Kelly Marie Tran. They are not at fault for the poor writing or directing they had to endure portraying Jar-Jar and Rose Tico. Like those characters or not though, this is George’s universe. We just play in it.
You don’t agree? Change my mind.