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  • Cryogenic

    What the….????

    Okay. So this poster confirms it:

    Star Wars is the OT and the ST. Also starring Darth Maul and his loyal cyber-dog General Grievous.

  • Bon

    Ok, I defended the last poster but this one is stupid.

    It bothers me, but the only thing that brings me comfort about this whole situation is who they are marketing to. I hate using this word unironically, but NORMIES

    • Cryogenic

      @ Bon:

      Yep. And prequel hatred has been the “new normal” for twenty years.

      I think it’s even worse in-situ. The poster. Go on the actual page (though that does grant them a “hit”).

      There’s a pronounced degree of skewing toward the OT and ST: the “safe” mythologies. Please, Your Majesty. Stay here, where it’s safe!

      I’ll grant them a few things, though. It’s weird, but the earlier “blue-red” poster is now showing blended with one of Dusso’s panoramic digital matte paintings of night-time Coruscant at the bottom. This same image is, in fact, used several times on the page, blended at the bottom of multiple “Celebration 2019” graphics. And one of the graphics uses an alternative Dusso painting of Coruscant in waning afternoon light. These images were used in scenes between Anakin and Padme on Padme’s veranda (film chapters “9: Bad Dreams” and “15: Seeds of Distrust” respectively).

      If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, just Google “dusso revenge sith”. There are some striking digital matte paintings that artist Yanick Dusseault (Dusso is his professional handle) produced for ROTS which you should be able to find. This is a page about Dusso and his work:

      http://linesandcolors.com/2008/08/05/dusso-yanick-dusseault-update/

      I’m sort of reminded of when they plastered John Williams’ martial composition “Battle of the Heroes” into the Korean teaser trailer/extended TV spot for “The Force Awakens”. Fine ‘n’ all, but kind of a mismatch, and a jarring use of prequel assets to sell a relatively anti-prequel, fan-placating, reactionary piece of retro-cinema.

      Ah, well. I’m ready to forgive them for everything if I can one day find a cute Twi’lek girl.

      • joe

        THIS IS BHULLSH*T NOW THEY LEFT OUT PADME YOU KNOW THE FRIGGIN MOTHER OF LUKE AND LEIA? THE DISRESPECT TOWARDS HER(JUST BECAUSE OF HOW SHE HANDLED ANAKIN’S MURDER OF SAND PEOPLE AND HER DYING OF A BROKEN HEART WHICH IS WHAT MANY SAID KILLED DEBBIE REYNOLDS AFTER CARRIE’S DEATH)IS DISGUSTING LUCAS SHOULD HAVE NEVER SOLD THE COMPANY TO DISNEY IT’S ALL PT BASHING AND OT AND ST PANDERING!

      • Cryogenic

        @ Joe:

        In this case, it seems so blatant as if designed to provoke a reaction. Why wouldn’t Anakin and Padme be included at a bare minimum?

        I’ve said that Lucasfilm have been gaslighting fans since Disney took over the brand — after throwing Lucas, Ben Burtt, and J.W. Rinzler (among others) to the curb.

        There’s no-one who seems bold enough, strong enough, good enough to resist their perfidy.

        Frankly, it’s ridiculous. Apart from Celebration 2017 (a rather special year), where and when have the prequels really been included in anything from Disney? I’m not seeing it.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Joe:

        I definitely think there’s something going on here. Even if the prequels aren’t to the poster artist’s personal taste, to diss them so conspicuously is disquieting. That or, of course, he/she was receiving orders from higher up. Also disquieting.

  • Will Reardon

    What I find interesting about this upcoming Celebration is that the location, the McCormick Place, was the alternative site offered for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. But George would settle for nothing less than prime waterfront on Lake Michigan.

    Had George accepted the McCormick Place, there would have been way less opposition from Chicago’s preservationists. Now he is settling for a site in central LA, miles away from the Pacific coast in a city that never respected his independence.

  • archdukeofnaboo

    It pains me having to complain so soon about Lucasfilm again, but this poster is a travesty. They’ve now gone a step further and removed Padmé altogether – the very personification of the Galactic Republic. Has somebody there been taking deathsticks?

      • archdukeofnaboo

        Those folks have a very narrow-minded idea of what a strong female character is. Padmé unequivocally rejects Anakin’s offer of becoming empress on Mustafar before walking away, and calls out Palpatine’s dictatorship while the remainder of the Senate applaud in jubilation. She dies, essentially, as a martyr to the Republic – there ain’t nothing weak about any of that.

        I’ve always felt that her funeral is the saddest moment in the entire saga. As a bright, young political leader struck down, it has JFK written all over it. Theed looks so beautiful in the dark, and yet the music and procession scene are just haunting.

    • Cryogenic

      @ Arch Duke:

      Obi-Wan and Dooku have also been removed. Meaning there is now absolutely no character that can truly be said to represent AOTC — or, for that matter, the lineage, mentorship, and protectorship of Luke and Leia or the main Skywalker storyline.

      Look around at the poster. All the other saga films are referenced in some way. The middle prequel, where things really heat up, and which essentially births the mythology of SW as we know it, has zero presence here. No clones, no love story, no Anakin, no nothing. Kind of interesting. You touched on it yourself with your “deathsticks” reference (another AOTC trope).

      Poor AOTC. Like Kamino: Deleted from the Jedi Archives. Disney don’t want you to know where all this comes from. The ground of being. We’re meant to pretend that Star Wars is just a cold sausage-fest between Luke and Vader, with Rey and Kylo paying “Skype call” homage. So much for diversity and equal representation.

  • Cryogenic

    @ Arch Duke:

    Hi — me again!!! 😉

    Another strong appeal of Padme that goes along with her strong political values, as Natalie Portman said, is that she still gets to be a woman — and that’s something still not seen too often. Her character, in fact, is multifaceted, and even if her death was a disappointment to some, it shows that characters don’t have to be perfect (*cough* Rey *cough*) to be principled and heroic.

    Her funeral scene really gets to me, too. It’s certainly, in my opinion, a very meditative and mournful moment in the film, exactly as it should be.

    A clever feature of the scene is in how it brings back Boss Nass and Jar Jar, who haven’t been seen together since the “good days” of TPM, lending a very sad air to the proceedings. Lucas holds the camera on them just long enough to get the right impact (compare the poignant brevity of this entire scene with the interminable moments of death and glory in the final chapter of Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy).

    Jar Jar’s incredibly solemn expression, in particular, is devastating. He is here shown in a markedly dim light, with darker skin, and a haunting mix of pain and suppressed anger is readable on his sunken visage. This is no longer the happy-go-lucky frog-jester from the starting chapter. Life changes its creatures. Very short, but maximally impactful.

    And those aren’t the only Episode I touchstones. The genius use of the japor snippet that Anakin gave to Padme in Episode I surpasses the boggy capacity of the written word to convey. Along with Padme’s Ophelia-like appearance, the “precious heirloom” quality of the snippet clinches the quasi-medieval feel of the scene, speaking to the fairy tale charge of the saga, and paying stirring homage to the innocent way in which Padme’s connection to Anakin and her entire prequel journey began.

    Some have also read a reference to the Buddhist concept of the “Eternal Knot” in the basic shape and markings on the snippet. Quoting from the Wikipedia entry:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endless_knot

    The endless knot has been described as “an ancient symbol representing the interweaving of the Spiritual path, the flowing of Time and Movement within That Which is Eternal. All existence, it says, is bound by time and change, yet ultimately rests serenely within the Divine and the Eternal.”

    I would argue that there are certainly some big ideas at play in Star Wars — stemming, in part, from Lucas’ deep-seated fascination with art, history, mythology, and anthropology. Of course, no one component of the films collapses to one interpretation, much less the interwoven whole. But the films do stimulate debate, reflection, and inspire participants to “search their feelings” and embrace their creative and spiritual imagination.

    But to “tie” Jar Jar and the Eternal Knot together (no outsized pun necessarily intended), I wish to reprise some words of my mine from TFN in 2013:

    In their first scene together in TPM, Obi-Wan warned Jar Jar that if the Trade Federation found them, they would be crushed, ground into tiny pieces, and blasted into oblivion. Well, that sorta happens to Jar Jar by the end of III: we see him wrecked, broken — a sad clown — and even a little bitter in his final moments behind Padme’s casket.

    Jar Jar’s last appearance, back on Naboo, in the mournful air of a state funeral, associated yet again with the troubled queen he once inspired to action, but he, now in his heavy robes of office, and her, dead, forever still, is profoundly affecting. Jar Jar’s eyes, in particular, have a searching quality, like he is trying to recover the past and resolve it with the present. While everyone else effects a stoic gaze, Jar Jar still cannot help showing his emotions, yet it isn’t the puppy sadness he had when Qui-Gon passed: there’s a hint of disillusionment now, leaving him scarred, and perhaps only a flicker of what he once was.

    That final scene… stirring. It’s about the interconnectedness of people, of life, and how a myriad of choices and impulses — felt and seen; or thinly imagined and unseen — and unlikely bonds come and go in a quixotic ebb and flow, changing us and the world around us, for good and ill, in ways we cannot possibly know. And with the dark, gloomy taste of tragedy in the air, we should remember the crushed visage of this singular Gungan: our final snapshot of an individual once bursting at the seams with energy and vigour, now crushed like a bug under the cold hands of fate. Bye, bye to the putty minstrel of ambiguous intellect who was once both the lowliest and the luckiest being in the universe; hello to a fallen universe of machine greys and hardened beings who must find water and learn to swim again.

    * * *

    Lucas really went for it in this scene. I’d like to round my response off with a quote from J.W. Rinzler’s “The Final Chapter”, a free PDF document which supplements his “Making Of” book for ROTS, covering the final stretch of post-production, from September 2004 to February 2005. Under the entry dated Tuesday November 9th 2004, with some effects work still being tweaked and completed, we get an insight into the precise mood and texture being aimed for in Padme’s last scene:

    After the animators file out, Lucas directs the digi-matte painting of the funeral, which is one of [Visual Effects Supervisor Roger] Guyett’s shots: “Naboo is supposed to be an ecologically pristine planet, so I’d get rid of the smoke. It’s supposed to be a beautiful shot of Venice at dawn—this is all about rebirth, the renaissance. It’s beautiful, but it’s sad—death in Venice. Mist rising off the water, with a little hint of yellow in the clouds. Beauty and death. We simply have to outdo every Italian Renaissance painting ever.”

    And maybe he did. As Lucas’ prequel magisterium is a unique confluence and confection divine. The final words of John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” might be a fitting panegyric:

    Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
    Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
    Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep
    In the next valley-glades:
    Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
    Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

    • archdukeofnaboo

      Wow – that really is some terrific writing, if I may say so. Dare I say it, you may be better at analysing the movies themselves than critiquing the direction of Disney!

      Have you seen the recent Vader fan film? It’s only 13 minutes long, but it’s outstanding, been gathering millions of views and with many viewers going as far as describing it as superior to both TFA and TLJ. It’s, of course, centred around Darth Vader, about 8 months after the events of RotS, and Padmé makes an appearance. I bring it up because the Japor snippet – which you’ve so eloquently spoken about – features, and let me tell you this, it’s wonderfully woven into the film’s brief but engaging storyline.

      The reaction to the fan film – and I’ve done a little bit of research – has been so far above what I expected. When I noticed that Star Wars Theory (the YouTuber who financed the film’s production) was casting an actress for Padmé, I thought to myself “Oh my, you’re taking a gamble here, there are so many SW fans who detest this character (largely males, I might add) with a burning passion, how are you going to possibly satisfy them?”. But he did precisely that. I’ve not come across one reviewer who has complained about her scene – it feels so strange to say this. In fact, it’s been full of nothing but praise.

      Could the naysayers of Anakin’s fall in Episode III be finally be convinced? I think so Cryogenic, I honestly do. It’s a watershed moment.

      You may be aware that the top SW YouTubers these days are largely prequelists. The aforementioned SWT is the top rated creator on the site, and unapologetic about Lucas’s 2nd trilogy. He’s only been around since late 2016, but his influence has not been insignificant. It’s my firm believe that without the efforts of people like him, constantly dissecting the prequel lore, the Clone Wars would never have been revived. And you’re right, it was a dumb decision to cancel such a ridiculously popular programme in the first place – even the voice actors have echoed this, albeit with careful language.

      The 90s generation is starting to stick it up to the gatekeepers of the 70s, and this trend isn’t going anywhere soon. The 80s gen try so hard to be OT fanboys, but we all know which trilogy they saw in the cinema first!

      Can I ask if you’re male/female, American or non-American? I promise that’s as personal as I’ll get! I ask, however, because from my own experience traversing the debate on the PT, I find that the two latter options tend to be more supportive. Is that a fair assertion? I shall elaborate.

      Nowadays detractors of TLJ are being labelled as “manbabies”, but isn’t it a bit rich coming from the same people who thought it was okay to ridicule Attack of the Clones? The people who, let’s be really honest, were never going to be happy with any romantic plot Lucas provided. The people who were also readily prepared to savage Titantic – an Oscar-winning movie with a love story. And they are almost invariably grown men, who simply cannot understand the concept of on-screen romance. It is all a tiresome “soap opera” for them. Again, there is a psychological principle at play, where the manbaby cringes at something that once resembled themselves.

      It’s a breath of fresh air to read and listen to the female opinion on the PT. Becca Benjamin, in particular, is brilliant. Instead of throwing their toys out of the bathwater, like so many self-entitled male fans, women tend to be be able to empathise with the journeys of our ill-faithed characters. They know – feel no shame in admitting – that love isn’t necessarily logical. It’s a complex process, that can arise spontaneously, but unlike the concept of the “Force”, for the manbabies, there is absolutely no room for suspending disbelieve here. They must be of the very same social status, the exact same age, they should both share a modern sense of humour, yada, yada, yada. But isn’t Han closer to Anakin’s age than that of his daughter? Let’s conveniently overlook that “because PT bad, OT good, duh!”.

      I’ll be honest to admit that there are parts of AotC I would write differently. I would almost certainly delete Anakin’s admission of killing the sand people to Padmé, I don’t think it should be there. But the criticism of “I don’t like sand” is way over the top, and I only noticed people were complaining about it when I discovered the internet. It is simply a metaphor – one that was never intended to sound intellectual either – that Anakin uses to express his difficult upbringing, before then contrasting it with the beautiful woman beside him. You can argue it sounds a little cheesy, but does Padmé kiss him simply from those lines? Of course not. Come on, look at the meadow scenes! These things build up like tension.

      I believe our gracious webmaster isn’t American, correct? From France? Well guess what, I’m not either! I’m actually Irish – yes, you heard right, the impossibly green land where Luke Skywalker himself ran off to. As someone who grew up playing in the beehive huts you see in TLJ, I had quite a ‘surreal’ experience watching it, to say the least. And our own Domnall Glesson speaking with such a cheesy, artificial English accent? That’s all for another day I’m afraid.

      My point is that viewers in Europe have tended to be much more receptive of the prequels. The Russians, for example, turned out to crave them and they’d never experienced the Original films. The online debate fails abysmally to even reference this – at best there is a little input from Britain. It is so absurd when one considers their strong international makeup – cast, crew and most obviously, the locations. Did the more foreign feel of the prequels contribute to the backlash? You tell me.

      The non-US market is half, if not more, of the total box office of these blockbuster films and it really is a shame that the critical reception of these people is never factored in. Empire magazine and a handful of British newspapers is about as far as it goes. Judgement of Star Wars should not be up to a bunch forthy-something elites in Burbank, California.

      I really enjoy discussing anything related to the prequel – Galactic Republic – era, be it the films, the animation or even the novels. This conversation began with a rebuke of Lucasfilm’s decisions in its Celebration poster, and rightly so – we cannot tolerate the trilogy being marginalised as before – but voicing my frustration with the folks calling the shots isn’t something I terribly enjoy. Talking at length about the lore is what I adore.

      I won’t, unfortunately, follow up on your fascinating take on Padmé’s funeral. I feel like I’ve written too much already, and it is all prequel-defensive stuff, so I’d like to leave the always more positive and enjoyable lore analysis for another time. I’ve given you enough subjects to sound off as is.

      • joey pieper

        i disagree about cutting out anakin’s confession of the tusken massacre but i’ll leave it at that to change the subject have you seen the guset list just one prequel actor
        orli shoshan(shaak ti in episodes 2 and 3)than again no ot actors listed yet so that could change

      • joey pieper

        rechecked the list and greg proops(one half of the podracing announcer in episode 1)is also on the list so that’s two prequel actors and none from the ot yet

    • Cryogenic

      @ Arch Duke:

      “Wow – that really is some terrific writing, if I may say so. Dare I say it, you may be better at analysing the movies themselves than critiquing the direction of Disney!”

      Thank you, AD!!! Ah, very kind, again! 🙂

      You’re trying to point my sails in that direction, aren’t you?

      Even though I’ve enjoyed throwing some shade Disney’s way, my prime focus has always been the prequel movies, and to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, delighting in chanting the beauty of the good. I’ve also been at the latter a bit longer, so perhaps I am a touch more practiced and honed. Championing the artistic magnificence of the prequels has long been my main vocation.

      Whereas, when it comes to getting in my torpedo launches against Disney, “It is with great reluctance that I have I have agreed to this calling”. Oh, dear!!! Channelling Palpatine? Perhaps I enjoy it more than I realise. But seriously, bashing Disney was something that organically emerged in April 2015, after Celebration 2015, when the second TFA teaser debuted (the “Chewie, we’re home” fan confection), based on comments made at the main panel by Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams.

      What got me going (and a handful of other Lucas loyalists) were comments concerning production emphasis (“practical effects”) and, story, and acting, with the former serving as dogwhistle for how these upcoming films would be nothing like the PT — obnoxious virtue-signalling designed to pander and lend the impression that Disney were going to do an order-of-magnitude better job at pleasing fans than that hack George Lucas ever could.

      And the trailers hadn’t impressed me much, either, for what that’s worth. I thought the first two teasers were both drab and pedestrian — worlds away from the explosion of colour, intrigue, and sheer force of imagination (pun intended) on display in the game-changing teaser trailer for TPM; and in all the prequel trailers that followed.

      Even then, however, I felt I was willing to relent and go back to sitting things out, until the Comic-Con panel in July, in which a production reel was shown that pounded people over the head with “practical effects” dogwhistle (plus featuring unapologetic prequel-movie and prequel-fan basher and “best buddy” of J.J. Abrams Simon Pegg), as well as them trotting out and making a very big deal about “Bobba Joe”, some not-terribly-convincing puppet/man-in-suit chimera (that actually appears in TFA for all of five seconds). Making the whole PR campaign an official commercial strategy and obvious disavowing of the prequels and Lucas’ vibrant legacy by the very people he sold his creation to and trusted to honour.

      But what really did it for me was having to suffer through the constant snark and troll-posting of several very inflated know-it-all Disney defenders in the PT forum on TFN; who were also — or had metamorphosed into — gleeful, argumentative, smug, shrill prequel bashers. That was too much for me. If they wanted to fawn all over Disney in the Disney movie forums, they were free to do so. But if they were going to get in prequel fans’ faces about in the PT section, I decided I would fight back. It was really no different to arguing against prequel bashers in former years when Lucasfilm was still under the control of its founder. All that changed was that prequel bashers now had a new cause and a new bottle to pour their old poison into.

      Compounding on this situation, IMDb shut its message board system in early 2017. And that place used to be a hive of prequel bashing; but at least you could fight back and hash things out. I enjoyed posting there, on and off, in former years. The boards were obviously closed because of commercial calculation — not at all dissimilar to Disney’s marketing strategy for the new films. The stench of commerce gets onto everything in time. This is, incidentally, one of the lessons in the prequel trilogy: Watch out for commercial interests coming for democracy and freedom itself.

      And then, later that same year, several ardent prequel fans with choice words for Disney, including yours truly, were booted from TFN, for rebelling against moderator bias and the stifling of dissent. The Disney films had now earned themselves easy protection in two locations where prequel bashing used to be an everyday occurrence. Moreover, the same people who rabidly defended the new films and franchise-holders and assailed the prequels and prequel fans (repeatedly violating the “films, not fans” rule on TFN without moderator rebuke) were let off scot-free and essentially rewarded for their belligerence.

      And even Lazy Padawan disabled comments on SWPAS last year. Within twelve months, three places I used to post to and enjoy browsing suddenly adopted the same strategy: Ban or crookedly discourage dissent (TFN) or remove speech entirely (IMDb and SWPAS). A very sad time for people who love the prequels and dislike what Disney chose to do; and, if they’re like me, are weary of corporations and people who think commercial calculation is the highest virtue.

      So I may have gotten stuck in a Disney bashing loop without fully meaning to. Hostile circumstances, I feel, forced my hand — when all I ever wanted to do, really, was speak about my love of the prequels, and to promote the beauty of what Lucas did in six films, and, by extension, to argue for the importance of artistic independence in all things.

      Anyway, boy!!! All of that is really “by the by”; but at least you have a potted history of Cryogenic 2015 – 2018… 🙂

      I’ve not seen the Vader fan film, but I hear it’s made a bit of a buzz. Even though I don’t care for fan projects, as a rule, it sounds like it was made with good intentions. I suppose I should go and check it out. As much as I understand things, most people seem to like “Rogue One” the best of the Disney films, thus far — so another fan film (*wink!*) featuring Vader (and Padme) is perhaps a winnable project guaranteed to garner views. Lucas truly struck gold with Vader. He’s more or less as iconic as Superman, Batman, Rocky Balboa, or a hamburger, I suppose. All of Star Wars (certainly all of film-based Star Wars) struggles to break free of his imposing shadow. Lending even greater meaning to the Episode I teaser poster.

      I’m happy to answer your questions:

      I’m male, British, of mixed sexuality, and a follower of no particular religion. I was born and raised in England, but presently live in Wales. One of my grandfathers was also born in Wales but lived in England, with his wife, my grandmother, who is Irish by birth. So quite a mix. I also have some reddy-brownishness to my hair; so perhaps I have some Scottish ancestry, too. Must be the Ewan in me! In typical Cryo style, I had to supply you with too much information. But anyway: You were 50% accurate. Take heart. 🙂

      I’ve long toyed with the same notion that it might be people born outside the “macho matrix” of the United States and the United Kingdom (of course: speaking very generally) that gravitate more toward the prequels and are more apt to appreciate their virtues. There’s definitely a more European and feminine ambience to the prequels — perhaps best embodied by Naboo (partially realised on location in Italy and Spain) and Amidala and her young handmaidens and female successors. Prequel fan Samnz actually had some comments on this in 2015. See here and my post that immediately follows:

      https://boards.theforce.net/threads/making-my-day-pro-prequel-articles.50025454/page-10#post-52620131

      Just makes it more ironic that Disney/Kennedy threw some magic feminist dust in people’s eyes and tried to make out Star Wars needed fixing and was *going* to be fixed under their august handling and stewardship — while, incredibly, shunning the prequels, and especially Padme/Amidala, almost entirely. On the latter: There was actually a panel for the “female heroes” of Star Wars at Celebration 2017 (if I recall correctly), but Padme wasn’t included. At the same “celebration” event, during the main TLJ panel, Kennedy even commended Rian Johnson in one telling moment for having the magic Jedi power of being able to write women characters; but that’s not the impression many people (male and female) left TLJ with. And again: Throwing Lucas and the prequels under the bus by implication.

      The “manbabies” slur is very ironic, indeed. Not only were many of these people silent when Lucas was being heavily derogated and torn apart online, but some of them, as you suggest, were the ones engaging in that very behaviour. And at the very least, with the passing of the lightsaber in 2012, so to speak, it wasn’t long before the new franchise-holders began making noises designed to get those same mentalities on-side. This also speaks to the poison of forcing identity politics into Star Wars. You can’t have it both ways: If people’s dissatisfaction with the prequels is justified, or you’re going to pretend to agree that it is, then you can’t get mad when people dislike your own movies and then lash out and call them trolls and racists and misogynists. At least, not without looking and sounding like total hypocrites, perpetuating an even greater backlash in turn.

      There are all manner of double standards when it comes to the incredibly protracted “OT vs. PT” bashing paradigm. Han, or certainly Harrison Ford, is a great deal older than Leia/Carrie Fisher in ANH — mid-30s vs. nineteen (and therefore, technically, still a teenager). Yet it was Padme that some of these people went after and started accusing of being a “pedophile” or “cradle snatcher” in TPM (to use the politer and less politically-charged term). Even though no romantic tryst starts to exist between Anakin and Padme until AOTC, when they have both reached sexual maturity (if not emotional maturity), and the gap in age/development between them is a mere five years (Anakin being nineteen, Padme being twenty-four), and the gap in age between the actors being less than eight weeks (Natalie being the slightly younger of the two, but playing the older character).

      In light of Disney/Kennedy’s strategy of slandering fans, I want to be a bit careful here, but it is possible that some of the people who baulked at the Anakin-Padme relationship, especially those implying sexual deviancy on Padme’s part (to say nothing of their fury and contempt toward Lucas), simply couldn’t deal too well seeing Anakin, the “Han”-ish protagonist of the PT, falling for an older female and being a little clumsy in his pursuit (as opposed to Han’s flawless dashing arrogance) — as attractive as Padme/Portman otherwise is. I suspect there could be an element of jealousy at work there, too. I think, ultimately, as Lucas said, some people just didn’t like the character of Anakin — because a) he wasn’t like they imagined/expected him to be, and b) he exhibits some characteristics that are maybe a bit too honest and human than people want to see “up close and personal” in their beloved space-wizard fantasy. But that, of course, is part and parcel of the beauty and genius of the prequels, for those so wired/able to see.

      This response is crazily long. You certainly gave me a meaty response to sink my teeth into!!! It’s like I’m back on IMDb again; or TFN circa 2008. I think I’m going to have to perform an “Obi-Wan” in a minute and bring this complicated engagement to a swift end. Apologies if I blow this response up shortly with five laser blasts to the chest. I need to slay the beast at some point. I’m otherwise not suggesting I have the “high ground”!!!

      Becca Benjamin. Not sure I’ve heard the name. I’ll Google her. Easy to remember: BB-8. 😉 But yes, some talented female fans have brought a good deal of intelligence, sensitivity, and plain ol’ fan smarts to bear on the prequel trilogy, the romance, Anakin, Padme, the clones, Jar Jar, Obi-Wan… all of it, really. Perhaps I am misspeaking here, because I’m sure many could claim to have been fans since the days of the OT, but I think the prequels brought a few more women and young girls into the fold. After all, they are visually-striking films, which had the luxury of a female costume designer, as well as a more seasoned and worldly-wise George Lucas who seemed more adept and more comfortable with female characters and loftier situations second time around. Including, yes, a full-blown, star-spanning romance (and a “courtly” one at that), which was more of a side-plot in the OT. The prequels, in my estimation, have greater depth and sheen.

      I could never, in a million years, delete Anakin’s slaughter confession to Padme. It is utterly pivotal to the film and central to the entire trilogy. The point of the scene (as I see it) is that Anakin has no-one else to turn to. He is a very isolated and lonely figure in a world that is flawed, muddy, complex, and a bit beyond his ability to function within. In that regard, he and Padme are quite alike, and to echo the words of Donald Trull, the author/webmaster of Lard Biscuit, they each have the sense that they complete things missing or latent in the other. Each of them is a lot like Jar Jar. They are essentially misfits. Moreover, the audience really has to witness Anakin expressing a measure of horror and guilt in what he did, and there’s no better person to lend a sympathetic ear than Padme. And this is important, too, in a Freudian sense — since he is telling his ideal feminine what just happened concerning his mother (and the two, of course, look rather alike). A transfer of psychic energy.

      It’s consistent, too, with Anakin wearing his heart on his sleeve throughout the film. While he may not open up as fully to Obi-Wan, he nonetheless is surprisingly forthright early on, such as admitting that he was gazing at Padme through the security cameras, boldly declaring he’d much rather dream of Padme than his mother, and that he feels intoxicated being around her again. Some people were really deterred by these moments, seeing fit to label Anakin a “creep”, a “stalker”, a “psycho”, a “spoiled brat”, etc., but there’s a big part of Anakin’s heart that is flowing and pure — he’s so brash, so keen, he just *has* to tell *someone*; and why not those closest to him? The next day, when he gets a moment with Padme as she’s packing to leave the planet, and they’re about to be a unit for the first time, he spills his frustration about Obi-Wan straight out to her — no holds barred. The film establishes the idea that Anakin finds it hard to lie and conceal things around Padme; setting up the tragic hook of their romance later on (Padme: “We’d be living a lie”).

      Therefore, I see the slaughter confession as quite necessary, and a powerful moment for their relationship. That Padme is still drawn to Anakin after this confession — maybe, in some senses, because of it — is ripe to be misunderstood; but, again, that speaks to the beauty of the prequels and how we are permitted to see some very raw and honest moments between them. That’s an important concept, too. Note how AOTC is replete with imagery and plot events to do with sneaking, observing, monitoring, and recording. To me, it’s an incredibly sinuous and illuminating film, and maybe the best of the entire pack.

      The infamous “sand” dialogue. I love that line. I’ll quote myself back from another TFN post of mine in 2015:

      Probably one reason the love scenes aren’t always so well-liked is that they go to the crux of the movie’s themes; and embody a sort of atonal awkwardness, or cultivated incongruity (e.g., throwaway “sand” dialogue in a setting of great beauty), which is a microcosm for the radically aloof intermingling of all the different “colours” and “textures” in the film generally. “Attack Of The Clones”, if studied etymologically, actually means, “attachment of the sticks”; or “stickiness of sticks”. This itself is a sort of synecdoche for the awkwardly-duplicative and proximate meaning of words; or symbols used to describe or convey something. “It’s these funny little cuts on the side that give it away.” Dex knows that symbols have their limitations. There is something else going on in this film. It harasses my soul. Lucas’ finest two hours?

      And to pick up on one of your last observations:

      “The non-US market is half, if not more, of the total box office of these blockbuster films and it really is a shame that the critical reception of these people is never factored in. Empire magazine and a handful of British newspapers is about as far as it goes. Judgement of Star Wars should not be up to a bunch forthy-something elites in Burbank, California.”

      Cogent point. A handful of elitist publications set the tone of the debate. That seems to be how TPM being bashed for “racial stereotyping” got started. Lucas deserves better than this. I mean, Star Wars draws inspiration from Japanese cinema (e.g., Akira Kurosawa), but there was a time the west had little time for anything Japanese. It was only in the 1960s, for instance, that karate came to the west; and only in the late-90s that anime started to make waves on western shores. And don’t you just love the “sliding screen doors” of Star Wars; including the wipes? Also very Japanese. Not to mention the European/Japanese/avant-garde stylings of his first feature film: “THX-1138” (which bombed on release). Lucas is ahead of the game in so many ways. And people still don’t get it.

      In fact, this is one of the weird and disquieting shifts that Disney have performed: Blanching out many of the Asian and “world cinema” influences of Star Wars. It was nice, at least, that “Rogue One” tried to appease the Chinese market (even if it was appeasement) with the buddy-duo of Donny Yen and Jiang Wen (characters I would love to see again). There’s otherwise not a lot to really parse out. These new films mostly follow a western script: costumes, locations, historical references, and aesthetic sensibility. Even the “bumbling peasants” (another Kurosawa lift in the original film) of Artoo and Threepio have been pushed to the sidelines in the sequels. They don’t understand Lucas’ methods or his way of seeing the world.

      I’ll close with the following. I’ve used it a couple of times already in this comments section. It’s a little harsh, but also a step beyond “manbabies”:

      “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” — Jonathan Swift

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