Attack of the Clones, Films, Original Saga, Prequel Trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, The Phantom Menace
The Blu-rays of the Star Wars movies will be re-released on September 22; here are the covers
The Blu-rays and DVDs of the first eight episodes of the Star Wars Saga and the two Star Wars Stories will be re-released on September 22, according to Blu-ray.com. There is no official announcement yet.
Here are the new covers (via Star Wars Leaks):
TPM cover: Great, at long last Padmé is getting her dues ! I love the knowing glance from Qui-Gon.
AotC cover: Good, but Dooku should be in the background, as the villain – not Jango. On the other hand, Padmé is prominently placed yet again, but this time in a film where people have ridiculed her role (including some hacks at Lucasfilm during the TFA promotion). Depicting her in combat gear is a reminder that she was more than just a lovebird.
RotS cover: Supreme. The trinity to end all trinities, and the most bitter lightsabre duel ever fought.
WHERE’S PALPATINE?! for that Matter where’s Dooku Tarkin and Lando? and who were these hacks? who ridiculed Padme?
That’s only a minor thing. He had a very small presence in original theatrical poster.
You could argue that it would be more apt for all RotS posters/covers to carry Palpatine in the background. And I would agree – he is the puppeteer at the end of the day.
Maybe their saving him for TROS
Perhaps. But I’m not fully convinced Palpatine will even feature in the film, beyond a voice-over or a flashback. I mean, what is his role going to be? How does he fit into this really different world of the ST?
It’s very difficult to make any clear guess, and I fear that Abrams has so many minor characters to take care of, that they won’t be able to do him justice. Think Poe, Fin, the new droid, and possibly Rose again – all bland, boring, dull, and terribly unexciting. Then there are the new characters and the returning Lando! So whenever Kylo or Rey aren’t on screen there’s a big long list of people who want to be.
who were the hacks that ridiculed Padme?
Justin Brady (@DarthBLU3)
Interesting that there’s no Sidious/Palpatine representation on any of these covers.
Already have all six films on Bluray, not giving Disney my money.
Same. Besides, I believe these will be the first home video releases distributed by Disney. All the previous ones, even the 2015 re-releases, were from Fox (and those at least had Drew Struzan’s artwork on the covers). Not that there’s a Fox anymore since Disney bought them, but still…
I foresee a raise in prices for the original Blu-ray releases though. Those who don’t have them should look for it asap.
Compositionally, the covers are quite strong — especially, I have to say, the prequel covers. To echo the words of Arch Duke, the cover for ROTS is “supreme”! Some people on the Reddit page are complaining about that one; chiefly, the under-construction Death Star. They are objecting on the grounds that it only appears in the movie for all of five seconds. Fair. But I really like it being on the cover. The size and placement are perfect. Its presence adds almost a mystical feel to Vader’s appearance in the background. And I love the “shocked” reaction of Threepio (who has the last spoken word of the film from where that reaction is from; and the first spoken word of the next film), who almost seems to be recoiling as he glimpses it from a distance. A long time ago in an interpreter droid’s head, far, far away. . . .
Seriously, the crisp compositions are quite catching; especially ROTS. But the style wears off fast, in my opinion, once you get to the originals. There isn’t enough delineation or variety. The films start to blur into one another and lose their personality.
I’m also not sold on the colour schemes. The red colour suits ROTS and TLJ very well, while the blue tones also nicely link TPM and TESB, but eh… Doesn’t quite look right to me. Too forced. Why is ANH purple? And TFA has **** yellow? (Yeah, it’s a Disney film, and an Abrams movie, at that, so I should be savagely happy, but…). Sorry. It just looks weird and grubby. Star Wars is all about multi-spectral colour. An operatic explosion of light and sound. Due to the artificially imposed colour scheme, these covers end up looking quite metallic and drab, in my opinion.
But they’re just covers. To be honest, even under Lucas, it seemed difficult to produce good covers, once Star Wars transitioned to the DVD era. That said, the VHS cassette box for TPM (it came out before the DVD, if anyone remembers) was a work of art. Loved that thing. Still have it. After that, though, I think something went a bit wrong. Not sure if the American/European covers differ, but if you’re a British native/resident, just flip over the ROTS DVD and try reading the back text. It’s pretty difficult! Bad design. ROTS, in my opinion, also has the crummiest front cover image of the prequel covers. I don’t understand why they’ve never used the Drew Struzan poster images on the front; and there are plenty of alternate poster designs, too.
Anyway, here’s a cool fan creation — based on the 1993 VHS “faces” concept — I found just now on Reddit. Not to be confused with the more recent “faces” concept used by Disney for their 2015 Blu-ray saga “steelbook” edition release (those were also classy covers). It goes back a year, so Episode IX doesn’t have its proper title, but it’s a nice commemorative “what if?”:
Post Script #1:
Check out the various major home video releases of Star Wars productions (saga films and spinoff material) here:
Seems fairly extensive, but doesn’t include pictures for all the releases. But look at those beautiful Japanese LaserDisc releases of the original films from 1986 and 1987, as well as those gorgeous VHS/LaserDisc covers of the original films released for the overseas market in 1995 (John Alvin’s “halo” concept nicely complementing the “faces” concept for the North American market). Star Wars home video covers done right!
Post Script #2:
Take a closer look at some of the earlier home video releases of the saga films here — (almost) all the VHS releases of the original films. Decent article with some vivid images:
I’m willing to be impressed Jar Jar is on the TPM cover ( “acknowledged at last,” especially given all those suspicions how willing the new management was to trail the caution that set in around 2000…) Otherwise, I kind of have to agree with Cryogenic’s comments about the ultimate blandness of the monochrome colour schemes. By the end of the covers, they just seem to be more or less reproducing the theatrical photo-collage posters…
Yeah, the covers for V and VI look like a complete, utter, disorganised mess. I love the one for ANH though. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for that twin suns scene!
It’s nice that Jar Jar made the cover, but he’s honestly too small for me to care about. I mean, spatially, he’s too small, on the cover. I’m glad he’s there, but if you go and look at the original Drew Struzan theatrical poster (a work of art in its own right), you’ll see that while Jar Jar is somewhat “smuggled in” at the side, his head is about the same size as Obi-Wan’s on the poster, and significantly larger than Artoo and Threepio who flank Anakin on his other side. On the other hand, as far as this new cover goes, this is a rather “small” thing for me to quibble. Again, I’m pleased he’s there.
The blandness of these new covers, as you move from PT to OT, and then finally arrive at the ST, is much more disappointing, in my opinion. I think, overall, they’ve done a nice job on the PT, but then laziness crept in, or they didn’t know what direction to go in. I don’t think it’s just that I enjoy the PT more and am showing bias (though maybe). I’m just as likely to bash the PT covers as not measuring up, based on recent comments, right? Its good that the PT seems well-depicted. But it’s also sad when the other covers, in my view, aren’t completely up to scratch. This is a family of films. Why can’t they all get good covers?
@ Arch Duke:
Yes. Who doesn’t love those binary suns? If you dig the cover, keep digging it!
Did you notice that the Drew Struzan prequel theatrical posters each have their own “binary sunset”, in the form of two large lens flares? Go look. It’s a really cool detail that binds them all together. 🙂
The TESB and ROTJ covers definitely fall down. The ANH cover is more cleanly composed. I sort of like the vague duality with the masked villains of Vader and Boba on the TESB poster, however. Also, the grey-blue tone is a reasonable match with the ambiguous nature of the film’s atmosphere, as well as the fact that all three planets in that film have dense, opaque atmospheres: they all appear as white marbles. But it doesn’t, in my opinion, do justice to the rich colours of the film’s actual colour palette.
For such solid, remarkable, world-class films packed with visual brilliance, it’s strange how difficult it is to work out a decent set of covers. It should be a no-brainer. Even with multiple re-releases. Then again, this is all just my opinion, of course. Others may love the covers, and that’s fine, too. But there are many talented artists out there who would surely love to take on a project like this and get their work featured. As far as I’m concerned, these covers — as a complete set — don’t really cut the mustard.
Just to add a few more thoughts here, after studying/contemplating the covers some more:
I have identified several facets to the design of the prequel covers that enable them, arguably, to work better, and to feel more coherent than the rest:
i) The heads/faces of our heroes and villains are rendered more consistent in size across the three covers, and the heroes, in particular, seem to have high-contrast, readable faces, jawlines, outlines, etc.. This design aspect, I feel, lends a crisp, larger-than-life quality to the prequel compositions, drawing your eye to the centre of each cover, and allowing you to immediately grasp each cover — and, by extension, each movie — in its macroscopic totality. The other covers seem messy, chaotic, and sloppy by comparison.
ii) Just to accentuate the former point and make a more specific observation: there is a villain looming large in the background on all three prequel covers, placed cleanly in the middle of the main picture canvas, at a domineering size, right beneath the identifying title typography. This design feature, I think, lends a certain anchoring and gravitas to the prequel covers, absent in the others. Each villain is also a touch exotic, either adorned with kabuki-esque face paint, or sporting a large helmet. All radiate a certain mystique; as if embodying elusive aspects of their respective films. Slight variation is introduced in the AOTC cover, which has the villain inclining his head at an angle, his weapon and jetpack visible at the edges. And more than that: he’s not even the “real” villain of the film (even “more” so than in the other films). A subtle and knowing touch.
iii) Okay, to accentuate my last set of observations, again: the prequel villains, at a basic level, all seem to satisfy the most obvious implications of their cover’s respective title. For instance, Maul is a menace, but not the real menace of the film. And clones most certainly attack in Episode II, but in a “defensive” mode; and they are all based on Jango’s genetic template. In Episode III, Anakin turns into the most tragic of all the villainous characters in the saga, and gets his “revenge” on the galaxy by establishing a new political order. Each villain — again, placed just below the type identifying each film — effectively “answers” the title, or takes ownership of it. This is a very satisfying visual scheme across the three prequel covers, I think.
iv) A word on the colours. Not only do the chosen colours work reasonably well on the prequel covers (subjectively speaking), but there seems to be a deliberate choice to preserve a certain tonality/saturation in characters’ faces and in the lightsaber blades, initially; but watch as those tones are bled out and become subsumed into the main colour of the wider composition. On the TPM cover, you can clearly make out Maul’s red face against the blue background, while Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan have a good deal of readable skin tone. On the AOTC cover, the lightsabers show up quite well, but the colours are generally dialled back. The blue paint on Jango’s helmet decal, for instance, is there, but is pretty faint. Then, finally, on the ROTS cover, skin tones are still trying to punch through, but everything else is an intense shade of red or falling into black — stark and monochromatic, and a good encapsulation of the PT’s intense trajectory.
v) A smaller detail, but I like this: On the upper-left of the TPM cover, nothing is breaking out of the frame, but Maul’s right eye is glancing in that direction. On the AOTC cover, a gunship is streaking out of the frame in that same area, as if something broke free between the two movies. And on the ROTS cover, you have the proto-Death Star, a much larger and more threatening object than the same motifs occupying (or not occupying) that space in the preceding covers.
So, all in all, the prequel covers nicely go together as a well-integrated triptych — not unlike the prequel films or Lucas’ aims in assembling them a certain way. The compositions are very balanced, and there is a smooth progression and oscillation of certain design aspects, linking them all together. I struggle, on the other hand, to pick out much of a scheme in the other covers, and they come across as somewhat messy and jumbled. The prequel covers are more satisfying to look at, easier on the eye, and they seem to have had more thought put into them.
Star Wars Hexalogy
I guess it would hurt them to put the actual proper titles of the movies on the covers.
by proper you mean the episode and Numbers?
Indeed, where are the episodes? I realize they became more important during the prequel era to be differentiated from the sequels but they’re part of the story now.
Star Wars Hexalogy
@ SWH, @ Joe, @ Natalie:
Disney has had an official policy of doing away with the episode numbers for some time, now.
In 2015, Vanity Fair ran a piece on TFA with a correction at the bottom, apologising to the royal crown (Castle Disney/King Iger/Duchess Kennedy) and beseeching humble forgiveness for incorrectly referring to TFA as “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens”.
Around the time that Vanity Fair published its retraction, the numeral for TFA also disappeared from its IMDb listing. Although, strangely, it’s currently back again, under its present listing. TLJ, on the other hand, is simply listed on IMDb as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, although the numeral version of the title is shown below as “original title”. Kind of messy.
Overall, Disney appears to be streamlining the films for a wider audience. I can’t resist deploying a THX reference: “For more enjoyment and greater efficiency, consumption is being standardized.”
If you doubt what I’m saying, just read the following article:
Vanity Fair also took Jabs at the Prequels F**K THEM! and yes i read that article From Screen Rant Another Prequel bashing Site
Yep. Vanity Fair has taken its share of digs at the prequels. While — hilariously — going ridiculously soft on Disney. But that’s because it’s really a third arm of the movie industry. I always get Screen Rant mixed up with a dozen other such “geek-media” sites. All part of the wider hipster-movie complex. At least Vanity Fair kind of stands out.
@Star Wars Hexalogy @Cryogenic @Joey
I didn’t take notice the absence of the Roman numerals, thanks for bringing this up!
For me, and I’m sure this is true when we look into the technicalities, the long form titles are the official ones. You can shorten “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” to the acronym “TPM” or simply “Menace” all you want, and we’ll all understand you, but at the end of the day, it’s just that: a shortening.
It is quite worrying to see ScreenRant returning – relapsing – into their old ways, but let’s not forget all the great pro-PT commentators that exist on the interweb today. Our webmaster posted a fine example of this in a JoBlo video earlier, and I’d encourage you all to watch it.
@ Arch Duke:
There is a reasonable method in Disney’s madness here. The episode numerals were somewhat necessary in the prequel era, and were used as a marketing tool to fill people with the impression they were getting the “real skinny” on the Original Trilogy by going backwards in time. It made it clear they were going to get a unique “prequel” experience. This was also, of course, before prequels and reboots were tediously common and the blockbuster cliche they are today.
By contrast, with the sequel trilogy, the numerals are a bit more “in the way”, and perhaps slightly intimidating to audiences that have grown accustomed to more minimalistic titles. Or the Marvel movies, which have a main title, followed by a sub-title, with the exception of the “Iron Man” movies (just a main title and a number for the sequels), and “Guardians Of The Galaxy” (again: a main title and a number for its sequel). Dear Sweet Force! I’m mentioning the Marvel movies again.
How on Earth is anyone meant to make sense of the Marvel timeframe? The movies just read, to an outsider, as a complete jumble.
Lucas’ numeral system was — in classic Lucas style — both simple and elegant. It doesn’t make complete sense why Disney would ditch it.
Then again, it is something of a pain, actually, when you’re searching for a movie, and you feel you have to type “star wars episode…”, instead of just “the force awakens”, or whatever.
But there’s no doubt the numeral nomenclature lent a touch of prestige to the saga before. They signalled that Star Wars had fully flowered and graduated from its “youngling” status as vaguely mythical space fantasy, to a full-blown family-driven space opera. I continually refer to them by both their subtitles and their episode numerals, and I feel entirely comfortable doing so. In fact, the episode numerals continuously help to remind me how beautifully structured the films really are. They’re an excellent reminder, handhold, and imprimatur.
The conspiratorial side of me can’t help but think that, in part, Disney were trying to remove the stench of the prequels and diminish their importance, by electing to do away with the numerals (at least, as a temporary measure — perhaps they’ll come back), because that’s a structural and marketing device everyone remembers Lucas employing in the PT era; and therefore another thing that is self-evidently pretentious, silly, or unnecessary.
A committed prequel fan also can’t help but have Lucas’ words in his interview with Charlie Rose in the fall of 2015 rattling around in their head:
“They looked at the stories [the sequel treatments] and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans.’ So I said, ‘All I want do is tell a story of what happened.’ You know, it started here, and it went there. And it’s all about generations. And it’s about the issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers. It’s a family soap opera. I mean, ultimately. We call it space opera, but people don’t realise that it’s actually a soap opera. And it’s all about family problems. It’s not about spaceships.
So they decided that they didn’t want to use those stories. They decided they were going to go and do their own thing. And so I decided, fine. But, basically, I’m not going to try to — they weren’t that keen to have me involved, anyway. At the same time, I said I’m not going to — if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble. Because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control do to that anymore. And all it would do is muck everything up. So I said, ‘Okay. I will go my way and I’ll let them go their way.'”
Starts at 47:59:
Screen Rant? I’m not going to waste my time talking about them. I will check out that video, though.
Too bad Charlie Rose is a Creep
Well… who isn’t these days, honestly? I know the things you refer to.
But even in that interview, some people noted how aggressive he is, in places — banging the arms of his chair, raising his voice, interrupting…
It’s also annoying that the interview is obviously cut down. There are several places where an edit is apparent. I wish Lucas would go on Joe Rogan, or some other place where he could spill out his thoughts at length, without being rudely hectored at, and without any edits occurring.
i want to apologize for my f bomb drops could you please remove them? that guy pissed me off insulting me and saying the new trilogy is canon want to know why i don’t Consider episodes 7-9 canon?
they undid our hero’s accomplishments at the end of ROTJ turned Han Luke and Leia into losers failures Deadbeats cowards and rejects another Jedi Purge Leia not Becoming a Jedi the needless deaths of Han Ackbar and Luke the New Republic not being on Coruscant(at least it was spared from Death Star 2.0)
no Lando(yes there bringing him back in TROS but they’ll probably waste him)no Wedge no reunion of the power trio how little R2 and 3PO are used
bringing back Palpatine for TROS(thus making Anakin’s sacrifice senseless and pointless) ruining Han and Leia’s Love Story have i mentioned that iv’e yet to see 7 8 and Solo? the only film from the Disney era iv’e seen was Rogue One which i enjoyed i’m sure there are many who haven’t the new movies either no doubt thanks to Disney’s arrogance by promoting practical effects and bashing the prequels(including prequel haters jj and simon pegg)will i ever see the other films?(including the upcoming episode 9?)maybe someday did Disney Ironically Forget That Star Wars is a Fairy Tale? that’s why i don’t consider the new trilogy canon for me the Saga Ended with ROTJ(Chronologically of course)
Sorry, Joe. I’m not the webmaster. I don’t have the power to delete posts.
I don’t think Disney care too much about the “fairy tale” aspect of Star Wars — which is pretty ironic, when you think about it…
The only one of the new films I’ve not yet seen is “Solo”. I feel you should at least make an effort to see the saga films, but you’ll probably hate them with the same severity; maybe worse!
All of what you say above is quite true. It’s like Disney set off a neutron bomb, and everything good about Star Wars suddenly started dying. All ripped apart and obliterated for profit. Just leave the basic structures intact.
But that’s a pretty cynical way of looking at it — even if it has a good deal of basis in fact. Gloom mixed with hipster irreverence is the new cool. Which is “The Last Jedi” in a nutshell. On the other hand, even that’s being a bit unfair. The ending to TLJ is actually pretty impressive, in my opinion. I don’t completely hate the new films. I just rue that Star Wars is under Disney and now a corporate slave.
What if i Like Them?
You’re going to have visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ten times to pay for your sins! But I don’t think you’re going to enjoy them very much. You’re angered by the same things that have angered many.
I’ve never been to a Disney Theme park won’t go on planes
Now screen rant has another prequel bashing article read an d tell me what you think
Holy Flying Eopie Crap, Joe!!! Goodness gracious me. They keep churning these piece of alligator excrement out, don’t they? Screen Rant is obviously nothing more than a garbage pile of zero-effort, carbon-stealing, clickbaiting drivel. I regret linking to that news piece from earlier. It gives them clicks and legitimacy they don’t deserve.
Where to begin with this latest mashed-up pile of horse**** from the biohazardous waste bins of Bubonic Plague-infested Planet Putrid?
Well, I guess I could start with the opening paragraph:
“Ever look back at something from a long time ago and realize that it doesn’t hold up the way you remember? It’s just a fact that some stuff doesn’t age well. The Star Wars prequel trilogy is an interesting series to look at in this case. They weren’t exactly held in high regard when they originally came out in the late 1990s and early 2000s.”
It’s also a fact that some people have zero aptitude for art, entertainment, politics, history, psychology, and other interlocking fields of study, and can’t form one cogent thought in their brains, let alone write worth a damn. But anyway:
Actually, there *were* held in high regard. It just depends who you ask. Plenty of younger people loved them on release. Even older generations had some admiration for them, especially Episode III. Let’s also remind ourselves of the prequels’ original Rotten Tomatoes ratings on release, along with the originals:
Revenge Of The Sith – 83%
Star Wars/A New Hope – 79%
Attack Of The Clones – 65%
The Phantom Menace – 62%
The Empire Strikes Back – 52%
Return Of The Jedi – 31%
That’s not bad at all. ROTS — a prequel — is top of the pack, with AOTC ranking third and TPM fourth, above the sainted TESB and the “still way better than the prequels” ROTJ (I love all six movies, of course).
So what, exactly, is this author talking about? As usual, they are spewing an exaggerated, selective version of the truth. The first live-action Star Wars feature film to receive both a poor Rotten Tomatoes rating and fare poorly at the box-office is “Solo” (made under Disney, not Lucas). How well-regarded the rest are (including the prequels) is open to debate, but all they clearly did okay (even if eliciting controversy) when they first hit the scene. And one or two of them were obviously constructed along conservative lines to ensure maximum likeability and profitability (hint: not any of the ones released in the “George Lucas” era).
On to their “points”:
“One of the things that helped make the original Star Wars trilogy so enjoyable was that it ultimately boiled down to something simple: good vs. evil. The prequels somewhat dispensed with that notion and bogged down some of the installments by putting an emphasis on a politics-heavy subplot. It wasn’t what audiences wanted and it slowed the films down to a snail’s pace.”
Well, first off, Star Wars was *always* political. Lucas developed it (in part) as a response to the Vietnam War and Watergate. He simply kept the overt political chatter to a minimum in the Original Trilogy, mostly expressing his feelings and attitudes through conflagration and fable. The half-exception to this may actually be the original film, which includes several references to the vanished epoch of the Republic, including the prologue of the novelisation (released before the movie). This, in itself, is illustrative of what has been lost by the time-frame of the Original Trilogy, and suggestive of what a backstory would reveal. Indeed, Lucas has said, more than once, that he began the story in the middle because that was the most exciting part.
Whether the audience really wanted a fleshed-out, politically-savvy backstory or not, and whether the political aspects slowed the films down “to a snail’s pace”, are matters open to question. It does seem that many people, in general, are allergic to anything with even a whiff of politics to it, and a lot seem to resent lectures and lessons (a population sample which this author’s dumb screed is directly pandering to). Carl Sagan, in “The Demon-Haunted World”, writes about how ignorance — not knowing something — turned into a badge or pride at some point in American/Western society, and consumer culture, which discourages critical thinking, has successfully enslaved millions to its wares. Maybe Lucas was doomed to meet strong resistance (including mockery and contempt) from the start.
“Watching these movies again nearly 20 years later reinforces that this shouldn’t have been the case. It’s not explicit, but there’s a chance George Lucas added this as a commentary on the United States’ invasion of Iraq. Either way, the political stuff was filled with exposition that certainly doesn’t hold up well.”
Shouldn’t have been the case? Says who? This author completely fails to grasp how the personal and the political completely go together in Star Wars and in life.
And look at the ignoramus go: The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 (although there was a two- or three-year build-up), and two of the prequels had already been released by then.
In fact, Lucas began developing the Prequel Trilogy in the early 1990s, around the time (interestingly enough) when Bill Clinton became President, succeeding George Bush Sr. It was his son, of course, who became President after Clinton had served his two terms, and it was his son who was President when the United States invaded Iraq.
Certainly, Iraq can’t have been far from Lucas’ mind as the prequels advanced (he spoke about there being strong parallels between the United States’ wars in Iraq and Vietnam at the time), and Valorum’s difficulties in the Galactic Senate were deliberately conceived of as an echo of Clinton’s impeachment by the Republicans (they were clamouring for him to be impeached as filming commenced on TPM), but in both cases, Lucas was thinking of more historic crises and patterns.
Historical events that influenced the political plotline of the prequels include:
– The destruction of the Weimar Republic by the Nazis/Third Reich in 1930s Germany.
– Acts of aggression by China and Japan and the imperial nature of both countries in the 20th and earlier centuries.
– The aforementioned Vietnam conflict and the protracted involvement of the United States in that conflict.
– And from ancient history: Caesar installing himself as a dictator, leading to the collapse of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.
An archival version of some of the remarks from Lucas I have just been alluding to — made, as the URL suggests, at Cannes in 2005 (where ROTS premiered) — can be read here:
I honestly can’t be bothered (sorry, Joe) to parse out and rebut all the other criticisms right now. These articles are flagrantly idiotic, and this one may very well take the prize. The author’s brainless, fact-starved remarks about the political dimension of the PT’s plot architecture are enough to impugn them as an overpaid, under-thinking, attention-seeking dilettante: another unremarkable geek-media mouthpiece and shill-for-hire mascot chasing easy clicks and virtue-signalling for Generation Twitter.
and Now screen rant revealed something we haven’t noticed Anakin’s Lightsaber on the AOTC cover is the wrong color
True. He never wields a red saber in the film.
But the pinky-red saber he’s holding out on the cover could be read (“red”) as a homage to the teaser poster for AOTC:
Wow, have we gone back to 2010, or something? It feels like it with Screenrant right now.
I skimmed that piece, and read the Padmé death bit, and do you what I think? I feel offended by how dumb and poorly written the writers arguments (dribble to be more precise) are/ I mean, I was expecting some challenging, that could make me thinks but stuff like: “It was hard to watch”. Really?
Kevin Pantoja, if you really do have a degree in “creative reading”, can you least put some effort in? I can’t take you seriously.
Where is the comment section on Screenrant? What are they afraid of? Cryogenic – would you might contacting the editor about these rubbish articles?
since Cryo(understandably) Doesn’t want to go through all the points in sr BS article maybe you could do the rest i just love reading you Guys Defending The Prequels And putting these Hacks in their place
@ Joe, @ Arch Duke:
Scroll up, to my first response under this particular discussion branch (the one where I talk about Lucas’ hour-long interview with Charlie Rose), and you’ll see I ended by saying I’m not going to waste my time talking about Screen Rant.
Alas, Joe desired some commentary from me on the latest “dribble” (good word, AD) he found emanating from that sad excuse of a website, so I contravened myself and threw up a few words in reply — which was, at the least, a somewhat worthy exercise, since (in my opinion) it exposed the author’s gross ignorance and laziness from the start.
However, I think I’ll want to completely avoid that site, from now on, as it is obviously a hosting ground for the most reductive, obnoxious, lame-brain trash that has been cynically pumped out on the prequels for some time — and which was largely responsible for rotting people’s brains, with regard to the prequels (and no doubt, much else) in the first place.
There’s only so much concentrated idiocy and denatured bilge I can take in one go; even as a practised polemicist and veteran defender of the prequels against one baleful, monotonous attack after another.
If nothing else, that article serves as a good summary of the sort of trash prequel fans have been putting up with, for years. There’s not even the slightest attempt by the author to make a single valid, thoughtful, or original point. Given that: why should prequel fans continue to waste their time on goons like these? It’s like biological and evolutionary scientists choosing not to debate creationists — for the most part, it constitutes wasted effort and just grants the other side a false sense of legitimacy and authority.
Well, If my PT writing pleases anyone, and that just happens to be you, I think I’ve done my job done.
There’s nothing to say you can’t do it too. Like Luke on Dagobah, you simply need training & practice.
Oh my word, I see my last response was filled with spelling errors. I could blame the inability to re-edit here, but to be honest, I did type it up rather hastily.
Pro Tip #1 everyone:
Always re-read what you’ve written after you’re finished.
I welcome people who can test me with valid, good-natured critiques of aspects of the PT, but this article from SC fails on all accounts, unfortunately.
Pro Tip #2 everyone:
Be mindful of any article or video with “Top 10” (and all variants of it). More often than not, you will loose 10 minutes of your life.
@ Arch Duke:
“There’s nothing to say you can’t do it too. Like Luke on Dagobah, you simply need training & practice.”
Indeed. If you want to get good at something, you have to practice every day. In other words, there’s no royal road to geometry, to quote the famous quip of Euclid.
“Oh my word, I see my last response was filled with spelling errors. I could blame the inability to re-edit here, but to be honest, I did type it up rather hastily.”
I missed the errors; or deliberately chose to ignore them. You choose!
But seriously: Your’e normally quite careful. It’s easy for errors to creep in here. It isn’t the best format for noticing them; or, indeed, for avoiding making or introducing them in the first place.
“I welcome people who can test me with valid, good-natured critiques of aspects of the PT, but this article from SC fails on all accounts, unfortunately.”
The article is, honestly, a pile of pants. I could write a full “rebuttal” for my own amusement (pants? butts? — what???), but I don’t have the inclination.
I hate to point it out, but “SC” is another mistake. Presumably, you meant “SR”. But that’s funny. “SC” are the initials of a website I used to post to. It was the first community I joined where I attempted to defend the prequels at length. Of course, I was called an apologist, idiot, fool, retard, etc. But at least I tried. Those were the days…
“Be mindful of any article or video with “Top 10” (and all variants of it). More often than not, you will loose 10 minutes of your life.”
Good heuristic. I’ve never been a big fan of these list-based articles. They are just done for attention (usually), and they’re almost always lazy (and very much a cliche). They’re not much more than over-extended Twitter posts, really, when you think about it. These articles may satisfy the ridiculously low attention spans in modern consumer culture, but they aren’t a good way to discuss film art. Lucas took ten years to make three movies; they took all of ten minutes to write ten points. But I’m meant to agree and put my trust in a site with “rant” in its name? Get outta town!
@ Arch Duke:
“But seriously: Your’e normally quite careful.”
See? Straight away, I see my own errors, but only after I submit the damn thing.
Somewhat off-topic post, and perhaps not that coherent but I thought I’d share these thoughts.
It’s really just one long film. The individual covers are nice, but a cover that captures the entirety of the saga (episodes 1-6 that is) is the ultimate goal. The 2011 boxset cover achieves this. It’s such a simple cover yet so brilliant. The Star Wars saga is about ‘fathers and sons’ as Lucas would say. Both Anakin and Luke are depicted from where their journeys begin in the films. But tellingly, Anakin heads in one direction and Luke the other. For me it represents the different decisions father and son end up making. Both are faced with the same conflicts and temptations. Yet they end up making different decisions. For instance, Anakin is faced with the decision of killing an unarmed Dooku at the urging of Palpatine. Likewise Luke is faced with the decision of killing his unarmed father at the urging of the Emperor. Anakin decides to kill, Luke does not.
But I have to say, it’s not a simple case of Luke made the right decisions and Anakin did not. Or that Luke is good and Anakin is evil. It’s not as black and white as that!
For instance, Anakin in deciding to kill Dooku, was being urged on by Palpatine, who was not yet known to be a Sith Lord. Indeed Anakin saw Palpatine as a father figure at the time. Contrast that to Luke’s situation, where an overconfident Emperor (clearly thinking he had nothing to worry about since it was foretold that only Anakin would bring balance to the force) was not hiding his evil intentions: “Take your father’s place!”
Another example would be the circumstances surrounding their decisions to help the ones they love. Anakin in trying to save his mother and Padme, has to deal with a rigid Jedi Order that was at its peak. Whereas Luke in going to save his friends on Bespin, is faced with little resistance: the Jedi Order is dead, and all that remains is a fading Jedi master and a force ghost. So Luke is more free to do what he feels is right Whereas Anakin is simply told he has to let go. Both Luke and Anakin grow up having feelings and emotions. But Luke is not thrown into an environment that rigidly suppresses those feelings and emotions. Anakin unfortunately is. So it’s understandable why Anakin ends up losing his sense of humanity.
1-6 could be viewed as one story. The sequels have nothing to add, they mostly destruct.
and there not canon
The original creator is not involved so it means they’re just licensed fanfiction. And a bad one at that.
See David Stewart’s video
It depends what one personally regards as “canon”.
Even when Lucas was in charge of Lucasfilm, there was no stone tablet announcing what was canon, or listing what punishments would be enacted if you refused to accept those items as canon.
The only real system that was devised, if you can call it that, was a rough hierarchical system, begun in 2000 by Leland Chee, in which the main saga films were rated as “G-canon” (short for “George Lucas canon”), with “T-canon” for television projects (or really just “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels”), “C-canon” for most of the Expanded Universe material, and “S-canon” denoting a sort of lesser “C-canon” batch of material. Two other tiers, “N-canon” (what-if material, cut, cancelled projects, plus material directly conflicting the other levels of canon), and “D-canon” (purely denoting the “Star Wars Detours” animated comedy series — which was suspended after the sale to Disney) were only loosely recognised to begin with.
Arguably, the whole classification system was something of a tongue-in-cheek dig at ranking systems in general — or, at least, those pertaining to pseudo-religious notions like canonicity and alleged acceptability and worth of an idea, document, person, etc. Disney is, perhaps understandably, pursuing a more streamlined approach here. But that streamlined approach also suggests the clanging seriousness of corporate labelling, and a loss of creative, pithy, in-house humour. Now, something is either canon, or it isn’t. Some of the playfulness has been sapped from the franchise — which was formerly, and arguably, one of the franchise’s most deadly weapons.
You can read more about the old and new canons on the following page:
If Joe doesn’t want to accept the new films as canon, he doesn’t have to. It’s something of a silly term to begin with. On the other hand, if you follow the Disney Code, then yes, the new films are definitely canon; and this classification, if nothing else, provides a guide for new creative minds going forward. It should be noted that the prequels occupy this same level of canon, too. Not that this has really stopped Disney or certain Lucasfilm employees from bashing them and trying to diminish their importance, thus far. So, again, really: in many respects, the whole notion of some things being canon, and others not, is kind of specious, and not something that should be be taken (or even can be taken) entirely seriously.
There’s a lot I could say in response to your post. All positive!
It’s just, ah… where to begin?
Plus, I’m having a mental block this second, and struggling to think of all the quotes and sources I’d like to draw from. But, in essence, when Lucas took on the prequel trilogy — or, at the least, when he was assembling Episode III and coming to the end of his saga journey (as it so happened) — he was keen to share with Lucasfilm scribe J.W. Rinzler his thoughts on the whole saga, and among other quotes I could choose, he put it thus:
“It’s a downer [ROTS]. The saving grace is that if you watch the other three movies, then you know everything ends happily ever after. Nevertheless, I now have to make a movie that works by itself, but which also works with this six-hour movie and this overall twelve-hour movie. I’ll have two six-hour trilogies, and the two will beat against each other: One’s the fall, one’s the redemption. They have different tonalities, but it’s meant to be one experience of twelve hours.”
— George Lucas, p. 62, “The Making Of Revenge Of The Sith”
Here’s another quote from a Rolling Stone magazine interview in 2005 that typifies Lucas’ thoughts at that time:
“The first three episodes are a tragedy, and the second three go slightly goofy, but they’re inspirational: Even the worst, most evil people find compassion. Darth Vader has compassion for his children, and that’s ultimately what children are for.”
(Note: The reporter’s name is Gavin Edwards, not to be confused with Gareth Edwards, who directed “Rogue One”, which could be considered a loose sequel or wrap-up piece to ROTS, and an overture for ANH (like ROTS itself), simultaneously).
It’s clear that Lucas saw himself as constructing two trilogies with different tones, and a different storytelling emphasis, but with the same basic themes and issues — even, of course, some of the same characters and planets, repeat lines of dialogue, and poetically similar plot motifs. In short, to echo prequel analyst Paul F. McDonald, the Star Wars saga is, for any ardent watcher keen to meet the artist on his own level, best regarded as poetry, not prose:
“When Star Wars is read as poetry rather than prose, the saga has a remarkable tendency to open up into something far richer and more profound than usual. . . . Entire dimensions of new meaning can be teased out of Star Wars by reading it like this, by taking this “first step into a larger world”, as Obi-Wan Kenobi said in “Episode IV: A New Hope”. This isn’t as revolutionary as it might seem. As [Joseph] Campbell pointed out, poetry is a language that has to be “penetrated” because it offers “implications and suggestions that go past the words themselves.” A competent poet uses his verse to echo beyond itself, doing in words what a painter does when he uses a vanishing point to give the illusion of three dimensions on what is really a flat surface.”
McDonald then adds:
“Too many critics dismiss Star Wars without taking this step, and so never come to terms with everything the saga has to offer.”
These quotes comes from the preface of Paul’s marvellous prequel book, “The Star Wars Heresies: Interpreting The Themes, Symbols And Philosophies of Episodes I, II and III”, which was published in 2013. I highly recommend supporting Paul and buying a copy!
Sensitivity toward the poetic nature of the Star Wars saga has grown since the release of ROTS; though many still affect a cynical attitude toward it. Grrgh… Sorry…
That little groan of annoyance wasn’t my response to others not “getting” Star Wars. It’s over a quite different matter. I feel hamstrung in this comments section, because it doesn’t allow for multiple hyperlinks without moderator approval. And I’m impatient. I don’t want to wait!!!
There’s a lot more I could say about this topic. Two other sources I will present, which argue for the poetic nature of the Star Wars saga (and by saga, I really mean Episodes I to VI: i.e., the Lucas films), I will add in supplementary comments, to evade the hyperlink block, below.
But you’re absolutely correct when you state that the saga reduces, on a basic level, to a story of generations — or, more accurately, as you put it, fathers and sons. It was actually Ian McDiarmid who used that exact nomenclature in the Episode III webisode “Becoming Sidious”: “If you wanted a subtitle for these movies, it could be ‘Fathers And Sons’.”
In short, the PT and the OT form something like a kind of Jungian palimpsest: two different sets of (in this case: interrelated) writing on the same “sheet” (or canvas). The “Complete Saga” Blu-ray box art from 2011, which you have alluded to, also communicates this idea, with Luke and Anakin superimposed against one another, the father and son heading in opposite directions; Luke himself appearing as a faint, ghostly apparition, moving toward the horizon, while Anakin is shown as a child walking away from the homestead — two beings (including the two suns), with one destiny, frozen in a timeless (or out-of-time) suspended space.
Of course, the PT and the OT are their own “father” and “son”, and seem to be locked in a beautiful cinematic waltz. This strange, mysterious aspect of the Star Wars films — easy to recognise, impossible to fully describe — speaks to the elusive nature of existence, and is in the best tradition of the greatest works of art, which strive to capture some of its mystery. When you think of that cover, and the saga it encloses, you cannot help but be a little awed… and humbled. I’m also reminded of this quote from Gustave Flaubert:
“Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.”
Post Script #1:
First, let me present Mike Klimo’s Ring Theory, which builds on many earlier observations by astute commentators, and synthesizes them into a kind of prequel algebra — perhaps the closest the saga has yet come to being encapsulated by a more generalized “Theory Of Everything”:
Post Script #2:
A brief but compelling video that condenses various resonances and echoes between the two trilogies into a gorgeous two-minute tone poem:
Post Script #3:
Got my two main links out of the way, but here is the video source for that remark of Ian McDiarmid’s, on the saga being about “fathers and sons” (occurs roughly 1:10 into the video):
Thanks so much for the reply Cryogenic. Your contributions are always incredibly insightful and have helped deepen my understanding of Star Wars : )
Wow! Many thanks for the kind words, Tony.
Just an innocent Jar Jar fan, happy to play my part. 🙂
Canonicity in is a topic I’d been mulling over in recent weeks. I think it has it has its merits in certain contexts, but in a fictional world like Star Wars how crucial really is it?
If you’re someone who has followed and enjoyed the novels since the famed Thrawn Trilogy (a time before yours truly was even born), what right do I have to say that none of what you’ve read up to 2012 matters? If these books are close to you, then you absolutely have the right to consider them canon. It’s not like the novels released post-2012 are any more historically-sound – they are, and will always be, pieces of a mythology, no matter who owns Lucasfilm.
I would echo Cryogenic’s regret for the disappearance of a grey area in the canon. I don’t believe it needs to be all black and white either. Star Wars is not like that, it’s never adhered to the rigours of science – it’s space fantasy, not science fantasy as Lucas liked to opine. Mystery and mystique is a very significant element of the Star Wars formula, and something even Abrams was able to live up to, as much as we have criticized the paste & copy nature of Episode VII.
As I speak, and perhaps for many decades to come, there are questions about Master Yoda. How did he become a Jedi? Did the Jedi Council exist before he joined the Order? What was his life like before he took on Count Dooku as a padowan? Was it really plain sailing for the previous 800 years of his life? How did he become leader of the Council? And there exists countless others. It’s not a question of whether it’s worth answering these questions; rather, does it enhance the mythology to leave some things unanswered?
I watched TPM for the first time in almost a year earlier today. And you know what really stood out for me? Yup, you guessed it, the mystery: the sense of wonder. The Force works in mysterious ways and it’s not clear what the future has in store. We get a terrific outline of how the Galactic Republic and the Jedi institution operate, yet we’re not fully sure what is to become of this Anakin kid (well in the long run, of course, we are, but Episodes II & III were still in the air in 1999) and we’re not convinced that all is settled in the Galaxy after the defeat of the Viceroy and his Trade Federation. Something just doesn’t feel right. Is it that smirk on Palpatine’s Face during the Naboo parade, maybe it is the doubts in Mace Windu & Yoda as to the Sith that Obi-Wan had banished, or could it just be something else? And let’s not forget that the central character of the film, Qui-Gon Jinn, a believer in the old prophecies, was as mystic as they come.
Mystery and ambiguity are not to be feared, for they are Star Wars greatest strengths.
Comment threads have been quite messy lately. Hope this one doesn’t get lost!
@ Arch Duke:
I didn’t realise I was driving at the concept of leaving grey areas in canon, earlier — but now that I read you back, how could I not have been? Exactly.
It was kind of cool (if messy) that the previous canon system employed all these different classifications/tiers/letters, like an actual “star” (stellar) classification system, such as the presently-accepted and widely-used Morgan-Keenan system, based on the older Harvard system. The Harvard system was created by Annie Jump Cannon and Edward C. Pickering, and it was the first serious attempt (quoting Annie Jump Cannon’s Wikipedia page) to organise and classify stars based on their temperatures and spectral types — just as Leland Chee’s was the first serious attempt to establish a serious (or semi-serious) tiered hierarchy of canon for the vast body of Star Wars material. You can read more about those stellar classification systems here:
Of course, stellar classification is far more empirically justified and exacting (although, as with all classification systems, it’s far from perfect), but it’s joyfully amusing that we’re talking “stars” here, and both systems use a similar amount of alphabetical letters (seven in the case of the Harvard system, six in the case of Chee’s canon system). I wonder if Lee’s canon system was a little nod to the stellar classification systems? It’s only the letter “G” that overlaps in both systems, but it’s a nice letter. “G” denotes sun-like stars in the aforementioned stellar classification systems, while “G” stands for George Lucas and is the highest level of classification (he is the “sun” of Star Wars — get it?) in Chee’s system.
Incidentally, the major letters of the Harvard system, from hottest to coolest of the ranked star types, are O, B, A, F, G, K, and M, which astronomers have often remembered by using the sexist mnemonic “Oh, Be A Fine Girl and Kiss Me”. Somewhat ironic, as it was an highly accomplished female astronomer who developed the system (although it originally used letters running alphabetically and was later reordered to reflect the surface temperature of stars). There are some additional letters in the Harvard system, but they’re not used very often. If Chee had continued his system, I’m sure we would have seen the addition of a few more letters in time.
Anyway, big digression here! But you know me. 🙂
I don’t know if Abrams built in a great deal of mystery into TFA. Maybe he sort of did, but in his somewhat contrived, “Mystery Box”, Pied Piper-esque way. Heck, shortly after TFA came out, some critic/academic wrote a prequel-like essay in which they ruminated on all the “yonic” symbolism in TFA (yonic being the feminine equivalent of the more widely known “phallic”), and given the fact that Rey opens a box, with a lightsaber inside, then is pulled into a dream sequence in which she is menaced by a scary dark guy, in a wooded area, too, with a large flaming sword, well… they had a field day. But it did help to sell me on the film a sliver more.
In TFA, there seems to be a lighter touch at work. Things flow reasonably well. “The Last Jedi” is probably a more involving movie, but more seems broken, or at least snarky and snide, with far too many “gotcha!” moments, in my opinion. TLJ is a strange way to make transcendent pop art. But perhaps I’m wrong. It has a more artistic feel than TFA, and is maybe a touch more original. But that basic Star Wars movie sauce JJ relies on in TFA works better, I think. Well, I’ve at least seen TFA more. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Abrams picture, for me, is this arresting tension between the “old” and the “new”. Or to put it more exactly: it feels like a thick sheaf of old is deliberately placed around a delicate flowering of new. Or try this metaphor instead. Experiencing TFA is like Luke going down to Dagobah. He has a crash landing, he complains a fair bit about even being there, but there are still visions and things he needs to learn. Quite apt, really, that TFA should reference TESB in the chest scene.
Also, TFA puts a nice spin on the lightsaber concept. When Rey touches it (oy-oy), it freaks her out and she is drawn into a bizarre hallucination. For the first time in the franchise, a lightsaber is shown to be enchanted, and something of a “booby prize”. While I liked the basic idea of them just being tools in the Lucas movies, I think it was also okay of Abrams and Co. to upgrade the notion. In fact, this is probably why “The Last Jedi” feels weird from the very start. Luke simply tosses it. Not only is he casually throwing away his father’s lightsaber, but it’s like a denial of the lightsaber’s power from the previous movie — almost as if TLJ is calling TFA a lie. Directly. Then again, in-universe, Luke is meant to have cut himself off from the Force, so I guess he wouldn’t feel anything in particular, other than maybe contempt. But there are things in TFA that are quite interesting, and I remain stuck about whether TLJ actually did anything with them or was mostly spitting at its cousin while otherwise wasting time and pouting — from the mountain-top, so to speak.
Lucas’ worldbuilding and fine sense of global storytelling in the PT does bring up a good deal of attendant pondering. Who is Qui-Gon and how did his training under Dooku really go? What were Anakin’s earliest years like before coming to Tatooine? What was life for Anakin and Shmi like under Gardulla the Hutt? What is Shmi’s backstory? How did Palpatine strike up an apprenticeship with Maul? How did he become Senator of Naboo? Just what calamities did Jar Jar cause before he was banished, and was he big with “the bosses” and something of a somebody before they booted him? How come the Gungans are made up of two separate races? What caused the rift between the Gungans and the Naboo? Who was queen before Padme? What were her own earliest years like? How did she train for the role of queen? What was the Senate like in earlier times? And what the heck happened in all those years of supposed peace after the Republic reformed? What was the ancient conflict between the Jedi and the Sith actually like? Why do the Jedi insist on no more than one apprentice per teacher? When did they learn about midi-chlorians? Do they take them all that seriously? Etc., etc.
One can honestly keep going here:
Is there an unsketched Force relationship between the water-dwelling Gungans and the surface-dwelling Naboo? Why is the Trade Federation so intent, under Sidious’ orders, of taking the planet over? Why Naboo of all places? And what is that whole decoy ruse all about; other than a nod back to Akira Kurosawa’s “The Hidden Fortress”, which the plot of the original film is deeply indebted to? And what’s with that peculiar exchange between the Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan when Padme reveals her identity to Boss Nass before the final battle? Equally, what is to be made of the mysterious plasma energy on Naboo, used by both the Gungans and the Naboo to contain and power their cities and their technology, and which features in the final scene, as Boss Nass and Queen Amidala ceremonially exchange a peace globe seemingly made of or enclosing the same substance? Lucas’ films are like puzzles that linger in the heart and mind long after the credits have rolled.
Even the last act of TPM is dominated by esoteric details that seem to co-ordinate some grander aesthetic mechanism. There’s the aforementioned peace globe in the film’s lavish end-celebration scene. And before that: The occupied capital is breached by the heroes, courtesy of Artoo’s projected map, by them entering through “the secret passages on the waterfall side”. Equally suggestive, Anakin hides inside an N-1 starfighter and manages to accidentally activate its “autopilot” sequence, just after the Jedi begin duelling. Then there is Amidala’s re-taking of the palace, accomplished in part by removing gleaming chrome guns safely hidden in the arm-rest of her throne, and using them with great precision against her oppressor’s robotic security force. Not forgetting the strange laser gates that forever separate Qui-Gon and his loyal apprentice from one another. Thrown into that heady mix of esoterica are Jar Jar’s accident-prone antics on the battle field, and Anakin inadvertently destroying the master control ship that deactivates the droids menacing the planet below.
You know what? This is all the stuff I miss, all the stuff Disney aren’t giving me…
I initially struggled to deal with the fact Star Wars had become the “property” of Disney. I asked myself, how could I still love Star Wars without acknowledging the sequel trilogy? How could I see episodes 1-6 as being separate from episodes 7-9?
Some earlier posts noted that Lucas is the creator of Star Wars, so we should only see his works as canon. This seems to me to be a reasonable justification for treating the sequel trilogy as not being a continuation of Ep 1-6. Particularly in light of Lucas’ comments about Disney rejecting his story treatments.
However, despite Lucas not being involved, many people regard the sequel trilogy as canon. But how can they when the creator makes it clear he has nothing to do with these new stories?
I don’t find the explanation that Disney bought the rights to Star Wars and therefore Disney’s films are canon, as being adequate. It’s the obvious argument to raise, but I don’t find a legal explanation convincing. In the realm of Star Wars fandom, I don’t think (although I might be completely wrong) people will let legal status dictate what they think is or isn’t canon.
So what could be the non-legal reason for people to treat the sequel trilogy as canon despite the lack of Lucas’ involvement?
Well, in no other art form is the artist more easily disconnected from their creation than in filmmaking. Given so many people are involved in the filmmaking process, it’s easy to lose sight of the creator. Those who often criticise Lucas say he shouldn’t get any credit for the “good” Star Wars films. This disconnection between creator and creation partly explains this transferability of the status of what is ‘canon’ in the fandom. There is no single creator who has authority on what is canon. There are simply contributors to this creation, and those contributions can be accepted or dismissed.
For me, I’ve always been more an admirer of the artist than the art itself. So I would never disconnect the artist from the art. So, for me, only Lucas’ works are canon.
At the end of the day, we shouldn’t fight each other over what is and isn’t canon. But I think what we individually regard as canon is important. Because the films we as individuals regard as canon are the ones that carry the values and messages that inspire us. And we shouldn’t allow those values and messages to be derailed. So, I only regard Ep 1-6 as canon. But if someone finds inspiration across all soon to be nine films under the Star Wars banner, then good on them. If someone finds inspiration from the stories in the EU, great!
One of the greatest strengths of Star Wars, as you say archdukeofnaboo, is the mystery of its universe. So many stories are left untold, but importantly in relation to the issue of canonicity, the stories that have been told are themselves mysteries. After all, Star Wars depicts events that occurred “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”. So one could view it as a debate between historians. Lucas has one interpretation of the events that occurred after Ep 6. Disney and the EU have their own interpretations. But again, I would stress there is no need to fight over who is right, just pick whatever interpretation inspires you.
Now that’s a superb comment: so many salient points and you neatly sum up what I think canonicity would mean to many PT fans out there, myself included.
Something may be legal, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it may be morally right. Recall that Palpatine – as his hooded alter-ego – once proclaimed to the leaders of the Trade Federation that he would legalise their occupation of Naboo in the Galactic Senate. Of course, I’ve given you an example far removed from the topic of canonicity, but, you know, in our heart of hearts I think the feeling is the same.
This is one of those rare points that come along and really get you thinking:
“This disconnection between creator and creation partly explains this transferability of the status of what is ‘canon’ in the fandom.”
Do stick around this blog. It’s always a pleasure to discuss Star Wars with fans who also enjoying writing about it 🙂
We’re trying to kickstart a PT-orientated forum called Naberrie Fields, and if you have some spare time, to quote Darth Vader himself, “we would be honoured if you would join us”.
Nice post, Tony.
I am tempted to call the sequel trilogy “semi-canonical”. I think there are some things within it, or about it, that might pull from Lucas’ treatments; and the films, as a whole, obviously owe their whole existence to what came before. Despite Lucas’ protestations that Star Wars is ultimately a “family soap opera”, and that the stories are all about “generations” and not about “spaceships”, it’s not completely accurate to say that the generational conflict of the former films was entirely abandoned in the sequels. The sequel installments do honour the former movies; but they have a strange — and, indeed, tepid, self-serving, insular — way of going about it.
You’re quite right to identify a disjunction between the legal sanctioning of a thing, and whether people actually recognise that sanctioning or not. This message is delivered early on in the PT via Palpatine/Sidious: “I will make it legal.” And there is a poignant variation on this theme with Qui-Gon continually defying the Jedi Code, against Obi-Wan’s conservative, procedure-obsessed rebukes. It’s a very good thing that people don’t always obey certain laws or codes of conduct. Star Wars itself would not exist if Lucas didn’t have an obdurate, anti-authoritarian streak; not to mention all the moxie he employed in getting his films made in the first place.
At the same time, seemingly just like yourself, I don’t recognise any particular wall between the artist and their art. There is such a thing as “trust the art, not the artist”; which can still apply beyond what the artist says or does. But I don’t buy into the idea of a complete separation. Any serious artist, striving to express themselves through the conduit of their art, effectively *becomes* their art; or at least leaves deep traces of themselves inside the sediment of their creation. This basic philosophy can apply all the way up to the grand scale of the universe itself — a creative intelligence behind it all? This is a concept, I think, people should have a bit more sensitivity toward.
Honestly, people don’t seem to get what art actually is; how significant and world-changing a manifestation of particular energies and eccentricities it really, truly is. Some quotes:
“A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.” – Eugene Ionesco
“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” – Paul Cezanne
“Art is literacy of the heart.” – Elliot Eisner
“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” – Andre Gide
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle
“Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.” – Khalil Gibran
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas
“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” ― Pablo Picasso
I pulled all of those from the following page:
I’m very upset right now. I can’t find the exact quote I am looking for. It goes well with Lucas describing to Charlie Rose how all filmmakers are really like dictators or emperors — but I can’t find it, so forget it.
“At the end of the day, we shouldn’t fight each other over what is and isn’t canon. But I think what we individually regard as canon is important.”
Yes, Tony. Succinctly put. It all comes down to personal interpretation — or, as you said, inspiration. Any work of art is only as “canonical” to us to the extent to which it inspires us, refreshes us, provokes us, uplifts us, etc. All else is distraction and nonsense.
I also love what you said about viewing Star Wars as a debate between historians. Yes!!! It makes perfect sense to look at the movies and other projects this way. After all, Lucas is fascinated with history, anthropology, sociology, psychology (all of which strongly intertwine), so why wouldn’t his own historian viewpoint be particularly focused and dense? He pulled from the aether a rich, six-volume corpus; and the rest is what it is.
That said, we shouldn’t completely tie ourselves up in platitidunal knots, disallowing criticism and commentary to still take place. It is completely fine and cogent to say that Star Wars comes down to different interpretations — and that is something that applies in both directions: in the making and in the consuming. If people disagree with something, or find an aspect a little “off”, they should still have a broad canvas on which to paint their criticisms and misgivings.
On the other hand, everyone should perhaps keep your “historian” analogy in mind; and perhaps focus a bit more on the parts that bring the greatest contentment and joy. The notion of canon may help raise up and elucidate certain things, but is is equally something of a shackling and spurious notion. Art, by its very nature, doesn’t easily obey conventions or borders.
Another aspect to this whole issue — kind of the elephant in the room — is that Star Wars is something comparatively rare. It’s not merely a single work of art, nor just a few small pieces, but a vast, sprawling fantasy universe: a whole city built around a fountain/clock tower (for want of a better metaphor). It’s extremely hard to condense down into one basic essence or core set of things. Which, of course, is something true of art in general. But Star Wars practically one-ups the concept from the start!
Everyone, as you have been saying, will naturally have their own sense of canon. And that goes double here. The series is simply too big and confounding a “thing” for it to ever be otherwise. It’s impossible to digest it all. And would you ever want to? It’s that old cliche: less is more. It doesn’t take a good deal of intellectual effort to accept nine films over six, of course. But by the same token, basic intellectual striving isn’t all there is to sorting out one’s personal canon. The heart must also have its say.
I see that Arch Duke and I are, once again, on the same page. Refreshing, I see that he posted a little before I did, and hey: we both referenced the same Palpatine quote just now. Hehehehe.
Gotta love Lucas and these prequels — right??? 🙂
Thanks archdukeofnaboo, I’d love to join the forum : )
It’s like I said earlier: The Force works in mysterious ways.
Or, as Qui-Gon once said in TPM: “No accident”.
@archdukeofnaboo, @tony, @cryo… regarding canonicity – when it comes to “official” products I think the most important canon is the head canon, i.e. whether the installment in question speaks to you on some level. We’ve all seen fans denying the PT the canonical status (while at the same time often enjoying KOTOR or something else that owes its existence to the PT). OTOH we have an interesting case with Deep Space Nine which was the first ST series without Rodenderry’s involvement and yet liked by the fans well enough. With that said, DS9 actually took some risks unlike the rehashing mindset at the present day LFL.
Yeah, it wasn’t always so Roddenberry-esque, but DS9 definitely took some risks and went into some interesting areas. I enjoyed it growing up. Though TNG is basically my favourite fictional television series of all time.
As was being discussed above, canon can be whatever a person wants it to be, really. Many fans have protested, in one form or another, that the prequels aren’t really canon for years. So an aversion to accepting some parts of the Star Wars fabric is nothing new. Perhaps even the supposed consensus on the OT was partly illusory. No Internet back then. And no real blockbuster rivals to speak of. It was just broadly assumed that everyone loved those movies.
I didn’t notice this but apparently Anakin is holding a red lightsaber on AOTC cover. No idea how this passed the quality control.
I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Disney, but I think they’re making too much of this. All Star Wars covers have their oddities. It could even be considered a homage to the Episode II teaser poster, which also showed Anakin next to a pinky-red beam of lightsaber-like light:
A Jedi Shall Not Know Anger Nor Hatred Nor Love
Yes! I love that tagline.
UGH. Geeks and Gamers (should I really say Freaks and Haters). The scum of the internet thinking they are above the general public in their taste of movies, when they should be silenced and shut down for claiming that. They’re the whole reason Sonic The Hedgehog got delayed to 2020 because of his unfaithful look and having them to redesign it to a more faithful look that they’ve even compared Swiper the Fox in Dora and the Lost City Of Gold as more faithful than Sonic.
Yeah, as a prequelist, I would be very reluctant to align myself with the so-called “Fandom Menace”.
I might share their utter disappointment at Episode VII, but I’ve looked into them enough to know some of these guys were once members of the anti-Lucas brigade. Even today, many of them are very lukewarm on Episodes I & II.
Just because there may be a paradigm shift since the 2012 sale of Lucasfilm, doesn’t mean I’m going to forget all the hatred a lot of them unleashed on the creator of the saga we love so much – and for many years. Why do you think he stopped making movies? Why did he give it all away?
It’s like the US holding hands with the Soviet Union during WWII: a shaky alliance bound to collapse.
*Episode VIII (TLJ)
I challenge anyone who disagrees with me, to find me one video – just one – where one of these “Fandom Menace” folks say anything near as positive about Anakin or Padmé in Episode II as we do here on Naboo News, time and time again. And I don’t want a few off the cuff remarks, I want something solid – I want something concrete, and well elaborated.
You won’t find it because too many of these people have not always been the pro-Lucas people they say they are.
I watch SW related videos from time to time so YouTube would add them to my feed. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything they’re saying.
And I’m not a fan of the Fandom Menace for sure but you know what they’re saying, an enemy of my enemy… I don’t think they’re pro Lucas in as much as Lucas was better than Disney. And of course it’s ironic because the prequel/SE bashing is one of the big reasons behind Lucas’s selling his “children” to the “white slavers”.
@ Steph, @ Arch Duke, @ Natalie:
I think Steph has a point. Some of these videos are extremely rant-y and there is definitely an air of the people in them thinking they are above the non-discerning general public. Mind you, we probably all think that, too. It can be a little hard to swallow in that weird “pill” format of YouTube, however. Comes off as cruising for attention and agreement.
Arch Duke just raised a very valid point also:
Just who do these people think they are? Of course, they’re perfectly entitled to sound off. More power to them. But most of them never cared for the prequels and obviously still agree with the disdain toward them. On the other hand, at least this makes them consistent — somewhat. But as AD just pointed out, this also makes them responsible, in-part, for the current state of the very thing they’re unhappy about. If they’d held their tongue or tried to explore the prequels with an open mind, Star Wars might not be under Disney this very moment. They’re making the doughnut, so these people should eat it.
If they’ve had a turnaround in opinion or some lofty change of heart, then that should be noted and respected, of course. But they aren’t necessarily all that different to an individual like Simon Pegg, who fulminated against Lucas and the prequels for years, was nasty toward prequel fans, was given a privileged position during the making of TFA as a reward from his “buddy” JJ Abrams, and yet quite recently admitted: Lucasfilm isn’t the same without George Lucas. Oh, yeah? The man you sneered at, heckled, and berated for the better part of twenty years? The genius creator of Star Wars? The one that put together all the stuff you both loved and loathed? That guy? You think, maybe, ranting at him, trashing his output, ripping into fans, as much as you did — and you did — was a teeny, tiny mistake? Maybe???
In any case, Natalie…
Please don’t get mad at the backlash here. You just came to share a video. And there’s no crime in that; nor in agreeing with their opinions. I have found myself in agreement with many anti-Disney (Star Wars) videos on YouTube. It would be hypocritical of me to claim otherwise. We all have our own point of view.