A New Sith; or, Revenge of the Hope

09-Jul-09 10:01 PM by
Filed under Star Wars; 2 comments.

Star Wars is a universe divided: an excellent trilogy followed by three awful prequels. Yet this division is something that unites the fans, as rarely will you find a Jedi wannabe who favors Jar-Jar Binks over Master Yoda. I'm not of a very different mind on this matter, though I have previously argued that even the prequel trilogy has its redeeming moments. If I have to choose sides, I just can't help but root for the underdog.

What is less often considered is the six series as a united whole, and the impact the prequels have on the original trilogy. Have you ever watched all six movies not in release order, but in chronological order? If so, did you notice some things that didn't make sense before suddenly take on a whole new meaning?

One creative author has organized all those threads into a logical supposition. In Keith Martin's reconsideration of Star Wars IV in the light of I-III, two characters that have always been fan favorites are cast in unexpectedly prominent yet subtle roles. Think the heroes of this film were Luke Skywalker and Han Solo? Think again. As unlikely as this casting is to be canon, it's an imaginative — and seemingly plausible — interpretation that gives George Lucas' galaxy more depth than even he intended. If you have time to read this 2,299-word dissertation, you won't be disappointed.

One point in the above essay that I had to question: was the Millennium Falcon anywhere in the prequel trilogy? I don't remember. I know it defended Earth from the Borg, roughly a century after R2-D2 went up against the Romulans. So it's entirely possible these characters would show up unexpectedly in their own franchise.

(Hat tip to Rotten Tomatoes)

The Force will be with you… always

31-Jan-07 11:56 AM by
Filed under Star Wars; 4 comments.

Up until ten years ago today, I, along with my friends Peter, Pelun, and our entire generation, had experienced Star Wars the only way it'd been possible: on the TV screen.

But if we'd only seen it that way, we hadn't seen it at all — not until Friday, January 31st, 1997, at 10:20 PM EST, when we witnessed the premiere of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope: Special Edition.

Despite the original trilogy being constantly rerun on TV, I'd seen it in its entirety only once. It was one night when the house was empty that I rented them on VHS, determined to complete this gap in my cultural education. Even that isolated viewing was many years before their cinematic re-release, so seeing them on the silver screen was all the more energizing. Not just because it was a new experience, but because it was a common, shared experience. Fans wrapped around the block waiting for tickets. Jedi Knights (or padawans) numbered among the throngs. Lightsabers and blasters were wielded throughout the lobby. The seats were packed for a film that would excite in both its familiarity and originality. And we all collectively mocked the petulant Skywalker when he bemoaned his unfulfilled intention to visit Toshi Station.

You don't create a memory like that from popping a DVD into your home entertainment system. It's true that movie theaters are expensive, as are their concessions, and that the theaters are often populated with babies, cell phones, and other noisy inconsiderations. But films themselves are a vehicle of social interaction. Each year that I taught a film studies course, I opened the first day of class by explaining to my students that the movies they were about to watch were a venue through which people of diverse eras and geographies could relate by sharing common experiences. Nowhere is that goal better achieved than in the communal consumption of film.

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