An Open Letter (spoiler-free) to George Lucas

I’m not sure about posting this here.  It’s not truly prose, and it certainly isn’t fiction.  But Star Wars was one of the things that started my love of stories and helped prompt me to want to tell my own stories.  That seems fit for a muse.

Dear Mr. Lucas,

Let me first say thank you.  Star Wars was the first movie I remember seeing in the theatre.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that that story, and the following movies, helped shaped my life.  I have grown into a life far beyond that childhood fantasy, but I have never forgotten and I still remember it fondly.  I remember the speculations about who the other might be that Yoda mentioned at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.  Or how Han was going to get out of the carbonite.  Or even whether Vader might be lying.  Many summer days were spent in endless conversations about such things.

When you released the remastered versions, I will admit I didn’t like all of the changes.  But it was your story, yours to do with as you see fit.  I didn’t see it as ruining my childhood, but nostalgia made me resist.  And when The Phantom Menace came out, I waited in line, overnight, to get tickets.  And I saw it several times opening day.  I didn’t hate it the way so many of my contemporaries did/do.  Did I think it, or any of the prequels, as good as the original?  No.  But it’s hard to beat that magic of seeing the first movie in the theatre as a young child in 1977.

I appreciated the prequels for what they were, warts and all.  I had remembered, years ago, hearing tales that you had ideas for nine movies.  That only R2-D2 and C-3PO would be in all nine films.  And while the prequels were interesting back story, I was dying to see what happened next.  The Expanded Universe, in all its messy glory, filled some of that hole, but I still wanted to see what you had in mind.

You see, several years ago, I remember complaining about something or other with respect to Harry Potter.  A friend, who had come of age during that series of books told me that he didn’t care about the problems.  That Harry Potter was part of his childhood, and he would take all of it, messy or not.  And I realized that’s how I felt about Star Wars.  So that, even if I, as a story-teller, didn’t like some of your choices, as a kid, I would take anything I could get.

But it was not to be.  First, you said no more movies.  Maybe you felt burned by the fans.  Maybe you just felt burnt out.  But the movies were over, apparently.  We got The Clone Wars, we got some animated shows, and we got rumors of other television shows in development.  The films were over.  We wouldn’t see VII, VIII, or IX.  I would never know what you had planned.

Oh well, it’s your story, your universe.  I had to respect your decision, and hope, maybe, you’d change your mind.  Instead, you sold the franchise.  You turned it over to the conglomerate of Disney for a huge payday.  I don’t know why you did it.  And I can’t imagine ever turning over a creation of mine like that, but you must have had your reasons.

Disney obviously had no intention of paying billions of dollars just to crank out licensing deals.  Soon we got word of episode VII.  And I got very nervous.  We’d get a movie all right, but it wouldn’t be your movie; it’d be Disney’s.  The prequels may have had problems, but they were your problems.  Who knew what was in store for us now?

But I bided my time.  I was cautiously optimistic.  Disney threw out all of the Expanded Universe and determined to start over, with only video productions as canon.  What would they do to this universe I grew up in, to these characters I loved?

And what came out a couple of weeks ago?  What was The Force Awakens?  It was a good movie.  More, it was a good Star Wars movie.  It is definitely more than a little nod to episode IV.  And I have lots of questions.  But the characters are interesting.  The situations that develop are engaging.  And I am intrigued.  I am avoiding spoilers, but sitting there on opening night, I breathed a sigh of relief.  They hadn’t completely screwed everything up.

So what do you do?  You complain about it.  You criticize it.  And you know what, go ahead.  I certainly might be upset if someone had taken my vision and changed it.  But of course, I wouldn’t have sold away the rights to my vision in the first place.  I wish you had held on to the franchise.  I wish you had told your story.  Even if it were completely flawed, I would have watched it.  But you didn’t do that.  You left it.  That, too, is your right.  You don’t owe me, or anyone, anything.  You don’t owe us another story.

But if you take your story and sell it away, I simply do not give a good damn any more what you think about it.  You likened it to a divorce.  (I’m going to ignore your other, offensive comments, for which you have apologized.)  I liken it to you walking out on your kids.  You just handed it over for a big pay day, whatever your reasons may have been.  Don’t turn around and dump on it now.  As a fan, I love Star Wars.  And if you had never made another film, I would have wondered what might have been.

But you handed it off to others.  And now, those of us who still love your story, have to hope that it will be recognizable in the hands of someone else.  So far, I’m pretty happy.  Do I wish I had seen your vision in some theatre in a May debut?  Sure.  But that ship has sailed.  And you’re the one who kicked it away from the dock.  So frankly, I no longer care what you think about Star Wars.  You obviously stopped caring the moment Disney offered you a check.

Sincerely,

A Star Wars fan who doesn’t complain (too often) about Jar-Jar Binks or Ewoks

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