These Four “Rules” Will Not Make STAR WARS Great Again

by     Posted 1 year, 41 days ago

star-wars-posters-drew-struzan-slice

A couple weeks ago, a humble open letter found its way onto the Internet, and not just any open letter. This one was accompanied by top-notch animation, an exclusive interview on io9, its own launch party, and an a cappella soundtrack. It’s title: “4 Rules to Make Star Wars Great Again”

That isn’t actually what it is; that’s just what it’s called. It would have been more accurate to title the video: 4 Pieces of Lame Conventional Wisdom and 1 Really Obvious Marketing Ploy.  Hit the jump for more.

Just so we’re on the same page, here’s the video:

This is, after all, not the work of some gurus of storytelling or scholarly monks who’ve devoted their lives to analyzing the works of Mr. George Walton Lucas, Jr. This is a marketing agency in Portland, Oregon that figured unleashing a video custom-engineered to go viral was the best way to show off their skills.

And drum up new clients. Mostly, that.

star-wars-episode-4-poster-drew-struzanI begrudge them not even a little bit for this. Kudos to them for garnering so much attention for their company — that would be Sincerely Truman. See, it worked. I just gave them some publicity.

I don’t even begrudge the actual rules they offer up. Everyone should have an opinion. Well, not everyone. This is Sincerely Truman’s opinion:

Rule 1: The Setting is the Frontier

Rule 2: The Future is Old

Rule 3: The Force is Mysterious

Rule 4: Star Wars Isn’t Cute

What I do begrudge is so many people in the geek-o-sphere embraced this tripe so uncritically. From io9 to CNET, and every blog in between, the video garnered nodding agreement, if they even bothered to comment on its substance at all.

Sometimes it was enthusiastic, as in the case of Serial Optimist magazine, where their entire commentary was summed up with, “Yes, Star Wars can be great again!”

Geek Tyrant “ultimately really like[s] what it brings to the table,” without ever really delineating what it is.

On CNET, Amanda Kooser “sure hope[s] [J.J. Abrams] is paying attention to Sincerely Truman’s sweet and simple video.” She even signed the petition.

Oh yes, there’s a petition. The video is paired up with a site, DearJJAbrams.com, where you can add your name to the list of people who also nodded in agreement with the video. “If we can hit one million virtual signatures,” the site says it will “hand deliver our petition along with a copy of the video.”

The video is on YouTube, which I think they have access to at Disney’s headquarters. I’m not sure why they need to deliver a copy of the video.

The petition, as of October 6, was at a measly 14,540 strong. There’s only 985,460 to go.* Thank God for that, because I for one sure hope J.J. Abrams is not paying attention.

Let’s look at these rules, one by one.

star-wars-episode-5-poster-drew-struzanRule numero uno kicks things off with, “The Setting is the Frontier.” The video rattles off, in voice over, all the places Lucas’ universe doesn’t take place:

Star Wars doesn’t happen in the city. It doesn’t happen in parliament, or in the library. It happens out here, away from civilization, amidst smugglers and bounty hunters.”

Star Wars is a western,” it concludes, putting a great deal of emphasis on every syllable of that word.

No, it is not. Or rather, it is not just a western. It isn’t even primarily a western. It’s many things tossed into a blender: Arthurian legend, adventure serials in the tradition of Buck Rogers, samurai action films, and yes, westerns. That’s just for starters.

Back in 1977, when the film came out, this fact was so fascinating they wrote scholarly essays on it, including one by Robert G. Collins in The Journal of Popular Culture entitled “Star Wars: The Pastiche of Myth and the Yearning for a Past Future.”

Even Wikipedia gets in on the act, devoting a couple paragraphs in its article on pastiche to the Lucas-creation. It cites not only westerns and science fiction serials, but also gangster films and fantasy. Clearly Star Wars is blended from a rich tapestry of influence.

Reducing all of this to frontier vistas and a single genre is not only overly simplistic, it ignores plenty of great Star Wars stories. The Knights of the Old Republic games had a compelling narrative and engrossing characters, and its plot unfolded all over the galaxy: from urban cityscapes to dangerous ruins on backwater worlds. Timothy Zahn’s popular Thrawn Trilogy of novels doesn’t shy away from the metropolis of Coruscant. Then there is the Clone Wars animated series, which is an outgrowth of the hated prequels, but manages to be compelling nonetheless.

The strength of these stories was their characters, not their settings. They embraced the entirety of the Star Wars galaxy, and they were better for it. Trying to shoehorn their narratives into a barren, desert milieu would have only made them feel smaller, more limited than an entire galaxy could ever be.

These Four “Rules”

Will Not Make

STAR WARS Great Again

Continued on Page 2




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  • Yep

    “No! No!! Their reasons why Star Wars is great are garbage! MY REASONS are why they are great! ME! ME! LOOK AT ME!…please…sniff…I want the geek credit… :( ,

    Yep that about sums up this article.

    • axalon

      I’M THE SMART PERSON HERE

    • Grayden

      No, their reasons are why they, and the hoards of fans, like/love Star Wars. They are not what make them great. That is the point of this article and it’s spot-fucking-on. It isn’t some e-peen battle where there is no clear winner because internet “battles” are ridiculous and inane. It’s one opinion set against another. Pilcher is merely casting light on the pitfalls of fandom that we ALL fall into as said fans. Our subjectivity as biased fans overrides our objectivity as rational adults.

      • zzzzzzzz

        its just a film, chill out and stop analysing what other people think. Analyse the films for sure, it makes for interesting discussion…

  • http://illusion0flife.wordpress.com/ IllusionOfLife

    Thank you so much for this article. I saw the video and responded with kind of a shrug, it was reductive and missed a lot of the point, but whatever, I’ve seen these things a thousand times. When I saw Star Wars fans latching onto it like leeches, I couldn’t help but groan.

    Yes, the original trilogy was (mostly) great. Yes, the prequels were putrid garbage, but the answer to make new Star Wars good is NOT just to remake the original trilogy. The answer – if there is just one – is to tell a compelling story. These tangible details matter not when compared to the essential need for a strong story with vibrant characters.

    • Lance

      I actually do prefer the “old, used look” of the originals (back when Star Wars was released, the movie was acclaimed for creating such a radically different aesthetic for the future, which is why I was so puzzled that Lucas decided to make everything look like it was made of shiny plastic in the prequels).

      That said, anytime you see someone telling you “here are the simple rules” that will make a movie or a story great, you know that person doesn’t know a thing about storytelling.

      Gotta say, though, I loved the way the narrator kept uttering the word “frontier” like it was a magical talisman, sure to conjure movie greatness (and bring Tinker Bell back to life, to boot)!

    • Lance

      I actually do prefer the “old, used look” of the originals (back when Star Wars was released, the movie was acclaimed for creating such a radically different aesthetic for the future, which is why I was so puzzled that Lucas decided to make everything look like it was made of shiny plastic in the prequels).

      That said, anytime you see someone telling you “here are the simple rules” that will make a movie or a story great, you know that person doesn’t know a thing about storytelling.

      Gotta say, though, I loved the way the narrator kept uttering the word “frontier” like it was a magical talisman, sure to conjure movie greatness (and bring Tinker Bell back to life, to boot)!

      • http://illusion0flife.wordpress.com/ IllusionOfLife

        Oh, most definitely. The aesthetic of the original trilogy was WAAAAY better than the aesthetic of the prequels, but, as you mentioned, saying something so overly simplistic as “making the new ones look like the old ones is what will make them great!” is silly.

      • Brad Pilcher

        I think you said it better than me, twice. The bottom line is this, if you’re a fan of Star Wars and you’re looking back at the Original Trilogy through the lens of your distaste for the prequels, and letting that perspective guide what you think should or should not be in future films… you’re doing it wrong.

        Don’t look backwards. Look forward.

        It’s as if you had a really wonderful girlfriend. Not perfect, not ideal, but really wonderful. But then she moved away, so you lost touch. Then you had a girlfriend who cheated on you and broke your heart. It’s going to make you idolize the first girlfriend and think the next one needs to be just like her.

        But you’re just going to keep getting your heart broken if you don’t let go of the past.

    • JBug

      I think Episode III is the best of them all. It might not be classic, but sometimes classic is painful to rewatch an should stay as a memory in our heads.

      • Mike Bond

        If a “classic” makes you feel that way after watching it, then it probably isn’t really a classic, is it? Classics usually hold up pretty well as the years and technology move on — you’re not really calling Episodes 4-6 “painful to watch”, right? ;)

  • jack

    the funny thing is people still think petitions on the internet to filmmakers actually do anything…get real and don’t waste your time. Filmmakers will never look to people on the internet for ideas. Never

    • Nerdgasm

      Someones a bitter cry baby.

      • jack

        Where do you get bitter out of my statement. I’m pointing out the absurdity of starting online petitions to filmmakers.

        Name calling is always a great way to make friends and influence people

    • Lex Walker

      Well, they did for Snakes on a Plane, but I’m not saying that’s a good precedent.

    • Guest

      While I agree online petitions tend to have little effect when it comes to films (especially with decisions that have already been made, like casting), you’re wrong when you say filmmakers never take ideas from the internet into consideration. It may not be the best example, but “Snakes on a Plane” added five more days to its production because of comments from fans online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snakes_on_a_Plane#Internet.

  • Stefan Bonomo

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • MEY

    “…doesn’t happen in the city…”
    “…isn’t clean, isn’t new, it’s dirty…”

    So half of the best Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back takes place in a dirty village called Cloud City.

    Thanks for this piece of info.

  • RiddleThemThis

    I thought Episode III made star wars great again, but as time goes on I feel more and more like a minority on this one.

    • Norrtron

      When compared to the garbage that is Episode I and II, it is great. When compared to the original trilogy or other epic movies of the past 20 years, not so much.

    • dangeer

      I like Ep III more than Return of the Jedi.

      • RiddleThemThis

        You are my hero.

      • ohdear

        fail

    • Ched Groundheggin

      In many ways Episode III is the worst of the prequels.

      • dangeer

        Nope.

    • JediMaster

      I used to feel the same way. I saw Ep. 3 and was like alright that was a little better than the epic fails that were 1&2. Then I watched Plinkett reviews on RedLetterMedia and realized how fucking wrong I was. You may not get the sometimes sick humor in his reviews of the prequels, but his reviews of the movies are just spot on, undeniable logic. Watch his review of Episode 3 and you will realize your mistake. If you don’t you’re already beyond the help of man or Jedi.

      • Star Fan

        Actually, the one for Ep 3 was redletter media’s worst critique. He complains about the beginning of Episode 3 using similiar imagery to the finale of return of the Jedi as if this is in and of itself an objective flaw. Lucas was tying the two trilogies together by using recurring imagery, which is hardly something somebody can point to and say “you goofed”. You can say it you didn’t like it or it confused you (which is what the Red Letter Media guy said happened to him) but that’s an issue of taste more than anything else. Also, most of what his complaints were that the emperor’s motives and plots weren’t spelled out explicitly but Palpatine’s machinations are easy to understand if you put in a little effort. He complained that Lucas didn’t have a scene were Palpatine said “this is what I’ve been up to the whole time and here is why I did X and X in the preceding two films”. I actually have to say Lucas’ decision to leave much of Palpatine’s grand designs obscure worked really well for the third film when everything came together and the Republic’s hero’s started falling like dominoes. It gave everything a tragic finality. Episode 3 was the only film of the prequel trilogy that expanded the mythology in a satisfying way and it makes Return of the Jedi more emotional as well when you understand that Vader became so evil and beholden to the Emperor because he thought he killed his entire family in a fit of rage. After Episode 3 Vader’s change of heart when the emperor is about to kill Luke in Jedi suddenly makes perfect sense instead of seeming like a 180 degree character change.
        Fuck it. Episode 3 is very good and the Star Wars Saga is richer because it exists.

      • Lance

        Even the “Noooooooooo!!!!!”? Is Star Wars better off for that?

        Episode III _is_ an improvement over the first two movies. I kind of think if Lucas had made another four movies after that, he finally would have recaptured what made the original movies great, by the end.

      • Star Fan

        All the Star Wars movies have flaws and the “NOOOO” maybe wasn’t the greatest moment but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that episode 3′s existence strengthens, in my opinion, the weakest film of the original trilogy by giving it more dramatic credibility.

      • pleaseleave

        if you need a flimsy movie to strengthen Jedi’s emotional scenes, i assume your referring to vader, i think your pretty shit with movies pal :/

      • nope

        “Lucas was tying the two trilogies together by using recurring imagery”

        there in lays the flaw, no need for it. Poor writing, poor vision, lazy directing…. the prequels i imagined in my head are better :P

      • Star Fan

        Feeble comebacks guys. Recurring imagery is unnecessary? I guess Shakespeare and every other major writer are poor writers because they use recurring imagery. It’s a common device used across mediums to make artistic works more cohesive. You can say that you didn’t like how Lucas employed recurring imagery but, again, it’s not an objective flaw and the use of recurring imagery is not inherently a flaw.
        @00853afedc86580ee1c1c2a609fbd026:disqus, I didn’t say I needed Sith to strengthen Jedi, I said it did by building on existing story in a satisfying way.

      • Ludwig Scroggins IV

        The ultimate problem for me with the prequels isn’t the lame dialogue, the silly politics, lousy romance, or the boring cgi–it’s that I was never SHOWN how cool Anakin is. We were supposed to see the fall of a great Jedi, a beloved hero who chose the dark side and threw it all away like David. Instead, we were given a whiny, snotty cry baby who doesn’t have an ounce of leadership in his whole body. He never rose to greatness and so his turn to evil fails to resonate. And all the midi-chlorians can’t make it otherwise.

    • AManWithAKilt

      Episode 3 was the best of the prequels but that doesn’t make it a good movie, nor does it make Star Wars great again. It was, at best, a mediocre movie.

      • doc

        Someone should do a Phantom edit of all the prequels and take out all the dialogue replacing it with monkey sounds. Better movie already.

      • JBug

        haha – I hated phantom at first, but liked it more when I rewatched it after Episode III came out. Kind of similar to Matrix Reloaded.

    • asdkk

      You’re right. I know many Mexicans, Blacks, and Irish who think like you do.

      • conradthegreat

        so mean other people. stupid

    • doc

      “From my point of view the Jedi are evil!”
      “Anikan, you’re breaking my heart”
      “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO”
      Take that garbage away and I agree with you.

      • SerKillingtonthe3rd

        How dare you insult Lucas’s poetry?! I can feel myself tearing up already.

      • Ludwig Scroggins IV

        Yer softer than sand. M’lady.

      • mbmarquis69

        That stuff is cringe worthy no doubt, but there is terrible dialogue peppered all through the entire saga. I took a non-Star Wars fan friend to see Empire Strikes Back during its Special Edition re-release, thinking that if there was one movie to show him, it would be this one.

        He walked out saying it was “ok” but the dialogue nearly ruined it for him. Ford is famous for quipping to Lucas “You can write this stuff but you can’t speak it.”

        I think a lot of fans (I’m guilty of this myself) are quick to point out prequel flaws that exist to some extent in the original trilogy. I guess the degree to which they exist determines whether you give those movies a pass or not.

    • Harry Palm

      That movie is all kinds of awful. The scene where Anakin and Obi-Wan are running around the spaceship like the Keystone Cops was painful. Anakin going from “I want to do the right thing and turn you in” to murdering children in the blink of an eye was ridiculous. Almost all the Jedi getting murdered in one scene was a horrible letdown. Padme dying from a broken heart was about the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in all my many years. It’s just an awful movie from top to bottom. It was really pretty, though. I do give it that.

      • AManWithAKilt

        The scene where Mace Windu dies and Anakin turns also has to be the worst acted/written scene I’ve ever seen.

        “no, No, NO, YOU WILL DIE!!!”

      • noooooo

        hahaha…..

        “help me, help, im weak, too weak…….don’t kill me please…..”

        Anakin fell for that one rather well….

        Anakin Skywalker, cunning warrior and best star pilot in the galaxy….and biggest mug and muppet in the galaxy :D

      • doc

        “Believe me, I wish I could just wish away my feelings, but I can’t.” Classic Episode II

      • Ludwig Scroggins IV

        Bwa ha ha ha. I wish I could wish away the prequels.

      • Ludwig Scroggins IV

        Yes, my master (Frankenstein voice). I will do anything you say, master. Vroom, vroom from the back, master. Suckee suckee five dolla.

      • nooooooooo

        hahaha yeah it is so bad. Cracks me up reading people defend it tho, especially when they say it helps strengthen the originals. Nothing in the entire prequel trilogy compliments, strengthens or adds to the originals. They dont expand it in any interesting ways whats so ever :D
        Ep III was nothing more than a pretty action film, terrible character dev, the pacing was all over the place, tonally all over the place. Anakins turn was just ridiculously written throughout the trilogy, the jedi are written like they are total morons, Anakin and Padme’s “relationship” was more ridiculous than Jar Jar being made a general and the acting even worse. Its actually laughable in places….i recommend watching with pals while having beers. Ep 2 just makes no sense, pretty much laughed all thru that one.

      • Ludwig Scroggins IV

        Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones, is the worst thing ever made by a human Except for the bagpipes. Why is it so bad you ask? Well it’ll take a little while to answer, because basically it involves every single aspect of the film. Except Natalie Portman’s midriff.

    • JBug

      I agree – Episode III looked great, had awesome action, really depicted the force and Jedi way well, and had some really classic moments without trying to be the originals.

  • dangeer

    I, for one, have always attributed the midichlorians as part of what caused the downfall of the Jedi in the first place. They were drifting further and further away from what the Force was TRULY all about, trying to explain it away scientifically, when it really has everything to do with the spiritual, which is why we never hear any talk of midichlorians in the original trilogy. Since Lucas had the idea in his head even before ’77, he could have brought it up in the originals back then if it was truly intended to be an important part of the Force, but he didn’t. That’s because Yoda and Obi-Wan realized the error of the old Jedi Order and their “evolved” beliefs and methods, and rejected them.

    Hence, the Jedi’s ability to use the Force was diminished, as Mace Windu pointed out in Ep II. They drifted further and further from what the Force was truly all about, which is why they were unable to sense a Sith Lord ruling the galaxy right under their very noses in the prequels. Their fate was sealed.

    To this day, I still don’t understand why fans don’t get this.

    Edit: I also don’t understand how fans don’t get the reason for everything looking shiny and new in the prequels. It is because the Empire hasn’t taken over the galaxy yet and run things down to the point that people like the rebel forces and Han Solo have to resort to whatever second or third-hand ships they could find. We also didn’t see newer-looking locations like Naboo and Coruscant in the original trilogy, save for the special edition of ROTJ (notice how Tatooine looks the same throughout all six movies?). I would also assume that places like this would be kept that way because Coruscant is the center of all political dealings, and Naboo is where Palpatine is from.

    Just because we only saw grittier locals in the original trilogy doesn’t mean that it had to be that way in the prequels. Also, I would actually assume that, by the time of Ep VII, things will actually start looking newer and cleaner again, with the rise of the Jedi Order and peace in the galaxy.

    • SerKillingtonthe3rd

      What’s this? An over-complicated explanation of two disparate elements with nothing to back it up? Yep, its a fanboy theory, alright. If midichlorians had any deeper meaning it would have been explained in the movie. Fans don’t get this because it doesn’t exist.

      • Tri-Force

        Try reading the books if your a real fan then.

      • SerKillingtonthe3rd

        I’m not really sure what you mean by this? I read all the expanded universe up until the Yuuzhan Vong, at which point I moved to more complex scifi.

        I am a big fan of the original trilogy but the prequels are a stain that the saga has to bear and it baffles me that some people think they are good movies.

      • dangeer

        It’s not complicated at all. It simply makes sense. Sorry you didn’t get it and need it all spelled out for you in words. The whole point is that the Jedi had no idea what happened to cause their downfall, therefore they don’t come out and say it to the audience. They have no idea why their ability to use the Force was “diminished” (although they do hint that Jedi have become arrogant, and it’s apparent throughout the prequels. Just one of many reasons for their downfall).

        If midichlorians were imperative to understanding the Force, and midichlorians were Lucas’ idea that he had before he made the original trilogy (as was mentioned in the above article), then why is it not mentioned in the original trilogy? It may only be a theory, but it sure does make sense to me that Yoda and Obi-Wan rejected the more scientific view of the Force and embraced the spiritual.

        Same goes for things looking slick and new in the prequels. In fact, prequel concept designer Dough Chiang originally went for the run-down look with his designs for ships, and Lucas told him to scrap all that because it was before the Empire when things are slick and newer.

      • doc

        Or George Lucas was talking out of his ass and no one on his staff had the courage to tell him he was wrong. Watch the Plinkett reviews and the special features on the dvds. It’s obvious .

      • SerKillingtonthe3rd

        Oh, it’s simple to understand. It’s over-complicated because you just used two paragraphs of made up connections to explain Lucas’s bad ideas. Lucas has explained his intentions with the whole Midichlorian concept. Midichlorians was just a way for Lucas to tell the audience how some were force sensitive and others are not. He also has said that thematically they represent symbiotic relationships.

        Oh and Lucas didn’t include Midichlorians in the original trilogy because he felt he didn’t have to time to introduce it to the audience.

      • dangeer

        Since Lucas didn’t introduce them in the original trilogy, that gives fans the freedom to interpret the absence of any mention of midichlorians in the original trilogy however they want. As long as it is not in the final cut of the film, Yoda and Obi-Wan’s silence on the matter can mean whatever we want it to be, unless something else comes along in a new film that outright says otherwise. If I see Luke referring to Midichlorians as an important part of understanding the Force in the new films, then you win (unless, of course, we see later on that Luke was wrong). But having Jedi mention them in a fallen era of the Jedi Order that takes place before the originals, where the Jedi messed up just about everything, it totally makes sense that Yoda and Obi-Wan wouldn’t mention them.

        Sure, Lucas may have intended to mention them originally, but he didn’t, therefore it’s not a part of the story. Think of it as a deleted scene. Deleted scenes aren’t considered canon, even though they were originally intended to be in the film. Many deleted scenes are cut solely for time constraints. It’s no different with deleting something from the script. There are tons of things Lucas MEANT to introduce in the films originally, but ended up not introducing. Does that mean that those concepts and ideas are still valid? To me, if it something doesn’t make the final cut, then all we should be going from is what’s on screen.

        In the end, if midichlorians were really so important to the concept of the Force as it stood in the era of the original trilogy, Lucas would’ve MADE time to mention them in the original trilogy. But since he didn’t, to me this means that even LUCAS doesn’t consider them to be all that important to understanding the Force. What’s on screen in the original trilogy is what Lucas considered to be essential to grasping the concept. Midichlorians are simply a device that applied more to the prequel era of the Jedi Order that became of little meaning once that Order was destroyed. It was really only used so that they could maintain some sort of order with regards to who can become a Jedi. It was of no need in the originals when Obi-Wan simply needed to train Luke. Sure, those pesky little midis exist, but it looks like Yoda and Obi-Wan don’t care much, so neither should we.

      • SerKillingtonthe3rd

        You can interpret however you want, that doesn’t mean that it’s part of Star Wars and it certainly doesn’t mean that fans should get it.

      • dangeer

        Here’s the thing. Fans should’ve seen this coming ever since Return of the Jedi: “The Force runs strong in my family. My father has it. I have it… and, my sister has it.” That’s the first time we hear anything that tells us straight out that there are people that using the Force will come more naturally for. The Phantom Menace simply gave that idea a name.

        So if there’s a Star Wars film to be mad at, it’s Return of the Jedi, not any of the prequels, at least as far as the concept of the Force running strong within certain family bloodlines is concerned. Now, having said that, neither ROTJ or the prequels flat out say that ONLY certain people can use the Force. It’s simply saying that it will come much more naturally for some than others, and for those who don’t have a high midi count will simply have to work harder (all biological beings in that universe still have midis). Remember, the Force is “an energy field created by ALL living things.”

        The Force is still mysterious (a.k.a. midichlorians are NOT the Force). It’s just that we know now that the Jedi tried to understand how we connect with it biologically. They are, after all, biological beings somehow connecting with the spiritual, so it makes sense that this would’ve happened at some point. Whether they should have done so is entirely up for interpretation.

        There are plenty of fans that DO get this. It’s just that the fans that don’t get it don’t bother trying because they can’t get past silly surface things like Jar Jar Binks and Trade Disputes. They don’t think beyond the surface. It’s an emotional issue that has driven them mad for over a decade now, and they won’t stop. THEY WON’T STOP! It’s a mad house, I tell ya. A MAD HOUSE!!!!
        :)

      • AshokaHan

        The films themselves clearly state that midichlorians are merely the channels threw which the Force flows through us, not the Force themselves. Go to youtube and find the conversation Qui-Gon has with Anakin regarding them and watch it again, if you are still confused.

    • doc

      It’s not about looking shiny and new. It’s about looking like green screen trash and blatantly contradicting what happened in the original trilogy.

      • dangeer

        Whether one considers it to look like green screen trash is subjective, and you’re entitled to your opinion of how the effects were rendered. But how does this contradict what happened in the original trilogy?

      • doc

        Oh I’m sorry blue screen. Direct quote from Yoda in Empire while explaining the Force to Luke: “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm. And where you should not. For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. It’s energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land, and the ship.” So if clorox is a measurable substance in someones blood dos that mean it can also be measured in the air. Is everyone breathing this stuff in? Does it only bind to individuals with a certain genetic makeup? Is it sentient? What if…… These are all questions that wouldn’t need to be answered if fracking George Lucas had just let the Force be the Force.

      • dangeer

        Wrong. As I said in a post above, Midichlorians are NOT the Force. They are the biological explanation the prequel era Jedi came up with to explain how they COMMUNE with the Force. They are a measurement taken to help regulate who would become a part of the Jedi Order. That doesn’t mean that only certain people can use the Force, but rather that certain people will have to work harder than others to use it. The Force is an energy field created by ALL living things.

        Later on, it appears to me that Yoda and Obi-Wan reject most of what the old Jedi order thought was true, or don’t put nearly as much emphasis on it, as midichlorians aren’t even mentioned in the original trilogy. It’s clear that they have evolved as Jedi and have come to grasp a greater understanding of the Force. The old ways caused nothing but arrogance and disaster for the Jedi Order, and midichlorians are a part of those old ways and ultimately insignificant to actually understanding the Force. They exist, and perhaps really ARE how the biological connects with the spiritual in Star Wars, but the midis are really a detail that doesn’t really add to a potential Jedi’s understanding of the Force, which is why they never mention it to Luke. It was a method of regulation from a thought-process that didn’t really serve the Jedi well. They focused too much on the wrong things, and Yoda and Obi-Wan finally get it RIGHT by the time of the originals.

      • doc

        You are putting way more thought into this than Lucas ever did.

      • dangeer

        Haha. Nope. You just won’t let go of your hatred. Star Wars really IS that good. :)

        The films never say midichlorians ARE the Force. You just hated the film so much that you won’t bother to analyze it. You had a knee-jerk reaction to it over a decade ago and never truly gave it any more thought. You never gave Lucas the benefit of the doubt, and have held on to this mindset since 1999, probably never once considering the possibility that there’s more to it than you initially thought.

      • doc

        You are not seriously defending the prequels as good movies are you? I will admit, somewhere in there is a good story. But the acting is “The Room” atrocious most of the time, several of the actors were miscast, the CGI is overbearing, Jar Jar is unnecessary, the practical affects (what few there are) are bad, and the continuity is all over the place (as taking place before the originals). I’ll give you this one. Episode III: take out the horrendous acting (Hayden Christiansen, “From my point of view the Jedi are evil!” and it is pretty badass. Watch the Plinkett reviews and tell me I’m wrong. Oh, and “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

      • dangeer

        The films aren’t perfect. But just because they’re not perfect, doesn’t mean they’re not good. Most movies aren’t perfect, and, if you want to, you can pretty much find fault with anything you WANT to find fault with. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny (a.k.a., once you find one or two things that really pissed you off about the films, there’s no end to your hatred towards them, and you’ll never even consider giving the director the benefit of the doubt).

        My opinion is that they are WAY better than people make them out to be. They’re underrated. And there are way more practical effects in those films that people realize, especially when it comes to model work. There are way more models in the prequels that any of the original trilogy, which should actually tell you that much of the CG was done quite well because you couldn’t tell the difference.

        And as far as continuity is concerned, I still don’t see why you think it’s “all over the place.” They lined up pretty well with the originals if you ask me.

      • doc

        Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. I’ll leave it at that.

    • JBug

      Thank you!!!! (RE: the shiny issue)

    • rhizomeman

      Regarding the midichlorians, I think “fans don’t get it” because it’s just your theory, which is never explained in the films – or even implied.

    • trollhunter

      naaaa what, if thats the case wrote a better script and story focusing around that, you sound like a typical prequel sympathiser. I think it comes down to poor story telling mate, i dot think Lucas was thinking that deeply about it or intended it to have any direct effect leading to the fall of Jedi.
      In the end Lucas wrote the Jedi as a bunch of idiots in the prequels, that was their downfall, acting like a bunch of drunks.
      Ooh no, this boy is to dangerous to train…..did i say that, ah fuck it, train him anyway, what do some bad vibes in the force matter anyway, his only a kid, fuck it. Poorest decision in the entire saga.
      They could have got around it to, keep Obi’s promise intact with Yoda absolutely sticking by the council’s decision to refuse Anakin training, so have Obi Wan saying he will not break his promise and leaves the jedi order to train Anakin himself (which he even says in A New Hope “i took it upon myself to train him as a jedi”) Yoda says thats against the rules and Obi Wan is expelled and he tales Anakin away to be trained, EP1 ends with them 2 flying off in a stolen shuttle with the epic force music playing presenting uncertainty as to where that story will go instead of that crappy gungun/naboo disney land parade celebration. Then EP2 could of had them as wondering warrior, monk type Jedi, like hermits wondering the galaxy. They then could have ended up getting caught up in the clone wars conflict and get accepted back in the Jedi order to help the republic fight the war bal bla. And not have Anakin as a total prick!
      Anyway, the prequels suck as functional stories or as films, thats all :p

      • dangeer

        Sounds like a typical fan who had his own idea of what the films should be, built it up in his own head for a really long time as being THE way it should be, and when he got something else he couldn’t get over it.

        And hey, if you’re calling the prequel Jedi “idiots,” then it was these “idiots” that believed that midichlorians were important. And we all know that, by the time of the original trilogy, Yoda and Obi-Wan are not idiots.

        All I’m saying is that it is clear that midichlorians are a part of a fallen, flawed era of the Jedi, and Yoda and Obi-Wan’s silence on the matter in the original trilogy DOES say something. How many situations have you encountered in your life where someone’s silence on a matter “says” something?

        By the way, just because the Jedi had bad vibes, doesn’t mean their feelings on the matter are clear. “Clouded this boy’s future is,” Yoda said. For all they knew, Anakin could’ve been destined for good things, and he was clearly the chosen one. They decided to take a chance and hope for the best based on certain undeniable facts, and the fact that his future wasn’t certain.

  • Nik Beat

    This is the most idiotic article I have read on Collider yet…The “journalist” who wrote this article obviously has a grudge against somebody getting views on youtube.. plus, just because Brad does not “get” the meaning of the video, does not make it without merit. It is obviously stating obvious point of what makes Star Wars great, but that is the whole point: That these simple rules are so simple that Star Wars fans still dont understand how Lucas could f.. up Ep 1-3 so bad…
    Saying that Star Wars is not just a western but also a samurai movie just shows that Brad does not get it… and makes me real tired. And making midichlorians a minor error in the larger saga is further proof that he is either too young or too “hip” to understand what Star Wars is. Star Wars is in the details baby….

    • mbmarquis69

      Actually, the writer laid out his argument in concise detail and backed up his points with examples. He went well and beyond what the creators of the video did. But, the writer is challenging a lot of people on their tendency to fall in line with group think, so I get why it’s not a popular thing to say.

  • Faustous

    You definitely lost me at “George Lucas had a vision…”. Yeah, he did. He also had creative partners, early on at least, who tempered his penchant for juvenile humor and contrived melodrama… attributes that were left unchecked for Jedi and the prequels. Don’t believe me? Do more research.

    • Roy Batty

      Exactly. The part where this writer states that Lucas had a vision and stuck to it and that’s what made Star Wars great was completely wrong. You only have to watch the doc on the making of the original film to see that the first cut was shit. All of Lucas’ colleagues said so and offered up suggestions on how to make it better. He listened and complied and the movie was better for it. Cut to Empire, where all the best decisions where made without him, and it’s regarded as one of the best films ever. Not hating on Lucas, but since film is a collaborative medium, it only benefited the films to have other’s vision’s included as well.

    • Brad Pilcher

      I’m not sure I understand this criticism. The very next sentence was, “As it turns out, much of that vision is utter bollocks, but he had one, nevertheless.”

      I didn’t write that George Lucas never collaborated or listened to anybody. I’m also the first person who will point out that Lucas’ lack of strong collaborators pushing back on him during the making the prequels was a major reason for their flaws.

      When I talk about having a vision, I’m not saying a person shouldn’t listen to anybody. What I’m saying is, sit down and create a compelling story. Work with talented partners who’ve bought into that basic story and concept. But drown out the fanboys, because they are not driven by new and compelling storytelling. They are driven by a slavish devotion to what has come before.

      If George Lucas is guilty of anything, it’s blithely ignoring the fanboys, and that has inspired plenty of ire and left us with some unfortunate results, but it isn’t the reason the prequels were lesser films than the original trilogy. If George Lucas had a committee of fanboys in the room with him the entire time he wrote, directed, and produced Episodes I-III, they wouldn’t have been better films, though they would certainly have been different.

  • Ched Groundheggin

    This may be the best “movie site” article I have seen in years. In a time when movie sites such as collider blindly repost articles so they aren’t left behind…Someone actually took a step back to say something.

    Can you please convince the rest of the staff to do the same thing?

    How many times have we been subjected to “Steve Soderberg is retiring!”… That whole thing was taken out of context and is absolute BS. That is just one example but the “reposting” of bad or inaccurate articles among this community is running rapid. There are so many more example of this nonsense on the site even at this moment.

    As Brad said, the video itself is great- done well. But the content is a joke. I guess cloud city didn’t exist? It’s not even worth dissecting because of how shallow it really is, but as someone who runs a small boutique AD firm I also give Kudus to them…

    • Brad Pilcher

      Thank you, Ched.

  • brNdon

    I love that you don’t want this video getting hits, yet you wrote a flipping article about it on a website frequented by Star Wars geeks! Bravo, Brad.

    • Ched Groundheggin

      where did he say he didn’t want the video to get hits?

      • Brad Pilcher

        Seriously. Where did I say that?

  • Ep 5 (or 2) rules!

    Quick…someone get this to JJ…he needs to breath this air!

  • Martino

    What makes Star Wars great?

    How about haven’t actually a good script, a coherent plot, a sense of wonder, action and a little humor?

  • HeSaidSheSaidReviewSite

    “I don’t berudge his opinion at all, except for thinking it is tripe.” LOL, what a attention-starved brat. Oh Collider, you have truly turned into a rag.

    • AshokaHan

      Attention starved brat? Are you referring to the original video? Because if so, you are spot on!

  • MoviesAreForever88

    This article is shit….complete and utter shit. Period. It actually comes across more as a hissy-fit that you didn’t make the video yourself, than anything else.

    That video, while it may be somewhat of a marketing ploy to garner attention to their company, is absolutely correct with the rules, which is laying A FOUNDATION for a new trilogy (and beyond) to be based around, that is all. It’s not saying that, with these four rules applied, the movies will be incapable of failing…its saying that, at the heart of the story, it really needs these rules to restore the sense of magic, wonder and realism that the original had….and where the prequels did NOT.

    They are saying that those were the basic rules of what separated Star Wars from so many other Sci-Fi series and what, essentially, made it so great. They are also taking the primary examples of what failed so miserably in the prequels and highlighting them as topics that we dont ever want to see again….such as the Senate debating about stupid shit like Separatists and Lucasfilm treating everyone like idiots and explaining every little detail.
    Yes, governmental issues have, in some degree, been at the heart of Star Wars all along, such as the Empire ruling with the Rebellion fighting back. However, thats a basic foundation of Good vs. Evil in the grand scheme of things…not a gripe about the corruption of modern day government, like the crap in the prequels.

    What a waste of an article…and my time!

    • Kevin

      So is the video.

  • MITIOR

    I agree with you, the rules of the video are just trying to get a formula out of something that worked in the past but starwars should always be giving us something new, expanding the univese. the script and the acting is what would make a difference. I enjoyed your article and support many of your claims.

    One thing thou, the prequels are not “hated” by everyone, they’re very special for a generation of Starwars fans.

  • Captain

    Hate some star wars fans. They see the old trilogy like it was 2001. Is a family movie. Star wars isnt cute? and the ewoks? C3po?. For me the darkest is episode 3 by far. The prequels arent too different to the old ones. The problem is that the fans grew up

    • RiddleThemThis

      If episodes 1-3 were made immediately after return of the jedi, people wouldn’t have complained as much as they do now.

      • MoviesAreForever88

        Yes, they would. The contrast between the tone and, well, everything, for that matter, is HUGE. The original trilogy felt like a real world with everything extremely weathered, gritty and very lived in (It even went on to inspire the gritty realism that Ridley Scott used in Alien).
        The prequels looked like a movie set that was painted five minutes before filming (which it probably was). Anything other than the small sets didn’t feel real either because NOTHING was real…it was all CG.
        The original had an engaging story that captivated the imaginations of the entire world, with characters and relationships that you deeply cared about…and it kept people guessing what would happen from one episode to the next throughout the entire trilogy (would Han survive? Was Darth Vader really Luke’s father? etc).
        The prequels were nothing short of sloppy, terribly written video games that are the epitome of lazy filmmaking with their overuse of animation. The casting, with the exception of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor (both of whom were amazing in their roles), were a disgrace. You didn’t care about the relationships between anyone or if people were going to die. You especially didn’t care about the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin…which is the most important one considering Anakin turns on Obi-Wan. I found myself hoping that Anakin would bite the bullet before we even got to Episode 3, simply because of how annoying he was. That isn’t good character development if you find yourself wishing for that.
        Not to mention, the very idea of seeing Darth Vader as a child completely ruins the mystery and sinister appeal of the character, which is what made him so powerful to begin with.

        In terms of tone….The most childish aspect of the original trilogy was easily the Ewoks….but they dont hold a f*cking candle in comparison to the Gungans and especially Jar Jar Binks.
        Sure, a lot of people look at Ewoks just as little teddy bears with spears….but it works in the film as so much more than that because it was, in essence, a David and Goliath story. The Ewoks didn’t have a chance in hell (from an outsider’s perspective) against the Empire’s troops…but with the right motivation and willpower, they stood up to them anyway and helped our heros defeat them. That, whether you like the ewoks or not, is powerful storytelling.

        The gungans, on the other-hand, are nothing short of incompetent, mentally handicapped amphibian, lizard-people who speak in ways that are designed to piss off every single audience member over the age of 12. (really, what was Jar Jar’s purpose other than to reek elementary level havoc everywhere he went?). Its sloppy, childish storytelling at best.

        So, yes, people would have noticed.

      • Captain

        The ewoks powerful storytelling? you need to see more movies.

  • Anom

    “In the face of naysayers, he held fast. He specifically did not listen to the people beyond his own vision. That is what made Star Wars great.”

    If you’d read the TERRIBLE first draft of “The Star Wars” you’d know that Lucas must have listened to some since the final script and film are salvaged from much of Lucas’ terrible dialogue, over explanation of the science of the world (the power of the force comes from a magic crystal) and other character and plot missteps.

    I believe the reason the prequels were awful was because Lucas’ ego had expanded to such an extent that he refused to listen to anyone. Without the collaboration, including the large amounts of Star Wars universe building done by ghost writer Alan Dean Foster and NOT Lucas, even the original Star Wars movies would have been crap.

    • King_Leer

      Understanding that EVERY first draft comes out terrible is filmmaking 101.

  • nefariouscabbagelatch

    What a fucking stupid article. No offense.

  • Joey Stone

    i feel like the western comment was in reference to the “Frontier” idea and all the points you made to say it wasnt a western just were just kind of reinforced with your examples that all agreed to the frontier-ness of the setting. Which i agree the frontier aspect of the first films were pretty critical but i dont feel like an urban setting or anything would automatically detract from the star wars-ness.

  • tertiaryintervention

    Did anyone check to see if the site is in anyway connected to either Disney or Bad Robot?

  • Harry Palm

    Nothing can save Star Wars. Nothing. It’s like an old athlete coming out of retirement and trying to relive his glory days but only crumbling in failure. Can’t we just let it go, already?

    • doc

      Take the prequels out of the equation.

  • Raptor Jesus

    Apologies for George Lucas are as pathetic as he is.

  • DonnaCabel0

    First time i trusted an online job ad and managed to make 90$ in 5 hours…Have you looked at this? ⅇ­x­i­t­3­5­.­c­ℴ­ℳ

  • rhizomeman

    Really well done animation and I love the 4 points! (Brad, yes there are other genres SW draws upon). I assume since that is the only thing you commented on you agree with the other 3 point in the video?

    • Brad Pilcher

      I assume since your comment thinks I only addressed point 1 that you didn’t read the rest of the article by clicking the “continue to page 2″ link at the bottom. I do not agree with the other 3 points in the video, and I wrote as much in the second half of the essay.

      • rhizomeman

        Oops..sorry:) Your’re right, didn’t read shit after the first page ha ha!

        Ok, read the rest and I think your essay is poorly argued and written. A few comments:

        Of course a galaxy far far away can have rich and poor, but what made star wars cool was it focused on the poor, the dispossed, the marginalized (Luke, Han, Obi-wan – these are not wealthy bank merchants or senators).

        True, midichlorians is a minor plot point, but it also sucked the magic out of the idea of “the force”. That’s why people still talk about it today – the shitty decision of midichlorians that is…

        C3 and R2 did indeed offer some comic banter, but that was not the main tone of the film and watching again you see how very few actually intended “jokes” there are in ANH and ESB.

        Your most egregious error, however, is when you state “He specifically did not listen to the people beyond his own vision.” WTF!!!??? You need to do some research on his working relationship with Gary Kurtz. That was Lucas’ NO man to all the stupid BS Lucas actually wanted to do – which he did once Gary left and Lucas made ROTJ – arguably the worst of the OT.

      • Brad Pilcher

        I direct you to my response to another comment on this point below: http://collider.com/star-wars-rules-editorial/#comment-1082390466

  • forceuser1

    yes, yes, yes and yes! completely agree! Please get the new trilogy off to a good start JJ, plea :/

  • forceuser1

    ….Tho of course, there will be more things needed than just those well made points to make it truly great. Like solid likeable & relatable characters within a solid story, not inception necessarily, but something at least to take these characters to interesting places (not literarily) involving some good, well motivated villains, its not enough they look “evil” and wear red make up with a new fancy gimmicky weapon.
    I feel in this video they were referring to tone more than anything. Lets not bullshit here Star Wars was never amazing script writing, it was the likeable characters, sense of magic, mysticism and pure adventure, the introduction to a great looking universe rich with possibilities for places & creatures, with a new level of special effects and scope that drew people in when they saw the first film, oh and John Williams AMAZING SCORE !

    Obviously a lot harder to tackle the sfx scope these days seeing as every other film made has huge levels of CGI effects, but to recreate the sense of wonder and magic the originals had is absolutely key, as important as the characters. If they don’t get that tone right its just another big flat CGI film amongst the rest of the CGI filled summer trash.
    Also they need to throw out the mentality of faster bigger lightsaber battles are the only way forward, get some of the emotion back in there, the back and fourth banter, some neat force usage to make it more than just people dancing around with big glow sticks coff prequels coff!!
    Anyway just my thought thrown in….so JJ please make SW nothing like Trek 2!

    • rhizomeman

      Totally agree forceuser!! Speaking of effects – I REALLY hope it’s not all cgi. Whatever happened to rear projection? That is one of the most beautiful effects for backgrounds out there and blows away cgi hands down. There is a poetry to it, and on one utilizes it anymore. Check out Deckard in the Spinner headed for Tyrell headquarters in the beginning – magical looking.

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  • milo

    Great video, and for the most part I totally agree with the “rules”. It didn’t take much of this article to make it obvious I didn’t want to waste time reading the whole thing. Basically it served as a way to find a video I had previously missed.

  • Josh McNattin

    Star Wars was a creative movement of the 70′s & 80′s, before CGI, before revising, before rethinking, before improving, before hollow actors and plots, forced acting and action and I won’t be seduced by the fake Dark Side again. Thank you George, for the story my childhood, curse you George, for never letting me see it in its original theatrical release purity again; but it lives on in my heart despite your best efforts. I’m content with that even if money grubbing producers aren’t. The End.

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