Monday, November 5, 2012


Star Wars rumor-mongering is back en vogue. Can't really express this unlikely scenario any better than this text message string with fraternity brother 'Masshole':
MH: Episode 7!
J: I got it DVRed guess I should watch tonight (thinking he is talking about The Men Who Built America)
MH: well that too.
but im talking Star Wars
J: also want to see Oliver Stone's Untold History of the US coming out on showtime
J: Wait what?
MH: bring back the Sith!
J: What????
MH: @NECN: #Disney says it is buying 'Star Wars' maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas
J: Holy fuck
or this Twitter back and forth between me and BJ Nemeth: 

or this image John Wray shared on Facebook:

But I will try anyway. Because Star Wars is back?! Like BJ I never thought I'd live to see this day, and I always imagined if I did it would simply be another hollow echo of the true power of the Force. But it's not! Disney just literally fairy godmothered a generation of people's dreams--removing George Lucas from the equation and replacing him with the combined talents of some of the greatest artists and storytellers working together on the planet today. I seriously can't believe I'm writing this and it's true true

Yeah--a lot could go wrong and they could fall way, way short of greatness. But who cares? The possibility is actually there again! The Jedi, the Force, all that they stand for and mean could actually resonate with a new generation of people. Here's why I'm optimistic: these people who work at Pixar, and Disney, and Marvel, and Lucasfilm, they understand the unique power and potential of the Star Wars myth. George Lucas basically took cave paintings and thrust them onto the movie screen as an epic action-adventure space fantasy drama about the Skywalker family and a son's coming of age in the shadow of his lost father. Now Disney has the chance to do that again, except this time across the modern day mythic canvas of movies, television and video games. They will attempt to make the most of this opportunity. 

Ten years ago, I had just arrived at Boston University, fresh out of high school and enrolled in film school with delusions of grandeur. One of our first assignments for COM101 was to give a speech to our discussion section about why we were there. While writing this post, I wondered if I could dig up that speech. Here are my intro and conclusion:
Have any of you ever been inspired?  I mean actually, truly, deeply inspired to do something?  And has anyone ever actually been inspired in this way by a story?  I have.  A long time ago, in a place far, far, away, I was inspired to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi.  I gazed longingly at the stars, wanting so badly to fly starships through jagged canyons, banter with droids, and save Princess Leia from the clutches of evil.  And of course, I dreamed of carrying Jedi Master Yoda on my back, as I grew to become my own sort of Jedi Knight.  When I was 5 years old, my father sat me down on our cozy brown couch in my square living room back home, and popped in an old videotape version of George Lucas’ Star Wars.  I actually sat there for the entire time, enraptured by this man’s epic vision.  And when I was done, I needed more.  I couldn’t stand to wait 3 years like my father did in 1977 until Empire Strikes Back, and there was no way I could sit for 6 years until Return of the Jedi.  I craved more strange-looking aliens, more of Han Solo’s crooked smiles, and I NEEDED to see those amazing lightsabers in action just a few more times.  So I watched.  And watched some more.  The more I took in of Lucas’ world, the more I admired him.  As I grew older and more mature, Star Wars stayed with me, even when I wasn’t watching the movies.  I wore the Halloween costumes, read the novels, and even collected the toys.  George Lucas created more than a mythology in crafting the Star Wars saga, he gave birth to a way of life.  The stories he designed taught me more about life than simple notions of good versus evil.  They taught me about the spirit of adventure and the power of imagination.  Today, I want to be a screenwriter so I can bring that type of excitement and enjoyment to people’s lives all over the world. 
Emile Durkheim, a religious ideologist, wrote about a theory of effervescence to describe religious phenomena.  Effervescence is that excitement that comes over a crowd before a big football game or concert; the feeling in the air is so pervasive but you just can’t quite put your finger on what it is.  That’s effervescence.  This past May 15, I stood online for 5 hours eagerly anticipating a midnight showing of Episode II.  The anticipation was so palpable you could smell it.  When we stepped inside that dark theater with the stadium seating, you just knew something big was about to happen.  And when the lights dimmed and those epic words came on: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the theater erupted in applause.  It was finally there, the next chapter of the story that let us live out our childhood fantasies and taught us lessons about morality, virtues and values.  And I was in awe of the sheer emotion.  That’s why I want to write screenplays.  All I want to do is tell a tale that will dare a new generation of children to dream.  George Lucas’ story has inspired me to introduce my own type of effervescence.  Although the business is risky and only a rare few make an impact, I’m going to do it.  Like Anakin Skywalker, I see things before they happen.  And if anyone tries to tell me I’ll fail, all I need to do is look to the words of Han Solo as he flew through an asteroid belt.  “Never tell me the odds.”
It's sort of crazy to me that I still feel this way, and though I may have un-deified Lucas in my mind (deifying Joss Whedon in his place!), I can't deny that this man achieved something incredibly special and influenced cultural development in a huge way. And I'm not the only one who knows this--I guarantee a majority of the people working on the new Star Wars are there because of similar feelings. And he's donating the $4 billion he made to education! George fucking Lucas!!! 

So here I am, astonishingly, once again optimistic about the future of Star Wars. This must be sorta how the citizens of the Empire felt when the Empire crumbled. Vader is dead? The Force still exists? 

Is this possibly... the return of the Jedi?