Sometimes you just have to let go. Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that things are never going to be the way they were.
Those writing around George’s decision to sell the rights for future Star Wars films to the Disney corporation are either bemused or cynical about his motives. Many of my generation seem to find his decision difficult to comprehend. Has he ‘sold out’? Somehow let his fans down by allowing another group of people to be in control of the films that have become such a large part of popular media?
If you are one of those who met the news with a sense of loss or a fleeting feeling that an era is about to pass away, I share those reactions with you. But if you also suffer from a slight cynicism or a desire to censure the end of Lucasfilm’s direct involvement I’m afraid my reply is ‘let it go.’
Perhaps it’s time for us all to grow up a little bit.
It is sometimes hard to remember that Star Wars was essentially a children’s film. Sure, it had that family appeal built in too, but it was primarily aimed at a young audience.
That was certainly borne out in my experience as I cajoled and nagged and brayed at various members of my family to take to me to see ‘A New Hope’ at the cinema.
Open-mouthed in the smoky, tired red plush seats at the local Odeon; seeing things I had only faintly dreamt were possible in my infant imagination, drawn clear and writ large up on the big screen.
Once they agreed to take me it was obvious that most of them didn’t have a clue what they were seeing. Undoubtedly that was part of the appeal to me. This was a new style of film. A new way of telling the old stories. And this new way, although set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, was here, now, in my time.
Importantly, part of the joy of the experience was that I was the one who could explain the plot, who knew who the characters were, why they were doing this or that, the importance of various bits of dialogue. I ‘got it’ straightaway. My parents, uncles, brother and other willing adults were, just for once, relying on 12 year old me to explain and make clear. (Well, let’s just say they were at least willing to sit in the darkened theatre and share my joy and enthusiasm.)
Before the re-emergence of the Star Wars franchise with Lucas’ trilogy of prologues, the films had become part of a memory box, a page in our generational scrapbooks. Watching the old films on video and later DVD continued to provoke a strong sense of nostalgia alongside the ever-present thrill.
But of course my generation grew up. ‘A Phantom Menace‘ brought the storyline to a whole new generation as we, the story-whisperers of the 70’s, took our own children back into the cinema to be swept up into the tale of Galactic rebellion and personal redemption.
But now everything had changed. This time, the adults were still in control. This time, we were the ones still explaining and making connections for our young audience. We now understood it completely. We were the ones answering the questions. We were the gatekeepers, not the 12 year olds. In a strange parody of the storyline we had gone from being part of the rebellion to being the grand over-seeing Empire. We had taken ownership of the Star Wars universe. We had bought it, re-packaged it, re-told it and now we were re-selling it.
Except it will never be the same as when we were the young ones.
Now it is big business. Franchised. Everywhere. Adult.
Perhaps this is what is really behind George Lucas’ decision. It will never be what it was. Let it go. Just as you can never really go back to your old bedroom, your old classroom, your secret den, your first kiss or the first Christmas of your memory.
Some things you just have to accept are in the past and are best remembered there than anywhere else.
So I hope the next time I watch a Star Wars film at the cinema I will need the help of a 12 year old child. I hope they will be able to explain it to me; but most of all, I hope I will be able to watch their dreams unfold, up there on the big screen. And I hope that will be a memory that lasts for both of us.
Til next time,
- Disney Purchases Lucasfilm And Plans to Prolong Star Wars Franchise With New Film (contactmusic.com)
- George Lucas speaks on Star Wars Episode 7 and Disney deal (slashgear.com)
- On the return of Star Wars (mutantreviewers.wordpress.com)
- Star Wars was a sell-out from the start | Mark Fisher (guardian.co.uk)
- The 8 Best Things To Potentially Happen To Star Wars (awesome-robo.com)