Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year of Change

This article was originally intended to look back at the whole year of Star Wars, however one event has overshadowed everything else. The shock Disney takeover of Lucasfilm, and announcement of more movies, has completely changed the landscape. This is the year that our acceptance that the core Saga is six films long was shattered. This is the year we found that other people than George Lucas can add to the canon.

This has been a very difficult adjustment for me, it seems more so than many fans who simply reacted with joy and little fear of the consequences. For me, the core Saga of Episodes I-VI was certain, as was the knowledge that George Lucas would never add further films to it. It was almost the key fact at the centre of everything I knew about Star Wars. Sure, there might be side projects like The Clone Wars, but Star Wars – proper, real, Skywalker Star Wars – was a completed thing. The posters that depicted montages of characters from all six films depicted the entire Saga.

The idea that this unshakable fact was being shaken threw me off. A non-Lucas third trilogy?! This seemed wrong. The story was told. It began with Anakin as a young boy, it ended with his son removing his helmet as he restored balance to the force. The whole thing was such a cohesive, completed story. How could it be extended, without it seeming unnatural? Will this go from being a special event in cinema history, to being a never ending film franchise like so many others? 

But then I realised why so many other fans were not concerned. Unlike me, they had experience the classic trilogy as it was released at the cinema. In the 1980s, they never expected the prequel trilogy to happen. So when the prequel trilogy did get announced, their world was shaken. Their unshakable understanding that the films were just one trilogy was no longer sacred. So when the announcement hit this year, they had been through it all before. Their three films had turned to six. Now Six films was turning to nine, no biggie.

No Uncle George is the other aspect that I am struggling with. It is of course true that Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand directed two of the films, but Lucas was still there with full involvement. With this new trilogy, he will merely be a creative consultant. Again, other fans have been jaded by the prequels. They didn’t enjoy them, and felt that Lucas no longer knew how to make Star Wars films. For those fans, these new films are a chance for the franchise to be redeemed.

I am still new to this experience, and it is taking an adjustment. Star Wars is no longer to be what I considered it - a six film story creatively led by George Lucas. If I had been alive when the classic trilogy was released, or hated the prequels it might be easier. It was probably naïve not to have realised that Star Wars is too big to be left at six films, and even more naïve to listen George Lucas with how often he has changed his mind over the years. In 2013, there will not be any news as game-changing as in 2012, but there will be a lot of news about the new films trickling out. As it arrives, I expect I will begin to adjust to this new, post-prequel era world we all exist in. 

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