L: The Great Lucas Letdown, Star Wars and the death of our idols

You know I am a sucker for punishment. I passed the Star Tours ride at Disney (unfortunately closed due to renovation…unfortunate because it was not complete and I could not ride it!) and since then I have had Star Wars on my mind. I will admit this up front, what follows is whiny bitchiness blogging. You were warned.

So I sat down today and skipped over Episode I (hey, I am not that much of a sucker for self inflicted pain) and started watching Episode II and I realized something when speak on the new trilogy:

All the Jedi are freaking morons. Every single one of them.

I was 5 when Star Wars (the REAL Episode 1 came out and I thought Jedi were the end-all-be-all of kickassery. Nothing was cooler than a Jedi. Did kids want to be ninjas? No. Did kids want to be cowboys? No. Astronautic adventurers? No. Pirates? No nononono. Jedi were the shanizzle before shanizzle existed. I am sure at some point in my pree-teen years I was certain that if I could get my hands on a lightsaber I could rule the world.

Jedi are awesome in the first three films. Do you remember them making mistakes? Did Yoda screw up? Heck no. He doubted Luke but he was confident in his own abilities all the way. What about Kenobie? He sacrifices himself so Luke, Han and Leia can escape. Did he doubt himself or make stupid decisions? Nope, confident and assertive the entire time. So let’s sum that up, our case study from the first three films is that Jedi are smart, calculating, strong and confident gentlemen warriors.

In Episode II, inside the first five minutes of the film, that retard Mace is tossing out stupid theories about spice miners and not Count Dooku (what a dumb name, come on Lucas!) were to blame because no Jedi is a murderer. Oh yeah, no Jedi could ever turn bad! Isn’t that sort of the deal, being tempted to the Dark Side, surely some had fallen to this in the past?!?! And how is it that Yoda, Mace and the other two or three Jedi with them cannot tell that the Chancellor is really a Sith Lord when he is 5 feet from them! Come on! I will say if you watch Yoda, his facial expression seems to reflect that he feels something is up. The little bugger knew something was up.

Next we cut to Anakin telling Obi how he rescued his master from a trap. Pfftt! Can you imagine Luke and Yoda joking around about how Luke pulled Yoda’s little green ass from the Dagoba swamp? Not in a million years. Three minutes later, that punk Anie is questioning Obi’s decisions. HA! If he were my padawan, he would be peeling potatoes for weeks and doing 600 push ups every morning.

Minutes later, they are using Padme as a decoy and Anakin literally states that he can sense everything going on in the room….yeah except the droid cutting through the window (ok go ahead and say it is a robot and hence not alive, so it would not disturb the Force), dropping two deadly millipedes into the room (Force disturbance! hello!), and them attempting to kill her. Then in the next second the little twerp again questions the master. Good lord, someone pull him over their lap and spank this kid. So we have these deadly millipedes that are apparently intelligent because they out think R2D2, if they are intelligent, I would think the great Jedi sense would sense them. Makes sense right?

Anyway, on to my real point here. I think some of the ill will people feel about the second Star Wars trilogy has to do with how Lucas took our childhood icon and took away their awesomeness. Like I stated before, Jedi were right up there with noble medieval knights, they were powerful but lived by a code, and protected the weak. They never made mistakes, never failed and above all were heroic.

The same can be said of the Jedi Order. In the original series the Jedis were mythic, impossible to doubt, but here the Jedi Council makes repeated errors in judgement…which I seriously blame for the Empire being formed. After all, the Jedi were completely tricked throughout the entire series. Blindly believing in the ‘prophecy’ which will bring balance to the Force. Their records are deleted, yet no one is overly concerned about this apparent breach in their security. Then to protect the senator, they send her off with a hot headed, young apprentice — who they even admit has issues! Yeah, sounds like a stupid plan. Then, our brilliant Jedi Obi-Wan cannot figure out why he cannot find a planet, so a youngling under Yoda, maybe 8 years old figures it out. Wow!

I almost don’t want the Jedi to be my protectors!

It seems to me that Jedi originally were gentlemen knights, above petty and average things, but in the later films they become flawed and dare I say, normal, not so much the heroes they used to be. Was this Lucas’ intent, or merely a sign of our times. Look at movies today and try to find a hero that is not flawed, it’s all the rage!

Ok, I will stop ranting and raving about it, I probably have wandered off course too much anyway, but I still stand by the fact that Lucas destroyed the Jedi. πŸ˜‰

You cannot image the power of the Dark Side!

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9 thoughts on “L: The Great Lucas Letdown, Star Wars and the death of our idols

  1. *Sigh*

    Do you yourself a favor. Sit yourself in a darkened room and rewatch Episode “IV” all over again (followed by Empire if you have time). The magic is still there, despite everything that Lucas has done since.

    I love Jeff Rient’s idea of running a Star Wars game featuring *only* what we know from the original film.

  2. My theory – Lucas hates Star Wars. He wants to be viewed as a great artist and film maker, and he’s saddled with what he considers a kid franchise. So, he sets out to make himself as rich as possible on the back of it, all the while resenting it and the people who grew up loving it. Just a theory, of course – I couldn’t back it up if I wanted to.

    1. That is not out of the realm of possibilities. If what you said is true, he essentially removed himself from the list of great directors with the second trilogy. I think he just think he knows better than anyone else and has gotten out of touch with the main audience of the original films.

  3. Go that out of your system – feel better? πŸ˜‰

    I agree with most of it – but he did not stray much from the canon established in the many of the comics written prior to the “prequels” – where the flaws of the Jedi order were shown: arrogance, their “white tower” mentality, rigidity, navel gazing, et cetera.

    Sure the movies were terrible (there’s no denying it) – he over played the flaws, ignored inconsistencies and plainly didn’t make the movies for us – he tried to make it for another generation of consumers ready to buy his merch.

    Despite the movies, despite the fan-hate – despite it all – the Jedi remain in my mind just like King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table – heroes within a time of darkness, establishing a golden age that eventually crumbled from within through misjudgement, betrayal and plain “what are you blind?” moments.

    Yes – I’m saying it – both stories are very similar.

    Be seeing you,

    AB

  4. What’s amusing about this post (aside from its incredible accuracy) is that it almost makes the series seem prophetic in a way, but not about science fiction or fiction, but about education. You’ve almost redeemed the first series in a way. Here’s how:

    The jedi, at their downfall, were demonstrating severe lacking of judgment. They were allowing their younger, and more inexperienced members, to tell them what to do. They were embracing influence from the outside world and allowing it to blind them and control them. They were cow-towing to the senate and trying to protect the senate’s interests rather than any sort of code’s interests or their own interests.

    As you said, in episodes IV through VI, the jedi were mysterious, wise, and secretive. They practiced and followed their code. They LISTENED to the will of the force and let it guide them, whether that was the dark side or the light side. To them, it was a religious belief that superceded any other ethic. Part of their appeal was that we never really knew what they were capable of, what the limits of their sight were. Was Yoda mistaken, or did he deliberately manipulate people into doing things with obscurity and/or deception. In effect, they pretended to read, whether or not they could actually read, and they could back their claims.

    In episodes I through III, they cowtowed to the senate, who didn’t know anything about what a jedi needed to be successful. They had allowed themselves to become glorified cops or federal agents, rather than priest-warriors like samurai. They openly admitted they had flaws in what they were doing and couldn’t get anything done (rather than shield themselves under the “it’s the will of the force” defense, which at the same time makes them appear strong, but masks their difficulties). They did not spend time focusing on the best ways to solve these problems that arose, but instead relied on their light sabres to do EVERYTHING in the first movies. Obi-Wan could have lost his light saber in episodes IV through VI and still be incredibly effective. Yoda did not even show he owned a light sabre in the original series, and yet convinced everyone he was a badass through his semi-Buddhist/Daoist/Pantheon rantings. Everything Yoda did looked like it was pre-ordained then.

    And when the Jedi realized that something was blocking their ability to sense what was happening with the force, the source of ALL THEIR FRIGGIN’ POWER, they decided: “Hey, I think it’s time we tell the senate we’re completely useless as what they need us to be.” Who does that?

    Now, to the point of all this. This is EXACTLY what is happening in America’s education system.

    Surely you remember that teacher you studied under (or mentor) who was the consummate badass in all things educational. I was blessed with more than I could name, but here’s a few (Dr. Hannah, Mr. Fletcher, Mr. Spain, Dr. Bertolet, Dr. Carroll, etc). These people were so awesome, they guided me to my future as an English teacher. Of course, there were stupid teachers, too, or teachers that did not get their point across as effectively, but teachers are just like jedi in that the more they can convince you they know something better than you do and you should listen to them, the better a teacher they can become.

    Now, let’s look at today’s educational system. We must report to our government on everything we do. We listen to the student’s complaints (who aren’t even finished being educated) along with their parents to tell us what we ought to be doing with our six, seven, or eight year degrees. We are holding teachers accountable for test scores when we never get to see the test before teaching to it (which is true even during the test). We are not even allowed to see the tests after they take it. When students drop out, the state government blames the teachers and takes over the school. We are expected to have every single, solitary, last one of them on grade level by the next two years (an impossible task for even the best schools).

    Kids balk at doing their work, decide they shouldn’t have to, get low grades, fail, drop out or have to repeat, and who is to blame for the child’s lack of motivation? Not the parents, not the kids themselves, but the teachers.

    To put this in perspective, let’s think of it this way:

    Luke says: “I need to learn how to lift a ship out of a swamp with my mind.”

    Yoda says: “Mandated by the rebellion it is, that learn these things you do not. Learn how to bubble in Imperial Assessment Test you must. Beat the emperor with knowledge of main ideas and passive vs. active voice you will and high test scores. Teach you useful knowledge I cannot. If in two years state test you haven’t passed, the empire over my swamp they will take.”

    The jedi were destroyed largely in the first three movies because they became sycophantic little idiots who did not assert their knowledge and allowed people who had none of their perspective on the situation question them. In short, they listened too much to outsiders and WAY TOO MUCH to the government on how to raise their own.

    Compared to that, the dark side seems far more agreeable.

  5. And now I’m thinking a little more about it, I have a little bit more to add:

    In the original series, the Jedi seemed to be complete masters of their destinies. Obi-Wan wasn’t ‘killed.’ He allowed himself to die to become part of the force. To me, it would have been better had someone not even been called a Jedi until he could read the will of the force for his/her life and know when their time had come and to what purpose their death would be put. To increase the ‘danger’ and ‘risk’ element of the jedi’s lives in the new prequels, Lucas undermines this mysterious knowledge by making it where any Jedi is just vulnerable as anyone else. Nowhere, in the new series, do we see anyone voluntarily sacrifice their lives for the force and what they believe the force is doing. No martyrs means the force becomes less a ‘god-figure’ (something worth dying for) and now just another ideology like the senate’s goals or the Sith’s goals or the empire’s goals instead of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-guiding life-supporting entity. The jedi are, as the emperor pointed out, merely slaves to an ideological standpoint, accidental casualties to the friction between two warring forms of government, rather than heroes of a great cause.EditApr 14

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