Listener Mailbag: February 2, 2012
Posted by Eric on February 2, 2012 at 12:00 PM CST:
This week in the mailbag: the fallout from George Lucas' retirement continues to pour in, but we've also got a great story of a six-year-old's perceptive Star Wars question, thoughts on The Phantom Menace
tie-ins, and cool Ahsoka art!
*******Hey guys, I just got done listening to this week's podcast about the retirement of G.L. I have to say, it's not going to be the same without him. Like everyone else I am a fan -- I have the original VHS release of Episodes IV, V, and VI, as well the special editions. I loved the fact that he put them back into theaters. I could have cared less for the additions that were made. I watched the Prequels in theaters too and was impressed with the story of where Vader came from and how he became that man. Yes, I own the Blu-rays, in fact I enjoy them and the extras. I do miss Building An Empire but that's why I have the DVDs
I'm tired of all the Lucas bashing that I hear, not just from the emails on this show but the comments that people leave on news clips. Yes, I hated hearing that the movies were changed, but it's something new to watch. This is his baby that he made and gave to the world. All I have to say is that I wish Lucas the best in all his endeavors and he needs to keep in mind that there are fans that enjoy his work and legacy.
From sunny Southern California,
Wesley A.K.A. Darth Shaggy
*******Hey Jason & Jimmy,
I hear what you're saying about the haters out there, and I think you need a little backup. I've read the comments every time Star Wars articles show up at IGN and other fan sites, and I am very, very tired of people complaining about Prequels and special editions. Fans can like and dislike whatever they want. But what's missing is respect for each others' opinions. The typical comment I see related to Star Wars is, "George Lucas is the worst person in the world. And if you actually like the Prequels and edits that he has made, then you're just as bad and don't deserve to live." These are, of course, comments from folks who would never say these things to Lucas, or to anyone else, face to face. It's like cyber-bullying. In fact, it's exactly like cyber-bullying - anonymously abusing someone online, without threat of retribution. People have the right to their opinion, but they don't have the right to constantly abuse and belittle someone they don't even know until they give up.
For me, being a Star Wars fan is not about what I like or don't like, it's about what each person likes. Personally, I love the prequels. I like many of the changes to the original trilogy, but not all of them. But I don't constantly sound off on how horrible Lucas is because he added an extra sound effect or creature to a 30-year-old movie. If you don't like the things Lucas has done since the original films, fine. But don't make me feel bad for my opinion. Give me enough respect to consider that I am worth having my own opinion. And don't threaten or berate the man who made the films in the first place. If you claim to be a real fan, give me your opinion, be open to listening to mine, and be done with it. I think that's what you're trying to say - let's just give each other a little respect and the world will be a better place.
Guelph, Ont, Canada
I wanted to share this with you guys and hopefully give back a morsel of the entertainment you guys have given me over the years.
I asked for the full Star Wars Blu-ray set for Christmas for three reasons: 1) I wanted the best copies of the films I love and all the great features on the set; 2) I already ripped my DVD set into MP4s for my personal use; and 3) I wanted to re-gift my DVD set to my brother who doesn't have a Blu-ray player but has two boys (4 and 6) who are big Clone Wars TV show fans and have never seen the OT or PT. My brother was excited and followed my advice to show the boys the PT first, since they are such huge Anakin fans and we didn't want to shock them or have to explain too much. He and the boys ate it up over the course of two weekends. The shock of Anakin's turn to the dark side was handled well by the 6 year old, but the 4 year old didn't quite get it...I am sure he will watch it all again as he is now enamored with the Star Wars Wii Lego games.
This all led to my new favorite Star Wars story...Soon afterwards, my sister-in-law was putting the 6 year old to bed, which is when he tends to get a bit metaphysical, and he asked a question that she didn't understand. She told my brother the next morning that he had asked something about Darth Vader and robots...Her response was, "You will either need to ask your dad or call your Uncle." When he came home from school the next day my brother asked him what he wanted to know...To which he replied: "Why are Darth Vader's robots such bad shots?" My brother was confused. "What robots?" he asked back. "The white guys," was his response. My brother couldn't stop laughing and called me immediately. My response was: "I guess a 6 year old is more perceptive than a retired Jedi." My brother was perplexed. To which I said: "These blast points are too accurate for Sand People. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise." We both had a good laugh.
Billy from Louisiana
*******Dear Jason and Jimmy,
There has been so much fighting and arguing about Star Wars lately that I'm beginning to wonder if we're a community anymore. Star Wars is supposed to be a wonderful experience for everyone to share. Now the community is falling apart. We need to stop the war and become a family again.
I don't care about the different edits or the Blu-ray or DVD versions. I care about Star Wars and its community. That's all that it should be about. I'm tired of the wars about the Wars.
I remember 7 years ago when my cousin showed me Episode V on my 9th birthday. I fell in love. I joined a family across the world with one common love of a movie called Star Wars. I couldn't think of a world without it. George Lucas has taken way more abuse and harassment than anybody deserves. It HAS to stop. Everyone is tired of it.
Thanks, guys. May the Force be with you.
Your loving listener,
*******ANATOMY OF A HATER....OR AT LEAST SOME OF MY OPINIONS...
Hi Jimmy and Jason,
I donít know which bothers me more, hearing the Haters themselves or your responses back to them (the fact that you had to respond, I should say). Last weekís show was somewhat depressing! Okay, maybe thatís exaggerating, but it inspired me to write you anyway.
Ignore the Haters! Donít give them any free press on your show. Negativity is contagious, and all it takes are a few "weak minds" to believe some of their rubbish and we end up with a full-blown hating epidemic on our hands.
Some of what I have observed might make a Hater (hater of any kind):
- Jealousy (GLís success, etc...)
- Depression (some people drink because they are depressed, others hate -- itís an outlet thing)
- A need to belong (hey, those people are cool, and they hate this...)
- Attention (everyone likes some attention, but for negativity?)
I am happy to be the polar opposite of this. I am in the Positive-Fanatic category. Do you want to see a picture of all of the Go-Gurt Slurp Sabers I have amassed so far? I am sure you donít!
May the Force be with you!
*******Dear Jimmy and Jason,
I would like to start by saying thank you for putting on such an outstanding FREE podcast covering everything Star Wars and George Lucas. I truly look forward to your podcast every single week, especially the upcoming one covering the Darth Plagueis book as I thoroughly enjoyed it and all the answers and insights it provided. With that being said I would like to make a few comments and point out a few things regarding all the absurd comments and remarks directed at George Lucas.
First of all I am NOT so admiring of GL to think all of this works are flawless or without parts that I am not overly fond of. But that doesn't mean I think he is scum because there are parts I don't like or agree with. Disagreeing with GL's works is a privilege I have - just like watching them.
Second, I would like to say that anyone who claims their childhood was raped by GL with his changes/additions/continued story are abundantly ignorant and prove so by that comment. They obviously have no true understanding of the term RAPE, its repercussions, or the trauma it leaves behind. I can understand the need to express ones anger and frustration, but to do so with such a word (which in essence trivializes said word) proves their lack of sensitivity, ignorance, immaturity, and overall lack of knowledge of the English language.
Third, why can't these 'fans' set aside their passions and just enjoy the movies? I can understand not liking or agreeing with certain things but how can that make each of these movies become terrible overall? When one disagrees with another's work, the one (or however many) should CRITIQUE and NOT criticize (critique being a more professional review wherein likes and dislikes are discussed, without insult and where respect is still given).
I would also like to point out that the changes GL made to Episodes 4-6 were the scenes he originally wanted to have in the movies - unfortunately the technology at the time these movies were made couldn't produce the desired results. So, a very high percentage of these additions would have originally been in the theatrical releases had technology permitted.
Yes, many people aren't happy with the things GL has done. I myself was not as pleased with Crystal Skull as I was with the Last Crusade, was disappointed with the shortage of on screen presence of Darth Maul, and I find Jar Jar quite annoying in Episode I. However, none of these issues (or any others that I might have) will prevent me from enjoying these phenomenal pieces of work. GL has done SO MUCH MORE for the motion picture industry and continues to give back to it - what have all these overly rude, hurtful, and critical 'fans' done besides whine, throw insults, and try to put their mark on someone else's work? Here's a solution - if you have that much issue with it, make your point by not buying it or any related merchandise. And if you are "talented" enough to do a fan edit, become "talented" enough to create your own Intellectual Property, see it to fruition, and bring it to the masses.
Finally, I would like to make the most important point: Every single thing GL has done has been done with pride, dignity, motivation, and creativity. And he provided much of the funds, technology, and resources to bring it to us. Let me sum that up for everyone - everything from THX 1138 to Red Tails and EVERYTHING in between has been GEORGE LUCAS'S story and Intellectual Property. What does that mean? That means it is HIS story to tell however HE wants to tell it. It is HIS dream and HIS vision and HE will create it, mold it, and guide it in the direction that best fits HIS dream and vision. That means HE is doing it to tell HIS story, not to try to please each and every person that may or may not watch it.
Sorry this was so long guys, I just wanted to get my points across. I don't agree with everything you guys say but then none of us agree with everything each other says (or does). I think you guys are doing a great job and I love your refreshing humor and thoughtful insight. I just have one question - what are the requirements to become a member of the wolf pack.
*******Hey Guys, wanted to send you a note to make sure that you guys don't miss out on any of the amazing new groundbreaking efforts of all these new tie-in stories to The Phantom Menace. What a time to be a Star Wars fan! Ten years after the release of TPM and so much material is being released by Lucasfilm, in different media, embellishing on the history of Star Wars as begun in the film. Jason, as far as the EU goes, this is the quality stuff you've been after. I know you read 'Plagueis' to do the roundtable (which I can't wait to hear), but there are a few another titles that are up to that quality of information and artistry.
I continue to be blown away by how the Prequels, the Clone Wars episodes and the EU are weaving such an intense history to the mythology of The Wars. I've just read: the Darth Plagueis novel, the 'Darth Tenebrous' short story (in the 2d most recent Insider magazine), The Darth Maul short story 'End Game' in the new Phantom Menace paperback and the 'Wrath of Darth Maul' young reader bio, and I'm blown away. This stuff rivals (and even surpasses in ways) all the back-story stuff in J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and LOTR appendices.
Actually, I won't spoil it for you, but Darth Maul's story of what happened to him after the Battle Of Naboo is so mind-blowingly mythological I can barely contain myself! WARNING, don't read Wrath Of Darth Maul if you don't want to spoil the upcoming Darth Maul Cone Wars episodes. Also, EU continuity (and quality) critics rest assured that all these new books and stories etc that deal with Plagueis, Tenbrous, Sidious, Anakin and Maul (Clone Wars included) are working in harmony with each other, intentionally. Each work embellishes and informs the others. It's frackin' Wizard! Seriously, Jason, if you are reading this email, give these new titles a chance. You'll see that your answer for quality and interconnectedness to GL grand design are being weaved in fashion which I believe is unprecedented.
Last season had some amazing moments, one of which was Ahsoka in the Mortis trilogy. So I made some art of her after she got Dark Side Rabies from the Son, and figured I'd share it. I've sent art before -- if you remember the picture of Palpatine eating the Snickers bar, that was also by me. Speaking of Palpatine, RIP Ian Abercrombie. He was fantastic as Palpatine/Sidious, and will be greatly missed.
Love the show (especially the roundtables), so keep it up guys! Hope all enjoy it!
*******Hi Jason, Hi Jimmy,
Long time listener Blackout here from the UK. It's been interesting to hear the varied opinions on GL in recent weeks.
On the subject of fan-edits, I only have one observation to make:
With the exception of edits that re-integrate the existing deleted scenes, the vast majority of 'fan edits' only serve to remove the parts that the author didn't enjoy. How is that creative? How is making something smaller exercising your creativity? If you want to make a stripped-down version of something that thousands of people have spent three years (and longer) perfecting, go right ahead, but don't say it's done out of love, and don't proclaim it to be better than the source material.
There. I said it.
Keep up the great work guys,
*******Hello ForceCast crew.
I've been listening to you for quite some time (about four years and a half).
As in any normal relationship, there were times I couldn't wait for the next episode, and times when I found much more interesting things to do, to the point that the FC accumulated dust on the "oblivion" shelf. But, as in any healthy relationship too, I keep coming back to you, because you are always fresh and keep your fan hearts pure. You are a SW "home" indeed. :)
I hardly ever write to you, but since GL's retirement announcement, and the stir it causes, I feel like sharing some of my thoughts, about SW, about fandom.
Maybe one of the reasons why SW is at the center of such heated discussions is because it is ours, and everybody's too.
As a tapestry of interwoven myths, SW is deeply rooted into the collective mind. And its heroic characters directly resonate with our personal grasp of reality. It is understandable that so many fans found themselves in SW as individuals, but also realized that other fans experienced an almost identical and compellingly primordial feeling towards the Saga.
SW managed to federate people around a both very personal and broadly shared experience. Unique as we each are, it is unavoidable that comparing our fandom, we find that we don't have the same detailed interpretation of an otherwise equal sensation. This has generated some very interesting discussions, and damaging collisions too. We share the same story, but with different words.
Which leads to my understanding of GL's work on SW. It seems to me that GL is like a Middle Ages minstrel. He wrote one day a great tale taking place in a distant place and time, and found it met the expectations of many. The more he told this story, adding more characters, high deeds and music, the more people loved it. As with a real spoken tale, our minstrel sometimes embellishes a scene, changes a few details, or even modifies some characters, depending on his mood and desired effect. But the intent is still the same: capture the audience.
And that's what GL did to me: capture my imagination, giving it enough momentum to reach heights that seemed unattainable otherwise. I don't find his altering the movies a good or bad thing, it is just another way of retelling that timeless story I'm so familiar with that I don't even need words to understand. As a first generation fan, I've had plenty of years to have SW "sink in" and simply be a part of me. I don't have to watch the movies to love SW, but I enjoy every new way GL chooses to look at it, and tell us what he sees.
I can see why other people would like to try to tell the story themselves, with their own angle. They should only remember that storytelling is an art, and that it is easy to lose the original intent when reenacting something you haven't created yourself ...
Thank you for reading, and thank you for uniting so many fans with the ForceCast!
Flavien, Satka on the forums
PS: Sorry for the English, it is not my primary language ;)
*******Hi there guys,
I have been listening to opinions, and reading emails from people who claim they have been a fan of Star Wars "from the beginning" for a long time now. Then I find out these same people first saw Star Wars films in the 90's, or their first Star Wars experience was with the prequels. Well, I truly have been a fan of Star Wars "from the beginning". I saw Star Wars back in 1977 at the drive-in. I was 12 years old. The exact demographic for the film when it truly opened.
I was there to see Star Wars-mania sweep through the country and the world during the 70's. I was the kid holding a "promissory note" for toys on Christmas day. I was the kid saving my allowance to buy "Star Wars Guys" who only had 4 points of articulation. I grew up with Star Wars. I wrote about Star Wars in book reports, and term papers. Star Wars was my life starting at age 12 and all the way through high school, college, and even up to this very day. When I say I have been a fan since the beginning, I mean I have been a fan for almost 35 years.
It is with this kind of Star Wars commitment, experience, and knowledge that allows me to say, "The hate must end". I believe anyone who has seen any Star Wars movie can be a "fan of Star Wars", and I do not doubt that even those who's first Star Wars experience came in the form of the prequels can have an undying love and loyalty to Star Wars. We must realize that there is no way for everyone to love everything about the films. I myself do not love everything about every film. I do not like some of the choices in actors. I do not like some of the CGI characters. I do not like some of the changes GL made. However, does that mean that I am about throw a GL bashing party and hang him in effigy? Absolutely not.
These films have been with me my whole life. I have literally grown up as a Star Wars fan. I can see the good and bad in every movie and still appreciate each movie for the story, or portion of the story it tells. While I do not believe one needs to love everything about every film to be a fan, I truly do not understand how one can say one hates so much, so vehemently, and still consider oneself a fan. The term "fan" is derived from the word "fanatic", whose very definition is, "a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal". By this definition, in order for one to be a "fan", one would need to be uncritical of the object of ones fanaticism. How can one be uncritical while at the same time expressing such hatred for the very thing one is claiming to be a fan of.
OK. So this may be over simplifying things. It is perfectly acceptable to be a little critical over something and still be a fan. In my opinion, being a little critical shows how much you care. However, to publicly admit hatred for the thing one claims to be a fan of is, to me, the very antithesis of being a fan. GL can do what he wants to the films and I could never find it within me to privately nor publicly say I hate the man. He created Star Wars. If not for his vision, would I be the person I am today? Probably not. If not for GL, Star Wars would not be part of this world and therefore, not a part of me. I will always be grateful for Star Wars and GL's ability and drive to bring it to the world.
I have been enthralled with Star Wars since the true beginning, and am still passionate about Star Wars now. I will continue to be passionate about Star Wars no matter what GL does to it for this one simple reason, I remember how I felt when I first saw it. Nothing can take that away from me. Even when I watch the original, unedited Episode IV, I do not feel the same as when I was a child. I am an adult now. I see the film differently with my 45 year old eyes than I did with my 12 year old eyes. This is life, but I still remember the feelings I had when that Star Destroyer flew across the screen chasing the Tantive IV, and that, my friends, is the true measure of being a fan.
Thanks to all of this week's mailbag contributors! Keep your emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org