An Open Letter To J.J. Abrams: Trust Your Instincts Not the Internet!
Hey J.J. Abrams,
Star Wars doesn’t need redemption and it certainly doesn’t need you to redeem it. Star Wars is fine where it was and where it has been. I believe it is in good hands where it is going, thanks to you.
Clearly, some people fail to understand that Star Wars works within spheres of genre. They choose to hone in on one aspect representing the totality of it all. That’s not your problem. Sure, one sphere, such as the Tatooine’s farmstead represents some western genre motifs and sure, a place like Naboo is closer to Arthurian legends or Joan of Arc. I know you know this, but I hope that that type of closed minded discourse does not take you in any particular direction diametrically opposed to where your instincts tell you to go. I hope the direction you take with this new series is where the story and the inspiration leads you, not what some douche said Star Wars is, was, or should be.
I will tell you Star Wars is everything. Every genre, every motif, and most of all, Star Wars is about morality. While this video is creative and artfully constructed, it’s authors fail to understand this. I hope you do not listen to them because apparently these guys never actually watch Star Wars and probably just complain about it instead. If you think you can satiate a forty year old mouth breather’s hatred with your telling of Star Wars, I sincerely ask that you moderate the Talkback Section of AintItCoolNews.com for a little while to clean that place up. Afterwards, please get on the second most important thing, World Peace.
Now I would like to address the video’s hyperbolic points.
RULE 1: The setting is the frontier.
1. Star Wars does not take place in a library? It doesn’t happen in parliament? Star Wars did take place in those settings. This attempt to discredit half of the Star Wars films due to their settings, makes this argument subjective at best. The argument against libraries and senate chambers is a gross exaggeration of their actually cumulative screen time. Everyone pretty much agrees that Obi-Wan Kenobi’s film noir aspects of Attack of the Clones were the highlights, which begin in the library. But you know, if you are trying to nitpick something, are prone to overstating things, this probably makes a lot of sense to pick on to make “the weak minded” buy into your thesis.
2. Star Wars is an entire galaxy. It has civilizations primitive and complex. If it is a sequel, wouldn’t the good guys technically be in control of core planets that control the galaxy AKA civilization? This letter to you chooses to ignore the wilderness in Episodes I-III to make it seem like the entire movie takes place in a library a senate chamber, or a bustling city center. It ignores the underwater chases into the unknown, battles in the hills, murder in the deserts, planets inhabited by massive insect colonies, arena battles with beasts, the slaughter of indigenous peoples, and factories built upon lava. We’ve had bounty hunters in every Star Wars film. We’ve had wilderness in every Star Wars film as well. Did anyone really think Abrams would forget that? We know you wouldn’t J.J. We know you got this. But you know what? If you didn’t, that would be cool to.
3. Star Wars is not a just a Western. Star Wars is an amalgamation of genres. Let’s not forget that whole 30 minutes of Attack of the Clones that is an homage to THE SEARCHERS aka A WESTERN. Settlers are taken by primitives to be saved by the heroes at great cost. The writer of the video goes so far as to pull on the Tusken Raider string a few times visually, utterly tripping over his own tangled ideas.
The Empire Strikes Back is not a Western. Return of the Jedi is not a Western. The Phantom Menace has the frontier in it but it is not a Western. Revenge of the Sith? Not a Western. A New Hope has Western elements in it for about 15 minutes and then moves onto the pirate genre with Han Solo taking them out onto the galactic seven seas, if you will. Still, Attack of the Clones is more of a Western than A New Hope for all intents and purposes. So to say Star Wars as a whole is set in the frontier is a gross misunderstanding of the term and our history. The frontier and American society is displayed beautifully in Episode II, unlike the other five existing films today. But I know you know this, J.J. I know you got this.
RULE 2: Space is old.
1. Star Wars beauty? This part is totally subjective but also shows how little taste in art and genre the video authors have. Lucas is making an argument about art under democracy and art under imperialism. The artisanship is totally eradicated by A New Hope. This reflects reality. This is an historical truth and an historical argument which is hard to debunk. But the writer of that insipid letter overlooks things like the Podracers, hones in on the Queen’s ship (like a Queen would drive a hunk of junk) and does not acknowledge where the grit exposes itself and where it formulates from in the grander narrative of the story when seen from I-VI. Artoo is as dirty and gritty in Episodes I-III as he is in Episode IV-VI. Why they chose to focus in on that is strange because it is so easy to show the sameness there. And once again “the beauty of the frontier” is no better encapsulated than when Anakin drives in front of the Twin Suns in Attack of the Clones to save his captive mother.
RULE 3: The Force is mysterious.
Midi-Chlorians aren’t the Force. This video letter to you, Mr. Abrams, misunderstands the concept entirely. It does no such thing to demystify any aspect of the Force at all. Midi-Chlorians are a ramification of using the Force, biologically. If you use the Force a lot, your count would rise. A child prodigy of the Force has a lot because he’s using it all the time to do things like race pods, things humans can’t do, but this human can.
Disgruntled fans have Midi-Chlorians totally backwards. Midi-Chlorians didn’t explain anything other than how the Jedi were hunted down and how people tuning into the Force were killed during The Dark Times. In the story, it proves Anakin has a connection with the Force. This “mystical” Force is interacting with the physical world in the films all the time. There is a physical ramification. So what? Apparently what Midi-Chlorians indicate about the hunting down of young Force users is not spelled out cleanly for them. So apparently you do need things explained. I think you should do the opposite, J.J. apparently Star Wars has become too complex for some moviegoers.
RULE 4: Star Wars isn’t cute.
Star Wars isn’t cute? Is he serious with this assessment? The movie series that starts off with an adorable trash can and a neurotic gold robot, kicking and bickering at one another isn’t cute? The movies that gave us Jawas running around and practically tripping on their robes, isn’t adorable? The movie where a little mouse droid bones out when a giant lovable fury monster growls at him isn’t heartwarmingly funny? A film series with a tribe of not one, but multiple adorable teddy bears with spears is different than cuteness? Am I watching the same movie as this writer? These things have always been there, J.J. You’ve seen the movies and I bet you’ve seen them a lot recently, so I know you’re cool on this and you got this one too.
They also use the loss of appendages to say how dangerous Episode IV-VI were in comparison to what? Episodes I-III, I suppose. Limbs are lost in every Star Wars film. Was the film cute when it cut a man in half and threw him down a shaft? When it kept a woman tied up and beaten until she perished? When women and children were murdered out of cold rage and passion? Was it cute when the mislead hero had his arms and legs cut off and was burned alive? Sorry, but Star Wars is a strange alchemy of weirdness, cuteness, and danger. Take one out of the mix and you destroy the fairy tale. No, Star Wars is not a Western, Star Wars is a fairy tale with Western elements, an amalgamation of genre and mortality tales drawing from Western myth but not just a product of the Western genre. I wonder if the people who made this video have even seen a Western before. They would probably find Westerns boring.
You know what Star Wars needs, J.J.? It needs someone with large pair of Death Stars in their pants to make the movie they want to make, to satisfy their whims and eccentricities, because if you do that, you will find your audience. You will be compelling. You will make Star Wars unique and not like everything else. Star Wars has never been entirely dark or entirely gritty. Star Wars has always been a Disney film at its core.
One last thing, Star Wars is not just danger and a Western. Star Wars is not just a morality tale, even though that is perhaps the second most important thing. Star Wars is about love and family. It is about what happens when you’re afraid to lose those you love so much you crush them and yourself. Star Wars is about the love of a father and a son attempting to reach atonement. Tap into that J.J., not this other drivel. If you do that, we will relate and we will be there with you for the entire ride, whether it be for Star Wars VII or all the way to Star Wars IX.