Are We Excited? Weiss & Benioff Hire Raises Questions

Around the Galaxy: Star Wars News & Notes - Feb. 11, 2018

Tough Questions Ahead

I must be clear – in me, there remains an active vestige of the eight-year-old boy who, in 1983, wistfully wished for Star Wars adventures to return to the big screen. It took 32 years, and I now have my own son about to turn eight.

So I am with Patty (and Jason) when they say:

As far as I am concerned, there can’t be enough Star Wars – and I would support projects within the Saga which have less value to me personally (although that has not yet happened).

However, only naivety would allow me — as a fan or journalist — to ignore issues with my favorite franchise.

As Lor San Tekka said, “I’ve traveled too far and seen too much to ignore the despair in the galaxy.”

Math doesn’t lie…

Yesterday, Variety tackled one of those issues, brought into the spotlight by the announcement of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss being hired to pen and produce a series of Star Wars films:

Maureen Ryan wrote:

…loving something doesn’t mean you ignore its flaws. In fact, if you’re a critic, you’re not doing your job if you fail to comment on the patterns you see… The “Star Wars” tapestry is now 41 years old, with 17 theatrical films (released or planned) forming the backbone of the franchise. By my count, during those four decades, 24 people were hired to direct, write or otherwise take the creative lead on “Star Wars” feature films… Twenty-three of those key creators were white men.

Sometimes, patience is useful and appropriate. But not in this case.

Let me join the cacophony of voices urging Lucasfilm to diversify the cache of “key creators” beyond the boardroom and Story Group.

Adding breadth and depth to the Saga’s voices will only make it better and stronger for everyone.

Is Star Wars becoming diluted?

In column form, Sonia Saraiya wrote:

Star Wars is not about being jaded. It is about wonder. It’s about the romance of space travel, the epic scale of interstellar warfare, and the scale of history as measured across not just time but space-time. “Game of Thrones” is the rebellious teenager of genre franchises — all hormones and death and black clothes. “Star Wars” is an innocent, naïve adolescent, still fixated on first kisses and weird gadgets and lingering views of the sunset. That the romance of this series somehow survived what the first franchise did to it is kind of a miracle. Now I wonder how much more it could take. It would be such a mistake to dilute this series’ beauty, to resign “Star Wars” to the fate that every franchise from “Harry Potter” to “Lord of the Rings” has suffered — the fate of too much, when restraint is so often what makes a work into a work of art.

I agree with Saraiya’s concern that the hiring of the new writing team could change (dilute) the tone of the franchise, so I hope that Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm don’t allow the Saga to make a turn into the mode Sonia called “the seamier, splashier Game of Thrones.”

That said, I am of the belief that room remains in Star Wars galaxy; space enough for many, many stories to satiate the appetites of the inner 12-year-old in all of use.

As a result, bring me all the Star Wars.

Five good reasons…

I enjoyed the following counterpoint to the anti-GOT argument:

My favorite on the list? EW.com’s James Hibberd wrote:

They’ve already done it. The success of Game of Thrones is due to Benioff and Weiss taking a highly complex magical fantasy world created by a bearded visionary named George (in this case, George R.R. Martin and his terrific novels) and turning it into accessible mass entertainment and a worldwide phenomenon (sound familiar?). Nowadays it’s easy to forget how impossible-seeming and daunting adapting A Song of Ice and Fire was in 2011; Martin literally wrote the books to be unfilmable with a sprawling scope and convention-busting narrative.

As the lone person on the planet who has not yet watched GOT, I hope Hibberd is right.

And I also hope they’re already reading scripts from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Lighter Fare

And now for some lighter fare for your Sunday brunch reading/viewing pleasure:

Erik Kain’s best reason?

We finally get to see a hand of sabacc.
One thing everyone suspects about Solo is that we’ll finally get to see young Han Solo win the Millennium Falcon from young Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover.) That’s an exciting prospect partly because I’m excited to see how the gambling game sabacc works. That’s the Star Wars version of poker, basically. It’s mentioned briefly in The Empire Strikes Backthough I think the first time I really noticed it in detail was in reading Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn.

Someone send me the rules to sabacc, please (@jmbishopjr). I haven’t ever played poker, either.

Guilty pleasure…

While it’s not a secret to anyone who reads this space, my guilty pleasure is “Everything you missed videos.”

Today, Looper does the honors:

#PorgNation to the rescue…

Finally, thank the Maker for Ash Crossan and Joseph Scrimshaw:

As always, I really appreciate the even-keeled approach here. One thing is essential to enjoying Star Wars – a sense of humor. Ashley and Joseph have that in spades. JB

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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.

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