One of our Canadian Imagination Connoisseurs, Xrosstalk, writes in from Edmonton to explain why he’s worried about the state of the Star Wars franchise.
(edited for clarity)
Hope you are having a great day today and greetings from up here in Edmonton again!
From the chats over the last month or so, I felt I needed to bring this point home again as I constantly see people blaming this person for one thing or another. I know it’s been talked to death already by you and many, many others. This is regarding Kathleen Kennedy and the folks who run things at Lucasfilm over at Disney.
I can’t speak to everyone else, only for myself, however I will try to put into words why I am worried about the state of the Star Wars IP.
For me, the political landscape of interjecting politics into art (film, comics, TV or otherwise) is not an issue … art has always had elements of political overtones from the time in which is was created. Not all art is political – I understand this as some is just pure escapism and there is nothing wrong with that as it can be enjoyable as well. I have many guilty pleasures such as ARMAGEDDON, INDEPENDENCE DAY, DEEP BLUE SEA, and TOP GUN, to mention a few. These movies are perhaps well-CRAFTED but admittedly, they have amazingly terrible writing. I still love them even though these movies have no political agenda or overtones.
Political agendas aside, MY issue with Lucasfilm leadership really has nothing to do with KK as a person, but as a studio that doesn’t seem to actually LOVE Star Wars.
Does this mean that a studio head HAS to love the movies they make? Not at all…but let’s be honest here…the ONLY property that Lucasfilm has to deal with right now is Star Wars (We aren’t seeing a series of WILLOW, LABYRINTH or HOWARD THE DUCK movies – although I’d be so all over that). So does it make sense that the head of Lucasfilm SHOULD love Star Wars? I’m not sure. There is MUCH more to being a studio head than overseeing story or how it fits into the established lore of the universe the movies take place in.
And this brings me to why I think people are off-base blaming KK for any of the story and universe issues with Star Wars, as far as I understand them. Maybe she has more to do with the stories than I am aware, but I tend to think not. She helps, perhaps, pick the people that create these films and shows, but I’m not sure how much she has to do with the actual crafting of them. Now, she might even have an over-arching political agenda that I might or might not agree with … but something has been lost along the way and it shows on screen.
I am WAY more of a Star Wars fan than a Trek fan even though I love Trek as well. But I’ve read everything Star Wars (Not the new novels.) down to the old West End Games RPG books. We used to play pen and paper Star Wars for YEARS. How you are, Rob, with Star Trek is pretty much how I am with Star Wars – and I see the same sort of thing happening to the franchise I have loved my whole life.
They (Disney and Lucasfilm) seem to be destroying, disrespecting or just ignoring what came before in favour of pushing the new (which seems to be simply for marketing and merchandising money). From a business perspective, with a focus on short-term profit, this makes sense … as it did for Bad Robot with the Trek franchise.
In the long term however, the damage has been done.
This short-term profit thinking has now permeated so much of the franchises we love that story and universe coherency take a back seat to pretty visuals and ham-fisted, political messaging. Again, political overtones don’t bother me (lets be honest The Galactic Empire is largely based on the Third Reich – I mean, Lucas took certain notes from Triumph of the Will). But when that political message overrides good characters and writing, I have an issue.
To me, the new characters are pretty hit and miss, but it’s the ‘feel’ of the new movies that is so much different than the Star Wars I grew up with…
I don’t know, maybe I’m being an old “get-off-my-lawn’ fuddyduddy and looking for things that aren’t there. All art is subjective. But like you with Star Trek, Rob, I feel they dropped the ball when they didn’t mine the amazing expanded universe for great characters and stories before writing … whatever it is we have now.
Sorry for the length of the letter, but I wanted to just clear this up. I don’t think there is enough evidence to believe that Kathleen Kennedy has anything to do with the state of why I don’t like the Star Wars characters and stories as they are being presented now (Other than ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY … I actually like that one.).
Keep up the good show Rob and wish all my fellow PGS people a great day, afternoon or evening!