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Chen G.

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Everything posted by Chen G.

  1. Two things: one, its more meaningful to the genre who the main characters are and what they go through, then what the setting is; and two, the Force wasn't a hereditary power until 1983 at the earliest, if not until the prequel trilogy.
  2. I'd agree it varies from entry to entry. Star Wars is perhaps the most fairytale-like (which is not to say I for one minute believe George Lucas' stories about how combed through folk-tales and mythologies and Joseph Campbell, etc...) but the prequel trilogy is also very space-fantasy: the Jedi didn't become a quasi-monastic chivalric order until those films. The sequel trilogy, outside of the Jedi/Sith dichtomoy, is perhaps less fantastical.
  3. Just because something is fantasy doesn't make it beyond reproach: it just a statement about its genre. Star Wars is part of a well-established genre called space fantasy that goes back to Edgar Rice Burroughs. It inevitably has some trappings of science fiction - spaceships, interplanetary travel, aliens, etc.. - but also a lot of the trappings of a fantasy story: in particular, a lot of thinly-disguised Medivalisms: swords, capes, quasi-chivalric orders and quasi-feudal social structures, supernatural powers, heroic quests, etc... Andor may be soft science fiction, but its still science fiction.
  4. I know. But Andor is science-fiction. There are no fantasy elements in it whatsoever: no Force, no Jedi/Sith, and no Medievalisms to speak of except maybe some fluttering capes.
  5. Make. Make something else! Anyhow, I do think Andor can be a little meandering, a little fragmented. And its wild to watch something which is a spinoff of a spinoff to a prequel. Its certainly the most science-fiction that Star Wars had ever been: almost as if someone put a little THX into it. But, having said all of that, I think its very well-made, very fresh, and - at its best - packs a decent wallop.
  6. Mattris, what's your current theory about the progression of the saga? Is it still that Episode 10 has been filmed in secret with Episode 9, or did we move on to something else?
  7. He does. I’ll dig up the quote but he once said Greedo did shoot first: it’s just that the way the scene was shot and cut in closeups it made it seem like Han shot first: I sometimes wonder how a filmmaker who thinks his listeners are THAT stupid can ever hope to make films that don’t underestimate the audience’s intelligence.
  8. I agree, but, for one thing, Lucas by and large DOES claim he stuck with his original ideas as they first came to him. Its part of auteur theory: hallowing the original vision, as it first appeared to the creative artist, and downplaying the evolutionary nature of the creative proccess. And, I think the "silence" of his notes combined with the fact that conflicting accounts (of what the Clone Wars would have been) emerging within weeks of each other, as well as the very tentative way he speaks about the Clone Wars in the story conferences, all point to the fact that it was just a vague concept of a World War II-like conflict in the past, rather than something more thought-through with defined factions, setting, chronology, etc...
  9. Actually, we have: 1. August 1975: No information, except the Wars involved Ben and his "White Legions" a long time ago. In both this draft and the following one, the war is clearly a loose World War II parallel. (Third Draft) 2. January 1976: The Clone Wars seemingly took place around Aldeeran, being that Ben served Leia's father, ruler of Aldeeran, in them, and had to leave Tatooine (with Luke's father in tow) to do so. Although involving the Jedi and some capacity of aerial combat, they were seemingly separate from the Imperial takeover ("years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars, now he begs you to help him hin his struggle against the Empire") and date to several decades before the time of the film. (Fourth Draft and the finished film) 2.5. July 1977: The Clone Wars are not mentioned (itself significant) but are clearly separate from the Imperial takeover or the onset of the rebellion. (Lucas' talks to Carol Titleman about the backstory to the film) 3. November 1977: The Clone Wars were "last attempt by the Jedi knights to stop the Imperial forces." (Souvenir Program) 4. Also November 1977: The Clone Wars were a local conflict on a planet of Clones, from which Lando hails. (Story conferences) 4.5 Circa April 1978: no information, but notes of Lucas contemplate making five prequels, including a "Clone Wars" trilogy. 5. Summer 1979: Imperial Shocktroopers, including Boba Fett, "came from the far side of the galaxy" and were "wiped out by the Jedi knights during the Clone Wars.” (Lucasfilm newsletter, also mentioned in Empire's novelization.) 7. 1993: "The Clone Wars was a terrible conflict that erupted during the time of the Old Republic (some thirty-five years prior to the start of Star Wars IV: A New Hope). The conflict produced such heroes as Bail Organa, Anakin Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who served as a general. Few details about the period have been revealed, but we know that the Jedi Knights and their allies battled to defend the Old Republic against its enemies." (A Guide to the Star Wars Universe) 8. Circa March 2000: What we see in Attack of the Clones.
  10. The thing is that Lucas wrote down copious notes, many of them in a stream of consciousness style, as he was developing the films; and these notes do not expand on the Clone Wars. I know Ex Silentio arguments are weak, but in cases in history (art history, in this case) where we feel a subject is fairly well-documented, they are used. Also, from the same time as the above quote, a souvenir program to the film suggested the Clone Wars were a “last attempt by the Jedi to stop the Empire.” So the fact we have two different accounts from the same time would suggest Lucas is coming up with ideas on the spot.
  11. The story conferences were with Brackett and lead directly into her writing her draft. Quoted from the making-of book: Sounds like he’s making this up on the spot.
  12. It’s less the idea of Maul being the big bad and more about him reappearing as a crime lord in the criminal underworld of the republic/Empire; which is an idea from Solo, which I believe harkens back to a show Lucas was developing shortly after Revenge of the Sith.
  13. Yeah, this thing about directing quotes from the films at people? I bet you think its clever. It isn't.
  14. That's from comments from the story conferences to the sequel, held in November 1977. But when the film was being made/just released? I think it was just a concept at that stage. For one thing, souvenir programmes for the film from around the same time as these conferences depict a completely different image of the Clone Wars: to me, that points towards them existing purely as a concept and that, when pressed for information, Lucas would come-up with some random soundbite on the spot.
  15. I don't hold much with this narrative that any Star Wars entry was good in spite of Lucas. Yes, the nature of collaborations is that other people bring ideas into the melting pot, but its ultimately the writer/director that has the call of what goes into the pot and how its stirred with everything else. That other people had input into the process is not and should not detract from Lucas' work. Also, Lucas did concieve some backstory when he wrote the 1977 film, but it was all very fuzzy: I have little doubt that in mentioning "The Clone Wars" he really had no definitive backstory beyond it being the World War II to the film's Vietnam War parable. He certainly didn't have an "extensive saga" of which he picked a part: and at any rate, ALL his early drafts are "part one" and that sort of thing. The whole "Episode IV" thing was never some artistic, cinema verite device. All these stories about what the sequel trilogy would have been I find very tenuous. More and more, I'm compelled to believe Lucas started with the idea of a 12-film anthology, and then worked it down to a 6-film cycle but didn't want to generate bad press by going from 12 to 6, so he decided to speak publically of making 9. All these stories of Lucas' of how his sequel trilogy would have been either about microbiotic beings or about Darth Maul... I mean, they all came out, conveniently, after the sequel trilogy (or at least, parts of it) was out. So Lucas was in a position to posit himself as the avant-garde storyteller by regaling us with how outlandish his premise might have been. Its doubly suspicious to me, too, because the Darth Maul premise he talks about...that's basically the premise of Solo. Again, convenient. Of the actual treatment Lucas' forwarded to Disney, we only know of the contents of Episode VII: virtually nothing on his versions of Episode VIII or IX...
  16. That's correct: the scene as originally shot includes that footage. But "Sith" didn't mean what it means to us now: rather than a satanic cult, they were a bunch of glorified space pirates, with Vader clearly serving the role of Tarkin's muscle: the Bond henchman. In the movie, Vader is clearly totally subservient to Tarkin and little more than an uber-Stormtrooper who happens to have a personal history with Ben and Luke.
  17. In the world of the 1977 film, the Emperor was concieved of as a puppet on Tarkin's string. The meeting of the Imperials we see on the Death Star? Its not a local staff meeting: that's the top brass of the Empire.
  18. My own answer to those sorts of things is watch the actual films. For instance, when I first went through the Star Wars series in 2015, I didn't need to read Michael Kaminski's book to tell when the 1977 film began that "Oh, bullshit was Vader Luke's father at the point this film was made." One could just feel at least some of the retcons that had gone down since, if one was watching the film with an open mind. Same with the sequel trilogy. The proof is in the pudding.
  19. You jest, but I think the very reason people are all up in Lucasfilm business for "not having a roadmap" is precisely because Lucas was telling people for decades - with absolutely no basis in fact whatsoever - that such a roadmap does in fact exist.
  20. I've said it a million times, but there had never been a Star Wars trilogy that had a plan, as such. Ever. The classic trilogy sure as hell didn't have a plan: Vader having not been Luke's father before March or April 1978 and Leia having not been his sister until February 1981. Not only that, but the style of the films and the very concept of the series had markedly changed: it was originally going to be closer to what Indiana Jones ended-up being: standalone adventures, made in a "quick and dirty" style with a self-consciously B-movie style. Then in 1980 it turned into a big-budgeted saga and its B-movie character downplayed. Lucas, Kershner and Marquand all have markedly different feel to their mise en scene. The prequel trilogy didn't really have a plan beyond the most rudimentary "Anakin has to go evil, Palpatine rise to power and Yoda and Obi Wan must survive." That's something, but its not a lot: many essential plot points like the death of Anakin's mother leading him to perform a massacre, and even Padme's death at the end were concieved of "on the fly", not from the outset. And, certainly, if the point of "having a plan" is to have all three entries feel of-a-piece, the prequel trilogy certainly fails: the ten-year time jump between its first and second entry makes it feel incredibly lopsided, like a prelude and a separate duology rather than a trilogy; plotlines and characters are dropped entirely (Jar Jar, Boba Fett, the whole "Sifo Dyas" malarky), the look changed radically from 35mm anamorphic to 1080p anamorphic to 1080p spherical. The mise-en-scene is mostly consistent (discounting the proclivity to use "flyovers" in Episode III), I'll give it that. In generals, planned movie series are the exception to the norm: by not having a plan and rather building one entry upon the one that came before, you leave yourself a lot more leeway to adjust for audience reception. Whereas if you truly have a well honed-in plan, you're kind of locked into a situation where if audiences didn't like the first entry...
  21. Count me surprised! I loathed The Rise of Skywalker. Well, except when I'm drunk, then its a damn hoot! I mean, if you derived some enjoyment from it, that's great, but I couldn't. Even though I think some of Johnson's choices were... less than organic, shall we say...I think its was perfectly possible to keep going from where he left off; and I actually think JJ Abrams tried: he pays-off the Force connection thing, he pays-off (even though it comes across as lip-service) Hux begrudging and ultimately underming Ren, he pays-off Leia giving the reins to Poe. Beyond the nonesensical plotting, the soapiness of the whole thing and the dubious morals of the film, its really just the pace that kills it for me: I've never seen a film paced quite like that. It was all just a blur.
  22. I think it is noteworthy that unlike The Force Awakens, The Rise of Skywalker is not graced with Abrams' director's commentary. Now, I'm not saying he had a terrible time making it or that he disowns it. But I do think it was clearly a movie made in a mad rush and the result is exactly that.
  23. I do think the overall direction for the show is deceptive insofar as its trying to fool people into thinking its part of the same audiovisual "continuity" as the films: the design aesthetic is vaguely similar, New Zealand and even the individual shooting locations are familiar, the score recalls the timbres of Shore's score, Dwarves are Scotsmen who live in geometric halls and Elves are willowy actors speaking in RP and wafting through vaguely art nouveau indoor-outdoor sets, its why Benjamin Walker looks like Mark Ferguson, etc... Hiring Shore for some token composition (which I nevertheless really enjoy) is in-keeping with that. What makes it feel deceptive is that its not until the closing moments of the final episode do we actually see a major prop from The Lord of the Rings that actually looks different: that being the three Elven Rings: Prior to that moment, there was a seemingly deliberate avoidance to feature props or locales that we would know from the films and could see are not the same: so the Grey Havens are mentioned but never shown. Elendil is given a sword that he carries on his person, but which is never described as Narsil (we do see the Jackson Narsil, but that was probably something they could pass for a homage). We never see the Ring of Barahir, as such. Sauron's prologue appearance is intentionaly cast into sillhuette so as to make it harder to tell that its not actually the same armour. The show is activelly trying to make its audiences believe its something that its not. Its a really peculiar approach. Its as if Tod Philipps Joker had spent 90 minutes of its runtime trying to fool audiences into thinking it was a prequel to Nolan's The Dark Knight: it feels deceptive and certainly very cynical.
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