Friday, May 9, 2008
Blue Sky Guest Of Honor: Star Wars Must Die...
We're going to do something different in this post today...
My article on the future of Star Wars generated a lot of comments and some interesting e-mail. Many of them were filled with kind remarks while a few were laced with venom. I've had several discussions about the Star Wars universe with my friends in our get-togethers and over pizza and beer all these things get tossed around, argued and laughed about...
Well, one of my friends would like to respond to my article and more importantly, some of the SW fans out there. So as I said, we're going to do something a bit different. I've not had any guest columnist before... not yet at least. Not because I particularly was afraid of letting others have a voice, but because I just didn't really believe that there would be anything different or unique to add to the subjects discussed here... until now.
I know many of you think I'm a huge Star Wars fan, but I'm not. I mean, I love it and all... but some of my friends could far better be described as SW fans more than I. One of those fans is "THX-1138". Nice name, eh? You can imagine the ribbing he got from kids on the playground as a young boy... no? But seriously, that's not his name, but it's what he'll go by on Blue Sky Disney. Anyway, he's a much bigger and much more passionate fan of Star Wars than I could ever be. He has a few thoughts on George Lucas' universe and I thought you might like to hear his opinion...
- Honor Hunter
I’m sick to death of $tar War$.
Ironically though, if you were to come over to my house that would probably be the last thing you would ever expect to hear me to say.
It’s been over 30 years now and I’ve devoted over half my life to collecting and faithfully following, through good times and bad, the mighty Star Wars franchise as a passion and hobby. I remember vividly the Great Drought in Star Wars collecting… that dreadful period between 1985 and 1995 where there wasn’t much of anything to be had with the Star Wars merchandising brand stamped onto it. I was about to enter high school and my mother had decided that it was time for me
to “grow up” and donated most of my old toys that would soon become collector gold. Fortunately I still had a Darth Vader collector case full of old figures in the basement that she had somehow overlooked but after a few years I wanted it all back and thus began my arduous quest to buy my childhood back. It was during that time that I would scour garage sales, flea markets and antique shops looking to buy anything that I could find from the vintage collecting years of my
youth. I would even have dreams about driving to small mid-west towns and finding an old local store that had a hidden cache of vintage mint-on-card figures that had been sitting on the shelves, undiscovered, for many years.
Then in 1995, that drought suddenly came to an end. Kenner released new Star Wars action figures. Sure, Luke looked like he had He-Man’s body and the face of actor Brian Thompson and Princess Leia looked like Zira from Planet of the Apes, but so what? They were Star Wars figures. The sculpts did improve tremendously over the years though. The Prequels may have been disappointing but there were some great toys that had vastly improved upon the original designs. It was a good time to be a collector again.
It’s now been over 3 years since the final Star Wars film was released and George Lucas just can’t seem to let it go. He’s overseeing production on the new Clone Wars animated TV show that will premiere theatrically this fall as well as a live-action Star Wars television series and the Lucasfilm merchandising bandwagon is once again in full, um… Force. What happened to Lucas getting back to making those obscure artistic and experimental films that “nobody wants to see” kind of like the films he made in his youth before he became a successful toymaker? He’s been too busy making a fourth and arguably unnecessary Indiana Jones film as well as overseeing that his money-making Star Wars dynasty lives on. Don’t worry, George. It will.
At what point, might I ask, is enough for Mr. Lucas? Star Wars is already a multi-billion dollar per year licensing franchise. Lucas has reached the age of retirement and doesn’t need to be concerned about getting his social security checks. His family will be well endowed for many generations but Lucas and Hasbro just can’t seem to have enough. Star Wars as a brand has run its course, the toy line has exhausted itself with endless repaints and repacks of the SAME toys we have already bought over and over. With strategies now shifting towards capturing newer generations under the addictive influence of their marketing control, The Clone Wars and live-action TV shows look to be little more than hyped-up commercial vehicles as an excuse to promote and sell more and more toys targeted for younger children rather than us older, faithful adult collectors with more juvenile servings of Galactic Heroes, Mighty Mugs, and Legos. With little room to keep buying these costly material possessions, and with my interest rapidly diminishing, gas prices and inflation skyrocketing out of control and collecting becoming more of a chore than genuine fun, I have at last reached my saturation point with Star Wars and it’s time for me to bow out. I’ve had my fill. My ravenous hunger has been satisfied. It’s time to put Star Wars to bed. I would suggest that Lucas does the same. Like Henry Jones said to Indiana in The Last Crusade… "Let it go.”
Star Trek invariably suffered a similar fate. The once mighty franchise had become oversaturated with numerous spinoffs,
disappointing sequels and a glut of merchandising that drove even the most insatiable Trekkies away. After only a brief four year hiatus, J.J. Abrams will boldly (or arrogantly) attempt to re-invent the wheel by remaking Star Trek in his vision. It would seem almost inevitable that at some point in the future, Lucasfilm , under the auspices of one of Lucas’ heirs-apparent or under the licensing control of another corporate entity (*cough* Disney), will attempt to do the same. I just hope when that day happens it will be long after I’m gone because it has now become very apparent that there is no end in sight for the
onslaught of Star Wars consumer merchandising and that it will continue indefinitely for generations to come. You can’t have it all and you can’t take it with you but if you're one of the Freaks who must continue to buy everything with the Star Wars brand stamped on it…
May the Benjamins be with you.