Check out the Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Week Tumblr and spread the word! It’ll be August 1-August 8 with each day a different prompt (which is how things are done on Tumblr): favorite actor, favorite movie, favorite scene, favorite planet, etc. If you’re on Tumblr and you want to participate, be sure to tag your posts with #swpaw. And be sure to reblog to all of your friends!
Online news site Vice interviewed Ahmed Best about the TPM backlash, how it affected him and Jake Lloyd, new Star Wars, etc.
As I read it, it reminded me of just how crummy this fandom is and how crummy people are on the internet. I’ve got a post coming soon about why peace, love, and warm fuzzy feelings about Star Wars fandom are impossible for me.
H/T Eddie, who Tweeted the link late last night.
I recorded the Science Channel’s special “Raiders, Raptors & Rebels” that aired Sunday night and finally got around to watching it last night. The show was a look at 40 years of ILM’s visual effects achievements and how they inspired inventions and uses in the non-movie world.
It was a fun show looking back at a lot of ILM’s big pivotal moments: ANH, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Young Sherlock Holmes and Willow, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, etc. with a nice hefty segment on the prequels. George Lucas of course made many appearances as did PT effects supervisor John Knoll. It was nice to see the prequels get recognition.
If you missed it, keep checking the Science Channel’s site to look for rebroadcasts. There might also be bootleg video on YouTube.
It’s not my intent to make it Persecution Week at SWPAS but even before the SDCC panel, I’d intended to address the animated LEGO Droid Tales miniseries airing on Disney X D. A while back I’d seen the trailer for the show online and there was a joke where the characters snored through Threepio explaining the beginning of TPM. I saw the writing on the wall and didn’t watch. Sure enough, viewers reported that the prequels got dragged through the mud, including Amanda Ward and Jason Ward of Making Star Wars.net. The show’s writer Michael Price tweeted back to Jason Ward the following:
@MakingStarWars Just having fun with stuff about the prequels that makes us laugh. FWIW, we do the same to the OT in the later eps.
— Michael Price (@mikepriceinla) July 7, 2015
I have no problem laughing with Star Wars. I liked Robot Chicken. I would’ve liked the Family Guy stuff more had it not been for the creepy molester jokes.
Laughing at Star Wars? Meh, not so much. If you look at the old Mad, Crazy, Cracked, etc. takes on the OT, Mad’s jokes could be brutal. Which is why I preferred the gentler Cracked. (Though Mad did that to everything.) When it comes to laughing at the PT in particular, well, an awful lot of what we’ve had to put up with over the past 16 years doesn’t exactly leave me with a funny bone for that sort of thing.
It’s annoying enough if it’s an entity outside of the official realm mocking the prequels or Star Wars in general. But it’s extremely disappointing when that mockery gets an official rubber stamp. And they wonder why many of us think there’s an anti-PT campaign behind promoting TFA!
Sorry, I won’t be watching. I’ve had enough of this sort of thing.
Friday’s San Diego Comic Con TFA panel was carefully constructed to generate positive, even ecstatic buzz. All of those panels are meant to do that, whether it’s a rare appearance from a huge movie star, the debut of a two-fisted trailer, an ensemble cast appearing together, or goofy surprise stunts like the new Spiderman showing up to ask a question in costume.
If you went by the happy, even joyous tweets from those who attended the panel and the free show afterwards (complete with fireworks) or the geek media reports, it was the best thing since sliced bread. I felt a bit stung that I’d missed out, especially on the concert afterwards. It was in an outdoor area where I could’ve seen and heard the event, even if I hadn’t attended the panel. As I put it on Twitter, it felt like a friend threw a party but didn’t invite me.
But it’s Monday and instead of every Star Wars fan chattering excitedly about what we’re getting in five months, a lot of prequel/saga fans in particular are steamed over the tone of the panel and the behind-the-scenes video shown to the mostly-unwashed masses in Hall H. There were things in that video we’d not seen before, like a MUCH better shot of TFA Leia and various creatures. Larry Kasdan at least had the decency to bring up George Lucas a couple of times and acknowledge his genius. The film’s villains were introduced for the first time. Having Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford together again in one place was a reunion most of us thought would never happen. The rest of it though was relentless emphasis on “practical effects,” “real sets,” “real deserts,” and “tangible” stuff. Plus the video confirmed the presence of prequel basher/bully Simon Pegg. We’ve heard it before at Celebration in April and in various interviews but there was something about this particular panel that broke the eopie’s back and many people noticed the shade being cast on the prequels. Look at some of these comments and memes…it’s not just me or just the people who comment on SWPAS. I didn’t tell these folks what to say or believe and I don’t know most of them:
— The Nerdstitute (@nerdstitute) July 11, 2015
I presume they will finish the #SDCC Star Wars panel by taking DCPs of the prequels and literally throwing them under a bus.
— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) July 11, 2015
Really hate the snide passive-aggressive tone towards the prequels in the SDCC SW vid. TPM had INCREDIBLE love costumes and model work, too
— Mouse (@cgtmouse) July 11, 2015
— David Franklin (@davefranklin) July 11, 2015
That Star Wars SDCC reel was such a 'screw the prequels, originals masterrace' circle jerk.
— Cameron (@PopcornSkorpion) July 11, 2015
Sounds like subtext of Star Wars 7 SDCC panel is "how bad were the prequels?" Sell us on the film, but not by dragging other ones in dirt.
— Jeff Burnett (@burnettski92) July 11, 2015
"We truly are out in a desert, a real desert." pic.twitter.com/t7464WB1Kr
— Heath (@heathdwilliams) July 11, 2015
— StephenVincent (@StephenVincent) July 11, 2015
Today Clone Corridor posted this piece that flat out calls the panel/video content prequel bashing. I posted a link this morning on the SWPAS Facebook page and now it’s all over my feed. I haven’t seen anything like it.
As most of you have realized, this is calculated. They’re the top echelon’s talking points about TFA and they are most certainly aimed at tickling the ears of those who hated the prequels. I have no doubt about it. They cannot come out and say, “The prequels were a horrible mistake, we’re really sorry, and we’re going to do it right this time.” It would humiliate George Lucas. So they are being more subtle, promising they are going back to the old cookie recipe of a “used world” look, 1970s-1980s visual effects, on location filming, and bringing back the Star Wars “we all grew up with.” Ah, that’s another popular talking point…this has everything we loved about the original movies. It’s like listening to that Weezer song “Back To The Shack”: we’re sorry for our previous efforts! We’re getting back to basics and our roots, guys!
The emphasis on practical effects over CGI and green screen deliberately plays off of the prequel haters’ argument that CGI and green screen were liabilities. It’s also deliberately contrary to the PR behind the prequels that emphasized all of the cool stuff one could do with digital effects. Most of you reading this know the prequels had a mix of digital and practical effects. Even ROTS, which was the only Star Wars film without on location principal photography, used real world shots mixed in with digital and practical effects. But why didn’t this panel or the one at Celebration or in any of the media interviews about the film make the point that this film isn’t doing anything different from its predecessors? Because they know if the anti-PT crowd hears “we’re doing the same thing as Eps I-III,” that crowd will turn on TFA in a hurry. Disney and Lucasfilm’s top brass live in mortal fear of the hateboys. They know what these keyboard barbarians are capable of doing. So the suits are putting on the charm offensive, hoping to win over those disaffected fans by promising to give them “their” Star Wars back. And part of that is relegating the prequels to the crazy uncle attic, where they can only come out for lesser-seen material like books and comics. In four days at SDCC, I saw virtually nothing prequel-related from the various licensed booths. I’ll bet a moisture farm you won’t see a single PT alum anywhere near any of TFA’s official premieres (meanwhile, OT alum did show up for prequel premieres).
Part of the reason they are going the “Back To The Shack” route is of course to gin up anticipation without having to tell anyone anything about the movie. Friday’s panel was very light on substantive information. But trying so hard to win over OT-only base and keeping the mystery box shut is kicking up the hornet’s nest of prequel fans. We’re not stupid. We can hear the dog whistles loud and clear. Even those willing to give the benefit of the doubt are none too pleased at the direction marketing has taken. I’ve written before they think they can get away with it because most of us will see TFA at least once anyway. After what I’ve seen online over the past weekend, I’m starting to wonder if Disney/Lucasfilm has gone too far and if fans continue to get riled up like this, they can’t taken for granted anymore.
What’s really dumb about this whole thing is that Disney and Lucasfilm should worry less about geezer fanboys and more about kids whose formative Star Wars experiences were with the prequels and especially Clone Wars. I know this is anecdotal evidence, but at SDCC yesterday I was sitting at a table eating lunch and across from me were two boys with their dads. The boys were around eight or nine years old and they’d just bought some Clone Wars stuff in the exhibit hall. They weren’t talking about the OT or TFA, they were talking about Obi-Wan and Anakin.
So, the Star Wars panel at SDCC was a big mix of conflicted feelings for me. It was the first big Star Wars panel at SDCC in over 5 years and yet it was the first I hadn’t attended since I started going to SDCC 11 years ago, largely due to my aversion to sleeping on the pavement plus the fact I was volunteering. A part of me is pretty bummed about that, especially since the OT3 appeared together, something they didn’t do at Anaheim (thanks, plane crash). I wasn’t expecting to feel bummed about it either.
On the other hand, not much earth shattering was revealed so this panel–based on Twitter reports–seemed to lean more on a few more character revelations and “the feels.” In a nutshell: practical, practical, practical, Simon Pegg, practical, practical, here’s the cast except Andy Serkis and Lupita N’yongo because they would remind you it’s not all practical.
Were you at the panel or following it online? Sound off.
Remember those Little Golden Books as kids? They’ve made something of a comeback in recent years and finally the publisher (Random House) is going to introduce a new generation of younglings to Star Wars and Little Golden Books.
Coming to a store near you July 28!
Ian Doescher’s Shakespearean take on AOTC, “The Clone Army Attacketh,” is also out today at fine bookstores, Amazon, Kindle, Apple Books, etc. everywhere!