If You Had Any Doubts Before…

Many of you might have seen this article on the Wall Street Journal’s website. In case you haven’t, it’s largely an interview with one of the so-called Story Group (seriously, who are these people?). But if you had any doubts before about official fandom deliberately blowing off the prequels, this money quote ought to make it clear:

People who have worked with Lucasfilm since its acquisition by Disney said the company is tactfully trying to move away from the tone of the prequels, which were widely derided by fans as humorless and self-serious.

“If the people making the new ‘Star Wars’ movies are going to lean into one trilogy or another, it’s the original,” said Simon Kinberg, an executive producer of “Rebels” and writer of a coming film.

Uh-huh. Also, so much for anything new or interesting. Also, not a lot of mention about George Lucas, given that’s he’s still alive and all.

WSJ also posted a blog interview with the same person. This might be encouraging or not depending on your POV:

If you look at “Rebels” and the limited things we know about the next movie, it feels like there’s a return to the spirit of the original trilogy. Is that true? And is it purposeful?

Many of us are of an age where we are original trilogy kids who are now pinching ourselves every day that we’re working on Star Wars. There is a real affection we have for that because it hit us at the right moment.

Because of the content that happens to be coming out right now, there’s this original trilogy emphasis. But I know I have a lot of interest in all of it. I certainly am experiencing in talking to creative people a lot of interest in all areas of the “Star Wars” timeline. I think as we keep going we want to explore, to let the idea lead and then go with that.

Okay, but when? And why not work at tying together the series instead of playing king of the mountain with “your” Star Wars?

Bryan Young tweeted this out soon after the WSJ pieces went online:

Having read “A New Dawn” and at least having heard from some people who have seen the first episode or two of “Rebels,” he may be right on those counts but I have to ask these questions:

1. Why are Lucasfilm, people working on Rebels, and people working on Ep VII at least acceding to if not directly contributing to the idea that it’s burying the prequels like a dog kicking dirt over its poop? Nobody has said, “Oh no, we’re going to celebrate all of the saga! It’s all one rich tapestry!”

2. Was Kiri Hart responsible for hiring Gary Whitta? And if so, why should I have any confidence in her?

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39 Responses to “If You Had Any Doubts Before…”

  1. Terri Paxton Says:

    I would expect no less from people that cancelled the Clone Wars in a snap with episodes already in production AND demolishing the entire EU to boot. The Expanded Universe revealed the true rich diversity: everything from prequels to original trilogy to long before and after, with different styles and genres within it.
    They basically are shrinking the galaxy. And a shrunk galaxy is no fun to play in. They are cutting out whole groups of people in favor of the narrow minded who ONLY like the Original Trilogy!

  2. Kenny Kraly Jr Says:

    Star Wars is good hands with Disney / LFL I think some fans need to clam down about the sale theirs lots of great content coming out Rebels , Episode 7 , Spin off Films The Canon books from Del Ray and The Comics from Marvel Comics and The Story Group etc. The future of the Star Wars is brighter than ever

  3. Anonymous Says:

    “1. Why are Lucasfilm, people working on Rebels, and people working on Ep VII at least acceding to if not directly contributing to the idea that it’s burying the prequels like a dog kicking dirt over its poop? Nobody has said, “Oh no, we’re going to celebrate all of the saga! It’s all one rich tapestry!””

    To respond to this, I’m starting to think it’s nothing but stupid PR crap, because having seen the first two episodes of Rebels myself, it’s pretty clear that prequel influence can never go away regardless of how close they say they want to keep it like the OT. With Luminara Unduli making a future appearance, and the return of Henry Gilroy (TCW writer/producer), I wouldn’t be surprised at more prequel-era stuff appearing in the show (even though the people working on it clearly don’t want to admit it).

  4. madmediaman Says:

    Great piece Lazy, and I concur 100%. I see no evidence in this article that the powers that be plan to address the Prequels in anything other than the oddball book, are maybe they will be kind enough to grace is with a comic book miniseries.

    God forbid the trilogy that’s been doing the heavy lifting for the franchise for 15 years and keeping Star Wars viable among younger fans warrants a spin off, or even a direct to home video release of more Clone Wars arcs.

    Meanwhile, jackholes like Garry Whitta get jobs producing Star Wars content in spite of their dismissive and outright offensive about George Lucas.

    I’ll grant that the Rebels premiere was a flawed but enjoyable program, but outside of Dave Filoni I see no real reason to praise Disney at this point.

    However, I am enjoying the fanboys getting a taste of their own medicine as they have gone positively apoplectic over recent rumors about a certain hero of the OT. If that rumor is true it appears on some level that someone listened to George and is telling a store with some strong thematic content (assuming of course JJ doesn’t botch that.)

    • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

      Yeah, I mean who wants to get associated with movies that grossed billions of dollars, were voted the most popular films of the year, won plenty of Genre Awards and got Oscar nominations?

      Let’s rather hire “After Earth” makers!

  5. Nicholas Marshall Says:

    luke going evil isn’t really a possibility. he had his critical moment. and he fell to the side of good. yes in the EU he has stumbles. everyone stumbles now and than and that’s why the EU needs to be reinstated and the disney canon killed.. i don’t care what the disney canon does. it’ll never be a universe as rich and complex as the EU was

  6. BansheeGun Says:

    I don’t trust Kinberg at all, not after that interview where he said he adores the OT but only likes “Aspects” of the PT. Greg Weisman isn’t exactly clean either. “Accidently” RT anti-Prequel nonsense is fishy. But, all of this does seem to be a PR stunt. It really shows that Disney doesn’t know Star Wars fans AT ALL if they think most of us hate the PT and 100% love everything about the OT.

    • madmediaman Says:

      The same man who alsobrought you such classics like X:Men – Last Stand (easily the WORST of the series), and xXx: State of the Union. Like HE should be talking…. LOL

      • BansheeGun Says:

        LOL! You’re right! He’s really not that good of a writer either. Days of Future Past was good but it has MAJOR plot holes that I could walk right through.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        DOFP is great, but I credit that mainly to the great source material, and the return of Singer to the director’s chair.

  7. Wizardman Says:

    I’m sure this is all mostly marketing speak. Still, it’s infuriating and insulting to see it happen. There’s got to be a better way to hype up the movies than to throw the more recent ones, their creator, and all of the fans who appreciated them under the bus; and doing that by giving legitimacy to the outright incorrect claims “hateboys” make about the prequels. It’s lazy, dishonest, and cold.

    It’s also pretty strange that they mention trying to get away from the “humorless and self-serious” tone of the prequels when the fan-favorite film among many prequel “haters” is The Empire Strikes Back, which is by far the darkest and most serious film of the original trilogy, and among the darkest and most serious of all of the films of the saga (next to Revenge of the Sith and maybe Attack of the Clones). Apparently they want humor, lightheartedness, adventure; but when they see it in the prequels (Jar Jar, the droids, little Annie, Anakin/Obi-Wan/Padme bantering, the podrace and space battles and rescue missions) they don’t want it. They want seriousness, darkness. But they don’t. What do they want?

    It’s clear that the Star Wars fanbase is so massive that it’s unpleasable as a whole, and that Disney/Lucasfilm aiming for the crowd of malcontents is only creating a new army of malcontents, one made up of the most loyal Star Wars fans out there (who’ve loved the saga as a whole unapologetically), and that’s depressing. There has to be a better way than willingly hopping from one burning oven into another, a way that leaves all sides of the fandom feeling respected at the very least. :/

    Still, once again, I think it’s mostly marketing speak. Making claims about how they’re going to be “bringing back” the “fun” and the focus on “story and character” is meant to sell the new movies to people who’ve bought into the noise surrounding the prequels. Fans who have been into the saga as a whole for a long time know that the prequels focused plenty on the story and characters (they had a more intricate story than the originals did and Anakin alone has to be the deepest character of the entire saga), and plenty of fun, adventure, and witty banter was had (podraces, arena spectacles, space battles, rescue missions, frantic escapes/landings, aggressive negotiations, flying half ships, happy landings, flying is for droids, loose wire jokes, shorter than expected, roger roger, etc.). Layering tragedy and emotional drama on top of those elements doesn’t erase those elements. The prequels gave us what we expected from Star Wars and more. Let Disney/Lucasfilm bring “back” those elements that are supposedly missing from the prequels; they’ll only be honoring the saga as whole. 😛

    • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

      They want humour, but only when it’s provided by Han Solo. They accept corny or cliched lines, but only when they are delivered by the “relatable classic” characters. They want it “serious”, but only when it’s not about politics or honest and hurtful human failure. They accept ridiculous characters (Chewie), but only when they got used to them as kids.

      Haters are a strange species. Double standards over double standards.

  8. Chris N Says:

    The influence of the prequels (movies, not TCW) in Rebels is very superficial, and definitely not proof that the era is “alive and well”. In fact, it may be only there because Filoni still has some influence over it.

    This anti-prequel marketing campaign has managed to decrease my interest in everything Disney is producing for Star Wars. It says a lot when I’m more interested in a novel based on unproduced GL stories than the sequel trilogy itself and a new animated series.

    I should be looking forward to the sequel trilogy. The story comes from George after all, but is being modeled and directed by the same people who share this stupid and limited mindset that excludes and doesn’t recognize or acknowledge the PT.

    • madmediaman Says:

      Yeah, the Ventress novel holds a lot more interest for me than what’s coming down the pike, although I did like New Dawn. Let’s see Tarkin… meh, love the character, but he’s been done to death. Marvel Star Wars… ANOTHER post ANH monthly title.. pass. The other two novels, Bader/Emperor team up and Luke novel are ok,,, we’ll see. On the other hand, Dark Disciple intrigues the hell out of me.. Love Ventress and any further exploration of her character is welcome.

      Rebels is okay, flawed, but definitely enjoyable, but it’s pretty funny when the best animated Star Wars release isn’t Rebels, but an unfinished Clone Wars arc on the official web site.

      As for Ep 7, I’ve largely been unimpressed with what I’ve seen and rumors coming from the production. One MASSIVE rumor that hit the interwebs a day or two ago definitely has me intrigued, and from a thematic sense fit in with what Lucas did over the six films, but even that is getting walked back a bit.

      The main problem I have is that the six films tell a complete story with the good guys winning, and the ultimate evil in the universe being defeated. Unless you are really going to push boundaries and really be challenging thematically, there’s no real motive (other than dollars) to continue the story with 7-9.

      What we’ve heard simply sounds like retreads or re-imagining. With more Han, Luke, Leia, more Stormtroopers, and X-Wings. It sounds like little more than fan servicing. Unless there’s something to the story the NEEDS to be told, I fear Episode VII will feel unnecessary.

      • Frida Nyberg Says:

        I agree and have been concerned about this ever since I first heard in 2012 that Star Wars had been sold and that they were going to make more movies.
        I-VI is a complete story, what starts in TPM ends in RoTJ when Anakin brings balance to the Force.

        I am only calmed by the fact that Lucas had planned a sequel trilogy already WAY BACK, so it’s not *just* something that some greedy people on Disney came up with in order to milk the franchise as much as they can.

  9. piccolojr1138 Says:

    I agree 100% with Brian Young. On this matter, check out this new clip : http://www.thewrap.com/star-wars-rebels-clip-shows-strong-females-scary-space-monsters-exclusive-video/

    Obviously there is an influence struggle among the new Star Wars creators. This is why SWPAS and and other PT fan pages are more important than ever !

    • Tarrlok Says:

      A derelict military base, likely Clone Wars-era judging by the red markings on the ARC-170 and LAAT.

      The sort of OOT-only fans who loathe the slightest inclusion of “prequelisms” in OT-era content might be sent apopleptic with rage. Many of them greatly dislike PT designs like the aforementioned vehicles for not being identical to the Millennium Falcon.

    • madmediaman Says:

      One thing I will say is Weisman is out at Rebels, and Henry Gilroy is in… always liked Gilroy.

    • Chris N Says:

      Unfortunately I see no struggle at all. Most of them are on the same page: an OT gushfest.

  10. Carsten Says:

    It really pisses me off that some of the people working on Star Wars hate Episodes I, II, and III. First of all, I know for a FACT that most people like both trilogies, not one or the other. The original trilogy “fans” are making Disney lean towards the original trilogy. My Star Wars bookshelf is mostly Prequel novels because those are UNDOUBTEDLY the best Star Wars books. Darth Plageuis, Attack of the Clones, Shatterpoint, Labyrinth of Evil, Revenge of the Sith, Kenobi, A New Dawn, and many more, plus the new books, are better than some Luke kid kissing his sister with a bunch of ewoks running around.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Edited for language. Please read the Rules of the House. And please remember, I still am a fan of all of Star Wars and won’t put up with across-the-board bashing.

  11. madmediaman Says:

    By the way since we are on the subject of Disney and Star Wars. Here’s my spoilerific review of Rebels Episode 2: Droids in Distress (read at your peril)

    My SPOILERIFIC Review of Star Wars Rebels Episode 2: Droids In Distress with better grammar and clarifications

    WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!! TURN BACK NOW!!!

    Well “Droids in Distress” went live tonight on the Disney XD app, and although it’s written by Greg Weisman, one of the modern giants of animated TV, this episode is a bit of a mess. It’s basically a backstory episode for Zeb, with a fairly weak plot with a last minute appearance by Agent Kallus so we get an excuse for a big fight scene at the end (otherwise Kallus literally has no point being in the story).

    [SPOILER]Basically the whole point of Kallus’ appearance from as far as I can tell was to give the “I killed your people” speech to to Zeb. Basically he’s reduced to Basil Exposition (from Austin Powers), imparting information for the audiences benefit, and to provide motive for Zeb.

    Name dropping, and guest appearances abound in this episode to the point of near distraction. Let’s see, we get:

    [SPOILER] Star Tours references complete with appearance by driod Captain Rex (complete with quasi Paul Rubens impression), of course C-3PO and R2 guest star… and later the big reveal, they were operating under the orders of… Bail Organa.

    It’s all well and good, but again it’s trying to stuff too many references into 22 minutes. Frankly the call backs and guest appearances really limit what little story there is in the episode… this probably should have been extended over two episodes.

    As it is it feels incredibly rushed.

    Quick observations:

    1) Cikatro Vizago is but a pale imitation of the always awesome Hondo Ohnaka. I actual cringed at his appearance in the episode because between the dialog and accent all I heard was Hondo.

    2) I though Kevin Kiner couldn’t possibly jam any more Williams motifs and rip more Star Wars music note for note than what he did in Spark of Rebellion… Wow was I wrong. Almost 22 minutes solid of nothing but “The Best of” hit from Star Wars. Extremely distracting at times.

    and

    [SPOILER]

    3) As if there were not enough nods to Star Wars lore, and a feeling watching the episode that Greg Weisman is sitting next to you jabbing you in the ribs every time he drops a name or geeky reference saying, “See what I did there?” The episode ends with a groaner of a line.

    Bail, with a recording disc in hand, kneels in front of R2 (again another call back as his adopted daughter will do in ANH), and says “Show me everything about the rebels.” Ahhhh see the cleverness… the show… it’s called Rebels??? He’s name dropping the title of his own show WITHIN THE SHOW. MIND BLOWN!!!!

    Gee how clever.

    *** out of ***** Entertaining, but rushed and forced in many respects.

  12. Eduardo Vargas Says:

    If I placed my two cents on this I would say that it’s mostly BS. The Wall Street Journal is notorious for poor journalism and misleading news. While it’s true that their is more of an emphasis in the OT now, it’s very clear from Rebels that the influence of the Prequel Era is fairly important to the development of the show.

    As far as the future of what the Star Wars movies has to bring, it’s too early to tell what exactly is in the bag.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      WSJ is still the most respected financial newspaper in the country. And fwiw, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times are just as bad about Star Wars and the prequels. Why, the LAT just posted a “Rebels” review that couldn’t even wait until the third sentence to start bashing the prequels.

      • madmediaman Says:

        Actually the opening sentence bashed the Prequels. When you start right there… I’m not listening. Basically I can summarize many of the glowing reviews of Rebels in three short categories:

        1) Nostalgia

        2) Nostalgia

        3) Nostalgia

        I’ve yet to see a review that doesn’t suggest that “Star Wars is back” or has “recaptured the magic.” Some people unfortunately are locked into a stasis chamber from the late 70s/early 80s. Is it cool seeing Stormtroopers and having the Empire back? Sure, but that doesn’t automatically make the show great.

        The first half of “Spark of Rebellion” has major pacing issues, and spends way too much time winking at the audience with musical nods here, a casual use of a phrase from the OT there. The plot and story are nearly lost in the nostalgia overload, fortunately the second half of the episode recovers nicely, but it’s still a mixed bag.

        I had hoped the 2nd episode, “Droids in Distress” would dial it back a notch and just spend time telling a story… unfortunately that’s not the case and the episode even manages to out-nostalgia the premiere, again to the detriment of the story. Of the 22 minutes of the episode, the first 12 minutes or so are spent on call backs to the OT. We don’t actually get to the plot until about 7 or 8 minutes remain. Kallus is almost an afterthought making the last 8 minutes frenetic in pace, but simply stuffing too much into a short dose. One of the things Clone Wars got so well is that sometimes episodes need to breath. “Droids in Distress” would have been better served as a two-parter.

        You see, I’m not interested in nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. I don’t see a need for fan service like this. If the point of Rebels is to introduce kids to the Star Wars universe they are not going to get half of the references or inside jokes any way; just tell good stories. I actually laughed my butt off when one reviewer actually suggested that the recycled use of lines from the OT was done better in Rebels than the Clone Wars because it wasn’t as obvious (yes it was)…. and basically a convoluted series of excuses all rooted in the reviewer’s nostalgia for the OT.

        At some point I hope the show grows out of these tendencies. As I’ve said in both of my reviews, Rebels is a good show, but it’s simply being held back by the new powers that be who appear to be obsessed with catering to old fans like myself. Somewhere somebody seems to be under the mistaken impression that Star Wars needs to apologize for the last 15 years. Frankly that attitude really rubs me wrong. If fans have an issue with the PT or how the franchise was handled for the last decade and a half that’s really their problem… not the Saga’s problem… a Saga which is doing just fine than you very much.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        What’s that about a blog again ;)?

      • madmediaman Says:

        Yeah, it’s time. My wife keeps pestering me to start one.

      • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

        That’s why I don’t even wait until the first sentence of these reviews/reports to stop reading.

        I don’t need to read SW media’s standardized uniform “opinion”. It’s boring for people who stopped keeping up with the times in the 80s.

      • Tarrlok Says:

        I really liked the Rebels pilot. However, if Disney tries to force Lucasfilm Animation to crudely tickle the nostalgia of OT fans at the expense of the story and characters at hand, then Rebels will go downhill fast.

        I’ve pretty much given up on reading anything the big media outlets type about Star Wars nowadays. It’s all prequel-bashing, all the time, and I’m sure as hell not going to reward them with clicks for that. Direct engagement with actual Star Wars fans, wherever they may be found – forums, smaller blogs like this – is vastly preferable.

      • madmediaman Says:

        And I finally posted. Come on over and visit:

        http://onesaga.wordpress.com

        One Saga – An Exploration of the Star Wars Saga

  13. Bryan Young Says:

    Did you see my interview with Kinberg where I ask him about the prequels?

    http://www.bigshinyrobot.com/57926/simon-kinberg-talks-star-wars/

    “But I also have a five and a nine year sons and they grew up on the prequels, especially my nine year old. And they have in some ways the same affection and even nostalgia for the prequels that I have for the originals. So that’s a part of my life too and it’s an audience that I’m aware of because I live with them. So I think if there is sort of a cross pollination of the two trilogies I don’t know that it was strategic but as a writer it was natural because of my relationship to the originals and being around now the prequels.”

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Hey Bryan! Thanks for the link to your interview; you did a good job and I enjoyed reading it. After reading the whole thing, I have to concur with the comment left by “Anonymous.” Maybe Kinberg isn’t a hater and it’s great he respects that his kids like the prequels and recognizes he has to bridge the saga as a whole, but I have to say, and many people who swing by here agree, that it’s really annoying and tiresome that the whole post Disney PR push on Star Wars is “original trilogy, original trilogy, original trilogy.” Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! I believe a lot of it is designed to appease guys like that commenter “Harry” who started arguing with “Anonymous.” It puts forth the idea that the OT is “authentic” Star Wars, while the prequels aren’t.

      • Bryan Young Says:

        Oh, I agree it’s a PR line I understand but patently disagree with. But I think Kinberg has his heart in the right place in regards to the prequels and I KNOW Filoni does. And with Leland and Pablo on the story team, I really don’t think we have anything to worry about other than the PR spin, which is easily ignored.

        Granted, it creates a narrative in the media that can be difficult to counter, but I think it’s just spin.

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