Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Secret History of Star Wars

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the george-shot-first dept.

Star Wars Prequels 569

lennier writes "How exactly did George Lucas develop the script for the first Star Wars? Why were the prequels so uneven when the originals were so good? Did he really have a masterplan for six, nine, or even twelve episodes, and why did the official Lucasfilm position keep changing? And just how big an influence were the films of Akira Kurosawa on the whole saga? Michael Kaminski's The Secret History of Star Wars, Third Edition is a free, thoroughly unauthorized, e-book that brings together a huge amount of literary detective work to sort fact from legend and reveal how the story really evolved. Download it or have your nerd credentials revoked."

cancel ×

569 comments

nerd credentials? (5, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501110)

"Download it or have your nerd credentials revoked."

I like programming in my spare time, when I'm not programming at work. But I hate Star Wars. I guess I'm just not nerdy enough.

I will have to hand write some PostScript to print my own nerd credentials and post them on my cubical wall.

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Funny)

kylehase (982334) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501144)

In addition to your credential revocation, your impressive /. ID will be reset to the current new user value.

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Funny)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501288)

124937? It's just sad what passes for impressive these days. Have you all become so jaded?!?

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Funny)

JetJaguar (1539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501324)

Yeah, I couldn't agree more.

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501424)

Do you oldfags. I mean, long time members just lurk and wait for posts like this?

Re:nerd credentials? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501554)

Oldfags? Shove it, chanfag.

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Funny)

JetJaguar (1539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501596)

Listen up, you whipper snapper! What you are witnessing is a very sophisticated and nuanced art of gamesmanship that is only understood by people with uid's less than 10,000.

So go back to sleep and let the real men get on with their business.

Re:nerd credentials? (4, Funny)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501694)

Jesus Christ, will you guys keep it down?? Some of us are trying to sleep, here. Whoever invited these guys with IDs greater than four digits needs to explain to his friends that this is not that kind of party, they need to bring their own beer, and YES, the girls will be perfectly fine until they get back from the liquor store.

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Funny)

kfort (1132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501448)

tag you're it

Re:nerd credentials? (4, Interesting)

Binkleyz (175773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501460)

Please forgive this from a mere low 6 digit...

Who are you? I am the new Number 2.
Who is Number 1? You are Number 6.
I am not a number, I am a free man!

Re:nerd credentials? (1)

irby0 (886254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501626)

Mmm; I love The Prisoner. Only one of my coworkers "gets it" when I say any of that.

Re:nerd credentials? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501500)

My /. ID is the reason that I play bowling instead of golf.

Re:nerd credentials? (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501546)

I call shenanigans! It's "bowl", not "play bowling"... You really play nethack in a dark basement, admit it.

Re:nerd credentials? (3, Funny)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501754)

You really play nethack in a dark basement, admit it.


Doesn't everyone?

Re:nerd credentials? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501620)

124973 of almost 1.3 million is pretty impressive. In the top 10%.

Re:nerd credentials? (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501260)

Anyone want to get +funny mod and tell me what geek credentials are good for?

Re:nerd credentials? (4, Funny)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501304)

Picking up women.

(... who need their computers fixed.)

Re:nerd credentials? (2, Funny)

Ai Olor-Wile (997427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501308)

Bonus points if the PostScript puts it up on the wall for you.

Re:nerd credentials? (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501660)

Bonus++ points if the PostScript builds the wall too. Oh, but what a waste of dead tree.

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501310)

I think the author of the "nerd credentials" statement should have his nerd credentials revoked, if he ever had them at all. Star wars is Dorky, not nerdy. Nerds like math, dorks like D&D. Completely different. Nerds get girlfriends due to their thirst for all knowledge and experiences, while dorks grab onto obscure games and facts, because its something that makes them difficult to quickly judge and allows them to feel superior in a field. I am a nerd, perhaps a king or duke of their kind, but I am not a dork.

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Insightful)

edcheevy (1160545) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501498)

Alternate definition: Someone who argues about the definition of nerd credentials on /. and is modded up for it, generally has nerd credentials. Welcome, o' nerdy brother!

Hooray for cos-play Star Wars (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501532)

I think Star Wars is only dorky if you dress up for it. But perhaps that is my unfair prejudice against cosplay. To the "don't knock it until you've tried it crowd" -- no thanks!

Re:nerd credentials? (4, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501590)

Oh god, the Nerd/Dork/Geek argument. We always went with nerds being unwashed, antisocial geniuses who small vaguely like cheese, and somehow manage to reference Yoda, and differential equations in every utterance. Dorks are just like nerds, but dumber. And geeks are the swashbuckling generalists who get all the chicks (er...) because they have some modicum of social skills, while still knowing their swallows apart.

By your jargon though, there still is a deep relation between nerds and dorks, since both of them are "systems" people. D&D is just another complex system to play with, just like math, code, and circuits. As is, oddly, the various nerd friendly mythologies. Both groups, by your classification, are equally likely to get the chicks... Not very. Neither math nor D&D impress many of the chicks I know.

So where does arguing over the semantics of nerdery put one?

Re:nerd credentials? (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501644)

The obvious but subtle difference is that there are no objective standards in Star Wars or D&D or Tolkien lore. It is like the humanities. Genius is recognisable, but everything else blurs together. This is not the case for math, sciences, engineering -- the "nerdy", not "dorky" subjects, by the OP's definition.

Re:nerd credentials? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501704)

ok. so where do the people who don't give a fuck about comic books, star wars/trek and anime fit in to all of this? frankly, it's one of the things that pisses me off about so-called geek culture. i like the sciences, i like technology. i'm a 30-something that anytime i mention anything along those lines along with my occupation as a systems administrator and i get these fucking freaks who come out of the woodwork and want to start talking to me about family guy or someshit. wtf?

i'm sick of geeky in the intellectual way being instantly substituted with nerdy in the comic book way.

btw: star wars blows.

Re:nerd credentials? (3, Funny)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501772)

Next thing you'll say is that you're a sysadmin who "doesn't" play Nethack

What's the world coming to, "when the world is mine, your death will be quick and painless."

Re:nerd credentials? (4, Insightful)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501678)

Oh come on, anyone who tries these little classifications... come on, face it, we're all nerds, we're all geeks, I don't really know anyone who uses the term dork any more, so perhaps that speaks volumes as to your status?

You can be a geek or a nerd or anything you like AND still have social skills...

I prefer the term geek for myself, but hey, don't get too bogged down with terms for god's sake, we all pursue things of a cerebral nature, be they maths, be they D&D, you getting so uppity with possibly being called not a nerd because you don't like Star Wars... that just shows you're just as big of a dick as the jocks who look down on all nerds and geeks and dorks, you're just refining down your scorning of people into finer subgroups.

That doesn't make you any better than the jocks, and in fact probably just a hypocrite.

Learn to be comfortable in yourself and don't mind what bucket you get thrown in this week, it doesn't matter... if you're happy with who you are and with your friends and family who gives two rat's fused arses what people call you?

Re:nerd credentials? (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501764)

Okay, now that you've explained the english language for the rest of us dorks, maybe you could add another lesson and tell us what a geek is. Inquiring minds (a.k.a. geeks) want to know.

Re:nerd credentials? (2, Interesting)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501398)

You know, I'm not a huge fan of the film, but an initial skim through the e-book and I do think I'll read it. It seems to be pretty well written, in a bloggish way. I'm all for learning more about things.

Re:nerd credentials? (5, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501548)

"I'm all for learning more about things."

Well for lunch I had some beef ball soup at TK Noodle over in Cupertino. It was pretty good, cheap and the service was slow. But otherwise satisfying. And yesterday I had to change my password at work. Damn 60-day password rotations and crazy ActiveDirectory crap. I want my 10+ character random letter and number passwords to be something I can pass down to my grandchildren. Oh and some more information, I am considering going to Muir woods, but can't decide if the memorial day weekend traffic would be bad. (I didn't even realize Memorial Day was even coming up soon). I wonder if I should hang out a flag. I'd have to buy one first (made in china).

There, you learn something every day. And just like after seeing Episode I, I want that wasted portion of my life back.

Re:nerd credentials? (2, Insightful)

brucifer (12972) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501582)

I don't know, I find that when people say they "hate Star Wars", its really just to be different. I could see not being interested in the movies, but hating them seems a little much.

Does anybody really care? (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501124)

It's just a movie.

Re:Does anybody really care? (5, Insightful)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501150)

A movie that has permeated practically every culture on the planet--Jedi is a religion in some countries; when people cup their hands over their mouth and slowly and loudly breath, people recognize it as a Vader impression; and its success made ILM, Skywalker Sound, Harrison Ford, Lucas Arts, Lucasfilm, THX, and the list goes on.

You may not like the movie, but to say it's "just a movie" is like saying "the Bible is just a book"--perhaps in some literal sense it's "a book," but it's one that has shaped the course of human history.

Re:Does anybody really care? (2, Insightful)

sir fer (1232128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501280)

A movie that has permeated practically every culture on the planet--Jedi is a religion in some countries; when people cup their hands over their mouth and slowly and loudly breath, people recognize it as a Vader impression; and its success made ILM, Skywalker Sound, Harrison Ford, Lucas Arts, Lucasfilm, THX, and the list goes on. You may not like the movie, but to say it's "just a movie" is like saying "the Bible is just a book"--perhaps in some literal sense it's "a book," but it's one that has shaped the course of human history.
Every culture on the planet? You need to get out more...

American Graffiti gave us Harrison Ford...

And don't even mention the bible. It's a bigger piece of cruft than all versions of windows multiplied together.

Re:Does anybody really care? (5, Insightful)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501558)

And don't even mention the bible. It's a bigger piece of cruft than all versions of windows multiplied together.

If you like it or not, the bible (or any other religious book) is still a piece if human history. Just because someone (ok, I think too it's bad, but:) thinks that something is bad does not revoke it's status as history.

Re:Does anybody really care? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501330)

Sheesh! Comparing the impact that Starwars movies have had and ever will have to the impact that the Bible has had is a bit of a stretch. Let's talk when millions revere Starwars 6,000 years from now. Unlikely.

I'm with the GP - I don't care.

Re:Does anybody really care? (2, Funny)

Omestes (471991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501606)

Just wait until the Star Wars Trek... Or was it the Star Trek Wars?

Oh please (2, Insightful)

Raul Acevedo (15878) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501362)

"Shaped the course of history"? Gimme a break. It IS just a movie. And yes, it has great cultural significance. But at the end of the day, has it influenced foreign policy? Have real life people been killed because of it? Are people willing to give their life, or alter their concept of what life is about in the most sacred way, because of it? Have nations altered their behavior because of it?

Star Wars is just a movie and a successful business franchise. Influential, yes, and I'm sure some souls out there fit under some category I've mentioned above, but to say that it has "shaped the course of human history" is a bit over the top.

Re:Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501392)

You're confisuing star wars with the matrix again.

Re:Oh please (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501442)

Have real life people been killed because of it?
Dude, real people have been killed because of an Xbox 360. What kind of metric is that?

Oh, and there's a military laser project named after it.

Are people willing to give their life, or alter their concept of what life is about in the most sacred way, because of it?
I'd say that's what "religion" means, and enough people call themselves Jedi to make it a religion.

to say that it has "shaped the course of human history" is a bit over the top.
Not going to debate that one, but I don't think that's what GP said:

You may not like the movie, but to say it's "just a movie" is like saying "the Bible is just a book"--perhaps in some literal sense it's "a book," but it's one that has shaped the course of human history.
So that "shaped the course of human history" is about the Bible, and why it shouldn't just be called "a book". There are other reasons that Star Wars should not just be called "a movie"...

And frankly, it's too early to tell. We've had the Bible for at least a millennium or two. We've only been able to make movies for a little over a century -- and only in color, with sound, for about half that time.

It's simply physically impossible for a movie to have had as much of a chance to become as world-changing (for better or worse) as the Bible is -- it's simply had more time.

Re:Oh please (1)

doti (966971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501576)

Dude, real people have been killed because of an Xbox 360. What kind of metric is that?
People get killed by a bottle of whiskey, by a kiss, by belonging to a prejudiced minority, and a lot of sillier motives. You're right, it's no valid metric.

Oh, and there's a military laser project named after it.
Neither is this.

enough people call themselves Jedi to make it a religion.
People calling themselves something doesn't make them so. Do they live by the Jedi rules?

It's simply physically impossible for a movie to have had as much of a chance to become as world-changing (for better or worse) as the Bible is -- it's simply had more time.
Time counts, but not on a linear scale. Modern media and communication means takes the whole process to a completely different level.

Re:Oh please (2, Insightful)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501682)

People calling themselves something doesn't make them so. Do they live by the Jedi rules?
How many Christians are Christ like? How many choose love over violence? How many people who follow an established religion actually follow it to the letter?

Re:Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501542)

Uh learn to read. He said the bible shaped the course of human history, not star wars.

Re:Oh please (2, Funny)

kungfoolery (1022787) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501706)

Exactly! Who would actually give credence to this 'star wars program'? I mean, this would be as ridiculous as striking down hypersonic projectiles down with a beam of light, or something...

Re:Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501728)

But at the end of the day, has it influenced foreign policy?
Well, it did end up lending its name to Reagan's space-based missile defense program [wikipedia.org] , so in a way, yes, it actually did.

Re:Oh please (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501758)

No, it really has shaped the course of human history. Of course, you can say that about anything (butterfly's wings causing a tornado in china blah blah) but Star Wars has had a massive cultural effect on us.

Has The Iliad changed history? Of course. Machiavelli's The Prince? What about da Vinci's Mona Lisa? What about Shakespeare and his works? Each work, whether artistic or philosophical, greatly influences later works and Star Wars (the original three) are a benchmark by which much sci-fi is compared to--even the newer, crappier three.

I doubt that hundreds of years from now history will forget Star Wars and other films. It's possible, but considering we still have Beowulf and Romeo and Juliet and such, I think it's safe to say that yes, Star Wars (whether you like it or hate it) has had a great cultural impact on us.

Re:Does anybody really care? (5, Interesting)

19061969 (939279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501454)

I think the Jedi as religion was a bit of a joke (similar to a protest vote) done for censuses. I'm not sure if people really and truly consider it as a religion.

When I was 8, Star Wars came out. I went crazy for it just like most of my friends. We really wanted to see it and queued up for hours in the rain when it finally came to our cinemas. We bought the toys, played at Star Wars in the playground, and lived and breathed it.

But finally, after a few years, we just grew up a bit more and got into other things like other movies, girls, books, drinking, working, etc. My younger brother was mad keen on the return of the jedi a few years later; for him, it was his formative film, but since then, he also has grown up and sold off his toys.

We both have soft spots for our formative films and have happy memories of watching them and playing them, but to revere them as one of the biggest global cultural events is a little bit silly. It really is just entertainment with a bit of pseudo-religious babble mixed in there. People might recognise the Darth Vader sound, but it doesn't run their lives. They don't do things like quake in terror and get shocked like I a saw a elderly French woman do when she suddenly saw a dummy dressed in an SS uniform during an exhibition once.

In all of my travels, Star Wars has changed the world only for a small handful for people. For most, it really is just a movie and nothing else.

Re:Does anybody really care? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501468)

You may not like the movie...but it's one that has shaped the course of human history.


That's such an amazing distortion of history, but I guess typical for our modern era - where most people have never so much as seen a picture of Sarah Bernhardt or Mary Pickford (much less a film of theirs), but somehow expect that their cultural icons of the day have some sort of historical importance.

The very highest achievement to history that Star Wars could realistically hope to accomplish, is as a series of trademarked characters and copyrighted adventures that are remade every so often (probably 20-30 years) to people who have likely never heard of the originals until the ad blitz for the new movies come out. It may simply end up as a footnote for being the source of the lesson of retaining and exploiting the rights to tie-in merchandise for "event" entertainment, or in some way staying in society's lexicon - despite most people having no direct exposure to it - such as the Keystone Cops movies are today.

Re:Does anybody really care? (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501648)

but to say it's "just a movie" is like saying "the Bible is just a book"--perhaps in some literal sense it's "a book," but it's one that has shaped the course of human history.

Yeah, and in the case of The Bible, not for the better.

And I love the way you name ONE ACTOR from the trilogy who went on to success... Because there aren't any others, and Harrison would have been a star with or without Star Wars I think.

Re:Does anybody really care? (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501662)

I recognised only Harrison Ford off your list... I also wouldn't recognise your impression, and I have in fact seen two Star Wars films (the first and fourth) but would never remember such a small detail.

Re:Does anybody really care? (2, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501696)

You may not like the movie, but to say it's "just a movie" is like saying "the Bible is just a book"--perhaps in some literal sense it's "a book," but it's one that has shaped the course of human history.
The bible is just a book, it's Christianity and Judaism that did all the shaping with the bible being more or less a documentation of the early days of those religions. The bible was written afterwards (ie: it documented events and didn't cause them) and was exactly widespread until the printing press a couple hundred years ago (and translations into local languages). In addition Christianity itself actually had a message and a reason behind it's existence (ie: it was I believe a counterpoint against those who wanted violent opposition to the Romans) which Star Wars effectively does not have (ie: it's popular entertainment, little else).

Re:Does anybody really care? (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501708)

You have a custome, don't you? ;)

Re:Does anybody really care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501152)

No mod points, but you deserve some.

Re:Does anybody really care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501160)


It's just a movie.

That kind of thinking exposed my mind to Jar Jar Binks.

Re:Does anybody really care? (4, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501176)

Indeed. It seems as if there is a narrow range of ages that found the original spellbinding, and I was just a few years too old. I recall seeing in in the theater when it came out and, naturally being blown away by the special effects. The audience first gasped and then cheered in the opening sequence where the ship flies overhead. But it was a fairly average movie otherwise, utterly predictable, and is still even watching it now. But guys a few years younger - sat, 10-14 years old - were absolutely transfixed and immediately started memorizing every detail. I was 17 and drove my own car to see it.

          From what I consider an objective standpoint, btw, the prequels were every bit as good story and acting-wise as the originals. Everybody hates Jar-Jar but I don't see the various cutesy robots and critters in the originals to be a lot better, and the Ewoks beat the universe part was, is, and always will be embarrassing.

          Brett

Re:Does anybody really care? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501222)

boo hiss you dare to speak the truth.

does ANYONE, if they are honest with themselfs, believe that the nerd legions were ever going to be happy with what lucas did with the 3 new movies?

His only real fault was he didn't make the first 2 more adult and dark.

Re:Does anybody really care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501286)

> naturally being blown away by the special effects

I have heard a lot of people say that, and maybe I'm the odd one out, but to me 2001 had better special effects back in '68 than Star Wars did in '77. In fact the 2001 effects still look credible today.

I saw SW in the theaters also and like it, but I don't understand how it became sort of a religion for some people. I think it was just a fun 'popcorn movie'.

Star Wars 1, 2, 3, 4,. 5, 6 (1)

Mana Mana (16072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501452)

I never can contuse my mind to, for example, compare these films as Star Wars 1, Stars Wars prequel 1, etc. When my gf starts rolling her eyes, trying to construct this marketroid/Lucas neologism I stop her, saying: You mean Star Wars 1, and Star Wars 6? When did nerds, or the plain rebellious start being spoon fed, led by the nose on something so plainly crass.

Re:Does anybody really care? (1)

Aussie (10167) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501440)

It's just a movie.
Agreed. It also isn't science fiction.

Star Wars is to SF what cargo cults are to real planes. It looks like SF from a distance but that's about all.

As Stanley Schmidt, the current editor of Analog magazine said "Star Wars is just cowboys and Indians set in space".

533 pages? (3, Informative)

kaan (88626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501154)

Way... too... long.

I'm sure there's some interesting stuff buried in there, but damn... 533 pages?

I couldn't stand episodes 1, 2 and 3, and I sure as shit don't want to read about how / why George Lucas decided to make them suck so bad. Viewing them once apiece was painful enough.

A child of Star Wars (4, Interesting)

crumbz (41803) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501158)

I saw the original Star Wars at the theater when I was six. I saw the next two, Empire and Return, on the big screen when they appeared as well. Seeing these majestic space operas as a child had a profound impact on me. These movies set the stage, along with other contemporary "childrens" novels and sci-fi of the late-70s/early 80's, of a life-long love of science fiction and fantasy fictions. More importantly, this gestalt provided a novel framework for a belief in a limitless future, a need to challenge authority and an implicit belief in the use of technology to create a better future. (Not to sound too grandiose.)

Seeing Star Wars as a child has had a lifelong effect upon me and my worldview. /Can't say the same for the prequels though...

Re:A child of Star Wars (1)

54mc (897170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501264)

And this is why, as a previous poster pointed out, that saying Star Wars is just a movie is like saying the Bible is just a book.

It has impacted countless movies, whether they admit it or not. From obvious references to the technologies and effects first employed by ILM in the trilogy, these movies have had a profound effect on film as a whole.

The effect of these movies on culture is even more unmeasurable.

A movie that has permeated practically every culture on the planet--Jedi is a religion in some countries; when people cup their hands over their mouth and slowly and loudly breath, people recognize it as a Vader impression; and its success made ILM, Skywalker Sound, Harrison Ford, Lucas Arts, Lucasfilm, THX, and the list goes on.

Re:A child of Star Wars (3, Interesting)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501370)

I was actually a "child" of 2001: A Space Odyssey, having seen it in the theater when I was six. I was profoundly fascinated by it and later when I read the book my fascination was only increased. But Star Wars was even more profound, possibly because I saw it on the big screen when I was 15 1/5, the prefect age to identify with Luke Skywalker and his desire to live a life bigger than the one he had inherited. It felt like the movie was made for me. After leaving the theater I was so affected I could barely speak for hours.

The subsequent films almost never mattered. It was the initial blast that forever sealed Star Wars as one of my top two favorite films.

Re:A child of Star Wars (1)

msormune (808119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501730)

It would make your point very much more believable, if you would actually specify just HOW Star Wars had "a lifelong effect" upon you...

Star Wars (1)

kjzk (1097265) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501196)

"The Secret History of Star Wars, Third Edition is a free"...

Finally, the long awaited 3rd edition. The first two just weren't doing it anymore.

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501208)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hidden_Fortress [wikipedia.org]

and you have the two bumbling fools, the noble princess, and the hero trekking across hostile territory, doing various good deeds and engaging in various skirmishes. the scope of the movie and the plot are completely different, but you can immediately understand why this movie was the jumping off point for the picaresque characters of C3PO and R2D2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picaresque_novel [wikipedia.org]

C3PO and R2D2, using their point of view, is really the most risky and rewarding aspect of star wars. now, i don't think lucas would ever admit it, but i think he was trying to conjure up the same sort of picaresque magic twice... with the character jar jar binks

except that character was a terrible failure, while C3PO and R2D2 are universally loved. i don't claim to understand why one worked and the other didn't, but clearly jar jar falls flat as a humours bumbling low life antidote to the otherwise deadly serious proceedings, while the two robots rocked in the same sort of role

which brings me to a final thought: movie magic isn't easy. i think a lot of fanboys need to cut lucas a break. he gave us star wars. did you forget that? ok, he fumbled with the final 3 movies. but holding him in scorn for that, while completely forgetting the first 3, is totally unfair of you. if, in your mind, you can't rise above your own frustrated expectations of the latter 3 movies to still cherish the guy for the first 3, you really are taking star wars way too seriously

oops

did i just suggest someone might take star wars too seriously? yikes, gotta run and hide now, i just awoke the rabid partisan fanboy beasts...

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501344)

C3PO and R2D2, using their point of view, is really the most risky and rewarding aspect of star wars. now, i don't think lucas would ever admit it, but i think he was trying to conjure up the same sort of picaresque magic twice... with the character jar jar binks
The devil's in the details. Just drop all the analysis for a moment and actually watch it for what's there...

Jar Jar has a high, whiny, irritating voice. He appears to be based on an incredibly offensive stereotype. He looks goofy at best. He's clumsy -- he may try to help, but if he actually does any good, it's only because of pure dumb luck. That's just off the top of my head.

Comparing him to R2 -- R2 is cute. He's got personality, despite being a machine (almost because of it), and initiative. He usually knows what's going on (moreso than 3PO), and is actually helpful.

I actually liked most of the prequels alright -- saw the first when I was young enough to enjoy it (even Jar Jar), and didn't have high hopes for the second and third (by then I was old enough to hate Jar Jar). There were a few really horrible moments, and also a few moments worth watching.

But it does say something when Ryan vs Dorkman [ryanvsdorkman.com] is more fun to watch than most of the lightsaber duels in the actual movies.

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501388)

C3PO and R2D2, using their point of view, is really the most risky and rewarding aspect of star wars. now, i don't think lucas would ever admit it, but i think he was trying to conjure up the same sort of picaresque magic twice... with the character jar jar binks

I always really enjoyed this aspect of the original trilogy, the following of the two droids, though I never knew where the inspiration had come from. And, when the new movies were announced, I was really hoping that Lucas would do the same. He didn't need a new character for that since C3PO and R2D2 are in them as well. Plus, it would have added some uniformity to the style if all six movies had been done in such a manner.

which brings me to a final thought: movie magic isn't easy. i think a lot of fanboys need to cut lucas a break. he gave us star wars. did you forget that? ok, he fumbled with the final 3 movies. but holding him in scorn for that, while

I certainly don't hate Lucas for that. In the same vein, people seem to heap an awful lot of scorn on Mel Brooks because some of his newer movies don't have quite the same magic as Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein; as though he should keep up with the masterpieces or quit the business altogether.

Part of Lucas' problem, though, is that the fame and fortune seem to have gone to his head. I recall reading that, initially, Lucas was planning to direct the first movie and then have others direct the next two, just as he had done with the originals. Why did he scrap that idea? It seems like a winning formula for the originals.

And I still have a hard time with Jar-Jar and the kid who played Anakin. Especially the kid. Just superbly terrible acting. Luke was whiny, yeah, but Anakin was dreadful. Surely there must have been people working on the movie and for Lucas who pointed this out to him.

But, overall, I still enjoy the movies... the original trilogy more than the new ones, though. And a lot of people will be enjoying them for decades to come. That's not a bad achievement.

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501478)

people seem to heap an awful lot of scorn on Mel Brooks because some of his newer movies don't have quite the same magic as Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein
Weird. I saw Blazing Saddles recently, and it just didn't seem that funny. It was alright, but it seemed to hover somewhere between silly and boring, and was only occasionally brilliant. Maybe you have to be a certain age -- saw Robin Hood (Men in Tights) when I was much younger, and loved it.

Same with Spaceballs, which brings us back on topic...

the kid who played Anakin. Especially the kid. Just superbly terrible acting. Luke was whiny, yeah, but Anakin was dreadful.
Yes, it was painful to watch, which doesn't really make for a good movie. But it was also damned realistic.

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501408)

Well.. perhaps because the robots didn't *bumble*

I suppose you could argue that C-3PO did some bumbling, but it was pretty quick and typically involved disassembly on his part rather than just getting hit on the noggin and mugging the camera.

And anyway, goldenrod was only even there to give a exposition for the mute clown*, R-2D2. *almost harlequin, if you read too much into it (you can map almost anything onto commedia dell'arte if you're not careful)

I think you're right though. In the prime-three, he polished some rocks and got diamonds. In the "first" three, he went looking for diamonds and found glass.

jazzyjrw (950758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501432)

The thing that annoyed me the most about Jar-Jar was his cowardice. C3P0 and R2D2 display many brave acts of heroism throughout the series (despite the complaints from C3P0), but Jar-Jar's "triumph" is the result of his clumsiness while he was running away from battle. For which he subsequently receives a medal! It's hard to have much admiration for him.

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501490)

C3PO and R2D2's limitations are accepted and embraced because it's limits of their DESIGN, they're machines. Which incidentally are limitations they find ways to exceed. Jar-Jar is a CGI minstrel, and not the wandering bard. Jar-Jar isn't a fish out of water, trapped and challenged by circumstances, he's garbage out of a dump. The mystery is solved because at the outset Lucas had to hire and collaborate and sometimes deffer to talent. No such burden exists once you're worth a couple of billion. Lucas famously thought the people he has making Empire Strikes Back were ruining his movie, the result is the concensus best. Perhaps that's not a coincidence.

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501552)

Because Jar Jar was a horribly offensive Blackface parody.

Also because R2D2 is a perv. Clearly. Which makes him awesome.

phantomfive (622387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501604)

Well, everyone has their theory, but I think part of it was there were two of them. It wouldn't be funny if it were just Laurel, you have to have Hardy as well. It's just harder to have one person carry the comic load of an entire movie.

Benaiah (851593) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501650)

Its because George Lucas wrote the first movie as a man full of angst. Obviously the eyes he used to see the world was tainted by experience with working with kids on the street. Han-Solo, the shoot first ask questions later, Darth killing enemies and allies alike, torture, the destruction of an entire planet, (and then all of the poor subcontractors working on the Death Star.)
Then he made the last 3 movies a happy man without a care in the world. He did it for the fans. He had no fire burning in his heart when he did it and it shows.

"Seven Samurai" references too? (3, Interesting)

Erandir (578490) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501664)

I found Episode III very reminiscent of Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" [wikipedia.org] (by the same Japanese director that made The Hidden Fortress [wikipedia.org] .)

Both movies feature a chivalrous order that has outlived its time, and is defeated by opponents more willing to apply ruthless methods. In Seven Samurai, none of the Samurai die by the sword -- all are shot. In Revenge of the Sith, the same happens to the Jedi: they are defeated not by the Sith as dark counterparts of the Jedi, but are shot down mercilessly.

Given the strong influence Kurosawa had on Lucus, I think one would find many similar themes echoed throughout all six episodes of Star Wars.

Cult of Lucas. I don't get it. (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501216)

I enjoyed the original and Empire (though Empire felt like it had been cut short). I didn't think much of Ewok-ladden strikes back. The prequels got progressively worse. I was downright disappointed at how lousy the story was given that with the potential it had it should have been powerful and epic. I've even read a couple of novels.

What I don't get is the obsession with how ti was made. Clearly for the first couple of films the right people were in the right place at the right time. I don't think it was all Lucas by any stretch of the imagination and it's only those 2 films that I'd call good at all, so this idea of Lucas as genius with grand plans and grand vision just doesn't appeal to me. In fact unless you're in the movie business I fail to see how it can hold more than a passing interest. I'd rather watch paint dry than read this ebook cover to cover. I just don't care. I accept that Lucas is a hack who had a miracle year (or two).

Likewise with the actors. I don't mind Harrison Ford (even if he's getting worse not better as he gets older...Airforce One? What was he thinking!?) but Mark Hammil and Carrie Fisher weren't exactly any good.

As for continuity? Please! One minute Luke and Leia are about to get hot and heavy, and the next we're told they're brother and sister. Vader as Luke's father was unlikely though plausible, that is until the pathetic explanation that was Episode 3.

Re:Cult of Lucas. I don't get it. (4, Interesting)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501248)

As for continuity? Please! One minute Luke and Leia are about to get hot and heavy, and the next we're told they're brother and sister.

No. The next minute, THEY are told they are brother and sister. Big difference.

Re:Cult of Lucas. I don't get it. (3, Funny)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501364)

The way Obi-Wan looks at Luke when he first sees the holo recording from Leia makes a lot more sense when you find out they're brother and sister.

Re:Cult of Lucas. I don't get it. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501384)

Clearly for the first couple of films the right people were in the right place at the right time.
Actually, what I loved about the first few films was how clever they were, especially the first one. I don't know if they were actually low-budget, but they looked like it -- in some scenes, the landspeeder was a decorated car, with the wheels removed by smearing vaseline on the film.

My guess is, there wasn't that much of a budget for the first movie. But I don't know, I'm not reading the book either.

Mark Hammil and Carrie Fisher weren't exactly any good.
Alec Guinness was pretty damned good, though.

As for continuity? Please! One minute Luke and Leia are about to get hot and heavy, and the next we're told they're brother and sister.
...which they didn't know. Retconning? Maybe. But absolutely consistent, if a bit gross.

Vader as Luke's father was unlikely though plausible, that is until the pathetic explanation that was Episode 3.
And what's pathetic about that, exactly?

Re:Cult of Lucas. I don't get it. (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501510)

My guess is, there wasn't that much of a budget for the first movie.

There was definitely some sort of budget. I watched this "making of Star Wars" video some time ago, and it had footage that showed how they made the original Death Star photon-torpedo-up-the-exhaust-port scene -- basically, the SFX guys painstakingly made miniature models of TIE-Fighters, X-Wings, and the surface of the Death Star itself (which was built on top of a long table). Then they wired up little firecrackers to the models, and ran them down the trench on thin wires, in front of a blue-screen and next to a camera that was on a track. The parts of the Death Star and the fighters that got blown up were all exploded with push-button remote fuses and the stars/lasers were edited in after shooting.

I'm not sure how much that cost to set up, but I bet it took a lot of model paint and a lot of painstaking man-hours. Ahhh, before CG!

Re:Cult of Lucas. I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501530)

Likewise with the actors. I don't mind Harrison Ford (even if he's getting worse not better as he gets older...Airforce One? What was he thinking!?)
it is even more sad to compare the earlier work of the director of Air Force One (e.g., Das Boot).

Re:Cult of Lucas. I don't get it. (1)

prbt (651156) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501714)

Ah, I think you've both missed the trick of AF1. It's a send-up of the genre. It's subtle, I grant you that, but I've seen it a few times now, and I'm convinced that they were trying to make a film that played on two levels - the blustering OTT thrill-fest, and a piss-take. If you don't believe me, watch the DVD with the 'pop-up trivia' turned on...

But does it explain... (1, Interesting)

mauthbaux (652274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501256)

why on earth jar-jar was allowed more than 3 seconds of screen time?

No, I still haven't gotten over the wanton abuse of my childhood memories.

Re:But does it explain... (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501342)

why on earth jar-jar was allowed more than 3 seconds of screen time?

Lucas should have taken advantage of the JJ hatred and turned him into an accident-prone character who gets his tongue caught in food processors, gets hit by meteorites or low-flying ships, etc.; sort of like the intergalactic Wiley Coyote. People would cheer everytime he got it.
     

Re:But does it explain... (2, Insightful)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501470)

I think it would have been much funnier if he was just generally portrayed as clumsy (like he already was), and then got killed instantly in a single accident, by doing something patently stupid, like walking onto a pod racing track, or walking up to a ship afterburner immediately before it took off. It would elicit a single, epic cheer from every fan.

"Prequels" not good? (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501270)

Why were the prequels so uneven when the originals were so good?

because those prequels are actually sequels. You know, they were actually made *after* the originals. Like all sequels, they are attempts to milk the cash cow created by the original franchise, i.e. ensure money will be made on the sequels just by vertue of the movie's name. And in many cases, the moviemaker thinks the name alone is enough, and forgets to make the sequel original or exciting because he has cold feets he didn't have when he made the first incarnation.

Examples of good movies with bad sequels:

Matrix
Rambo
Rocky ... shall I go on? you know them.

Re:"Prequels" not good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501458)

Do you mean Rambo or First Blood?

Re:"Prequels" not good? (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501544)

Like all sequels, they are attempts to milk the cash cow created by the original franchise
Not all sequels. Stargate wasn't that great of a movie, and I'm guessing wasn't that popular -- but SG-1 became a much better show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an incredibly campy, shallow movie, but the TV series actually had depth. (In this case, likely because the writer had much more creative control over the series.)

And not really in the same league, but I don't think anyone would call Serenity worse than Firefly.

Chronicles of Riddick -- it's not as if Pitch Black was a particularly good or well-known movie. It wasn't even promoted as a sequel that way. Not saying Riddick was great, but it was better than Pitch Black. But that defies stereotypes anyway -- there was a kind of ok anime, but the best was the videogame.

One more, while I'm at it: Star Trek. Even numbered movies vs odd.

Matrix
I actually didn't think the sequels were that bad. In particular, I think what was probably needed was some serious budget cuts and an editor -- the version we saw in the theaters resembles a "Director's Cut".

Trim down the absurdly long action scenes, trim down the rambling dialog, and they could actually be good. Want to see the original be bad? Play the Path of Neo videogame.

Then again, the biggest problem is that it's exactly the same story they told with the original -- The One slowly wakes up, discovers a bigger world, gains new powers, and in the last few minutes of the movie, he has an epiphany and simply solves the problem, Deus Ex Machina style. (The Machine swarm consciousness is even credited as Deus Ex Machina.)

Re:"Prequels" not good? (3, Insightful)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501572)

Because Lucas was involved. He had intelligent people willing to tell him to keep his hands off of SW and ESB. The skill of the directors of those films (who are not george lucas) shines through. Lucas is a lousy director, a hack writer, but a very successful businessman.

Its all in the OUT OF PRINT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501350)

Don't confuse OUT OF PRINT with secrets... ehehhe

its all in a book series, but we read them all to death and nobody will reprint them

"Impressive, most impressive..." (4, Informative)

Schmiggy_JK (867785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501368)

This is a huge compilation of information here. There are many quality books that would run you $10-50 in the Star Wars world that don't even touch the depth of this content. Congrats to Michael Kaminski offering up his time, bandwidth, and his love of the series for other fans to enjoy with no cost. I will definitely take the time to read through this, even though being a SW nut myself, I probably know over half of it. If only I could print it out for toilet reading... I don't think I have that much paper laying around. :)

Hope they've mentioned JC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23501400)

Joseph Campbell has drawn similarities among the mythic images from diverse cultures - a quest with a lot at stake, adventures during the quest, a final showdown between good and evil, etc...and he was consulted when the seeds of the original StarWars trilogy were being planted by Lucas.

Star Wars; breakable like Firefly (5, Insightful)

Yergle143 (848772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501462)

Unlike those plastic action figures that emerged to commercialize the world forever, 'Star Wars' was an organically fallible piece much more in common with 'American Graffiti' than the blockbuster c--- that has dominated the last 30 years. I was a kid in the seats in 1977 and what captured my heart at the time was the gritty broken chaotic mess of the first film. Droids break, spaceships fragment, bizzare languages permeate every scene, plans go spectacularly awry. Even a kid could see that this was life. Spielberg used to capture this spirit in those wonderful scenes where everybody is talking at once; dialog that doesn't translate to the international export market. We all know, the true sequel of Star Wars is 'Firefly.' ---537

Re:Star Wars; breakable like Firefly (5, Interesting)

Phics (934282) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501756)

That was part of the charm of the original trilogy, and something that largely seemed to be absent from the prequels - Lucas' idea of the 'used future'. Ships were ruddy and worn. Decks were scratched. Hulls were scored with carbon from blasters and battle. Even uniforms were marked up.

This was a very new thing for space films - this was no Flash Gordon show.

Still, when you look at the remake of Episode IV, check out the stormtroopers who were added in on Tatooine. They really lose that 'used' feel. Now check out Episode I. When did we ever see a glossy mirror-like spaceship in the original trilogy? Everything looks contrived - even the planet of Naboo looks far too pristine to be a credible part of the Star Wars universe.

The characters are the same way. Where are the grungy smugglers and seedy characters which gave Star Wars its intrigue and appeal? Sure, there were some obvious attempts, but they just didn't come close.

But having said all that, I agree with you. Firefly was a noble attempt to bring back some of that rustic grubby swashbuckling fun that made Star Wars so fascinating.

Dude, where's my Jar Jar? (2, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501480)

Why were the prequels so uneven when the originals were so good?

By the time the prequels were made, Lucas could afford good Crack and Weed.
(How else does one explain Jar Jar? "Meesa so high...")

I don't know if its the writing style or what... (4, Funny)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501494)

But was anyone able to get past the introduction without the whole thing starting to narrate in ones head with the Simpson's Comic Book guy voice?

Do I get to keep my geek card? (0, Troll)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23501586)

Considering my raw hatred of D&D, role playing, cosplay, and various other nerd behaviors, I burned by nerd card around the time I decided that academic performance was for suckers and was also eating into my coding time.

As long as I keep my geek card with its C endorsement for coding, I could care less about Star Wars. Although, Lando is still awesome -- he has a cloud city! How fucking cool is that?

Let me know when you have a secret history of Firefly. I might be able to feign interest in that, what with the significantly hotter chicks in it.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...