I love Star Wars. I’ve seen the original trilogy countless times – but not the original original in many years. I bought the re-releases immediately and loved them, at first. I loved the added details, and even some of the deleted scenes. I thought the Jabba scene in A New Hope was weird, but I let it slide. I missed the old celebration music at the end of Return of the Jedi, but seeing the Palpatine statue get toppled was kind of cool. Then the more I watched, the more I felt uneasy. Of course, the most egregious change was that Han shot first.
If you don’t know what “Han shot first” means, then you don’t truly love Star Wars. Find someone that does and ask them, then sit back and wait for a good 15 minute rant to ensue. I won’t go into the details, but when Lucas changed the original movie, he changed the development of one of the greatest characters in movie history. He sterilized Han and ripped out part of the heart of the movie.
It was as if Martin Scorcese decided to remake The Godfather trilogy, and decided that Michael should have Fredo beaten up and shipped to Mexico instead of having him go fishing.
Then the next trilogy came out. I remember leaving Phantom Menace a little perplexed. I felt like I liked it, but again I felt uneasy. I enjoyed the light saber battles. I enjoyed seeing a younger Yoda, but I missed him as a puppet. I couldn’t put my finger on just what was the problem, partly because there were so many of them. Yes, Jar Jar was annoying. Yes, the kid was whiny. Yes, Darth Maul was underdeveloped and dispatched much too quickly. Yes, the strange opening story that included trade embargoes and legal negotiations seemed disjointed.
Then I realized, it was the metachlorian. In the original, the Force was a mysterious, spiritual experience. “May the Force be with you,” was a spiritual salutation on par with, “Peace be with you.” If one of the characters had ever said, “And also with you,” it would have felt right. The Force was clouded in mystery, but it was attainable. “The force is strong with this one,” referred to Luke’s eagerness, inner courage, and desire for justice. The force was something that we could all tap into. It was something within reach, even if it was from a galaxy far, far away. The force was a reminder that there is something mysterious, a power that we can never truly understand.
There were theological ramifications for this. You could put away the targeting computer, and trust in something more powerful. Even in the midst of amazing technological advances, there was something more. The power to destroy planets was insignificant next to the power of the force. Isn’t this the good news of the Bible, after all?
The greatest powers on earth was Egypt, but God saved the band of rebel slaves. Then it was the Babylonians, but God was able to gather the remnant of Israel and save them. Then it was Rome. Rome had the power to destroy entire cities, but it was insignificant next to the power of grace. The Methodist in me screamed: “The Force is Prevenient Grace.” It is the power that flows through us all before we even realize it. The Force precedes even our undersanding. Stars Wars taught us that there was something beyond death that can be a source of hope, but it is the power of love that is truly the ultimate power of the universe.
Then in Phantom Menace, they pull out a syringe and count metachlorians? What the hell? Now it’s just a chemical and genetic accident? It is something that be counted, measured, and predicted? That’s just wrong. It’s wrong on so many levels in so many ways. I don’t care if it George Lucas’s movie, and he can do whatever he wants with it. If DaVinci decided he wanted to put a big cheesy grin on Mona Lisa, he would be wrong.
So here’s a parody video. It is really well done, and it sums up very well how I feel about Star Wars and George Lucas.