It seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. This week “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens in theaters around the world (and advanced ticket sales surged past $100 million several days ago, setting a new record). And fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and George Lucas are constantly comparing their stories, partly because Lucas borrowed some ideas from Tolkien and partly because that is what science fiction and fantasy fans do. So I decided to take a new look at the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings tales side-by-side.
The newest article on the Middle-earth Blog is titled “How Is Star Wars Like The Lord of the Rings” and because I have read many of the same heavily repeated points that you have, I tried to share new ideas you probably have not yet seen. This may be a little too much like a literature class essay but both stories are well worth exploring.
But that’s not all. I sometimes write for a blog called Top Ten Topia and there I shared “Ten Unforgettable Star Wars Movies Moments” that have resonated with me through the years. I didn’t want to label it a “top ten” post but if you are going to write for Top Ten Topia you are kind of expected to come up with ten bullet points.
It was pretty easy to think of ten unforgettable moments in the Star Wars movies.
And now that George Lucas is officially no longer involved in telling the Star Wars saga I think we’ll see some new respect for him among science fiction and fantasy fans. It will take time for that respect to grow. People have been trashing Star Wars for a long time, especially the Prequel Trilogy (especially “The Phantom Menace”, which is the most popular of all six George Lucas Star Wars films).
The trash talk will probably never go away but the reality is that most fans disagree with it. They just choose to continue buying Star Wars movies and merchandise and ignoring the film snobs who think they know better. I, personally, love Jar Jar Binks and I am not afraid to say so. More importantly, I acknowledge that money talks and bullshit trash talks. The buying public’s choices reflect what resonates most with people in the Art; it’s not the other way around.
I don’t expect J.J. Abrams to “ruin” Star Wars. I have been an Abrams fan for a long, long time and I am pumped and ready to see this movie on Friday. I am encouraged by the positive response it has received from many people. But I am also prepared for a new kind of Star Wars. This won’t be Lucas’ Star Wars. He has already told the media he stopped supporting the franchise because he didn’t feel the Disney Company understood what it was all about.
Star Wars is a soap opera. It’s a family saga. Abrams may or may not be able to continue that saga but he’ll definitely kickstart the franchise and give it the kind of send-off that Disney is hoping for. It will then be up to Disney not to repeat Lucas’ mistakes and make the sequels to this first movie suck (both “Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope” and “Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace” outperformed their in-trilogy successors).
Since we already know we’re looking at a new trilogy we have to hope that Episode VIII won’t be terrible. “The Empire Strikes Back” was the worst of all six George Lucas Star Wars movies and “Attack of the Clones” was, for me, about as bad. Some people like these movies, just as some people hate “The Phantom Menace”. I am sure I will love “The Force Awakens” but I’m trying to keep my expectations from blinding me to what I would normally like or hate.