A movie comes out today, a small little thing that may have slipped past your notice. A few people might go and see it.
The release of the first new Star Wars movie in many years makes today something of a geek holiday, but amid all the glee and celebrating the movie is going to be something else. Something far less positive: incessant bitching about what an awful person George Lucas is.
Because on the Internet, no mention of Star Wars is complete without also mentioning how George Lucas, the man who created Star Wars, ruined everything you hold dear by being the worst person in the world.
I’d say that has gotten old, but it got old years ago.
Instead, I’ll say that it’s not only unfair, it’s disheartening to see.
When I see interviews like this, I genuinely empathize with the guy. The way he is now savaged is merciless and cruel, especially given all the joy his creation has given people. Every time the guy’s name comes up online it sparks an instant circle jerk about what an evil childhood memory-raping demon he is, how he should never be allowed to do anything related to Star Wars ever again, etc. The rants and raves are legion. People devote their time creating art about their hate. (Yes, that depicts George Lucas being murdered.)
Even articles about his billion dollar charitable efforts are quickly followed by bitchfests in the comments! My god, people, give it a rest already!
And why? Because the prequels failed to live up to expectations and because of a few misguided changes in the special editions.
So he made a few later installments of his franchise that couldn’t measure up to the originals. So what? Take a pass on them and move on. He’s not the first to make some so/so (or even bad) movies. Big deal. A subpar movie is harmless.
Because he decided Greedo shooting first is more in keeping with Han Solo as he wants him to be? Big frickin’ deal. Yeah, I disagree with him on that, but whatever. It’s hardly worth ranting about, and it sure as hell isn’t worth holding a grudge over.
But the Internet has turned every mention of his name into a hateful bitchfest. It grew to such a fever pitch, and one sustained over many years, that the sentiment has resulted in documentaries about the phenomenon. People even invent stupid reasons to dislike him just to keep the circlejerk going.
Can you imagine that as your fate? Create one of the most beloved pieces of pop entertainment of the last 100 years and at the same time become the whipping boy for millions of frustrated geeks everywhere.
Look, I can complain about the prequels with the best of them. Yeah, they’re deeply flawed. But that’s a completely separate discussion, and one that has been had to death already, anyway. (Besides, if you ever catch me nitpicking for two hours like that obnoxious dope at Red Letter Media, hit me with a tire iron. I’d deserve it.)
Some of George Lucas’s recent interviews make me sad. He knows. He knows what people say about him. He knows that he is the Internet’s biggest whipping boy. The man has become a punchline for a bunch of people who have hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars of merchandise built around HIS creation. He is widely scorned and he knows it.
What a bizarre situation. Mention his beloved work and countless people will offer only one thing: frothing rage and boiling bitterness. Every discussion is derailed by it. You can set your watch to it.
Prequels or no prequels, GEORGE frickin’ LUCAS deserves better than that. Even if he didn’t create STAR WARS — Star Wars, people, that thing you and I love so much! — he also seems to be a genuinely good man who treats people well and who will leave behind a legacy of giving (not to mention frickin’ Star Wars!).
In a world where it’s sometimes easy to think that good people are becoming a rarity, that ought to be worth something.
My thanks to Zaki Hasan and his team at The MovieFilm Podcast for inspiring this post. The above began as a simple Facebook comment to a friend, but their kind comments inspired me to expand it and share it with everyone. Go listen to their podcast and their Star Wars commentary! Both are wonderful!