Monday, August 16, 2010

Two bits of Star Wars-ness

Happy Monday to you! My weekend, while delightful and eventful, was also exhausting again. I'm doing something wrong when I feel MORE tired on Sunday than on Friday, right? But such is life, and all we can do is endure as best we can. That's my motto these days "live to see tomorrow." It's uplifting no? Speaking of uplifting, I have two quick Star Wars related goodies for you today, one of which is not a goodie at all but a very big baddie. You remember Star Wars toys, right?
Two things: (1) I think for a large swath of boys, these are the first toys we remember. God I loved them so much, going so far as to collect the necessary proofs of purchase for the genital-faced Nien Numb. I wore the paint off of most of them I played with them so hard, as they survived the Tattooine that was my sandbox, the Hoth of every winter, and the Degobah of my bathtub. (2) They ruined everything forever. Why? Because it was the first time the merchandise outsold the movie. George Lucas realized he could make more money from the cheap plastic toys than from creating compelling films, and a monster was born. Don't take my word on it, Gary Kurtz, the creative partner who got left behind after a rift sometime after Empire Strikes Back, told the LA Times some crazy stuff about how Lucas flat-out let TOYS determine the course of the franchise. The most notable comments:
"We had an outline and George changed everything in it…Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason."
Ouch. Now, as much as part of me would have been wounded to see Han die, wow would it have been moving. You always knew the G.D. Ewoks were made because he wanted to make some sweet, sweet teddy bear money, but the fact that story decisions were based on that is just depressing.

The second bit is less depressing. At the Star Wars event this week, they showed off a deleted scene from The Return of the Jedi. No, it's not the one where a stormtrooper takes off his helmet and yells "are we seriously being beaten back by furry midgets with sticks? Um, why are we not shooting the crap out of them again? This is like if gophers suddenly decided to win the Civil War." It's this one:


Oooh, did you see the way he...screwed the screw in? I do like how much it looks like the Emperor there, reminding me how unfortunately creepy Mark Hamil's face got after his accident. It's funny because as much as we bitch and moan, as much as we want to turn against the franchise entirely, we see a lightsaber switch on and have a Pavlovian response to squeal with joy. It's kind of hilarious, isn't it?

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