Friday, March 17, 2006

Star Wars: The Series Official

We all heard the rumors. We all figured it may or may not come to pass. But apparently the Lord High Jedi Lucas hath spoken and lo and behold a Star Wars TV series was recently announced.

I'm filled with mixed optimism about this. On the one hand, I can think of only a handful of canon that have actually covered the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope so it might be cool to watch the Empire consolidate its power, evil slowly take over the galaxy, and the remaining defenders fight an increasingly deadly battle.

On the other, if Lucas himself is writing this then I think it could start bad and get worse. For all the flack the fanboys give him, I still think Revenge of the Sith was a hell of a great addition/conclusion to the saga, stiltled dialogue included. There were more moments of sheer fury, emotionally painful heartbreaks, and jaw-dropping images than most other movies combined. Yet there were several moments (I'm looking at you Sam Jackson) where the film came to a screeching halt, and for that I have to thank Master Lucas for not directing actors worth a damn. I'd also like to thank all those actors for failing utterly to remember that older actors, like Ian McDiarmid himself, came from the school of thought where imagination was key. The trick was to stand alone on a barren stage and make the audience believe that what the actor "saw" was what the audience would see.

Take a comparison between Christopher Lee and McDiarmid's performances in episodes II and III and compare them with, oh, anyone else on screen at any given moment and the difference in abilities become immediately apparent. So what does all that have to do with the series?

If Lucas is truly as involved as I worry he may be, then we stand to have 100 episodes of the prequels and even a Star Wars nut like myself would find that tough to take. The original films felt lived in and worn down in a way that gave audiences the belief that no matter how outlandish the sequences on screen were, they could still reach out and touch everything they saw. The prequels were pretty much all digital so everything felt hyper-real, which made the films feel like they existed in memory only. Everything then was too clean and too pristine, and the non-stop special effects and digital imagery was a key part of that. Personally, I think it actually worked in the films' favor to go that route considering the story they were telling.

I fear the new series may rely on ILM's wizardy versus actually building some sets to give the actors and audience an association with what's on screen. But then again it's early yet. Nothing has been announced other than they're doing the show so as details trickle out we'll all go into hyperdrive analyzing them.

Because that's what we Star Wars nerds do.

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