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Is George Lucas a reliable narrator?

Discussion in 'Disney/LFL' started by bferr1972, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. bferr1972

    bferr1972 Rebel Official

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    Bear with me, please. This is the first thread I've ever created here.

    So, I saw this recent HelloGreedo video the other night where he was trying to place midi-chlorians in context of the new canon 20 years after TPM's release. It kind of blew my mind, but not for a good reason. In the video, HelloGreedo mentions a quote attributed to George Lucas from '77 about the Force (first published in the 2007 "Making of Star Wars" book by J.W. Rinzler) wherein Lucas refers to midi-chlorians by name. Again, it's presented in the book as an original quote from way back in 1977.

    "It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different; they have more midi-chlorians in their cells."

    Screenrant even posted an article about that quote nearly a year ago, November 2018, making it look very official.

    However, as HelloGreedo points out in his video, the Star Wars official web site posted an article way back in 2013 about midi-chlorians, five yeas before the Screenrant article. It contained the following disclaimer: [Please note: While we were preparing the text for The Making of Star Wars, Lucas added a note to this passage about midi-chlorians, bringing his original words in line with his later thoughts and the events of the prequel trilogy.]

    In other words, he "Special Editioned" his own quote! What the actual eff? Why would someone do that?

    By the end of his video, HelloGredo raises the question: If this so-called "definitive" book abut the making of the movie has that kind of intentional misrepresentation in it, what else does it misrepresent? A really good question, I thought.

    Further, we know that Lucas claims the original negatives for the OT no longer exist. He's also made the dubious claim that many of the 1997 SE changes were done in order to correct for limitations in VFX from back in the day, yet there were additional editorial/VFX changes were done in 2004 and 2011 without further explanation. And lately, it's become fashionable for some fans to defend George during the Disney era due to broken promises and unproduced story treatments for the ST.

    But I find myself really troubled by that whole midi-chlorian quote manipulation fiasco. It illustrates to me the absurd lengths Lucas has gone to control the behind-the-scenes narrative, and it's left me wondering if he can still be taken at his word whenever stuff like this comes up.

    I think it's a really good question to discuss with fellow fans here. What do you think?

     
    #1 bferr1972, Oct 20, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  2. Kato Sai

    Kato Sai Force Sensitive

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    To quote Harrison Ford: “George, you can write this stuff (expletive) but you can’t say it.” GL has changed his mind on The Force so many times. First it was simply a supernatural power, like Merlin’s magic and a spirituality that any person could insert theirs into. Then it became midichlorian lifeforms in living cells (Scientology). Then it became an eastern philosphy of balance, Yin and Yang. Now Post-Modernism has had a voice in TLJ and moving past Jedi and Sith. I think GL should have left it as it was, the supernatural power that anyone can interpret via their beliefs; because the whole Jed’aii idea of Balance between Light and Dark doesn’t work if you want good to triumph over evil. Why say there are sides, Light and Dark Side, if you are going to say “we need balance, equal light and dark.” That reasoning would lead to The Republic and First Order both co-existing, since you need balance.
     
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  3. KesselRunner

    KesselRunner Rebel General

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    I see it differently. I am a writer, and I understand that as part of crafting a story, a writer often changes their mind about things, even when it comes to integral parts of the narrative. Things rarely ever end up the way it was originally planned. Stories can go through many iterations between the first draft and the published work, and even after. As in books where you might have abridged versions or 2nd or 3rd editions over time, just because something has been published doesn't mean it's finished. :D

    It's simply what writers do, it's not malicious. I really have no problem with Lucas changing his mind about how the Force works. Maybe it's my easygoing and forgiving nature, but I'm always willing to give a writer the benefit of the doubt. ;)
     
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  4. Rodney-2187

    Rodney-2187 Jedi General

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    I don't have a problem if Lucas wanted to tweak a few things over the years as he continued writing his story, but editing quotes from 1977 to include words like midichlorians for the Rinzler book to establish a false narrative is disingenuous to me. The description of Jabba was also changed. He wasn't always referred to as a slug like creature. Some of the "making-of" and "art-of" books about the original trilogy use pics from the special edition.

    Nothing is perfect. History doesn't have to be re-written. To me, one of the greatest things about the Original Trilogy is how much they achieved with what they were working with back then. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Those movies are a triumph, a truly significant cinematic achievement and a genuinely important piece of cultural history. I love those original special effects and I don't care if the idea of Jabba changed over time, or Lucas had new ideas about what the Force is. I wish the history was more reflective of 1977.

    I love George Lucas. He created my favorite movie franchise and imagined an entire galaxy for it. I think it's disheartening to hear some of the things he has said about the Originals over the years, but you don't have to agree with everything someone says or does to appreciate and respect them.
     
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  5. CTrent29

    CTrent29 Rebel Official

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    George Lucas is a lot like these other creators or TV show runners. It's best to judge what is shown on the screen, instead of what they say. However, I think he is a lot more reliable than the current Disney and Lucasfilm suits.

    As for the original version v. the Special Edition version of the OT . . . I don't care. If I must be honest. I prefer to watch the Special Editions anyway. I don't understand why so many people are still getting their undies in a twist over the midichlorians. I understood what they were about when I first saw "The Phantom Menace". And I still understand how they also served as a theme for the relationship between the Nabooans and the Gungans in that film. And yet . . . people are still claiming that they are supposed to represent the Force.
     
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  6. bferr1972

    bferr1972 Rebel Official

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    The creative process is one thing, and no one disputes how that process evolves over time. What troubles me, as Rodney-2187 puts it, is the disingenuous nature of the false narrative that GL has developed over the years. If things were as meticulously planned out in advance as he claims, then why has the intended number of episodes in the Saga varied widely over the years from as few as six to as many as twelve?

    Why bother with the false narrative at all, except to add some kind of fleeting validity to later works that he thinks is somehow missing?
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 20, 2019, Original Post Date: Oct 20, 2019 ---
    Don't get me wrong-- I'm an OT kid born in '72, but I never had any issue with midi-chlorians. I understood immediately what their purpose was-- it explains Luke's line in ROTJ: "The Force runs strong in my family. My father has it, I have it, my sister has it." Now we know why. It also explains why someone like Han could never become a Jedi; in my mind, there are a few "midi-chlorian-positive" people who are Force-sensitive, and all the rest are "midi-chlorian-negative." That places a significant limiting factor on Force-sensitive types and explains how an order built on its practice could be systematically wiped out of the galaxy in a relatively short period of time.

    All that said, just don't try to tell me it existed as a concept way back in '77, George, if it actually didn't.
     
    #6 bferr1972, Oct 20, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  7. Kato Sai

    Kato Sai Force Sensitive

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    GL was the Maker, and for that he deserves respect. However, good writers don’t change principles, physics, and parts of their story to such excess that it seems bipolar or to demean what came before. Good story telling allows for some evolution of an idea that does not compromise the earlier parts of the tale. Alas, the days of tight writing “are at an end,” and instead the fallback is fo say “this is parallel universe,” “alternate reality,” or “reimahining” so as to not bother with writing a cohesive continuation of the story.
     
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  8. KesselRunner

    KesselRunner Rebel General

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    That also speaks toward the creative process. For myself, I'm in the process of planning out and writing a series of novels. At this point, I have no idea how many novels I'll need to write to finish my story. Anywhere from three to seven. I've even considered consolidating it to a single novel.

    That's the trouble with "speaking too soon" as Lucas has sometimes been guilty of in the past. ;) I could say that I'm going to write five novels and that's all there will be, but things could change down the line and turn me into a liar.
     
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  9. Darth Goon

    Darth Goon Clone Trooper

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    Times change, values change, culture continues to evolve. Seems like GL likes to retcon a fair bit. Reminds of JK Rowling retconning gay Dumbledore.
     
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