Make ‘Star Wars’ Weird Again

A moment ago near the start of star wars: The Phantom Menace which lets you know what type of movie you are about to watch. In it, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (an anesthetized Liam Neeson) and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi (a vivacious Ewan McGregor) hide from the Trade Federation, watching their army of droids prepare to launch an invasion of the peaceful planet. , Nabou. Obi-Wan turns to Qui-Gon with a twinkle in his eye and says, “You were right about one thing, master…negotiations.” were short.”

As far as banter goes, it’s an absolute moan: tonally incongruous with what’s supposed to be a terrifying discovery, and delivered in a way that bounces off Neeson’s dead eyes with a muffled splat. It’s such a strange moment as a nest of Gundarks stretches, one of many in a trilogy that’s packed with dialogue, deliveries, and decisions that leave you wondering why on Endor you’d choose to do this As this.

That’s all that star wars should be, but will no longer be: weird.

Where George Lucas’ movies make it feel like an only child by entertainingly introducing you to their favorite action figures one by one before putting them in the microwave, Disney movies and series – including Solo, The Mandalorian, Boba Fett’s Book and Obi Wan Kenobi on Disney+ – feel like a 36-year-old advertising executive bragging about how he diversified his portfolio by investing in Funko Pops.

Say what you will about the oft-maligned prequel trilogy, they’re at least memorable. Lucas’ habit of spreading his unconscious neuroses in star wars‘every nook and cranny and gynocentric pit of Sarlacc was truly bubbling in the prequels, where he had had more time and control over this thing that had stretched beyond the confines of the franchise and into the twinkling imaginations of two generations of fans and an ever changing cultural zeitgeist. Freed from the loose gamble of big studios, Lucas was able to make movies that were decidedly his own, and he was always a very weird little guy.

That’s why the prequels, more so than the original trilogy, have an air of what I can only describe as “autistic camp” (note: I’m autistic, please don’t panic) about them. These films are the product of one person focusing on his very particular interests – street racing, dog fighting, hating US imperialism, digital cinema, Jar Jar Binks, etc. – and asks his collaborators to meet them in their personal Dagobah, as opposed to halfway. The result is a cinematic language that is truly unique to this individual’s incredibly sharp and serious idiosyncrasy.

It’s an approach carried by McGregor – who was just 27 when he was cast as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi – throughout the films. In phantom menace, the actor is a tad stiff and seems petrified. By The Clone Warsoutfitted with his iconic mullet and beard combo, he seems to have sensed a disturbance – a secret that Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and his original actor, Alec Guinness, were aware of from the start: star wars is… a bit stupid. Spending the majority of the movie talking to CGI wackadoos like Dexter Jettster and Yoda, you can literally see McGregor’s eyes struggling to find a buy in a sea of ​​green screen.

By Revenge of the Sith, there is a big change within McGregor and how he deals with his role. He’s having fun. You can tell from the moment he mutters “flying is for droids!” in the film’s frenetic opening, down to its iconic “hello!” when he confronts General Grievous. At the end of the trilogy, McGregor realized that star wars is indeed a bit silly – and quite weird, to boot. But like Yarael Poof and Sifo Diaz, that’s what makes him so interesting.

Disney’s point of view star wars features nothing close to a performance like McGregor’s, even with the Scottish actor ostensibly reprising his role in Obi Wan Kenobi. Surrounded by the doublethink of the newsgroup, the logic of the streaming service, and the (very valid) fear of a crazed fanbase, the actors act as if they’re afraid to step outside the confines of their Wookiepedia page. character. This is because, under Disney, star wars has no right to be stupid or weird. As such, it is not permitted to be star wars at all.

As Funko Pops says, every branch of Disney star wars feels cast from the same mould, despite their different layers of paint. The Mandalorian, Boba Fett’s Bookand now Obi Wan all look like a YouTube fan movie made by rich kids in Pasadena in 2007. What interesting elements there were in Dave Filoni’s animated series The Clone Wars – created before Disney in consultation with Lucas, then adopted as the basis for Disney’s iteration of the star wars universe – were pushed to their limits by current showrunner Jon Favreau and co., who lost something intangible in their attempt to “ripen” the material without explaining why.

Disney attempted to give star wars the same mush consistency of the MCU, but their attempt to clone the MCU’s trajectory was only successful insofar as they smoothed star wars to look like the MCU’s blank-faced death march, leaving him with as much personality as an extinct droideka.

In Obi Wan, it comes down to McGregor’s long-awaited return being thwarted by the brand’s insistence on universal tone, feel and texture. The star wars the shows all follow a strict (and literal) guide and share the same cameras, editing, prop makers, writers and directors. This gives them all the identity of a tribe of Jawas, the one who rubs against a star wars a fan’s whole life imagining the outer edge of this galaxy’s potential.

Nowhere do we see it more than in the looming seriousness of each show. Yes, I’m aware that Ben Kenobi now has as much, if not more, PTSD as Ben Quadinaros, but you can’t help but think that Disney forcibly suffocated McGregor with the same aura of sacrosanctity that rocked him. in phantom menace.

So much Disney star wars it looks like it was made by an algorithm as nitpicking and finicky as C3PO. It’s frozen star wars in the carbonite that’s “contained,” and rolls it around like it’s just another sucked-up bounty in his continued quest to Mickey-fy the world. To paraphrase Kenobi himself: the content is for droids. Trying to do star wars feel the same on all levels, Disney fails to grasp what makes star wars so compelling for fans and creators, and the best way to engage with it is like a playground.

It’s not like we don’t know. Before Disney, the best star wars stories were told in novels, comics and video games. For me the most exciting star wars the adaptation remains that of Genndy Tartakovsky clone wars 2003 cartoon. Tartakovsky, perhaps best known for samurai jack, Dexter’s Laboratory and its current animated masterpiece Primitive, shares with Lucas an obsession that goes beyond the content of a text and into its form. Like Lucas, Tartakovsky is as much a technician as an artist, and his vision for the franchise was grounded in his particular passions, blockages, motives and inclination for experimentation. Under Disney, this tilt is as good as bantha fodder.

Perhaps the irony of star wars to be partly responsible for the author’s death in the studio system is that the franchise cannot thrive without them. Disney seems at least vaguely aware of this. The nine animated films produced in 2021 as part of Star Wars: Visions felt like an acknowledgment of the infinite possibilities of the universe, but it was also marketed and positioned as a paddy frog snack to be washed down with their ubiquitous blue milk – just another side dish in Disney’s endless buffet of content.

it doesn’t help that star wars The stans have taken it upon themselves to function as a sort of gestapo of nerd culture, trampling on anyone or anything that tinkers with the thing that ties them back to their eternal childhood. Obi Wan seems like one more attempt to appease the unappeasable: another morsel tossed into the Rancor pit to do battle with those eternally grumpy monsters who want nothing more than to devour and roar their disapproval.

To be someone who – unfortunately – still loves star wars for all it was and all it could be, i still watch this guff hoping against hope that it will get weird and get good again, but deep down inside me meesa knows that won’t happen. Every time I engage with Disney star wars, I feel like Obi-Wan when he’s chained to the colosseum column on Geonosis and he turns to Anakin and says, “Well, I hope it doesn’t take too long.” I have work to do.”

I don’t know what Disney can do to do star wars feel like star wars Again. They might try to slip away, I heard that was a good trick. Until then, it’s poodoo all the way, okay?

@Cormac_McCafe

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