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When did Star Wars stop being fun? (aka, the Anti-Correct Viewing Order thread)

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I went back and read an old thread of the "correct" reading order of all the novels as well as the current thread of the "correct" viewing order of the movies et al, and just got depressed.  Trying to keep up on the dozen or so TV and film projects, the hundred or so novels and the hundreds of comics, not to mention the card games and video games is just too much work.  It really sucks the fun out of being a fan of Star Wars. 

To me, there are two issues that spoil my fun.  First is the tendency for the official movies as well as the so-called expanded universe to shrink in size the more material is produced.  If it turns out that Anakin 'created' C-3PO and then 'created' Luke, this makes Luke and C-3PO brothers of sorts.  So when Luke buys the droids on Tatooine, it is a family reunion for Luke and a homecoming for 3PO who used to live there back before the clone wars.  It is just too much of a coincidence and really taxes the believability of the movies.  It reminds me of the TV show Heroes, where a group of people about wreck the world and their children are brought together by fate to right the wrongs that their parents did.  It made the Heroes characters live in a small world.

Second, the tendencies of the books and other stories to fill in every single detail of the movies.  Knowing that every single character in the Mos Eisley cantina has an exciting, adventurous back story really doesn't help me enjoy the movie.  It makes the movies a bit suffocating.  I liked following the story of a farm boy who gets caught up in an adventure and ends up saving the galaxy.  The idea that everyone around him is also involved in huge adventures kind of cheapens the heroes call to adventure.

With so much out there, it really seems to discourage a fan from using his own imagination to create his own stories in the cool worlds George created in '77 (and beyond).  I really liked letting my imagination run when it wasn't trying to be smothered by an official 'canon'.

What's your opinion?  I think less is definitely more.  Is more more?  Or how much is too much?

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Why not just create your own continuity, through selection and editing? That's what I'm doing - hell that's even what I did with Batman - I made my own continuity out of select comics, shows, games and movies that make sense and that flow - some parts through flashback, others through chronology.

In terms of SW, I used to follow ever single bit of EU out there, until I realized how retarded a lot of it was... so I made my own continuity and I started editing the films (even before "Renascent" - they just weren't good enough to release).Why complain about something when you can make it worth loving? Unhappiness is just a self-inflicted state of being.

 

Anyways, that's just my opinion on the matter...

Star Wars Renascent

Inspired by the Godfather Part II and a revamp of Star Wars: Reborn

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Pretty much what I do too. I strive to ignore what I've read and in hindsight I don't like, and I only read/watch/play new Star Wars-related products based upon opinions in forums like originaltrilogy.com. "Old school" fans, if nobody minds (I'm younger than most here, but I've often been told by fellow Star Wars fans that I have an "old school" mentality towards the franchise).

Things I like, I keep, and add to my own vision of Star Wars. Things I don't, I try to erase.

I even piece up things from various stories, visual cues, music etc. ...

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I was never really interested in any of the "expanded universe" stuff.

The only book I read was the novelization of the original Star Wars. I have never bought any action figure and never heard the radio drama (or dramas?). I have never read any of the comics or novels, I simply thought it's a waste of time and to be honest, I thought the people who spend their time trying to collect all Star Wars information are - to say it politely - slightly weird :-)

But then I've seen the Clone Wars movie and I really liked it. I started to find out that I missed quite a lot of the officially released things. I started to watch the CG series this week, and I REALLY enjoy it very much. I guess I'm getting more and more nerdy :-)

 

But I fully agree with you, life was so easier when there was just one Star Wars trilogy. Less can be really sometimes more

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I've always had a problem with ROTJ but it was still fun...if a bit of a let down.

After 1983 there was the long wait...the false rumours but I guess it really stopped being fun when I first sat down and watch the train wreck of the TPM.

I've never left a cinema feeling so angry (not even after Coppola's Dracula and I was grinding my teeth there).

The PT will not be remade in my lifetime so that was it and it just kept getting worse and then George pulled all the DVD crap on us.

I like most of the Clone Wars series though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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Sluggo said:

 

What's your opinion?  I think less is definitely more.  Is more more?  Or how much is too much?

I'm all for there being as much EU as the market can support. So what if most of it's crap? Every now and then something good comes out ("Fatal Alliance" was fun).

I think most EU is painfully bad for the same reasons you list; the Universe-shrinking masturbatory obsession with filling in cracks and explaining things. On the other hand I haven't given "Tales from Jabba's Palace" a second thought since reading it in the mid-90s, anymore than I dwell on the two hours I lost watching "First Knight."  I certainaly don't watch ROTJ and spend my time thinking about whose brains are in those brain-jar-droids.

The is nothing that can harm my enjoyment of the OT and "Star Wars" in general.

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Star Wars stopped being fun for me shortly before-or-after I saw ROTS, when the EU writers started kissing Lucas' ass in earnest and turning out piles and piles of poorly-written shit; reading the early EU and ignoring the PT & SE helped lots in keeping me from losing all interest in the franchise.  

TRANSMODERNISM > POSTMODERNISM > MODERNISM > PREMODERNISM

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Sluggo said:

What's your opinion?  I think less is definitely more. 

My opinion mirrors your own. 

Less is most definitely more where Star Wars is concerned.  It is, however, a concept that Lucas simply can't grasp. From what I've read in interviews, it's a concept he's never even understood. In the 70s, Marcia and Kurtz had to constantly reel him in and fix his mistakes where his poor choices of story telling & editing were concerned.

As soon as they were out of the way, he went right back to explaining everything ad nauseum - whether it was a character who happened into the adventure (C3PO) or something as simple as a sentence from a brief conversation ("...years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars").

When I was a kid, I thought the Clone Wars sounded interesting and mysterious and my imagination came up with a story\visual picture kind of thing.  What I didn't really want or need, even back then, was that entire ordeal over-explained. It was great as a mysterious event from the characters' past.

That's not to say a great film couldn't be made about it, but that didn't happen.  What we got instead were hours of needless & poorly written exposition in the form of a movie and a cartoon series. All of it - just from a single line in a film. Less would have absolutely been more. There are, of course, several other examples of the same ham-fisted treatment (3PO, R2, Vader, The Force, Jedi Knights, etc).

 

it really seems to discourage a fan from using his own imagination

More than anything, that statement perfectly sums up why I have such a different Star Wars world compared to most others around here.  Lucas not only seems to frown on his fan base using their imagination, he seems obsessed with making sure they don't even attempt it. 

They start doing some thinking, and the next thing you know - they figure out how much of a snake oil salesman he really is.  Original Vision - please. George, give it a fucking rest, man.  No one is buying it.  Even his most loyal followers must know deep down that he's a liar. They can't be that stupid.

The myriad of EU books are sort of a take it or leave it deal for me.  I have an idea of what fits my canon and what I needn't bother with. The mega-merchandising empire and branding are also something I've ignored.  It's just noise.

Anyway.  In answer to the original question;  It stopped being fun for me around 1983.  I just couldn't get past Return.  For me, Star Wars became a single film, seldom watched.  After I discovered this board several years ago, I started to carve out my own canon - with the help of several of you folks.

Star Wars is fun for me again, but it's a much different Star Wars than George intended.  It's one film, one radio program, and a handful of books. It's a deeper, more vast, and more mysterious universe. It's the way it was for me in 1977. I disconnected from the machine a long long time ago and took very little with me.

 

 

 

 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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Well written Anchorhead, I remember feeling disappointed with ROTJ after the fantastic ESB, Jedi seemed to be a joke, cheap and rubbery at the start, pantoish (but cool) at the end.

I did get caught up in the excitement when Star Wars came back with the prequels, high hopes, but I remember feeling embarrassed for Star Wars almost like bumping into an old friend and he's not the way you remember him....lost his marbles.

After seeing the rest of the prequels and enjoying parts of them.....time has passed and I have divorced myself from them the same way I have erased Alien3 & Alien Resurrection from my head.......like Superman 3&4.......like Jaws 3 and..........you know what I mean.

Star Wars and its sequel were amazing, ROTJ was ok to end the movies....but the rest of what was made is just poor.

J

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Probably around '01 or so, when I started getting into the books and was introduced to the idea of canon. Things got ugly from there. Say what you will about Phantom Menace, that was only my 2nd or 3rd year of Star Wars fandom - I was still hooked.

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To be honest, most of the EU has always been on the poor side. Even a lot of the Marvel comics from 77-79, divorced from nostalgia and the "alternate universe" factor of being confined only to the influence of the first film, are really not inherantly better written, illustrated or told than any of the Dark Horse comics of the 90s or of today. I think its mostly the atmosphere of the company back then the encourages a sort of better view of it all, where there was less output. The last four or five years though seem to be sliding into a sort of crisis of continuity though.

My feeling though is that if you don't like this stuff, just ignore it. You can just pick and choose the ones you like, or choose none of it. I pretty much stay 100% away from the EU but once in a while I find something interesting. If you think your imagination is a better vehicle for the Star Wars universe's untold stories then just keep it that way, but I do find it entertaining to see how another person's imagination took the same event. That's all the EU is really, although the problem now is the same problem that every major franchise goes through--it gets choked by its own continuity. You have no room to be imaginative or make the story do what it should. Personally, although I think Zahn is the best of the EU writers, I think 50%, if not 70%, of the reason his books were good was because of this--he could pretty much invent whatever he wanted and make up things to serve the story. Now, it's the opposite, the story has to serve a pre-established continuity that is incredibly complex, so there's no character or narrative freedom.

In the comic world, DC universe had a major problem with this in the 1980s. Over the past 50 years there was so many different versions of the superhero origins, so many different side-characters (Supergirl, Superboy, Superdog), three or four completely alternate realities that co-existed, and the characters never aged, grew or changed their clothing styles. By 1980, the editors in power realized what a mess it all was and how no one could write anything interesting. Their solution was to basically do a massive, company-wide storyline which killed off everyone and sort of re-booted the continuity from scratch. I think this eventually led to the "Death of Superman" storyline as a holdover from this. The SW EU right now is getting to such a point, it's become too bloated and convoluted--there's only a finite amount of story lines you can do, but the demands of a weekly and monthly release schedule, whether you are DC comics or Lucasfilm, means you are forever sinking back into a corner with each release.

I guess on a similar line of thought, even though I advocate the "just ignore the stuff you don't like" train of thought, it does make me sad simply knowing that the EU had taken on such huge scale in its output--it's simply not necessary. It cheapens the franchise by making it essentially a money-driven machine; in the 70s you had some toys and a comic line and a few novels you could count on one hand, that was fine. Even in the 90s when things started taking off, I found that to be the most satisfying period. You had quite a few things to choose from, some good, some bad, many disposable but sort of fun by virtue of being Star Wars, but it wasn't this crazy amount, it wasn't this huge machine that needed to support a billion dollar company and all of its overhead. Personally, ever since 1999, the EU has just been a wealth-enablement scheme, whereas before that one sensed the genuine excitement to create some new Star Wars stuff, whether toys or video games or books or comics. I mean, Lucas was involved in Dark Empire and Heir to the Empire and seemed enthused by them, one sensed something more than just money even if that was a primary reason for their existance. Now, I honestly don't think he has any clue at all at what the hell has been happening since the late 1990s, and I don't think he gives a shit either. It has become this self-generating machine run by its own division for the purposes of generating profit.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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It stopped being fun when this thing came out. The sheer low-class stink of that one act put an unpleasant perspective on everything LFL deems worthy of doing. (and not doing). Makes me feel like a chump for supporting anything they put out.

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Well, aside from the "Limited Time Only" lie and the poor quality, that actually made Star Wars fun for me again.  I can watch and enjoy the trilogy on DVD.  It's not perfect, and it deserves its admonishments, but it allowed me to break away from all the bullshit at least.

There is no lingerie in space…

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Tru say.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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At least we have the OOT in some legal form, even though it will be 20-30 years before we them remastered.

And speaking of the PT, to me it felt like a downward spiral that made you unable to suspend your disbelief in these films. Watching ROTS is not like seeing the bridge of past and present, but rather the feeling that it's just a movie, written by has-been who probably never saw his own films in the last 20 years. And the sad thing is that TPM was the best the PT ever got. I know it's unwatchable, but unlike everyone else here, I initially enjoyed TPM when it came out (I was stupid). But maybe because I was relatively new to SW and was under the delusion that the new movies were going to be great.

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Gaffer Tape said:

Well, aside from the "Limited Time Only" lie and the poor quality, that actually made Star Wars fun for me again.  I can watch and enjoy the trilogy on DVD.  It's not perfect, and it deserves its admonishments, but it allowed me to break away from all the bullshit at least.

I totally agree, and after runing the "bonus discs" through DVD rebuilder and making them anamorphic, I too can enjoy Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi in there (as close as can be) original form. For me Star Wars was even fun when the SE's came out. Star Wars stopped being fun when it became apparent that the SE's where gonna be the "true vision" and all the prequel, EU stuff took over.

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Man, I've tried but I'm totally incapable of watching those discs without becoming hyper-aware of how much better ICE PIRATES looks. As for the EU, is the Heir to the Empire trio still considered the best? I know I read it back then, vaguely remember the third book was kind of a slog to get through, but may have to give it another look. Is there an ongoing comic now that is post-Episode III or is that still off-limits for the TV show?

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Yeah there's a comic going on now called Dark Times. It's actually my personal favorite of the current lines. Only trouble is it's only published sporadically.

Help finish ROTJ: Revisited!

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Star Wars for the most part i've associated with being able to learn about new things.  In the early days the 'Making of' specials were a way to learn about film making.  The alien races and droids opened up real world counterparts like NASA.  LFL seemed to be an open company which wanted people to learn not just about how the films were made but also how that related to other aspects of society.

In college (early 90s) that began to shift, as the cease & desists started on online SW fan sites, and continued until eventually people went to jail for RotS.  (the raids were carried out on SW's anniversary in 2005.  if you want a symbolic demise date, there it is.)  Corporate culture, from LFL to the MPAA to the United States Congress felt it was more important to have the FBI/ICE focus less on missing person cases and more on corporate concerns.

Luckily fan cultures sprouted or i'd be out of the SW game.  Project from the fan films, to Deleted Magic and Secret History show to me how more open access to information can lead to better things. 

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When did Star Wars stop being fun?

 

For me, mostly after May 2002 and Attack of the Clones. Various EU things are fun, and the OT is still a blast to watch, but as a whole Star Wars has become a big "meh" for me...

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Around AOTC for me too. I could ignore TPM for the most part, but things were getting ridiculous. The NJO was absolutely no fun and stupid. That killed off the EU books for me. The 2004 DVDs were atrocious. I had them pre-ordered for months and counted down the days. And was burned again. Then ROTS came along and was one of the most depressing cinema experiences of my life. And then came the GOUT which was the final middle finger to those who loved Star Wars. So from 2005-2008 I pretty much swore off SW.

The only way it became fun for me again was by joining this mad colony in the Jundland Wastes. Who says exile can't be fun?

Star Wars lives in our hearts and minds. Here you may find some physical representation that might bring it back for you.

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Star Wars stopped being fun for me around 1999 with the release of TPM. It wasn't the film itself, although i did walk out of the cinema feeling very let down, but it was the star of the huge split within the Star Wars fan community.  It became PT vs OT fans. Not even the SE started something as big as this. The next nail in the coffin was when the Special Editions stopped being what they were originally titled and became the only version. It just wasn't fun chatting to people i knew about Star Wars any more because there was that huge divide. Now i don't hate the SE's or the PT but i hate what they did to the fandom. 

ANH:REVISITED
ESB:REVISITED

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The funny thing is, the super-duper intense fans barely seem to have any actual fun with it either now, it's more like this intensely personal, religious/OCD thing.

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It stopped being fun for me in 1997 with the release of the SEs. Unfortunately, my love for all-things-Star Wars is now a love/hate thing. I love the originals, I hate the SEs and what's been done to the OT.