Sign In

ZkinandBonez

User Group
Members
Join date
5-May-2015
Last activity
17-Jan-2021
Posts
2,290

Post History

Post
#1403583
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

Shopping Maul said:

ZkinandBonez said:

screams in the void said:

also , Robert E. Howard deserves a mention in this discussion , he is regarded as the father of sword and sorcery and did a lot of world building for Conan’s world , as evidenced in his Hyborian age essay https://conanthecimmerian.fandom.com/wiki/The_Hyborian_Age Many fantasy authors imitated him afterwards , but never quite captured his spirit . Then there were the many many fantasy film cash grabs that came in the wake of the 1982 Conan The Barbarian film …

Yes, Howard’s another one of those guys that no one has ever quite managed to imitate or adapt to film. Now I do really enjoy the John Milius Conan film, but it really has very little to do with Howard. Unlike Lovecraft though, and despite often borrowing a lot of his ideas, Howard did have a tendency to add a backstory to everything so I’d definitely say he has more in common with Tolkien in that regard then with OT SW. Then again characters/creatures like Yag-Kosha are quite abstract in concept.

Does anyone know if Lucas ever made any direct mention of Howard work as an influence? I would assume he at the very least knew of the character as SW was written right at the start of the Howard boom in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

As a side note: I find it fascinating that Tolkien’s first published book was only one year after Howard’s death. People often forget that Howard did the whole world-building thing before Tolkien, that is, as far as what was publicly available.

Actually, I think the real parallel here is between Lucas and Milius. The thought processes behind Star Wars and Conan are remarkably similar - Milius wanted to create a believable ‘lived-in’ universe in the same way George did, and both were going for a real mythic quality. The ‘father’s sword’ motifs, the aged wizard - Conan even has its villain (played by James Earl Jones) deliver a ‘I am your father’ speech! And both productions had run-ins with Gil Taylor…
Conan and SW have pretty much the same poster art as well…

That’s a really good point. I’d never thought about just how SW-like it actually is. And I do love the whole Riddle of Steel element of the film, it not only serves as a thematic through-line, but as you say, it gives it a mythic quality and makes the story feel like some ancient fable.

“An age undreamed of” is very much the sword and sorcery equivalent of “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” I really wish more storytellers would utilize this storytelling device to its full potential, rather than get bogged down in details like so many series often do. Comparing it to Tolkien again, I have a book from the early 70’s were someone tried to make Middle-Earth match up with a map of Europe, though thankfully people generally just accept it as a fantasy world nowadays. Of course Howard’s Hyborian age map did just that, and that’s fine, but there’s also so much potential in vague settings, like Samuel Butler’s Erewhon or Fritz Leiber’s Nehwhon (literally"nowhere" and “no-when” spelled backwards).

Post
#1403553
Topic
General Star Wars <strong>Random Thoughts</strong> Thread
Time

By all means bring up any post-OT concepts if it ties in with the essay. It’s fascinating to see how the later entries in the franchise succeeds or fails at following Lucas’ surrealist logic.

I posted the essay in the OT sections mainly because it primarily related to the OT, and my post-OT addendum was reduced to an addendum mostly because I felt it bogged down the main text somewhat.

Post
#1403551
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

Originally posted in the General Star Wars Random Thoughts Thread. Reposted here with NeverarGreat’s permission.

NeverarGreat said:

https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/star-wars-is-surrealism-not-science-fiction-essay/id/82402/page/1#1403457

This wonderful write-up got me thinking about an aspect of Star Wars that has recently been bugging me - technological advancement. In short, the technology of Star Wars sometimes seems to advance, but sometimes seems to retreat. In general, the appearances change while the underlying tactics and strategies stay the same. The Razor Crest can fight the much newer TIE fighters and win, Y-wings have a place in fleets for decades, Star Destroyers get little more than a makeover, etc. If there’s an increase in power, it comes at the cost of greater size such as the enormous Death Star and even larger Starkiller.

This all seems in keeping with the surrealist fantasy of Star Wars. Of course, there are notable instances where technology does evolve in this universe, such as Clones making droids obsolete, Hyperspace Tracking/ramming dramatically shifting the calculus of resistance, Death Star Destroyers making a mockery of the power scale rule, etc. Each case feels off for Star Wars because it cleaves to an otherwise realistic expectation of technology, but it violates the surrealist fantasy because it brings the technology from unchanging background to crucial foreground. We must focus on this disruption and that means that the game state of the world has changed; it no longer has the veneer of timeless mythology.

It has been traded away for mere science fiction.

ZkinandBonez said:

I really like that last statement. It’s a very succinct way of summarizing a lot of the frustrations I was trying to express in my essay post. Although the EU has often dabbled in trying to explain technological advancements, I’m glad that no Star Wars content has ever shown us a time in the galaxy when droids and spaceships didn’t exist. They’ve changed the aesthetic a fair bit in the different eras, with some looking even more fantasy-like than the movies, but similarly to how weaponry and building techniques almost never changes throughout Tolkien’s mythos, Star Wars has always had spaceships and droids as they are abstractions rather than straight up technological inventions.

Post
#1403477
Topic
General Star Wars <strong>Random Thoughts</strong> Thread
Time

NeverarGreat said:

https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/star-wars-is-surrealism-not-science-fiction-essay/id/82402/page/1#1403457

This wonderful write-up got me thinking about an aspect of Star Wars that has recently been bugging me - technological advancement. In short, the technology of Star Wars sometimes seems to advance, but sometimes seems to retreat. In general, the appearances change while the underlying tactics and strategies stay the same. The Razor Crest can fight the much newer TIE fighters and win, Y-wings have a place in fleets for decades, Star Destroyers get little more than a makeover, etc. If there’s an increase in power, it comes at the cost of greater size such as the enormous Death Star and even larger Starkiller.

This all seems in keeping with the surrealist fantasy of Star Wars. Of course, there are notable instances where technology does evolve in this universe, such as Clones making droids obsolete, Hyperspace Tracking/ramming dramatically shifting the calculus of resistance, Death Star Destroyers making a mockery of the power scale rule, etc. Each case feels off for Star Wars because it cleaves to an otherwise realistic expectation of technology, but it violates the surrealist fantasy because it brings the technology from unchanging background to crucial foreground. We must focus on this disruption and that means that the game state of the world has changed; it no longer has the veneer of timeless mythology.

It has been traded away for mere science fiction.

I really like that last statement. It’s a very succinct way of summarizing a lot of the frustrations I was trying to express in my essay post. Although the EU has often dabbled in trying to explain technological advancements, I’m glad that no Star Wars content has ever shown us a time in the galaxy when droids and spaceships didn’t exist. They’ve changed the aesthetic a fair bit in the different eras, with some looking even more fantasy-like than the movies, but similarly to how weaponry and building techniques almost never changes throughout Tolkien’s mythos, Star Wars has always had spaceships and droids as they are abstractions rather than straight up technological inventions.

PS. Is it OK is I copy this over to my post?

Post
#1403328
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

screams in the void said:

also , Robert E. Howard deserves a mention in this discussion , he is regarded as the father of sword and sorcery and did a lot of world building for Conan’s world , as evidenced in his Hyborian age essay https://conanthecimmerian.fandom.com/wiki/The_Hyborian_Age Many fantasy authors imitated him afterwards , but never quite captured his spirit . Then there were the many many fantasy film cash grabs that came in the wake of the 1982 Conan The Barbarian film …

Yes, Howard’s another one of those guys that no one has ever quite managed to imitate or adapt to film. Now I do really enjoy the John Milius Conan film, but it really has very little to do with Howard. Unlike Lovecraft though, and despite often borrowing a lot of his ideas, Howard did have a tendency to add a backstory to everything so I’d definitely say he has more in common with Tolkien in that regard then with OT SW. Then again characters/creatures like Yag-Kosha are quite abstract in concept.

Does anyone know if Lucas ever made any direct mention of Howard work as an influence? I would assume he at the very least knew of the character as SW was written right at the start of the Howard boom in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

As a side note: I find it fascinating that Tolkien’s first published book was only one year after Howard’s death. People often forget that Howard did the whole world-building thing before Tolkien, that is, as far as what was publicly available.

Post
#1403275
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

RicOlie_2 said:

Great post and thread! It’s given me a new appreciation for Star Wars, and a greater appreciation for the continuity of the ST and PT with the OT, even if I still don’t like either.

ZkinandBonez said:

The Lady & the Hat said:

Good food for thought. I feel the Surrealist aspects of Star Wars are lost on most viewers. With so much sci-fi being derivative of Star Wars, it becomes normalized.

Yes, there’s a great irony in the fact that Star Wars, which started with a movie so weird that most studios rejected it, is now virtually the definition of mainstream. Few of the copycat films over the last four decades have understood what made Star Wars work. There’s been a lot of really good sci-fi inspired by the aesthetic and technical achievements of Star Wars, but not the storytelling “philosophy” it used, at least not in many other big budget mainstream films.

Very true. A similar thing happened with the Lord of the Rings. It sparked a new era of copycat fantasy books, but none of them get what made LOTR so great. I find it really interesting that you mention LOTR a few times in connection with Star Wars, because what drew people to them was quite similar I think:

  • Basic good vs. evil story;
  • Strong universe building–you really feel that the story takes place in a well-developed world in both of them;
  • Archetypal characters;
  • An internal logic that also doesn’t try to explain too much;
  • A gritty (and thus believable) but also very magical world.

Unfortunately, people just try to copy the aliens and spaceships (in SW), or the different races and the magic (in LOTR), and miss almost everything that actually makes these films/books so appealing. Or their imitation suffers from a failure to write a good plot and they rely too heavily on the above-mentioned elements.

True, both LOTR and SW seems to have managed to really capture a sense of true mythology. Though I would say that where the two differ the most is in the world building, and I wouldn’t go so far as to apply the “surrealism” label to LOTR (though it does treat the more fantastical elements in a more abstract manner than most modern fantasy). F.ex. Tolkien worked out a very details time-line for Middle-Earth and of course he famously made several fully functional languages. The SW languages are generally speaking just gibberish with only Huttese having some consistency (and that’s mostly post PT-era and onward). Lucas originally went for a more more abstract approach to the world building as well. There’s enough there to create a sense of consistency between the movies, but unlike Tolkien he never really bothered to give the aliens much in terms of backstories, again, not until the PT and TCW era. But like Tolkien he did use the creatures and alien races as archetypal symbols, and most of the established lore is not by Lucas but by the EU authors.

It’s really interesting to see how abstract lore can change over time into something more “solid” as the series keep being expanded. Although Lucas definitely wanted SW to be more abstract compared to hard sci-fi I think it’s difficult for him, as it is with most storytellers, to avoid adding to the lore. Of course Tolkien started with the lore and then write the books, so I suppose all implied lore in an film or book can be considered to have “abstract lore” before they expand into a series. I can’t really think of many examples of artists that deliberately avoid continuity/lore.

Post
#1403267
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

daveinthecave said:

This is great! I’ve always felt that Star Wars was more fantasy then science fiction. I was not aware that the early draft leaned more toward hard sci-fi and, though I have long been aware of Campbell’s influence on Lucas, I had no idea that his ideas were so pivotal in moving the concept in a more surrealist direction.

If you’re interested in reading through the early drafts, you can find them all here:
https://www.starwarz.com/starkiller/category/star-wars-scripts/star-wars-star-wars-scripts/
It’s quite fascinating to see just how much Lucas’ ideas change from draft to draft.

There was also a comic adaptation of the 1st draft made in 2013:
https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/The_Star_Wars

Post
#1403064
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

The Lady & the Hat said:

Good food for thought. I feel the Surrealist aspects of Star Wars are lost on most viewers. With so much sci-fi being derivative of Star Wars, it becomes normalized.

Yes, there’s a great irony in the fact that Star Wars, which started with a movie so weird that most studios rejected it, is now virtually the definition of mainstream. Few of the copycat films over the last four decades have understood what made Star Wars work. There’s been a lot of really good sci-fi inspired by the aesthetic and technical achievements of Star Wars, but not the storytelling “philosophy” it used, at least not in many other big budget mainstream films.

Post
#1402623
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

screams in the void said:

Also , when it comes to Surrealism ,the visual language is most apparent to me in the Dagobah cave scene in ESB and most especially the vision Rey has in TLJ with multiple versions of herself going off into infinity . That is the artistic principle of recursion ,inherent in the works of surrealist artists who defined the term surrealism , Salvador Dali , Max Ernst ,M.C. Escher etc . and it is spot on .

Yeah, it’s a real pity that SW hasn’t gone into more blatantly surreal filmmaking like the Dagobah cave scene more often, and kind of surprising as well as the Force allows for so many ways to get weird stylistically. There’s of course the TFA vision, though I think that one was a tad too literal, and other than the TLJ scene there’s really only the Mortis arc from TCW. That is unless you go into books and comics, though then we’re no longer dealing with cinema.

It’s interesting though that the Dagobah scene could have turned out far less surreal had it not been for Roger Christian’s Black Angel short film that was shown before ESB in the UK. Christian was inspired by Andrej Tarkovskij, who’s quite an abstract filmmaker in his own right, and when Lucas saw the final fight scene in the short he decided to change the Luke vs Vader scene in post by adding the same step-printing effect to it. It’s an effect that reminds me a lot of what David Lynch often did, especially in Twin Peaks, and it’s a real shame that director’s nowadays don’t use these simple, but effective, editing tricks anymore. I suppose with all the fancy digital effects that are available today something as simple as step-printing, despite probably being very easy to emulate digitally, might seem quaint. It’s amazing what you can do to a film scene stylistically by simply messing with the frame-rate a little.

Post
#1402359
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

jedi_bendu said:

Well done on this essay; I’m an absolute cinephile, and interested in film history and analysis, so I really enjoyed reading it. I’ve particularly noticed the fantastical approach taken in The Mandalorian, with things like the tracking fob which make no sense to me but are better for the story, and settings like Trask - where we have a fishing town with woollen-jumper-wearing Mon Calamari - ground the show firmly in the fantasy genre. After what you’ve said, I’ll be looking out for more expressionist, surreal locations or features in future content.

Yes, exactly. Trask is by far one of my favourite of the new SW locations. It’s the kind of setting that would have felt pretty dumb if it appeared in an episode of Star Trek, but for SW it was perfect. It’s basically just a stereotypical, or rather archetypal, fishing port, but space-ified and with literal squid and fish-men instead of fishermen.

The fobs are also a great example, and I find it amusing that there’s several videos on YouTube trying to explain how it works. Had something with a similar function appeared in LOTR or Harry Potter I don’t think anyone would have really questioned it.

jedi_bendu said:

I think sci-fi is actually quite hard to define. Yes, Star Wars has never made any scientific sense, but that doesn’t necessarily prevent it from being science fiction. Particularly in movies, a simplistic approach to defining sci-fi is looking at the iconography: Star Wars has spaceships, robots and laser guns, so in a very tight genre expectation of SF, it counts. I personally think what defines sci-fi is having a material cause, or explanation: for example, if a person wakes up one morning and they’ve magically turned into an ant, it’s fantasy; if that person invents a mutation machine that causes them to turn into an ant, however stupid, it’s sci-fi. Star Wars usually does have these material explanations dating back to the original films, like hyperdrives. Although I’d never classify Star Wars as pure science fiction, it’s sci-fi/fantasy to me.

The hyperdrive is actually a great example of how tech is SW is basically just there for the plot. We all know that vehicles have some kind of motor or engine, so the OT never had to explain how it worked. Star Trek, being hard(-ish) sci-fi have actual scientific theories that more or less explain how warp drive can become a reality one day. The Falcon hyperdrive is basically just a space-engine. Ben Burt even gave it the sound of a spitfire engine and I think there’s even some old car sounds that used.

For the same reason we have “droids” instead of “robots”, and “lightsabers” instead of “laser swords.” The latter descriptions do show up every now and then, but it was clear from the beginning that the tech in SW was only tech on a surface level. Droids are the lower class seen through a space-age lens, and the lightsaber is a space-age version of Excalibur.

Post
#1402355
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

Shopping Maul said:

Really enjoyed reading this - thank you. I personally felt SW was being over-explained even as far back as ROTJ when incidental aliens were being given names (I preferred non-names like Hammerhead, Snaggletooth etc which left everything to my own imagination).

BTW the ‘Dreadnaugts firing on each other’ thing was done in ROTJ too. I dimly recall Lucas explaining it in a documentary (don’t remember which, sorry)…

Over-explanation of SW is one of the reasons I’m possibly the only person on earth who doesn’t like The Mandalorian.

Great read!

Thanks, though it’s a interesting that you mentioned The Mandalorian as I did mention it at the end of the 3rd addendum as getting a lot of things right in regards to archetypes and keeping things simple. Of course it is a post-EU series so it does have way more sci-fi elements to it than the OT did.

I’m hardly advocating for the OT to go back to full surrealism mode, I just don’t think that’s feasible and just wouldn’t go well with audiences, but I am glad that The Mandalorian has added some more fantastical elements without explaining it (withing the show at the very least); like f.ex. the Krayt dragon swimming through sand like water. We also got vague names like Frog-lady, which is pretty fun. It’s simple, accurate, and quite frankly it’s all I need. I’m sure the EU will give her a name and a backstory at some point, but she served her purpose to the story and I don’t really need more from that character. She almost designed like a fairly-tale character, or something out of Wind in the Willows and that’s pretty great.


NeverarGreat said:

Another thing which places Star Wars firmly in the fantasy/surrealist camp is that the OT never showed a scientist or engineer, or at least never showed one at work. The closest we get to a truly STEM profession is mechanic or technician. The story is focused on soldiers, pilots, generals, captains, emperors, farmers, smugglers, bounty hunters, crime lords, peasants (droids), monks, masters, and all manner of human and alien civilians. It’s very much a medieval view of a world dressed in the illusion of technological sophistication.

Good point. And after all, ANH was originally conceived as a space-opera remake of Hidden Fortress. I didn’t include the quote in the essay, but I recall Lucas referring to SW as a “mythology for the space-age” or something to that effect, which I think summarizes the franchise, and especially the OT, quite well.

Post
#1402216
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

ADDENDUM #3 – DELETED SECTION FROM PART 4

Not original trilogy related and not enough to warrant a new thread. So here’s some examples of abstract Star Wars done right in the prequels and Disney era films/TV shows.

THEY’RE STILL JUST SPACE PLANES AND SPACE HORSES

Naturally Lucas continued telling abstract stories when making the Prequel Trilogy, but adjusted for the different type of story he wanted to tell—less Dune meets Flash Gordon this time, and more of a Fall of Rome type of story. And since he was telling story that would feel less grimy and WWII-like, he decided to go for an older and more historical approach. A good example of this is in Revenge of the Sith where Lucas incorporated visual themes we associate with 18th century colonialism into the “futurism” of Star Wars, as opposed to the more industrial feel of the Original Trilogy. In the first scene of the movie we get a shot of two dreadnaughts facing each other’s broadsides and firing upon each other with cannons in a manner one would expect more from films like Master and Commander or Pirates of the Caribbean than a film with spaceships. Yet, it is the kind of abstract storytelling that makes sense in an abstract space opera, while if it had appeared in a proper sci-fi film it would have seemed trite. I think the fact that very few people have pointed out and criticised this is very telling in what we expect from Star Wars. Say what you want about the films itself, but this one moment is a great way to differentiate it from the Original Trilogy, and despite other aspects of the Prequels failing at this, this particular scene succeeds in making it seem more “archaic” than the industrial era feel of the original three films. Though let’s not forget that the anti-starfighter cannons on the Death Star in A New Hope also fired out of ray-shielded windows/port-holes just like the cannons in this scene.

This style of storytelling has however been largely forgotten in a lot of modern Star Wars content. It is by no means gone, but there often seems to be little to no conscious effort into abstracting new Star Wars. The current filmmakers tend to copy what has already been done, and thereby only accidentally maintaining the surrealist quality of the franchise.

A modern example of throwing physics out the window in lieu of an abstraction with a familiar historical aesthetic, not too different from the Revenge of the Sith scene, is the opening of The Last Jedi. There was a lot of debate sparked by the bomber scene at the start of the film, people arguing about the physics of bombs falling from a ship in space. But again, like the scene with the dreadnaughts acting like ships at sea, the bombers where Johnson’s space-ified versions of B-52 bombers, but redesigned for the Star Wars universe. The EU has naturally come up with explanations for this scene, that being that the artificial gravity within the bomber provided the bombs with the momentum needed to carry them “downwards” through space, but again, the important thing here is that a WWII bomber dropped their bombs, and so did the bombers in the The Last Jedi. Regardless of what you might feel about the film story-wise, there is little point in arguing about the physics of space ships considering what the franchise has done in the past.

The Mandalorian is also a good example of a Star Wars story that doesn’t get bogged down in the details and shows a strong understanding of the more abstract elements of Lucas’ work. Take the alien with the flute summoning speeders in the first episode. Why didn’t he simply use a communicator or remote of some kind—e.g. the more sci-fi thing to do? Because that’s too obvious. So Favereau/Filoni opted for a more surreal and fantastical approach, that being a flute that summon speeders. Like all good Star Wars it doesn’t necessarily make logical sense, but it does add a mysterious fantasy like feel too it. It’s a type of Peter Piper moment, but for futuristic machines instead of mice.

And going back to Tippets comment about being relatable, though not necessarily logical, we have the Mudhorn’s and its egg in episode 2. The Mudhorn itself is basically a furry rhino, not the most Star Wars-y design ever done, but it gets the basic principle. The egg on the other hand is perfect Star Wars weirdness. I mean, it’s an egg covered in fur! But, it’s a hairy egg belonging to a furry creature, right? We all get it. Nitpickers on the other hand might waste time mulling over why a clearly mammalian creature lays eggs in the first place.

And the design philosophy of using the personality of a character to design aliens is not exclusive to the original trilogy. A great example of the same design principle that made Jabba the Hutt being used in reverse to create a relatable good-guy is Admiral Raddus from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The most obvious thing of course is that he is, like Admiral Ackbar a Mon Calamari, which allows for internal continuity as well as playing into fan nostalgia. But despite being a modern Star Wars design, he also has a real-life inspiration which immediately helped connect him to the aesthetic of the film. Rogue One, like the original three films, borrows heavily from WW2, even more so than Lucas’ films. So when tasked with creating a Mon Calamari that would fit within this aesthetic, it was decided to model him after Winston Churchill. Just like Jabba is an abstraction of a fat, slimy gangster, Raddus radiates the grand, dignified look of Churchill, immediately making it relatable to the (in this case) intended older audience.

Post
#1402215
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

ADDENDUM #2 - STAR TREK CLARIFICATIONS

I’d also like to clarify a few things about how I’ve referred to Star Trek in this post. First off I’d like to point out that, yes, I am well aware of the fact that Star Trek, like a lot of sci-fi, takes plenty of liberties with its “science” and can in many ways be seen as abstract as well. Of course all fiction is inherently abstract to some degree, and Star Trek is no exception. However, Star Trek, unlike Star Wars, is still, despite its many liberties, rooted in scientific ideas. Although one can argue about the logic behind warp-drive, phasers, humanoid aliens, etc. these are all ideas that are rooted in science, and whatever real-life metaphor they might be playing with, is often secondary to scientific ideas of space exploration. And right there is why Star Trek is sci-fi and Star Wars is not. Star Trek usually begins with some variation of “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” In other words; ‘let’s go explore and learn more about the universe.’ What they find can often be abstract and unrealistic, but the core idea is that of scientific exploration. Star Wars on the other hand begins with “a long time ago…” which immediately sets the stage as mythological, and can be seen as a variation of “once upon a time,” with “a galaxy far, far away” simply adding a space age flavour to it. However, going back to Star Trek The Original Series I do have to admit that there was far more of a Flash Gordon feel to it than what we tend to expect from the franchise today (especially in the unaired pilot—The Cage). So I suppose even Star Trek, depending on your point of view, can be said to “suffer” from the same need for explanation and internal consistency as Star Wars has in the last few decades. Captain Pike saving a princess from a barbarian troglodyte is a far cry from the technobabble spoken by Geordi and Data in the clinical locale of the Enterprise D’s engineering section in The Next Generation. I’m not claiming one is better or worse than the other (I personally enjoy both series), but it is clear that Star Wars is not the only franchise with one foot awkwardly in the past, whether people acknowledge it or not.

Post
#1402214
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

ADDENDUM #1 - HOW STAR WARS CHANGED IN THE EARLY DRAFTS

I’d like to add a little addendum of sorts to acknowledge that early on in its inception Star Wars leaned much more towards hard sci-fi, taking more inspiration from works like Frank Herbert’s Dune than the mythological concepts we now associate with the franchise. EC Henry made an interesting video explaining just how much “hard” science actually made it into the first movie; Star Wars is More Scientific than You Realize (5 min. long). It is also quite clear that Lucas clearly flip-flopped between fantasy and sci-fi if you read through the early drafts of Star Wars, with most noticeably the Force, or rather “the Force of Others” being quite vague and loosely philosophical in the 1st draft. Early on the Force was much more in line with The Voice or The Weirding Way from the Dune novels, where it had more to do with perfectly controlling ones senses in order to detect things normal people could not. Even Leia is in the 3rd draft was casually referred to as “knowing the art of mind-control” when Luke and Han discuss the possibility of her cracking under interrogation. Ben Kenobi’s mind trick in the finished film also carried over elements of The Voice from Dune, and compared to later films even the more fantastical Force abilities on display weren’t too far off from the kind of telepathy people would have seen in countless sci-fi stories at the time, most notably Star Trek. Ben’s disturbance in the Force moments was as a matter of fact lifted directly from an episode of Star Trek (S02E18 The Immunity Syndrome) where Spock senses the death of hundreds of Vulcans across several lightyears, simply explaining it away as a Vulcan’s deeper understanding of the universe. It’s also important to note that at the time of the making of Star Wars it was widely believed that proving the existence of telepathy was just around the corner and concepts like Extra Sensory Perception was generally treated as legitimate science.

In the second draft of The Star Wars we see Lucas shifting more towards Campbell’s monomyth and introduced more magical concepts like Kiber Crystals and the prophecy of “the son of suns.” Both of which would show up in later Star Wars contents, the most famous and controversial one being the Prophecy of the Chosen One in The Phantom Menace, a film that recycled several names and ideas from the early drafts. The 4th and final draft of Star Wars backed down a little from the mythological elements in the previous drafts, but compromised by not returning to the Dune-like science of the 1st draft. By the time Lucas had made The Empire Strikes Back and given us a ghost, levitation, visions of the future, magic caves, and Yoda (who at the time was described as the “embodiment of the Force”), it was clear that Lucas had finally committed to creating his own abstract monomyth for the space age, and not a science fiction series.

Post
#1402213
Topic
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Time

The following post is something I’ve been working on for some time now, and basically summarizes a lot of frustrations that I have with how Star Wars as a whole is perceived by the general public, especially the Original Trilogy. It’s a bit of an unusual post, more of an essay really, but I hope you will find it interesting and I look forward to reading your replies be it agreement or counter arguments.


INTRODUCTION

“Some people call it science fiction, I don’t even consider it science fiction.
I consider it a fairy tale.
In science fiction, you’re very concerned about leaving a spaceship on a planet because there may not be oxygen, or the gravitational force is not the same as on earth, or what your body is accustomed to. So you must take all that into consideration or it’s considered very poor science fiction. It’s a fairy tale. That’s the environment. That’s the context, but you can literally do anything. And if I believe it, while I’m doing it, the audience tends to believe it too.
That’s a fairy tale.”
~ Irvin Kershner interview by Michel Parbot in 1979

Artsy terms like “surreal” or “abstract” aren’t what most people would associate with Star Wars. They’re the kind of words you probably use when describing some art house film from the 1960’s or a David Lynch film. Ironically, David Lynch was offered to direct Return of the Jedi, and Lucas was a film student in the 1960’s during an influx of new wave ideas in cinema that many directors from his generation of so called “movie brats” wholeheartedly embraced. That is until, once again quite ironically, Lucas and Spielberg unintentionally brought an end to it with films like Star Wars and Jaws. But the true irony here really is that both Star Wars and Jaws, are, as with most of cinema, especially during their era in film history, abstractions.

PART 1: CREATIVITY OVER REALISM

To start things off I think it’s important to acknowledge that cinema, as both a technology and an art form, took its first steps during a period when art, like the whole western world, shifted from classicisms to modernity. In many ways cinema was a perfect symbol of the birth of the modern world.

The art community in the early 20th century was in a state of creative frenzy that mirrored the sudden and often shocking changes in society after the industrial revolution. Amidst the rapid urbanization of western society and the many political revolutions taking place across the world, art embraced the new and strange, such as; Cubism, Surrealism, Dadaism, and most relevant to cinema, although it started in the theatre, German Expressionism. Before cinema had had the chance to find its footing, while the Americans treated film as a vaudeville-type of novelty, the Germans quickly embraced the new medium and began moulding it to their own liking. While Chaplin performed slapstick in the US, the Germans began painting weird dreamscapes through the camera lens. With films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (whose legacy is mostly kept alive in today by the films of Tim Burton) realism was thrown of the window and the subconscious reality put to the forefront. In German Expressionism symbolism ruled over realism, as shown in the distorted and angular sets of the aforementioned The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, or through the dreamlike atmosphere of Faust and the exaggerated shadows in Nosferatu.

As bizarre as this style may seem to many now, it is important to note its impact on cinema and on how an artist can approach any form of art, where concept, ideas and symbolism are prioritized over realism. Many classic silent films were inspired by, or fell directly under the category of Expressionism, the most relevant to this discussion being Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis. There is no exaggeration in saying that all of sci-fi owes something to this film, either directly or indirectly. In the case of Star Wars there is of course the obvious connection between the Maria robot and C-3PO. Though one could easily make the case that the way Metropolis handled its social and political themes had as much of an influence on George Lucas as did the striking image of a golden robot.

PART 2: BUT PARSEC IS A UNIT OF DISTANCE, NOT TIME!

Okay, so what am I getting at with all of this? Artsy silent films are one thing, but how does all of this tie in with Star Wars? Well, the case I wish to make is that Star Wars, despite how it’s been handled by many modern writers, filmmakers, etc. should be seen through the same lens as the films I have mentioned, as opposed to the style of storytelling that we take for granted nowadays.

Whether you love it or hate it, Star Wars owes a lot of its popularity to the Expanded Universe. Throughout the 1990’s Star Wars pretty much existed exclusively within the framework of the EU, that is until Lucas finally returned to the director’s chair for The Phantom Menace in 1999. However, by then there was a whole generation of fans who had adjusted to Star Wars as seen through the lens of novels, comics, video games and role-playing games, all of which borrowed from the Marvel comic style of storytelling (which has now spread over to cinema) where everything is connected and forms one gigantic story. Granted the continuity of that time was a little rocky and suffered a fair bit from having too many cooks, but nonetheless there was a somewhat coordinated effort to try and make it all fit together. And even more importantly, there was an attempt to explain how everything under the twin suns actually functioned. This was aided in no small part by the fact that the franchise was then in the hands of sci-fi novelists who more often than not took an engineering point of view to the Star wars universe. Cinema has the benefit of being able to rely on simply showing you something, and not having to explain it to you. This is a luxury novelists don’t always have. So with the Star Wars roleplaying sourcebooks on hand they began telling us how an X-Wing functioned, and how Wookiee society worked, or what the history and infrastructure of Tatooine was. This was simply a case of supplying for a demand, but it makes you wonder if this intense scrutiny was ever the intent of Star Wars in the first place? What did Lucas mean when he wrote that Han flew the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs? As far back as 1977 some fans have grumbled over the fact that a parsec is a unit of distance, not of time. Well, the writers of the 90’s certainly went out of their way to try and explain it, and in 1997 author A.C. Crispin devised an explanation involving Han flying close to a black hole, risking death but making the trip shorter, while the recent Solo: A Star Wars Story explained it by having Han simply taking a more dangerous short-cut. So there you go, it was a reference to distance after all. Now it finally makes (some) sense scientifically. But was that ever the point?

PART 3: THERE’S NO GRAVITY ON ASTEROIDS!

And this brings me to the point where I will bring up a whole bunch of examples to prove my point that Star Wars cares about scientific realism just as much as J.R.R. Tolkien did while writing the Lord of the Rings, which, beyond the bare minimum necessary for a reasonable suspension of disbelief is…none.

Let’s go back to that quote by Irvin Kershner.

“In science fiction, you’re very concerned about leaving a spaceship on a planet because there may not be oxygen, or the gravitational force is not the same as on earth, or what your body is accustomed to. So you must take all that into consideration or it’s considered very poor science fiction. It’s a fairy tale. That’s the environment. That’s the context, but you can literally do anything. And if I believe it, while I’m doing it, the audience tends to believe it too.”

To put it in other words; Star Wars is not a hard science story by Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke, it is a work of surrealism. In the same way that the German Expressionists emphasised subjectivity over objectivity, Lucas and Kershner likewise prioritised creativity over realism. Without a doubt the most obvious example of this mentality, and funnily enough often overlooked by the type of people who feel the need to constantly point out scientific errors in the post original trilogy movies, is the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Han lands the Millennium Falcon inside the space worm thinking it an asteroid cave, and then a few scenes later he, Leia and Chewie put on some flimsy little facemasks held on with simple elastic bands, lowers the boarding ramp and then simply walk out. If we are to see this through the lens of science fiction, then this has to be one of the dumbest scenes in sci-fi history. First off, the Falcon has no airlock to speak of (despite being labelled as such in the cross-sections book) and opening the “door” to a vacuum apparently has no ill effect. Neither character don anything even resembling a space-suit, though at least some form of breathing apparatus is used. And the weirdest incongruity of them all; there is apparently an earth-like gravitational pull by this, albeit large but not large enough, asteroid. Not to mention that this is shortly after revealed to be the inside of a big space worm belly. Though a giant worm with its own gravitational pull only raises even more questions. But does any of this matter? No, not in the slightest, for as Kershner explained, we are dealing with a fairy tale, not a science fiction film. This, like all of Star Wars, is a fantasy scene with a sci-fi aesthetic, where the Falcon is the modernized substitute for the Argo, or any other kind of mythical vessel, and the space worm is the modernized space-age equivalent of the biblical sea creature that swallowed Jonah or the whale ‘Monstro’ that ate Pinocchio and Geppetto. It’s a fairy tale scene set in outer space.

PART 4A: A SPACE-HORSE FOR A SPACE-COWBOY

Although I understand the geeky need to know exactly how Rodian society works, or what the anatomy of the Sarlacc is, I strongly feel that this is missing the entire point of what type of story Star Wars really is (or was?). The irony is that Star Wars is in many ways the grandfather of all modern geek culture franchises, though obviously owing a lot to the sci-fi pulps of the 40’s and 50’s and Star Trek in the 60’s, but as for legitimizing sci-fi and fantasy to a more mainstream audience, no one has anything on the influence of Star Wars. But therein lies the problem, Star Wars was a genre non-conformist call-back to a bygone era of cinema, written and directed by an art-house inspired film student, yet it was quickly lumped in with the likes of Star Trek, Superman and other pop-culture phenomenon. And the problem is that a Wookiee is not a Klingon, and although Klingons also served a symbolic purpose within the story, originally representing the USSR, they quickly grew to become their own living, breathing fictional society that even had their own functional language. Which just goes to show that even Star Trek had an element of classic cinema abstraction to it before it evolved into a more modern style of storytelling with an intricate lore.

I’d also like to acknowledge Star Trek has plenty of unscientific elements and can stretch suspension of disbelief quite far in many instances. However, it generally prides itself on a certain degree of scientific accuracy, at least to the extent that it allows for entertaining premises, and the general concept of the show is, despite being highly exaggerated, rooted in science, as opposed to the more mythical and spiritual ideas of Star Wars. (I’ll explain this further in the addendum.)

So what exactly do I mean by my implication that all the creatures in the Star Wars movies should be treated as abstract symbols? Well, let’s use the Tauntaun as an example first.

When describing the process of designing the Tauntaun, Phil Tippett explained it as such:

“In the script it was like a snow-lizard. So I turned it into more of a mammalian kind of thing. He got horns that are kinda like a ram’s, but not really. And a face that’s kinda like a camel, but not really, but something that’s relatable. For the character, which is kind of a throwaway character, it’s not really a character at all. It’s a thing in the movie which is like a horse, you know, the cowboy jumps on it and rides away. So you think about a horse, you think about a cowboy.”
~ My Life In Monsters: Meet the Animator Behind Star Wars and Jurassic Park. Profiles by Vice S1 E22 (2015)

This quote cuts right to the heart of what makes Star Wars stand out from other “sci-fi” franchises, and why it has proven so hard for other artists to get the Star Wars aesthetic right in recent years. As inarticulate as it may seem at first, the ‘kinda like, but not really’ mentality extends to all the creatures from the original trilogy, and even the better designs of the newer movies. The abstract element of Star Wars is also on full display here. Take the first sentence; “In the script it was like a snow-lizard.” This is the kind of thing that Kershner described as “very poor science fiction.” After all, how can a lizard be arctic? Lizards are cold-blooded and would die immediately in an arctic environment. But, as we’ve established, it’s just a fairy tale. Granted in this case the lizard-look was mostly abandoned, but what we are left with is a furry bipedal goat/camel thing with a T-Rex stance. An utter scientific absurdity, but perfect for an alien snow-horse for our space-cowboys to ride on. Like Tippett said, it’s “relatable.”

PART 4B: EXTERNALISING YOUR INNER SLIMY PIECE OF WORM-RIDDEN FILTH

Now let’s move on to aliens that have more personality, like Jabba the Hutt. Like all beings in the Star Wars universe, if you look up the Hutts on Wookieepedia you’ll get an extensive explanation of their society, their biology, how the reproduce (they’re hermaphroditic by the way), etc. But, if we see Jabba through the lens of abstract film making, what is he really? Well, Lucas wanted a fat and slimy gangster, like Marlon Brando in The Godfather or Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon, but of course, in the form of a monster, or rather an ‘alien’ in this case. Monsters have always been representation of real life concepts; like how European dragons have always been representations of greed, hording gold in their caves for no practical purpose other than mythological symbolism. Jabba is no different, he is greed and gluttony brought to life in the form of a big, fat, slimy slug, the abstract made literal. It is a type of storytelling that has made sense to every single child watching the film, but that unfortunately doesn’t always click with us as critical adults. Jabba’s henchmen are no different. They are meant to be vile criminals working for a mob boss, so their ugliness was been brought to the surface by making them literal monsters, fangs, claws, scales, snouts and all.

PART 4C: THE DEATH STAR IS A SAFETY INSPECTOR’S NIGHTMARE

While watching the Death Star scenes in A New Hope, have you ever said to yourself; “Why aren’t there any guard rails on these bridges?” Or maybe you’ve taken notice of how ridiculously fast the doors open and close? That place is a death trap! So why is it that the Death Star, like so many things in Star Wars has ridiculously impractical designs? Well, you should be catching my drift by now, but it’s because it looks dramatic, and nothing else. Or rather, I should say, it’s because it adds to the feel of the scenes. The Death Star is meant to be intimidating and threatening, to give off a sense of danger, while at the same time have this very bland and functional colourless-vibe that suggest a militant bureaucracy. And A New Hope conveys this brilliantly. Not only is the space stations’s interiors drab and colourless—a nice contrast to the more pleasant and natural colours you see with the rebels both in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, but even when the scene is as simple as Ben sneaking around and disabling shields, there is a sense of danger emanating from the very design of the locale. The idea that the controls to the power generator connected to the tractor beams can only be reached through this tiny and precarious ledge over a seemingly bottomless pit is nothing short of ridiculous, but seen through the lens of abstractions, it is a stroke of genius. As a matter of fact the very concept is so similar to the principles of German Expressionism that I find it odd that more people haven’t made the connection. The Death Star is not a practical or realistic setting, it is a visual expression of the essence of the Empire and the feel of the individual scenes.

All of the vehicles and locals in the original trilogy have this symbolic quality to it. Luke’s life as a farmer is boring and lacking in adventure, so naturally Lucas placed him in a barren desert. The Empire is huge and intimidating, so naturally we get a moon-sized planet-killer that is grey and soulless. The rebels on the other hand are hiding in an exotic, lush jungle, a stark contrast to both of the previous locales. This continues into the sequels. Cloud City is a literal cloud in the skies, a heavenly refuge for the main characters, that is until it proves to be a false hope, in which the clouds suddenly turns dark and red. And Luke literally descends into a steamy, red-glowing hell as he confronts Darth Vader. You get the picture. And then there’s the vehicles; the Star Destroyers, grey, angular behemoths, like a spearhead carving its way through space. It exudes a sense of a violent technocracy. Contrast this with the bulbous, almost organic-looking Mon Calamari cruisers which almost look like whales floating through space. Stormtroopers and Imperial officers all wear the same uniforms, and are all white, British-sounding, men, a pretty obvious allusion towards Nazi Germany and British colonialism, while the rebels are men, women and aliens of all colours wearing uniforms of green, beige, brown, white, blue, you name it. And let’s not forget that the technocratic space Nazis are eventually defeated with the assistance of little furry forest-dwelling primitives. In true fairy-tale fashion; hope, will-power and comradery can defeat a superior might.

PART 5: NEVER EXPLAIN ANYTHING

Fans and creators alike have been desperately trying to make sense of Star Wars for decades, going so far even as trying to explain the lack of real-life physics during space-battles by redefining the laws of physics within the Star Wars galaxy/universe by suggesting that they inhabit some kind of aether (ironically a now outdated scientific theory), as opposed to a regular vacuum. Even Timothy Zahn, author of the Thrawn Trilogy (the first true EU novels) came up with the “Etheric Rudder”, to semi-explain why X-Wings and other spacecraft behaved more like planes or boats in what is clearly meant to be outer space.

Watching Star Wars YouTubers try to make sense of the physics of the franchise can be quite interesting, and their solutions can often be quite clever, but as I’ve said many times now, I feel that they’re missing the point.

At least some of them have started to catch on:
Bor Gullet and the Problem with Star Wars Canon. In this 3 min. video YouTuber EC Henry expresses some of the same concerns I have regarding the EU, though focused only on one character, in this case; Bor Gullett from Rogue One. And he makes a good point when he expresses his disappointment with how the EU explained Bor Gullett. For those of you who don’t remember or haven’t seen the film, Bor Gullet is rebel terrorist Saw Gerrera’s means of extracting information from the character Bodhi Rook, an imperial pilot who claims to have defected. In a very dramatic, horror-like scene, Saw tells Bodhi that Bor Gullet will read his mind and threatens that a possible side effect is madness. This scene was clearly going for a Lovecraftian vibe, having a tentacled monster, themes of madness and everything. EC Henry also points out just how ambiguous the scene is and even suggests that the whole event was just an act on Saw’s part to intimidate the frightened Bodhi, which would make sense as Bodhi is very much sane, albeit disturbed by the experience afterwards. The EU however strips away all ambiguity for this rather bland explanation on Wookieepedia; “Bor Gullet was a purple-skinned Mairan with the ability to read thoughts.” And there you have it. Pretty straight forward. Mairans, “a non-sentient multi-tentacled multipod species that were native to Maires”, are simply a species that can read minds. Any personal interpretation of the scene has with a few sentences been eliminated for a forced answer, and any attempt at Lovecraftian horror has been dismissed for the sake of “realism.”

This all reminds me of when Stanley Kubrick was asked what the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey actually meant and he responded;

“How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo [da Vinci] had written at the bottom of the canvas: ‘The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover.’ This would shackle the viewer to reality, and I don’t want this to happen to 2001.”

What strikes me as amusing about all of this is that few people reject Star Wars as a franchise for all of these inconsistencies that clearly irk many adult sensibilities, instead they must “make sense” out of it all. One has to wonder if they’d gone through all this trouble had they been introduced to Star Wars as adults instead of as children.

CONCLUSION

I propose that we might have gone too far in the realm of world-building and connected narratives, and I would personally like to see more creators openly embrace the philosophy of “surreal” narratives. I’m not saying that continuity should be thrown to the window or removed all together, but I do believe there is a place for more abstract and symbolic narratives in modern entertainment as well. Sometimes a story should be allowed to simply be a story.

And if you’re not going to take my word for it, or even that of Kershner or Tippet, take it from the creator of Star Wars himself.

“As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction. But instead of reading technical, hard-science writers like Isaac Asimov, I was interested in Harry Harrison and a fantastic, surreal approach to the genre. I grew up on it. Star Wars is a sort of compilation of this stuff, but it’s never been put in one story before, never put down on film.”
~ George Lucas interviewed for the introduction to the Star Wars: A New Hope novelization.

“I knew from the beginning that I was not doing science fiction. I was doing a space opera, a fantasy film, a mythological piece, a fairy tale. I really thought I needed to establish from the start that this was a completely made up world so that I could do anything I wanted.”
~ George Lucas interviewed for the Annotated Screenplays.

Post
#1402187
Topic
The <strong>random Pics &amp; GIFs</strong> thread for the Original Trilogy
Time

NeverarGreat said:

McQuarrie: “We (Lucas and McQuarrie) had quite a thorough idea of what it was like. To me it was really one of these seven wonders of the galaxy, a pile of giant disks that were so dense that you almost had the feeling that there was less gravity inside this thing. It wasn’t fully a real place.”

I love these surreal ideas that Lucas had before the lore became more established. Reminds me of how Yoda was originally the Force personified, or something like that. I wish they’d kept more of that going forward (though I suppose concepts like Mortis and The Bendu qualifies).

EDIT: I just posted an essay (of sorts) that cover how early SW was more abstract:
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/star-wars-is-surrealism-not-science-fiction-an-essay/id/82402

Post
#1402029
Topic
The <strong>random Pics &amp; GIFs</strong> thread for the Original Trilogy
Time

Well, the text does mentioned “Rebel cut corridors” so I’m guessing that all those central rooms have been carved out of the temple or added into a large open space.

Plus, if you want to dabble in EU retcons then this was a Sith temple that would have needed actual hangars, living quarters, etc. Does anyone know what the temple was meant to be before the EU in the 90’s gave it a backstory?

Post
#1401630
Topic
STAR WARS: REBELS (animated tv series) - general discussion thread
Time

At least it’s not as weird as this guy.

TBH I don’t really mind the Rebels version that much. It’s actually quite proportionate to the original puppet, though that might be what weirds people out. The TCW version is much more cartoonish, but it captures Yoda’s most noticeable features and exaggerates them in an almost caricature-like manner that succeeds in making him look “more” like Yoda. The Rebels version, though not technically incorrect, just seems oddly reduced in comparison.

Post
#1401458
Topic
STAR WARS: REBELS (animated tv series) - general discussion thread
Time

Oh I agree. I think a lot of people, me included, had a hard time jumping from TCW season 6 into Rebels season 1, but upon my second viewing I really appreciated the first season as well. I actually like it more than season 2, which, despite some really good episodes, does IMO lack focus. Having the 1st season stay mostly on Lothal, although probably a budgetary necessity, ended up really grounding the series and characters for me. And I think many often forget just how lighthearted the OT, especially ANH, actually was, so I’m glad the show started out like that and then worked its way into more ESB-like territory later on.

Post
#1401323
Topic
STAR WARS: REBELS (animated tv series) - general discussion thread
Time

I also found it a bit jarring the first time I watched it, but I got used to it, and I’ve come to appreciate it for simply being a different style than TCW. It can be a bit too “soft” at times, but I simply accept that as a Disney XD restriction. Overall though I do really love that Filoni decided to commit to the McQuarrie aesthetic, and in many ways I think its the mot OT SW-thing we’ve really gotten since the OT. I rewatched the whole series recently, and on the second viewing I even came to appreciate the lighthearted tone of even the 1st season. TCW may be more serious, but I don’t think SW necessarily has to be serious. But, starting with the season 2 finale Rebels does take a much darker turn and the last arc in season 4 is really excellent. It’ll also becomes quite apparent that the budget gets higher per new season.

Post
#1401308
Topic
STAR WARS: REBELS (animated tv series) - general discussion thread
Time

Mocata said:

So… next question. Does this get any better after S1? Not really feeling this one and the visual downgrade after the last few CW episodes isn’t helping.

Yes, the show does get much better. Season two is a bit of an oddly mixed bag of ideas IMO, but it has a really good finale, and the next two seasons are pretty great. The last story arc I would argue is every bit as good as TCW ever was.

Also, I personally think its unfair to criticize the series too much based on the visual downgrade. The Disney XD budget was much lower than what Filoni got from Cartoon Network, and I think they did really well with what they had. If anything I think it adds to the old school OT feel in that they were forced to come up with creative solutions to deal with the lower budget. It’s also worth pointing out that they’re trying to make it all look like the McQuarrie paintings, hence the thin, pointy lightsabers, etc.

Post
#1400064
Topic
[fill in the blank] Just Died!
Time

oojason said:

Tanya Roberts, Bond girl and Charlie’s Angel, dies at 65’:-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-55528352

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/jan/04/bond-girl-and-charlies-angels-star-tanya-roberts-dies-aged-65

Tanya Roberts: Bond girl and Charlie’s Angel still alive, agent says
https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55528352

“She was mistakenly announced as having died on Sunday. But Mike Pingel said she remained in a serious condition in hospital in Los Angeles.”