Do you remember when George Lucas told Maureen Dowd that Dick Cheney is Emperor Palpatine and George Bush is Darth Vadar? I do:
Lucas explained politely as I listened contritely. Anakin Skywalker is a promising young man who is turned to the dark side by an older politician and becomes Darth Vader. “George Bush is Darth Vader,” he said. “Cheney is the emperor.”
Lucas was on his way to Europe and didn’t have time to elaborate in person. But he sent me this message confirming our conversation: “You know, Darth Vader is really a kid from the desert planet near Crawford, and the true evil of the universe is the emperor who pulls all the strings.”
The philosopher Eric Hoffer said “we never run fastest and farthest than when we run from ourselves.” And you, George Lucas, have been doing just that. Smug, insulated George Lucas and his inner circle of yes-men, licking his boots with Jabba like tongues, severely damaged the awesomeness of the Star Wars franchise, and the Jar-Jar Binksian black mark left behind is just one symptom of a great endeavor gone horribly wrong. The reason why George Lucas is so quick on the draw to label other people an evil Sith Lord is because deep down he knows he has become the Sith Lord of the Star Wars universe—Gary Kurtz just reiterates what we’ve all known for quite some time:
…1980 was also the year that Kurtz and Lucas realized the Jedi universe wasn’t big enough for the both of them.
“I could see where things were headed,” Kurtz said. “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”
He added: “The first film and ‘Empire’ were about story and character, but I could see that George’s priorities were changing…The emphasis on the toys, it’s like the cart driving the horse…If it wasn’t for that the films would be done for their own merits. The creative team wouldn’t be looking over their shoulder all the time.”
George Lucas, the liberal elitist who likes to hob-knob with Maureen Dowd at Obama inaugural parties before jet-setting off to Europe (hurrrrm), sacrifices the integrity of the characters for the cash cow that is little plastic Hasbro toys and Lego Phantom Menace set pieces? Interesting. As a proud capitalist, I fully endorse George Lucas’ right to morph into a human version of Watto. If Star Wars fans want to shell out large chunks of change for the second-hand creative goods created since Return of the Jedi, God bless them and God bless George Lucas.
With that said, it should be strenuously stated that the same guy who talks about Dick Cheney “pulling the strings” during the Bush administration is the same guy who pulls the strings of hand-picked yes men in the empire he created (only instead of Slave Leia look-a-likes chained in a basement, he probably has overweight computer programmers doing his bidding in some dark, musty cubicles at Skywalker Ranch…)
Look at George Bush’s proposals for Social Security reform, or examine how much he’s responsible for “stimulus” spending (that didn’t stimulate much of anything). Now look at President Obama’s passed legislation on Health Care and his track record on “stimulus” spending. President Obama’s power grabs and deficits puts “W” to shame (in only two years!) and yet…silence from Lucas. Perhaps that’s because there’s a new game or toy line coming out? Who knows.
George Bush is at home at his ranch clearing brush while President Obama is engaging in the very kind of Secret Wars George Lucas fretted about not too long ago. Meanwhile, Lucas is still very much “pulling the strings” of his very own Merchandising Sarlacc Pit Monster, sucking up the disposable income of fans everywhere—the kind of fans who want another plastic incarnation of Jimmy Smits (i.e., Bail Organa) in a flying car, instead of character development, solid writing, and decent acting.
Updates: Head on over to hotair to check out an alternate beginning to Return of the Jedi that, yes, I admit is pretty cool… and if this doesn’t convince you he’s turned to the Dark Side nothing will.