5 Things You Never Say to a Star Wars Fan

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by Jay Malone on August 20, 2013

in Star Wars

Certain things invoke nerd rage, which, while entertaining to witness, is best avoided when possible. Here are 5 things you never say to a Star Wars fan:

 

“The only good film was Empire.”

I’m going to avoid the prequels for now – more on them later. While Empire may have been a great film, Empire was not the only good film. I don’t know when this happened, but a film being ‘dark’ doesn’t necessarily make it ‘great’. Just because A New Hope and Jedi end on positive notes, it doesn’t make them any less relevant or any less enjoyable than Empire.

luke on dagobah

Chronologically by release, the only characters of note established in Empire were Yoda, Lando, and Boba Fett – and if you watch in numerical order, the only character of importance introduced was Lando. The only world of matter that was introduced was Dagobah (not to discount Hoth and Bespin, but they were visited and deserted, never to be heard from in the films again). I love Empire, it’s my favorite of the films – but to use it as a way to discount the other movies is ridiculous.

 

“Clone Wars is an unnecessary cash grab – it’s just a way for Lucas to make money from merchandising.”

First – shut your mouth. Until you’ve watched the masterstroke that was The Clone Wars animated series, you don’t get to insult it. In my opinion, Clone Wars is not only the best Star Wars work of the last 20 years (yes, even more than Timothy Zahn and Aaron Allston’s books in the EU), it did the nearly impossible, and made the prequels better.

clone wars darth maul_opt

Between Episode II and Episode III, a time gap occurs that was never explained, until Clone Wars launched. Seeing the Clone Wars in action – first hinted at in Episode IV by Obi-Wan – was harrowing. You grew attached to characters whose names were only numbers. You cheered for a padawan in Ahsoka Tano who had no history in the universe, but became a focal point for character growth and conflict between the Dark Side and the Light Side. And – most importantly – you got character backstory on people who had little or no speaking lines in the prequels, like Ki-Adi Mundi and Plo Koon, two Jedi with unique looks, and now a real story to their credit.

Plo Koon

Most  importantly, though? The Clone Wars brought new people to the fandom, and made fans out of those either too young to see the prequels, or too jaded by their stories to care.

 

“The great Galactic Empire was defeated by a bunch of teddy bears.”

First, the Ewoks didn’t defeat the entire Empire – they defeated a few soldiers on a moon in the middle-of-fucking-nowhere.  It was a skeleton crew of soldiers with some heavy-duty firepower on their sides in the AT-ST, but little familiarity with the terrain. The Ewoks – despite being adorable – were clearly hunter/gatherers, given that half of them carry sharpened spears, and aren’t afraid to get aggressive when they see something they don’t like.

Ewok Baby

future insurgent

Calling the Ewoks ‘teddy bears’ is like calling the American Revolution a ‘small scuffle’ – the fact is, a guerilla war was fought by those more familiar with the locale. Even before you take the Expanded Universe into account, logic alone would dictate that the entire military of a galaxy-spanning empire wouldn’t be stationed on a small moon. The Ewoks didn’t defeat the Empire, they defeated a platoon of Stormtroopers that basically got tasked with guarding a shield generator on an unpopulated planetoid – you know, the guys who weren’t good enough to be on the Death Star II.

 

“Your universe shouldn’t need to be Expanded in order for it to make sense.”

This is just idiotic. EVERYTHING has an expanded universe – video games, movies, TV, comics, magazines – all of these things expand the source material. Amazon has a whole wing dedicated to fan fiction.

new-jedi-order

People fondly remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, which itself was an expanded universe of the original Eastman and Laird comics. Even the Bible has an expanded universe – the New Testament! An EU doesn’t symbolize a weakness to the source materials, it signals a growth of ideas and brings characters and events into focus, showing sides of them you might not have seen.

 

“The only good part of the prequels was the Pod Racing scene.”

And we come to the big one. I won’t argue that there are a lot of flaws with the prequels – there are numerous issues with the films, and the stories, while not as weak as many OTers want to believe, aren’t as strong. But to take nearly 7 ½ hours of film and say that the only good part is one action scene from the first film is ridiculous. Some other great moments from the prequel trilogy:

  • The first notes of ‘Duel of the Fates’ hitting, and Darth Maul being revealed
  • The ignition of the double bladed lightsaber
  • R2-D2’s introduction into the Star Wars universe
  • Obi-Wan and Anakins pursuit of Zam at the start of Attack of the Clones
  • Christopher Lee as Count Dooku
  • Order 66
  • Yoda vs. Count Dooku
  • Palpatine testing his influence over Anakin at the start of Revenge of the Sity
  • Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
  • A 30 minute dog-fight to open Revenge of the Sith

And finally…

  • The final battle and emotional confrontation with Obi-Wan and Anakin on Mustafar

 

Jay MaloneJay Malone (@JCorduroy) is the co-host of the PushtoRegenPodcast, a fancast about HeroClix. He also loves the world of GI Joe, and writes a (somewhat) regular column for TheTerrordrome. Jay once lived in a cupboard under the stairs like Harry Potter, has a dog that looks like Stitch, and his 3 year old son is named after the ruler of Latveria – but don’t tell his wife that.

 

  • http://underscoopfire.com Lenny B.

    The fact is Revenge of the Sith totally redefined the entire franchise, which started out as the “Adventures of Luke and Leia” and suddenly turned the entire work into the “Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.”

  • Korabljenik

    I really, really don’t agree about The Clone Wars being good.
    In fact, it is very bad.

    • http://pushtoregen.com Jay

      Mind if I ask what you didn’t like about it? I thought it was fantastic.

    • http://www.therobotspajamas.com robotspjs

      There are bad episodes, but there are many awesome ones to overcome those.

  • Mike

    Actually I thought the pod racing scene was one of the worst part of the prequels. It took up such a large part of the movie and really didn’t do much for character development… ok Anakin is a good pilot, did we really need that much of the movie to show it? It was also shown at the end of the movie when he “hid” in one of the fighters, so the pod racing really was unnecessary. They used it as a plot device to get a part for a space ship that crashed and to “free him” from slavery…. yeah that part of the movie sucked.

    • http://pushtoregen.com Jay

      There’s far more negative than positive with Phantom Menace, but I actually enjoyed the Pod Race. True, it was overly long, but the race itself was well shot and was at least fun in an otherwise droll section of the movie.

      • http://pushtoregen.com Jay

        Bah..’dull’ not ‘droll’.

    • Dave

      I saw Phantom Menace in the theatre the day it was released. I thought, “Hmmm…those podracers will make good toys.” Lo and behold…they did. Lucas sold lots of toys from that movie. That is what they were there in the movie to do. Sell merchandise. I didn’t hate Episode I (expect for the annoying character, you know who I mean) but I HATED Episode II and III, because Hayden whathisname had the acting range of a piece of cardboard. Even Mark Hamill was a MUCH better actor, in the originals.

  • http://www.therobotspajamas.com robotspjs

    The totally ham fisted introduction of R2-D2 in Phantom Menace is a positive?

    • http://pushtoregen.com Jay

      Eh, you like Twinkies, I liked R2′s intro. Different strokes. ;)

      • http://www.therobotspajamas.com robotspjs

        Twinkies are okay, but I prefer fruit pies uber alles.

  • Bob

    The prequels were a disaster. The pod race was a joke. Anakin Skywalker is a pretentious, boring, awfully-written and directed character. He is also the central character of the ENTIRE prequel series. As if that wasn’t bad enough, EVERY character in the prequel is awfully-written and directed. AND the story is weak and boring (yeah, tell me more about the trade embargo–worse yet, write it down and have me read it in the intro). CGI and fight scenes are stupid if nobody gives a crap about the characters.

    Nope. Trash it and redo with someone who understands character development for godssake. Abrams isn’t perfect, but he would do a hell of a lot better than Lucas did with this horrific shit-stain on the face of cinema. None of this would matter if the Star Wars universe wasn’t so cool–the prequels would have quietly descended into oblivion never to be heard from again. Instead I have to hear about how bad, or not so bad (as this article is attempting to convince people), these films are — ad nauseum.

    • http://pushtoregen.com Jay

      I agree – Star Wars IS cool as hell, and as such, I can see good (and bad) in both trilogies. Granted, there’s a LOT more bad than good in the Prequels, and a lot more good than bad in the Original, but there’s good to be had in each – that’s the only point I was trying to make. :)

      Personally, I think Abrams is going to do a fine job with the new trilogy. Will it be exactly what I wanted it to be? Certainly not. But that’s alright, it’s still going to be fun to get back into that universe again.

      • Dave

        I wonder, were they as bad as we think they are. People hated “Indiana Jones and the Space Aliens” too, but that movie was basically intended to be a comic book/saturday morning seriel, and on that level, it worked great. It was SO over the top, it was almost ludicrous, and if that was what was inteneded, (as I think it was) then it worked.

        I think George Lucas meant for the prequels to be “kiddy” and “cartoony” and on that level they worked too. It’s just that for even “kiddy and cartoony” you still need good acting and good dialogue, and they had neither.

  • https://twitter.com/Count_Marzo Count Marzo

    *takes notes to troll with*

  • Mal

    Nice and fun Post to read.
    As a “great momment from the precuels”, I’d add the “Slave I fighting Obi Wan’s vessel” scene in Ep II. We finally get to see Boba’s (and Jango’s) ship in action. A great scene, with almost no music and only awesome sound fxs such as engines, laser blasters, and mega explosions in deep space.

    • http://OldSchool.tblog.com OldSchool80s

      Good call. I did like to finally see that ship in action as well.

  • http://calvinscanadiancaveofcool.blogspot.ca/ Kal

    I learned a long time ago to keep Star Wars close to my heart. Anyone who reads my blog would be right to think that I am not a huge fan. I just don’t want to discuss Star Wars with anyone because I don’t want to defend what I know…that the film changed my life. I will take any new Star Wars content the world gives me (I adore the Clone Wars TV show) and be happy that the story continues in whatever fashion it does. I will be in the line for the first night of Episode 7 with a smile on my face.

    • http://OldSchool.tblog.com OldSchool80s

      I totally understand where you’re coming from. I can’t really look at Star Wars all that objectively because I love it dearly at its core. I try not to focus on the bad and just enjoy it for what it is, more Star Wars which is better than no more Star Wars to me any day.

  • http://www.rediscoverthe80s.com Jason Gross

    I’m glad the prequels were made to at least complete the story of the original trilogy. They do have good parts, more than just the pod racing which I did enjoy.

    I think no matter what story was told with the prequels, they would have never been close to the nostalgic feeling of 4-6. They were revered by so many and to expect anything to come close was just impossible. I never had that letdown feeling walking out of the theater with the prequels and just enjoyed them for what they were.

    I’ll always treasure the original trilogy and never care to dive into the expanded universe including the clone wars series.

  • Dave

    I have the Original cut Episode 4, 5 and 6 on VHS tapes that I bought in the 1980′s. I have the Ep. 4, 5 and 6 redone editions that were released after George Lucas added all the CGI and revisionist scenes in the late ’90′s, before the prequels came out. I do not have any VHS, DVD or Blu-Rays of the prequels, and I will not buy any, until they come out with the ORIGINAL theatrical releases of Ep. 4, 5 and 6 on Blu-Ray. Those are the ones I saw as a kid, and I liked them. I don’t care if Han Solo shot first or not.

  • Dejavu2

    I can think of another thing not to say to them: “Why’s everyone so down on Jar Jar Binks? I think he’s pretty cool.”

  • Tony

    “Your universe shouldn’t need to be Expanded in order for it to make sense.”

    You don’t do anything to disprove this. A work of art — in this case, a movie — should make sense on its own, without the help of additional outside sources. Sure, it’s fine to add to the movie with extras, but if the movie itself doesn’t make sense within it’s own run time, it’s a failure.

    Adding value to a work of art through extras is one thing; requiring extras to make the work of art workable in the first place is a failure on the part of the artist.

  • Rob

    The prequels were the GREAT. Loved them! Go ahead bloggers you can say they weren’t just to be different but whatever. The movies were Boss. Jay Malone good list of scenes.

  • Mark Workhoven

    Yoda and Boba Fett were introduced in Empire. So Empire gets the credit for introducing them, not the prequels just because they’re set earlier. Also, just because Hoth and Bespin were only used once doesn’t mean they weren’t awesome or “of matter” for the story the movie was telling.
    Also, if a movie doesn’t make sense, nobody should say, “Well, it makes sense if you see the comic/novel/TV show/role playing game.” Well, you’re not doing any of those things. You’re watching a MOVIE. A movie shouldn’t give you homework to do before you can understand it. The expanded Universe is fine, but the movie should work on its own terms.
    Also, the Ewoks and the prequels just suck. Deal with it.

    • Howard Decker

      I knew what he meant, but I think “introduced” was misused there. All good points though.

      I’m a little more of an ewok apologist than most, but I by no means can defend their existence in a “serious” SW discussion.

    • Matthew Noble

      Dude, the Ewoks are great. They may not be as awesome as the Wookiees, but they’re WAY better than the Gungans. The Gungans never tried to roast and eat the heroes.

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  • Daeths

    The podrace was bad, but the rest of the prequels were worse. Frombad acting (often due to..), horrid writing, poor character development and an over emphasis on effects the pod races are easily among the best parts, but its still something I would fast forward through in any other movie.

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  • Jake

    I take your point about Ewoks, except that the Emperor said: “It was *I* who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them.” Not a platoon of second-raters who weren’t good enough to march about on a space station, but the best veterans the Emperor had to offer from a galaxy-spanning empire.

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