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star wars: the next generation
in need of an intervention
by erik lars myers (@TopFermented)

It's not often that I say things like this. I'm normally a fairly peaceful person, most especially when it involves fantasy. But without even thinking about what kind of horrible atrocities might be hiding in a last will and testament, I will say this: George Lucas needs to die.

At the very least, he needs to be stopped. I'll settle for amnesia, or even dementia. Or maybe just a surgical removal of a battalion of yes-men.

It's interesting, really. The man created one of the most beloved franchises in movie and science fiction history, and continues, unabated, to try to ruin it. I thought it was over with Revenge of the Sith, but alas, no. You may think I'm referring to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series that is set to debut in 2008, described as "the next generation of the Star Wars saga, a cutting edge 30-minute, 3-D computer-animation series based on the Clone Wars that take place between Episode II ... and Episode III." But I'm not.

It's not what you think. It's much, much worse.

No. What we're talking about is Star Wars: The Television Series, slated for possible release in 2009 that, according to producer Rick McCallum, may run up to 400 episodes.

400. Four-zero-zero.

To give you an idea, another tired franchise, The Simpsons, recently aired its 400th episode. In its 18th year on television. Saturday Night Live aired its 400th episode in its 21st year. Star Trek, the most successful and long-running sci-fi television series ever, produced a total of 443 episodes - but mind you that counts every episode (since 1966!) of Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.

To give you another idea, Rick McCallum's last television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles ran for 2 whole years for a grand total of 28 episodes. Clearly, the man has precedent to build from.

And in fact, he does. He produced all three of the recent Star Wars movies as well as the 90's-era re-masters of the original films, making him, as near as I can tell, as close to being one of George Lucas's internal organs as you possibly can be while still being an ass.

The new television series is set to take place in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope -- The Great Jedi Purge -- which, for all of you non-Star Wars geeks out there, would place the series in the time in which all of the Jedi are being hunted down and exterminated; the rise of the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance. When Yoda and Ben Kenobi are in self-imposed exile. When all of the characters that most fans would really care about are either dead or children. We've already seen how awesome child-versions of our favorite Star Wars characters can be.

Darth Vader: "Yippeee!"

No doubt, the series has potential. There is a vast body of work in existence, referred to as the Expanded Universe (EU). However, the majority of it deals with what happens after Return of the Jedi, rather than before A New Hope, and I'm not surprised: Jedis are awesome. I've wanted to be one since I was 4. They have always been the protagonist focus of the movies, whether it's Luke in the originals, or the Jedi Council in the new ones. They're the focus, and they're the good guys. The time after Return of the Jedi is the rise of the New Order -- the next generation of Jedi Masters, like the children of Leia Organa and Han Solo: Anakin, Jaina, and Jacen Solo (aka Darth Caedus). You're talking about nothing but fun here.

And there's where I think my main problem with this is. I want to see Jedis kick some serious butt, not get massacred by faceless Stormtroopers. Again, in between Episode III and Episode IV, all but two Jedi warriors in the universe, are tracked down and killed by bounty hunters. How depressing could you get in a television series? Can you possibly make the Jedi knights your protagonists if the plot you've already created mandates that they all have to die? Or do we get a Star Wars universe with no Jedis? Or is it just going to be the romantic comedy "Boba Fett and Friends"?

I can't help but feel, like I have for years, that the worst thing that's happened to the Star Wars Canon has been George Lucas. I can't understand how he could have done something so right and still get it so wrong, most especially when the things that are good (like the entire EU) are sitting in his lap waiting to be expanded upon.

Instead, what we get is the potential of years and years of wondering -- what is he going to do to it this time? We get future generations looking at Star Wars, as they know it, and asking us, "You liked this?"

I can only hope the answer is yes.


Writer, beer drinker, brewer. Not necessarily in the order. For more, check Top Fermented and Mystery Brewing Company.

more about erik lars myers


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alex b
9.17.07 @ 9:15a

Man. Who needs Star Wars on TV? Let's just leave it on the silver screen or terrific CGI-animation. Reading this makes me happy there isn't a "Lord of the Rings" TV series in the works.

jael mchenry
9.17.07 @ 11:03a

I was afraid you were going to say he was helping with the new Indiana Jones, because that would be another full-scale tragedy.

They'll never let this thing stay on for 400 episodes if it's not making money. Anybody can say they hope a series will run forever... I sincerely doubt this one will.

I was going to argue that a dark series set in a time where the outcome is absolutely certain to be depressing could actually work, because the small triumphs become so much bigger -- but really, yeah, it does sound like a lousy time period to choose.

At least on Battlestar Galactica we think the humans might win, or get beyond the concept of "winning" -- Jedi extermination is not the same thing.

erik myers
9.17.07 @ 11:08a

Isn't it bad enough that Spielberg is on the new Indiana Jones? (Lucas is the executive producer - hopefully he has sense enough not to touch it).

I think the fact that they're arrogant enough to even say that kind of thing up front is appalling, because that means they're going to *try*.

Besides, what network would turn down a Star Wars series? I mean, aside from Sci-Fi.

joe procopio
9.17.07 @ 12:30p

I can't help but want to see a Star Wars television series, but, unlike Battlestar Galactica - which I went into with a closed mind thinking it would suck and man was I wrong - we know how Star Wars ends. That's one of the beautiful things about BSG, the original series got cancelled midstream and, even though they found Earth in Galactica 1980, come on, that show was horrible and immediately erasable.

If it's going to succeed, especially with any kind of longevity, they need to start it after Return of the Jedi. I don't care how compelling a character Darth Vader is, if the story is closed ended, we simply will not care about the outcome to the extent we should.

Oh, the line "Darth Vader: Yippeee!" Gold, but it takes a second read to realize you're quoting.

adam kraemer
9.17.07 @ 2:43p

Maybe it'll just concentrate on Yoda and Kenobi learning to live in their surroundings. I can see some hilarity ensuing when Yoda first tries to make friends with the swamp creature. Or when Old Ben (or middle-aged ben; 17 years did not treat him well) gets drunk in Mos Eisley with Jabba. It's priceless.

jael mchenry
9.17.07 @ 2:51p

It's Star Wars crossed with Comedy Central's "L'il Bush!" Hilarity ensues!


I'll definitely be grabbing the DVDs of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, though. Sean Patrick Flannery is an underrated talent. And my favorite episode prominently features Anne Heche. Ah, we were all so young once.

robert melos
9.18.07 @ 12:07a

No. No. I cannot deal with any Star Wars television show, unless it's a variety show with dancing Jedi and a cabaret singing Leia. No more dark time between crappy installment fill-ins. I just refuse to accept it.

reem al-omari
9.18.07 @ 1:17a

I lost respect for Lucas around the time the original Star Wars movies were being re-released in the theaters, digitally remastered.

The guy made movies that were way ahead of their time, totally blew me away when I saw them knowing they were made back before computer digital stuff with awesome effects and precision, yet he didn't think it was good enough and buried the originals forever. Lucas supposedly was just settling originally because he didn't have the technology back then available today... he's an idiot in that respect, because lack of technology makes Star Wars that much more mind-blowing. Nonetheless, he's a rich idiot who's just gonna keep getting richer and richer. Bastardo!

alex b
9.18.07 @ 2:11a

Robert, I just came home from a drag show. Now you're making me wonder how Skywalker would look with big hair and a phallic rubber "saber."

russ carr
9.18.07 @ 2:25p

unless it's a variety show with dancing Jedi and a cabaret singing Leia.

It's already been done. Seeing it subtitled just adds to the crazy.

adam kraemer
9.18.07 @ 5:33p

Robert, I just came home from a drag show. Now you're making me wonder how Skywalker would look with big hair and a phallic rubber "saber."

See "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

alex b
9.18.07 @ 9:50p

Oooh, Adam, the girls down at Lipps looked better than Mark Hamill did in that movie!

ken mohnkern
9.19.07 @ 1:42p

"Completed in 1999, Star Wars: The Musical is a musical version of Star Wars (A New Hope), written and recorded with original music and lyrics."

(Make sure to check out the mp3 audio for each song.)

sandra thompson
9.19.07 @ 6:08p

Here's all I have to say about Star Wars: When it orginally came out back in what 1977(?), my friends and I came out of the film and I said, "Well, it was okay, but it wasn't Star Trek." I still hold to that opinion. I must admit I did enjoy playing with the action figures with my grandgeeks in later years.

brian anderson
9.21.07 @ 9:14a

Nor is it meant to be Star Trek. And, honestly, Star Trek: The Motion Picture isn't very close to Star Trek, either. Now, Forbidden Planet...

joe procopio
10.17.07 @ 3:54p

Looks like your show is about robots.

"The Skywalkers aren't in it, and it's about minor characters," Lucas said in an interview with Times' reporter Geoff Boucher. "It has nothing to do with Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader or any of those people. It's completely different. But it's a good idea, and it's going to be a lot of fun to do."

CNet Link

mike julianelle
10.17.07 @ 6:03p

He wouldn't know a good idea if he digitally updated one with useless special effects that changed classic movies for the worse.

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