I recently posed a question on my facebook page:
Do you (or did you) show your kids the Star Wars movies in the order they were filmed or numerically?
Being a Star Wars fan, I wasn’t surprised by the reactions I received. It was easily the most talked about post I’ve had on my page in a long time. The reason is that people are passionate about it. Whatever stand they take, they are passionate. I like that.
The responses ranged from:
The order they were filmed.
Episodes I-III do not exist and won’t be shown in this house.
and the one response I didn’t understand:
I don’t watch Star Wars.
Anyway, the point I was getting at is this:
The entire storyline changes depending on what order you watch them in! If you watch them in the original order, there is a ton of drama to be had. But there’s a certain amount of mystery that we can never share with our kids. Most kids know who Yoda is before he shows up. So when Luke is talking to him, there is no “Holy crap!” moment when you realize the little green freak cooking swamp chili is actually a Jedi Master. But the rest of the spoilers are largely held intact.
In the original order: *SPOILERS*
We follow Luke, an orphan, on his quest. We are introduced to a plethora of characters that will comprise a rag-tag band of Rebels. And in Episode V, you find out that the ULTIMATE BAD GUY OF THE F-ING UNIVERSE is Luke’s daddy. (Also, Luke totally wanted down his sister’s pants.) Then we follow Luke on his trek to becoming Jedi and his whole nonsensical obsession with ‘finding good’ in Darth Vader, (Whatever, you whiny little shit…he’s SUPER EVIL! Haven’t you been watching him Force Choke bitches for the last two and a half movies??) only to have our minds BLOWN when Vader, picks up the emperor and tosses him down a shaft.
Also, we are treated to Han Solo totally shooting Greedo FIRST! At least, Lucas didn’t change the fact that Solo, upon seeing his future father-in-law for the first time, shoots him. Sure, Vader’s all “Whatever, punk, I’m just going to catch that blast in my palm. But hey, SON!” Then Darth stone cold freezes Solo in Carbonite and turns him into furniture for a nasty desert slug.
The Rebel Alliance wins and peace reigns supreme in the galaxy. (At least until the Force-related poo smacks the galactic fan in Episode 8…don’t mess this up, Disney.)
Then we get a 20 year dry spell broken by the promise of so much Star Warsy goodness. We are supposed to find out what happened to turn a good Jedi into a Sith. We are promised an epic tale of love and betrayal. We are promised the oft-mentioned Clone Wars.
And we got Jar Jar Binks (I barfed a little just typing that out.) and some whiny kid who is a better pilot than he should be. Only to find out that George Lucas explained that the Force is an especially insane version of a yeast infection. Oh, and this kid who happened to be born via immaculate conception is the yeastiest SOB the universe has ever seen. (And we KNOW what happens to people born via immaculate conception…things never end well when that happens.)
Long story short, there’s no real drama, just impending feeling of doom knowing this kid is going to trip balls one day and turn into the ULTIMATE BAD GUY OF THE F-ING UNIVERSE! There’s absolutely no point in time when you say, “Maybe Obi Wan can keep him from turning into a Force-Choking Mo-Fo who catches blaster shots with his hand and waves it off like a housefly.” Nope, it’s set in stone, you know from start to finish what’s going to happen. But, where the drama lies is, we don’t know HOW it happened. And the prequels were going to enlighten us. And they did…if not through gratuitous lightsabers, bad acting, and even worse dialogue and a love story that left me wondering if anyone associated with the filming of the prequels had ever experienced true love before. (I digress.)
Now, if watching Episode I-VI in numerical order…the story is much different.
We have a little kid named Anakin. (About the age of the younglings in Ep. III…you know the ones.) Oh and I’m skipping the whole trade war crap…that was just to introduce us to the Jedi and to show off some droids. Also, Jar Jar came from that. So, we get some gratuitous racing and Jar Jar being Jar Jar and after about a half hour I realized this idiot wasn’t going to get a random blaster to the face and Qui-Gon and Obi Wan were way too ‘in control’ to accidentally behead him in a land speeder a la Pulp Fiction. (That would have been the BEST SCENE EVER BTW.) Then the race…and we get introduced to Jabba the Hutt, R2D2, C3PO, and some woman who says she’s Anakin’s mom… I mean, she wants what’s best for her boy, I get it. But they didn’t really do a good job of setting up any sort of familial bond with her kid. I mean, when they leave and take him to the Jedi Council, you get the feeling that she’s just like Chuck on Happy Days. She’s just going to vanish.
And she does.
There’s a fight. We find out the Sith are real. And they are back in existence. There’s some veiled hints at some prophecy that’s never TRULY explained. (I’ll get to that in a minute.) Then the Sith badass gets lopped in half. Obi-Wan gets a field promotion and takes on a kid who has more Force in his little finger than the entire Jedi Council combined. There’s a clone war where Anakin becomes a decorated hero. Then the clones turn on the Jedi in the ultimate back stab! His love affair begins with Amidala (Who has aged VERY well considering they put her as being 8 or so years older than him.). They keep it a secret. Then we are introduced to some more bad guys…because the bad guy in the 1st movie was conveniently cut in half.
Oh, and at one point, Anny (Horrible nickname for a dude, really.) goes back home to find his mom. You know, the mom he hasn’t mentioned in years. He finds out she has been kidnapped by Tusken Raiders (convenient enemies…they have no real faces and bray like donkeys). So, he goes out and slaughters an entire village of Sand People. It’s okay…they don’t have faces and can’t say things like “Oh nos! Stop cutting me up in little cauterized pieces!!!”
Then he goes back to his job, like a boss. It’s not really highlighted as much as I think it should be…THAT WAS HIS FIRST STEP TO THE DARK SIDE. (Or was it?)
The third movie happens and the love story gets more convoluted as Anny thinks Obi’s laying the saber to his lover…even though, Obi Wan has done nothing other than be a Jedi. We see the Emperor is really pulling this kid’s strings. And we watch in horror as Palpatine somehow convinces the strongest Jedi in the history of the galaxy that he’s not powerful ENOUGH. Then he proceeds to somehow teach this kid super awesome force choking and lighting fingers instantly…and in private. Also, he somehow convinces this young punk to slaughter a whole room full of younglings. You know…because SAFETY!
The first slaughtering (Tusken ‘mom kidnapping’ Raiders) was done so you’d empathize with him. Yes, it was extreme, but if someone kidnapped your mom and someone else handed you a functioning light saber…
The second slaughtering (dear Lord…the younglings) was done so you’d hate him. It’s so that the kids growing up with Anakin as a good kid, can get the horror of what a bad guy he’s going to become. I mean, he ends up being the ULTIMATE BAD GUY OF THE F-ING UNIVERSE! Also, we are treated with an extended scene of Anakin doing his best impersonation of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the The Holy Grail. That way we aren’t shocked when he shows up later looking like a space samurai and killing dudes with his mind.
ALSO, it changes the story enough that when Luke says, “I can sense the good in you.” We don’t see Luke as a delusional young Jedi…nope, he’s a powerful Jedi because we know he’s right.
ALSO ALSO, by the time these films emerge, Lucas has changed so many things about the original trilogy that fanboys will be busy on forums for decades to come.
Here’s a small list (hit Google for more):
- Jabba shows up in Episode IV looking much thinner than his original debut in Episode V. Guess all that stress over not having Han Solo as a personal piece of piece d’ art had him over-eating.
- The Sarlacc Pit…somehow grows a strange new beak…not sure why.
- Explosions in space are 30% more explosion-y.
- And, quite frankly, the strangest one is what originally started out as a single shot fired from Solo into Greedo, turns into a deep space recreation of that scene in Pulp Fiction. Except in this one, It’s Hans Solo instead of Vinny and Jules. And Greedo is that kid running from the bathroom. Greedo shoots like ALL OF THE TIMES before Solo finally plugs him. #ugh
Now, there’s a few things I’d like to go over regarding the whole saga.
The entire series is about Darth Vader.
It’s a saga about the rise and fall of one man. His entire life is laid bare and told through the lens of the ‘Light Side’. A lens that isn’t as pure as you might think…
The downfall of the Jedi Order was an inside job. By Yoda and Obi Wan.
The prophecy they mention is that Anakin was supposed to bring balance to the Force. When this is brought up, Master Yoda is the only one who shits his toga a little. Everyone looks at it like “Hey! Here’s the kid! Fun times for all! WooHOOO! Let’s all party on Curiscant! Better yet, there’s a little cantina in Mos Eisley that will rock your face off…let’s go there and lop some hands off!”
Not the Great Green One. He nods knowingly, gets a sad look on his face and says, “Well, that was a good run while it lasted. Guess I better get ready to pack up and head to the planet that has the highest concentration of the Dark Side in the galaxy and hide.” Seems a little odd. At least, it does until you realize that the Jedi are the dominant side of the Force. There are more Jedi than there are Green Lanterns. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Jedi. Sith? There’s like…TWO. So, either this kid is going to hyper-populate the Sith side or he’s going to obliterate the Light Side. There’s no other balance to be had.
Yoda knows the prophecy. He’s hundreds of years old. And he sets about taking care of his little green butt and Obi Wan’s as well. It was Yoda who approved Obi Wan training the kid. Even though, Obi Wan was only TECHNICALLY a Jedi Master because his teacher got offed. Hey, let’s take this greenhorn Master and give him the most powerful kid in the universe. Sure, I mean, what’s the WORST that could happen?
Nope, Yoda knew what was coming and began preparing for the destruction of the Jedi. “Quick, hide the two Jedi kids. Also, Obi Wan, you go into hiding. Oh, and I’m totally going to throw my final battle with the Emperor, because FATE.”
Yoda isn’t a hero who persists in the face of oppression and destruction. He single-handedly brings about a prophecy he previously discounted and then runs away to save his own butt. Pretty sure the swamps on Dagobah are haunted with the souls of all those younglings he sent to their deaths. (HE was the one teaching them…he knew. He could have hidden them, but that would be against the prophecy. So, he just keeps on keeping on until the day they all get hacked to tiny youngling bits.)
It’s a complex story and it gets even moreso when you delve into the extended universe. Have fun with that!
Also, May the Fourth be with you!
That having been said, what would Star Wars Day be without something to show for it??
AMAZON – SALES
Here’s some cool stuff I found on sale…
Darth Choke picture is from the Star Wars Facebook Page.