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Happy Star Wars Day

I love this day. Love it. Not only were the movies brilliant (okay technically – in my opinion – New Hope and Empire Strikes Back = brilliant, Phantom Menace /= it, and the others fall somewhere in between), but the underlying story, the overarching universe, and even the excesses work perfectly for me.

Plus, I envy George Lucas, but in a healthy way, where there’s a fair amount of cheering going on. He experienced the storyteller’s dream – of telling your story the way you want to tell it, in the order you want to tell it, with the resources to tell it at the right time, place and pace. Do I think this landed in his lap – some sort of lucky set of happenstances? Nope, I think he earned it through genius, hard work, self-confidence and a connection to primal human yearnings.

So yes I love Star Wars. I love Han as the ultimate reckless hero; Luke as the ultimate noble hero; Darth Vader as the best movie villain ever.

But I kind of love George Lucas himself too. Not that he’s some sort of paragon, or that he did it alone. The backstage accounts of how the scripts evolved are a lesson in how he sought, fought and embraced input, a fact which some regard as undermining his personal achievement, but to me, it’s just how something wondrous happened, made all the more amazing because it wasn’t a straight-line, slam dunk affair. It was creative process on steroids.

But again, what I really love/envy about him is that he told his story, his way.

Oh, and as far as the changes he made to his story even after it was released into the wild? Yeah, as a viewer that bugged me, and I didn’t think it improved anything, but I still kind of love it that he did it. Because it’s the ultimate proof he’s a storyteller. Before film and literacy, storytellers traveled around, telling and re-telling, and even though the story could be over – for one particular moment, with one particular audience, on one particular night – it kept evolving forever.  We lost a bit of that when we started binding our stories with glue and tape. Kudos to Lucas for taking his on the road, where stories were born.

May the Fourth be with you!!

Kate

p.s. And tomorrow, Cinco de Mayo – we’re on a roll, folks!  Pace yourselves.

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