George Doesn't Owe Us Anything
There has been a lot of uproar from the geek community lately about the recent additions George Lucas has made to his space epic, Star Wars. Turns out, Darth Vadar gained some additional lines, Ewoks now have eyelids, and other changes. To be fair, I too, am still bitter about the fact that Han did shoot first. This particular change, first made with the re-release of the Star Wars trilogy in 1997, brought up an interesting question: Should movie makers be able to alter their movies beyond the theatrical releases we watch?
One of the childish reasons against this notion runs something along the lines of 'George Lucas is raping my child memories, just to make a buck!'. But to whom does the movie really belong? But more than that, for what purpose is the movie made to begin with?
Make no mistake, movies are a business. Entertainment media is a very good barometer for what the population at large is into, so a glut of poorly made, ill conceived movies only tells you that consumers are really into poorly made, ill conceived movies. The movie is only satisfying our collective desire for trash. So any notion that George Lucas is only looking to make a buck should be met with a resounding: yes! He wouldn't keep making modifications to his movies, from a business perspective, if we weren't willing to line up and purchase tickets or boxed sets, or other paraphernalia associated with the franchise.
But now that we have that out of the way, the real reason why Lucas is doing this is because he can. It's his story. It's not mine, it's not yours, it's no one elses except his. What right do we have to tell him what he can and cannot do with his creation? If you know anything about Lucas, his career could be summed up in this: fight against the status quo. That is why Star Wars was successful. He went against the norm of movie making, took an amazing risk creating something that no one had seen or experienced before, and created a lasting impression on society and pop culture because of it.
So when we go around whining that he's 'messing with past', 'ruining our childhood', or something equally absurd, let's stop and consider this: Star Wars, down to the essence of it, has hijacked his life. And while he chose to go down this path that has forever dominated his destiny, if anything we owe him. Yes, you heard it here first: We owe George Lucas for the way he has enriched our lives and added a tinge of flavor to the American ethos.
And what does he owe us? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He doesn't owe you your childhood, he doesn't owe you your memories, and he doesn't owe you an upgrade on the movie media that your current boxed set resides. If you can't handle Ewoks with eyelids, or new dialogue for the man in the suit, then stop going to the theaters, stop buying the nth release of Star Wars on [pick new media here], stop watching his shows. It's his art and his show, so he gets to 'alter the deal' when he wants to.
Let's just pray he doesn't alter it further.