The Force Awakens: A Day Of Mixed Emotions

the force awakens scroll

December 18th 2015 can’t come soon enough. When I’m finally sat in the theatre waiting for the familiar opening of a Star Wars movie with a new John Williams score blasting out all around me I will be so happy. I will be ten years old all over again.

At the same time I’m also dreading December 18th 2015 and here’s why. George Lucas.

It’s pretty inevitable that Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ will be good, very good and that’s my problem. Sounds weird right? Well let me explain. You see, I am a huge George Lucas fan, have been ever since I watched Star Wars for the first time back in 1977. Ever since that day I have followed the Star Wars creator and marvelled at everything he has created. Star Wars changed my life for the better and for that I have George Lucas to thank.

I can honestly say that only three people from the movie industry have influenced me positively on a personal level and they are Steven Spielberg, John Williams and George Lucas. It was for that reason I decided to create The Bearded Trio website back in 2009. Call it a thank you to the three for being there and bringing so many good memories into my life. As the site progressed I dug deeper into each of the bearded trio and realised how much each have contributed to the movie industry and especially George Lucas.

skywalker ranch

Without Mr Lucas we wouldn’t have Star Wars, that fact is obvious. But without the bearded director we wouldn’t have had Pixar, Indiana Jones, Lucasarts and their many classic titles. Even Photoshop came around because of Industrial Light and Magic, again another of George Lucas’ many contributions. THX, Skywalker Sound, Skywalker Ranch to name some others, the man has brought so much to the movie industry.
What about his generosity? Back in 2012 the big news of course was George Lucas selling Lucasfilm to Disney for the grand total of $4.05 Billion. Not a bad little earner. But George decided to give the majority of that money to a charity that focuses on improving education in the US. George Lucas said at the time of the sale:

“FOR 41 YEARS, THE MAJORITY OF MY TIME AND MONEY HAS BEEN PUT INTO THE COMPANY…AS I START A NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE, IT IS GRATIFYING THAT I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVOTE MORE TIME AND RESOURCES TO PHILANTHROPY.”

A huge and generous gesture. Any person who gives that much to charity alone should be thanked and highly regarded.

So what’s my problem? Well I felt it was necessary to first give a few brief examples of what George Lucas has done for us on top of creating Star Wars, which frankly would have been enough in my book. So how come he has become so hated? Strong word? Yes, but sadly true. Everyone who has that feeling for George Lucas right now are probably screaming at their devices saying ‘The Prequels!’ or ‘Han shot first!’ I admit they were not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee.) But that’s not enough to hate him. The internet is full of negativity for George and it saddens me. Nearly every time I post a picture of him on my site or on The Bearded Trio Facebook page, the negative comments begin.

This is why I’m not looking forward to December 18th 2015 as much as I should. Or specifically December 19th and onwards. You see, The Force Awakens is going to be good. J.J. Abrams is going to do a fabulous job. Fans are going to love it and take to the internet to rave about how the practical effects have returned and the CGI was throttled back. Then we will get the inevitable. The George Lucas bashing. I guarantee we will see comments such as ‘You see George, this is how Star Wars should be’ and ‘Thank goodness Star Wars is in the right hands again.’

It will be so frustrating to be in a position where I am pumped for the new Star Wars film and also frustrated to see this inevitable Lucas bashing. So here’s the plan. Lets bring balance to the Force. When you take to the web to tell the world how good The Force Awakens was, please don’t forget to thank the man who made it all possible. Get the message out there. Celebrate the new movie but spend a few minutes to thank George Lucas for all his wonderful contributions throughout the years.

#ThankYouGeorgeLucas

george lucas indiana jones star wars


Rob Wainfur created The Bearded Trio website back in 2009 as a thank you to Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and John Williams.  Rob can be heard in every episode of Coffee With Kenobi in his ‘Espresso Shot With The Bearded Trio’

Coffee with Kenobi: This IS the podcast you’re looking for!

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14 thoughts on “The Force Awakens: A Day Of Mixed Emotions”

  1. Lucas created something that is psychological as well as entertaining. He created one of the greatest franchises to be loved by fans of Fantasy and adventure.

    But he committed one great sin. He put himself above the fans, choosing to not keep a consistent narrative for the franchise.

    He changed Star Wars on a whim and expected us all to follow along.

    Many fans have trouble when we must constantly follow a changing narrative.

    Example: When I grew up playing the “Star Wars: Battlefront 2” PC game, the campaign makes it very clear that the clones are all guilty of conspiracy against the Jedi, willing participants in Order 66. They are killers plotting against all Jedi.

    The Clone narration in the game talks about the inevitable plot to kill all Jedi, and that’s the narrative I have come to believe.

    Now fast forward to “The Clone Wars: Season 6”, and the adventure of Fives showing that all clones are now innocent pawns of an Inhibitor chip that controls them to kill Jedi. But it’s okay, because now Lucas and Filoni have made all Jedi look like a bunch of ***holes who deserve the purge.

    And thus, frustration is created. I have a problem following the narrative. I’ve spent so many years believing they are willingly guilty with Palpatine of the greatest conspiracy against heroic Jedi, and now I am being made to believe they are all innocent and the Jedi are a bunch of D-bags.

    You might say “Video game canon doesn’t count”, but shouldn’t it have all been consistent? Why put that into the game in the first place if Lucas had no intention of making it Star Wars truth?

    Understand, I have a great respect for Lucas, and I appreciate what he has given us.

    However.

    I find it frustrating that he does not make one story consistent from the beginning, and have it connect with everything. More importantly, he doesn’t care one bit about being consistent. He simply changes his mind, and has no concern about the consequences, and then fans like myself are made to look like villains when we complain or point out the problem.

    Lucas kept fixing things and fans who were satisfied before are now ruffled. Some more ruffled than others

    To be completely fair, many fans accept the constant change and enjoy “challenging expectations”. Fair enough. If you like that, no harm no foul.

    Some even insist that restricted continuity gets in the way of creativity (I call bull**** on that, but that’s just my opinion)

    Lucas was putting out material, games, novels, etc. and then telling us “Oops, that never happened”….

    How can you not expect an emotional response?

    Not all fans can just follow along and “unlearn what we have learned”. It’s just not that easy. No man is a complete genius. Sometimes, decisions are made just because.

    I do respect Lucas, believe me, I do. But he is equal parts inspiration and frustration with Star Wars, and it’s a shame when fans become mean spirited. It’s so very hard not to be emotionally involved.

    But these are the consequences of making decisions in the way Lucas has made them. Our passion drives us in good ways and bad.

    Now, here’s the message of hope for you:

    I would say to you don’t fret over mean fans. If they cannot love Star Wars in the same way you do, it is their loss.

    Good fans become emotional but we move on in our own pace and time, and Star Wars will still be loved.

    More importantly, George will still get the credit he deserves, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

    1. A reasoned response, but consider this a response to “the fans” and not to you personally. I don’t consider Lucas putting his artistic wishes above those of the fans a “sin.” I consider it a virtue. Lucas is a champion of the artist calling the shots. As fans, we all applaud that Lucas told the studio suits, “No,” when they wanted the wookiee to “wear pants.” We applaud when he stuck to his guns and made a Jedi master a muppet when everyone around him thought it would be a disaster. The problem isn’t Lucas, it’s the fans. Now the fans are the one telling Lucas how he should make his movies. Now the fans are the ones saying, “No, George, you can’t do this and can’t do that.” And it’s the same fans who loved it when George told the suits “thanks, but no thanks” who now get outraged when Lucas doesn’t do what THEY want. I have no sympathy for butt hurt fans who thing that their emotional or financial investment in Star Wars (“Hey, I bought a lot of action figures and movie tickets!”) entitles them to have a say in how the story is told. The fans are the ones who keep committing the sins, not Lucas.

      1. I thank you for the explanation. As a fan I am rather isolated from the hate. I don’t speak from the frustration of “I bought all these action figures” or “Han shot first”. Those kinds of issues have never bothered me.

        I don’t particularly care what color light saber any character has, whether Asajj came from Rattatak or Dathomir, etc. The small details don’t bother me.

        I don’t even consider myself a rabid fanatic for Star Wars.

        But I feel a frustration when I come to love something and then Lucas says “Nope, it never happened” or “Those characters are evil now.” I start wondering what I’m allowed to enjoy and what can be used in conversation.

        I hope you understand what I’m saying. I’m a modest fan who simply likes Star Wars and mythology on many levels, but I enjoy a solid mythology, not an ever changing one.

        Changing some details in a mythology is not the problem. I don’t appreciate having rugs pulled out from under me time and time again when I love a fandom and then get told I’m ungrateful because I’m still in shock over it or don’t like the changes made.

        Fans like myself sometimes feel like we’ve been disconnected, our “Feng Shui”, if you will, is out of harmony.

        Like I said, it’s hard to not respond emotionally.

        I will never claim that I deserve to have a say in how the story is told. But I am compelled to respond with criticism, as constructively as I can. It’s not about hate for many of us. Fans adjust at different speeds, but not all of us are butthurt, or the villains.

        Many of us are rational but….we cannot process the changes fast enough. That shouldn’t make us villains.

        I do not have hate for him at all, but I have come to understand why there are fans who respond so severely. I hope I have explained it well enough.

        I was a defender of the prequels and many of the various changes that came about in the films and the early years of TCW.

        By Season 5 and 6, though, I think I can only describe my responses to Lucas artistic style as “adverse” and I have felt some Fan fatigue from what Filoni referred to as “Continuity bombs.” Everything I had loved about the prequels was altered. In some cases, utterly destroyed. As a fan, it takes a long time to recover from that, and I’m a rational fan.

        In all fairness….

        I should remember the article is about haters, ruthless haters, and does not necessarily include fans like myself.

        But do you see what I’m saying? When an artistic wish steps on fan expectation, we can’t turn off emotional responses right away.

        Criticism happens in so many degrees. I do hope I have explained why it happens, even though much of it is unfair.

        I enjoy Star Wars, always will. I even like Rebels more than TCW, but I approach Star Wars with more caution now.

        Having said all this, I still wish for you an enjoyable experience when the movie comes out. Keep loving what you love, and don’t let others get you down.

        1. As an after thought, let me say that time does heal these fandom wounds. I know you would say that hate is not excusable, and you would be right.

          As I post about fans who are frustrated, and explain my own frustrations, I can tell you that we do grow to accept the things that have happened. Many fans get better at the notion that the artist makes his own choices, that the artist creates the story.

          I would also say again, it’s not all just about money and emotions.

          I think about devoted fans of TCW, for instance, who are still recovering from cancellation, etc.

          There are good fans who may be vocal when they feel down about Star Wars, but when given a chance, they will become strong supporters again.

          It just takes time for those in transition.

          1. I very very much agree with you. It sounds like I feel the same way about the prequels in relation to the original trilogy and each other the same you did about the Clone Wars and the prequels. To be honest, I have not seen the Clone Wars but I am starting at the beginning and will work my way through.

            Time does soften things that are hard to swallow in the moment. I could not reconcile the accounts of past events in the OT with the actual events in the PT. Reading Tarkin made me think of Revenge of the Sith much more than a New Hope and I find that lots of little details don’t matter to me anymore. Also, that novel wouldn’t even be possible without the prequel trilogy and Clone Wars, there wouldn’t be any context at all for the character except he’s ruthless and holds Vader’s leash.

            I’m still excited for the future. Star Wars wasn’t going anywhere until George decided to hand off the torch. Thanks for making it and then carrying it for so long George.

  2. Bravo, Rob! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    As I was watching Strange Magic the other day, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the harsh criticism I’ve seen of that movie is an outgrowth of all the Prequel fallout and the atmosphere of hate that has surrounded George Lucas in recent years. It’s seems to me a lot of folks have a hard time being fair or objective. It just feels like some are determined to punish GL for…. whatever, take your pick.

    The PT isn’t nearly as bad as some claim (I don’t think it’s bad at all – I love the Prequels!), and Strange Magic, while not perfect, certainly isn’t deserving of the beating it’s taken.

    That’s why I’m glad you highlight all the reasons we have to be thankful for George Lucas. Just imagine a world without his contributions! None of us would be right here, right now.

    Coffee With Who?? The Bearded Duo?? Even Spielberg and Williams wouldn’t be the same without George Lucas! I’ll bet they’d be the first to admit that, too.

  3. You definitely have way more faith in JJ than I do. To me everything so far looks like a rehash of old stuff we’ve already seen.

  4. Great job, Rob! I totally agree with you. I get tired of the GL bashing too. We would not have Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark without George Lucas. I’m thankful for that. And he did not just luck into his success. Like Obi-Wan said, “In my experience there is no such thing as luck”. Such a true statement. Intelligence and hard work almost always equal success. There were other sci-fi and fantasy movies that came out during the OT era and the PT era and they have not had the cultural effect or longevity as Star Wars, which shows that society would have gravitated to just any space fantasy movie.

  5. While I agree that Lucas need not be bashed, being excited, and even saying that I am excited, about Disney and JJ Abrams does not mean that I hate George. This article doesn’t do that, thankfully, but many others, including some that cite this article, do equate excitement for post-George Star Wars with George hatred. That’s ridiculous. I can appreciate everything he did, even while not liking every piece of it. Does thinking that the added scenes in A New Hope special edition should have remained bonus deleted scenes because they repeat dialogue, don’t add much to the story, and throw off the pacing a little bit make me only a “fan” instead of a fan? Does thinking that the pacing, story telling, and (with few exceptions) chemistry between the characters is not as good the prequels as in the original trilogy make me scum? That’s also ridiculous. George sold off Lucasfilm and now we get new Star Wars! Am I supposed to be sad about that? Am I not allowed to be excited about the effort to recreate some of the aesthetic of the original trilogy? So, thank you George for creating this universe and others that I enjoy so much, and thank you again George for handing the reigns off.

    1. I was thinking more about George and his accomplishments and I’ve always been very impressed by what he did after Star Wars and talked very highly of him and his studios. Seeing Skywalker Sound or Industrial Light and Magic meant (means) that without fail the effects will be great. It is interesting how his, fiddling I guess is the right word, with Star Wars, ever tweaking it and shifting/outright changing character portrayals becomes the one thing that everyone fixates on. I think it is unfortunate for Star Wars fans on both ends. There are those who don’t like his changes and take it way too far. Then there are those who speak with an almost blind loyalty and will use the same amount of negativity towards other fans. It’s much more pleasant somewhere in between where we can have enjoyable conversations despite or even because of our differing opinions. Many many people will make themselves love The Force Awakens because George wasn’t involved and many (perhaps a lot fewer) will refuse to like it because George wasn’t involved. Those are both sad outcomes.

  6. The truth is that a certain segment of Star Wars fans will adore and defend anything about the TFA, regardless of quality, simply because George Lucas isn’t involved. Conversely, if those same fans were to then somehow find out George Lucas snuck an idea into the movie, that idea would suddenly become a target of criticism. I’ve already run this experiment. When the TFA trailer hit, a friend was praising everything about it, including the new cross hilt lightsaber. I then said to him, “You know, it’s been confirmed that the saber was one of George Lucas’ ideas that they decided to keep.” Ten minutes later I heard that same friend discussing the trailer with some other people, but now he was complaining about the “stupidity” of the saber. On other forums, I’ve seen fans complain about the title or the new character names only to falsely accuse Lucas of somehow forcing JJ to use those things they don’t like against his will. There is a clear hypocrisy developing.

  7. A great piece, but don’t be so quick to assume that fans will love what JJ hath wrought. As a STAR TREK fan I can assure you that JJ has his detractors, LOL! I loved the new Trek films (yes, even Into Darkness) BUT plenty of people hate the stuff JJ does. It’s going to be an interesting year…#ThankYouGeorgeLucas

    1. I agree with you Scott as a huge Trek fan myself. I enjoyed what JJ did on Star Trek but felt they were too action focused. At the very least It did get people talking about a franchise that was close to death and brought it back to life once more and for that we have to thank JJ. I’m cautiously optimistic with Star Wars and the Abrams treatment. Plus Abrams admitted himself that he is more of a Star Wars fan than Star Trek so knew how to approach Star Wars and the treatment needed more than the Star Trek films. Personally I think Star Trek should return to TV where it belongs. Glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for the kind words

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