Since 2017, The Last Jedi has been the most significant source of fan backlash in the entire Star Wars franchise. Prior to that, however, it was the prequel trilogy that bore the brunt of fans’ ire. From the perceived overuse of CGI to the at-times utterly unbearable writing, the prequels certainly earned their fair share of criticism. They also had some of the best moments in Star Wars history, too, so I for one appreciate them even if there are certain aspects I didn’t particularly enjoy. But now George Lucas is making more excuses for the prequels, and frankly demeaning fans in the process.
The Star Wars Archives coffee table series of books deliver a wealth of images, stories and trivia from the Star Wars saga. A chief component of the books has been the ongoing interview with creator George Lucas. In the latest entry in the book series, Star Wars Archives 1999-2005, Lucas defends the widely derided dialogue of Attack of the Clones. In doing so, however, he condemns fans as not understanding Star Wars. That’s a pretty bold statement, and one that’s frankly way off base.
Yes, George Lucas, we understand Star Wars
It is presented very honestly, it isn’t tongue-in-cheek at all, and it’s played to the hilt. But it is consistent, not only with the rest of the movie, but with the overall ‘Star Wars’ style. Most people don’t understand the style of ‘Star Wars.’ They don’t get that there’s an underlying motif that is very much like a 1930s Western or Saturday matinee serial.”~George Lucas, on Attack of the Clones dialogue.
Lucas goes on to explain that “[i]t’s in the more romantic period of making movies and adventure films. And this film is even more of a melodrama than the others. There’s a bit more soap opera in this one than there has been in the past, so setting the scenes up and staging them was more complex than it usually is.” What George Lucas fails to realize, however, is that most fans fully understand the style of Star Wars perfectly well. We understand its story arcs, under and overarching themes, character development, and yes, even its matinee serial format.
Is it the fans, or is it the dialogue?
Accusing fans of not understanding Attack of the Clones is simply condescending and narcissistic. We love you, George. And we love Star Wars. Always have, always will. But there’s a way to convey melodrama and romance without writing drivel like this:
- Padmé: I will not give into this.
- Anakin: Well, you know, it… it wouldn’t have to be that way. We could keep it a secret.
- Padmé: We’d be living a lie, one that we couldn’t keep, even if we wanted to. I couldn’t do that. Could you, Anakin? Could you live like that?
- Anakin: No. You’re right. It would destroy us all.
Sorry, George Lucas. It’s time to admit that the writing for Episode II was just plain bad. And you know what? Honestly, that’s okay. Not everything in a 40+ year franchise is going to be perfect…. But don’t project your missteps onto the fan base that adores you simply because they didn’t like one part of Star Wars.