Bryan Curtis wrote a great article for the New York Magazine about George Lucas and his new film Red Tails, which premiered in most theaters this weekend. However, the part that really got me was the analysis of the relationship between Lucas and the hardcore Star Wars fans:
What the blistering fan reaction illustrates is one downside of Lucas’s naïve style. By persuading us to drop our snarky defenses and embrace his fables, Lucas had forged a bond with fanboys like no filmmaker, outside of Spielberg, before or since. (Adjusted for inflation, the three original “Star Wars” movies and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” still rank among the top 20 highest-grossing movies of all time.) But naïveté is a fragile emotion. When Lucas goes back and futzes with his mythology — has Greedo shoot first or creates a goofball like Jar Jar Binks or makes Indy uncool by sticking him in a refrigerator — he isn’t just messing with beloved movies. He’s telling fanboys the naïve belief they gave to him was misplaced.
“What more could one ask for than to have one’s youth back again?” Lucas once asked his biographer, Dale Pollock. Now imagine it being yanked away. If the fanboys had become like the studio to Lucas, then Lucas, to the fanboys, had become the man who breaks the bad news about adulthood. He’d become their dad.
I’ve always been conflicted about the the anger that fanboys have towards Lucas since he began tinkering with the films. Their his movies. Go make your own masterpiece. But, as a lifelong fan of this saga, every edit and change he makes, is like a small wound to that inner child I work so hard to keep alive and Curtis nailed it.
[Image via NY Mag Slideshow, “George Lucas, Hitman”]