Wed
Apr 7 2010 11:06am

George Lucas Has Lost His Mind

Several weeks ago‚ Lucasfilm announced to the world that there was a new Star Wars television show for children in development. Its unfortunate title? “Squishies.”

This week, Lucasfilm announced to the world that there was a new Star Wars television sitcom in development with the creators of “Robot Chicken.”

Today, I am announcing to the world that George Lucas has lost his mind.

Let’s start with “Squishies”:

Here’s the thing: I was introduced to Star Wars when I was five. I did not need Jar Jar Binks or Battle Droids running around making fools of themselves while saying “Roger, Roger” to get me invested in the story. I had R2-D2 and C-3PO in a desert. That was awesome. I loved Yoda (so much so that I was Yoda for Halloween when I was 8) and yeah, to a five-year-old Jordan, the Ewoks were pretty sweet. But the fact is, what I loved about Star Wars went beyond my complete Bend-Ems action figure set and 12-inch models of the main characters. It was the story.

I worry that the children of the future will be introduced to Star Wars not through the original three films, but through a television series that IS BASED ON A LINE OF TOYS.

Look, I know that Lucas might shock me and create something genius with this series. I know Clone Wars has its fans. But something tells me his version of Lil’ Star Wars is not going to be nearly as good as The Muppet Babies Star Wars.

I feel like the show will simply exist to sell pre-existing toys. That just makes me sad.

Now onto the Star Wars sitcom:

This does not bother me as much on a fan level. Who doesn’t love Robot Chicken’s Star Wars parodies? My issue with this is that Lucas has clearly decided to openly announce that he is willing to shill out his franchise for anything that will make a buck. But that is not anything new. I actually think the series itself might be funny, but it feels weird to have Lucas-sanctioned Star Wars humor. Hopefully those Robot Chicken guys will only have one fart joke per episode... but I doubt that.

There is also a rumor floating that these two announcements are actually the same show. Now THAT would be wacky.

Well, Star Wars fans. How do you feel?


Jordan Hamessley is a children’s book editor at Penguin Books for Young Readers where she edits the Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Chaotic publishing programs, as well as developing original series. She is also an assistant editor for Lightspeed Magazine. She can be found on twitter as @thejordache. She is still sad that Mark Hamill was not at her 8th birthday party.

23 comments
Marcus W
1. toryx
I gave up on Lucas as soon as "The Phantom Menace" was released. Heck, my faith trembled violently the moment the title of Episode 1 was announced. At this point, anything that he does will be ignored by me.
Ron Garrison
2. Man-0-Manetheran
This story was to run on April Fools Day, right? Lucas is one of those people who has outlived his talent. He needs to take his royalties and use them for something else.
Ruth X
3. RuthX
Oh yeah, he lost it sometime when filming the prequels.

It's funny because the effects in the original Star Wars were also pretty cutting-edge at the time. But because they couldn't build entire worlds of effects he got to have his fun and plot too. It felt like far more effort in the recent stuff went into the effects than the story.

Maybe George Lucas has been this crazy all along, but he only got the tools to prove it recently.

Still, the Robot Chicken isn't really bad news...it may suck but I think it'll be better without him on board.
james loyd
4. gaijin
Lucas pretends the Star Wars Holiday Special never existed, but he associates his name with THIS? Then again, this is the same guy who thought it was a good idea to put aliens in an Indiana Jones film.
Jordan Hamessley
5. Jordache
@RuthX I think it's quite possible that he has been this crazy all along, but back in the day he had people tell him when he was doing something stupid. Now he thinks he can get away with anything his goofy little head thinks up.
Marcus W
6. toryx
Jordache @ 5:

Actually I think you're right. Back in the day he wasn't influential enough to be able to do whatever he wanted, and it made a big difference in the original trilogy. It's only after the success of Star Wars that he started being able to do what he wants to do in his own way. Without the influence of creative restraint, we're left with the Prequels, the lastest Indiana Jones film, the Clone Wars movie and these new shows.
jere7my
7. jere7my
I'm not sure you can reconcile "the Ewoks were pretty sweet" with hating on Battle Droids and Jar-Jar Binks. I was 5 in 1977 too, and in 1983 I was old enough to be frustrated and annoyed by the merchandisable cuteness in RotJ — Ewoks (which should've been Wookiees, durnit) and Sy Snootles and the Rancor Keeper crying and so on. Even so, there was a lot of great stuff in RotJ — and there was a lot of great stuff in the prequels, if you're able to look past the stuff that's not so great. I'm not saying everyone must or should do so, but I think we should try to judge the prequels by the same standards as RotJ. I don't see a lot of difference between them (except our age upon encountering them). If kids loved Ewoks in 1983 (which they did), let them love Jar-Jar in 1999, and Squishies (or whatnot) in 2011.

Anyway, there have been terrible Star Wars kids' shows before — Droids and Ewoks. If Lucas lost his mind, he did it 25 years ago. I agree with Toryx about Lucas's missing creative restraint, but I think it happened in 1983.
jere7my
8. Austin Blank
Sorry to inform you, but Squishies is a just a rumor. Only the show involving the Robot Chicken folks has been confirmed.
Evan Langlinais
9. Skwid
Jordan, and everyone else who apparently still cares, I have some advice for you: Go watch the Lucas-Stewart interview on the Daily Show and listen to the NPR interview he did that week as well. If you do this, a vitally important point will become clear:
Lucas doesn't give half a damn about what anyone over the age of 9 thinks of his creative output.

It's bizarre, to me and many others, but it's obvious in both his words and actions. He just doesn't care about appealing to adults anymore. I don't know what happened to make that the case, or whether it was always the case and his earlier successes were happy accidents and outside influences he is now immune to, but it's clearly the reality that we all must deal with.
jere7my
10. N. Mamatas
Star...What? "Star Wars"? Is that a show or something I'm supposed to be familiar with? Is that the one with the guy with the pointy ears? Some sort of independent film?

Where can I go to find out more about these star wars?
P Bradley Robb
11. knownhuman
FTA: Lucas has clearly decided to openly announce that he is willing to shill out his franchise for anything that will make a buck.

Not to be the one raining on the parade, but thinking that Lucas only started selling out recently is a nasty bit of revisionist history.

Lucas started selling out immediately following the success of A New Hope. Remember the Christmas toy debacle? The empty boxes with gift vouchers? How about the Christmas special? The Ewoks movies? The 1980s animated series Star Wars: Droids?

I'm with Jere7my on this one. Nostalgia has been good to Lucas.
jere7my
12. euphrosyne
Skwid:
1) Lucas knows that kids are where the merchandizing money is at, and Lucas likes money. A lot.
2) Lucas (at least unconsciously) realizes that he lost something vital to the creative/storytelling process long ago, and defends himself by saying "it's not for you , it's for the kids."
Fake Name
13. ThePendragon
@jere7my at #7

You win the universe. You all really need to get over yourselves. You don't like the prequel trilogy. Too bad. Everyone who grew up watching it now does. My nephews LOVE it, and anybody under 20 likely does too. They aren't much worse than RotJ objectively speaking, and RotS is arguably better.

George Lucas is fine. I saw that Lucas interview on Stewart, and he's very reasonable and level headed. It's all the harcore fans who've gone off the deep end. Ignore the new films if you don't like them. In the meantime, a new generation of kids and teens will fall in love with Star Wars all over again, and the series will live on another 30 years.
Andrew Gray
14. madogvelkor
ThePendragon @13: You have a good point. And beyond the prequel trilogy, look at how popular Clone Wars is with kids. Tons of kids dressed as characters from that last Halloween.

In a decade the original trilogy will be footnote, and only cranky elderly nerds will remark on how great it was and how everything since is nonsense. Most Star Wars fans will probably consider the Clone Wars period to be the "real" Star Wars.
jere7my
15. strugglingwriter
New Hope, Empire, and Jedi are the only Star Wars that exist to me. The rest never happened. The back story in the prequels doesn't exist. The real back story is the one I created in my head as a kid.
jere7my
16. Lsana
@13 ThePendragon,

Objectively speaking, the original trilogy is probably not as wonderful as most of us remember, and nostalgia is what makes us believe it is so much better than the prequel trilogy.

However, also speaking objectively, the prequel trilogy isn't very good. A movie called "Revenge of the Sith" can't be considered a great movie if at the end of it I haven't gotten any idea why these "Sith" folk want revenge, and for that matter, have only the vaguest clue of what a Sith is anyhow. RotJ certainly had its flaws, but by the end I knew what a Jedi was and what "returns" we were referring to.
Fake Name
17. ThePendragon
@16Lsana

I agree with you to about the original trilogy, but avoided saying as much for fear of being called a troll. I personally love it to death, but I'm sure it's 50% nostalgia. Objectively, they really aren't great films and Mark Hamill really Hams it up with the over the top acting on many occasions. He's not the only one, but the worst offender IMO.

Honestly. I personally love both series, though each for completely different reasons.
Larry Sica
18. lomifeh
I think what it is, is that earlier he had others controlling and moderating a lot of what he did. I know Empire owes just as much to Kasdan as Lucas. But he was always one to look at the money angle. Look at his original deal for the merchandising. It's his baby though and he can do what he wants. I just don't watch the stuff much beyond the original trilogy.
rick gregory
19. rickg
@pendragon... sorry, but I can't agree. It's not that the first 3 were masterpieces, but they were decently told, decently plotted movies, especially the first two. Phantom Menace wasn't. All you really need to know about PM is here: http://www.slashfilm.com/2009/12/17/watch-this-70-minute-video-review-of-star-wars-the-phantom-menace/
seth johnson
20. seth
@ThePendragon

Hey, sure, we look back on New Hope with a special fondness due to nostalgia, but also, it has properly developed characters, story, and dialogue.

You reference that the kids of today love the prequels, but do they really? Do they run around quoting lines from the movies? Can a 7-year-old explain what is going on with the trade embargo that draws the two jedis to get involved?

Adults or kids, can they even describe memorable attributes of Liam Neeson's character without describing his appearance? How about Queen Amidala? Now apply the same test to Han Solo or Obi Wan. See the difference? The original trilogy had real characters. The prequels don't, and they also have an incredibly muddy concept of plot that is hardly interesting to children. But if everyone tells kids it's something they're supposed to love, they usually play along and wear the costumes and play with the toys.

Seth
Kenn Gentile
21. nachtwulf
It just shows that although his sanity may or may not be compromised by anything that's growing at Skywalker Ranch... that he's completely detached and out-of-touch from his largest fan base aka his *original* fan base.

It's as almost as he's desperately trying to recreate the phenomenon that happened in 1977. Unfortunately he has no clue of what the kids these days are into, coming off much like the grand dad trying to be "hip" with the grand kids. (the "word" scene in Lethal Weapon 2 or 3 comes to mind).

And come on... to these kids, "Robot Chicken" was soooooo 2 years ago.

And even more unfortunate is that fact that each of these attempts alienates more and more of his original fan base... you know, the 40-somethings *dragging* their kids to see the new movies, and forcing them to watch the old movies, and buying the toys for their "collections" (come on... you know that when your alone in the house, the wife and kids gone and the pets bribed to keep their muzzles shut... you still practice the quick-draw with your Kenner Han Solo blaster or make attack runs on the couch with your "collectible" Y-Wing.)

Lucas... I'm begging you. Let someone else take over. Stackpole, Alliston, Zahn, Anderson... ANY of these guys would be more than happy to help you recover what you lost.

Heck... we'll even tell everyone Greedo shot first.
jere7my
22. gern
Now Star Wars can parody itself.
LJR Worrall
23. ljrworrall
I totally agree with everything that you said. The first three movies were simply perfect, wonderful. The prequels were just ridiculous and poorly crafted, with badly cast 'famous actors' who were doing the roles simply for their own egos. The fall 'into darkness' of Anakin Skywalker made no sense at all and was badly written. I just ignore the prequels and don't associate them with Star Wars. As for Lucas cashing in on Star Wars, that does not surprise me (but it like yourself, it does sadden me). What I do now is just ignore to rubbish (and there's alot of it!) and just keep the three originals in my DVD collection.

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