This is going to be a short article for a number of reasons. The first is that its premise requires little elaboration. The second is that it was originally a reaction to the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, but a mere two weeks from that momentous development, I am thoroughly reactioned out. A Greek chorus of columnists and bloggers—a geek chorus, if you will—has written thousands of words on the subject, comprising everything I could possibly want to say as well as any number of things I would never want to say.
Over the next few years, our predictions about the continuation of the Star Wars franchise will become increasingly divergent, even schismatic, and we will dissect one another’s attitudes of hope or fear in detail, calling down fire on false prophets, urging one another not to jump to conclusions until the arrival of more production news, outdoing one another in wild guesses when no news is forthcoming—and finally the premiere of Episode VII will obviate all of our speculation only to reignite the old civil war over the single central question of Star Wars fandom, namely just how much we all hate Star Wars.
The problem is that real people get caught in the crossfire of our doomsaying and rumormongering. We talk only about George the Sellout and George the Hack. No doubt there is a certain amount of merit to those uncharitable characterizations, but for the time being I am tired of all the tropes of apostasy and personal betrayal through which we filter what are, after all, decisions made by human beings.
Right now, I want to talk about George the Pasticheur, George the Cinematic Gateway Drug, because for better or for worse, it was through Star Wars that I discovered film as a whole.
This can’t possibly be the exact frame, but it’s probably within seconds of it. The thought gives me shivers.
It was not until years later that I saw Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, but when I saw it I was prepared. Kurosawa’s sentimental humanism was so familiar to me from Star Wars that feudal Japan was comfortable rather than strange.