Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Growing up Star Wars

Kylo Ren is the new baddie in The Force Awakens and he's got an obsessive connection to Darth Vader. I created this art for a contest a month or so back. I didn't win, but it was fun since I don't do a lot of Star Wars artwork often.

We are now entering what I call the THIRD AGE OF STAR WARS. After the amazing original trilogy, followed by the newer prequels (which I consider pretty fun and not exactly the complete crapfest everyone likes to call them) we are now entering a time when creative people who grew up being fans of this stuff are now allowed to play in the playground that George Lucas created (even if he’s still kinda moping around and saying he's divorced Star Wars). Disney is the best thing to happen to the franchise and really the only logical step to keep continuously moving forward. I haven’t always been a fan of Disney. In fact for years I hated hearing the name. They used to do some really crappy things (look up Kimba The White Lion to see how they literally stole the ideas for The Lion King). However most of the old bosses are gone there, replaced by some of the geniuses that originally ran PIXAR.

Star Wars has been a borderline obsession and a huge part of my life since I was a kid. Originally I enjoyed it for it's pure science fiction, but even then I knew it was special. Later the original trilogy became more about family and how the love of a son can save the father & vice versa. That really stuck with me. As a kid the special effects and puppets and background matte paintings all amazed me. It was awesome knowing so many talented artists came together to make something truly other worldly and magical. I blame George Lucas (and later Spielberg) for opening my eyes to the magic of cinema. My first viewing of the films together was after getting the VHS box set around 1992. and the special edition versions that came back to the theater in 1997 really cemented my fandom for life. The love of the movies soon turned into a love for collecting. Mostly action figures, but later pretty much anything. 

I still have my ticket stubs for the 1997 Special Editions of Star Wars that ran theatrically.

I had never been to the theater to see one of the originals when it first opened so when The Phantom Menace came out I was pumped. I saw that movie 6 times in a matter of weeks (but looking back on it, it was a fun movie with a bunch of missed potential) and then saw I saw Episode 2 & 3 on opening weekends as well. The Clone Wars show that was on Cartoon Network for several years really fixed a lot of what was wrong with the prequel movies and honestly makes them much more enjoyable when you re-watch them. And let’s not forget that brand spanking new(ish) show Star Wars Rebels. That show is pure Star Wars fun and not watered down a bit. I had my doubts at first but Dave Filoni, the same genius show runner that ran Clone Wars is a true fan and he keeps everything within the lore and world already created. Which brings us to now. The present. I’m beyond ecstatic that my eyes and ears get to witness a NEW Star Wars movie, in less than a month no less. And despite reading literally every spoiler and pretty much knowing the entire story outline I still want to unwrap this movie present like a rabid child on Christmas morning.

Saying that I’m excited for Star Wars: The Force Awaken’s is the understatement of all understatements. My enthusiasm is cranked to 11. J.J Abrams really is the only guy I want to direct this movie, and I was really bummed when he turned down the directing job the first time but overjoyed when he changed his mind. He is a true fan of this stuff. I caught all of those references to Star Wars he would sneak into his show LOST. Heck the guy directed two Star Trek movies and snuck R2-D2 into both of them. Who better to jump start a new round of Star Wars but someone who revived both the Mission Impossible series and gave new life to the failing Star Trek franchise. Last of all his personal mentor is not only George Lucas’s best friend but possibly one of the best filmmakers alive today Steven Spielberg. No wonder George hand picked him. I’m hearing that J.J. has made something special. Something for the fans, the kids and the kid in all of us. I’m excited for the new diverse cast of mostly unknowns who’s lives are about to be turned upside down and I’m overjoyed to see the original cast return as well. Seeing Harrison Ford actually really excited to be in a new Star Wars movie is something I never thought I would see and it’s glorious!

So shoot first, go get a lightsaber, your best friend, a wookie, tissues, popcorn and a young or old person who has never seen a Star Wars film and see this in a theater near you. Maybe this movie will be the spark that opens someones imagination to the possibilities of cinema & life!