The Starwars Saga tributes
Yes you have read it correctly! After a first post in the Tribute Videos Series about The Clone Wars I now want to look to the Saga as a whole. The Starwars Saga started off with the the ‘Starwars’ movie in 1977 as you all know and the Original Trilogy covered the familiar ground from the chase of Leia’s cruiser holding the Rebel Intelligence on the first Dearth Star all the way to the celebrations on the Forest Moon of Endor after the destruction of the second Death Star. The Prequel Trilogy provided an ‘origin story’ for Darth Vader but it actually did so much more. And unfortunately up until this day many starwars fans fail to see the unity of the saga so far, I hope J.J. Abrams isn’t one of them. But these tributes I present you here, they see the whole deal!
Where does a Saga begin? Is it Anakin’s virgin birth? Or is it Luke’s stare into the Twin Sunset? The Original Trilogy tribute video by Third Age Films, set to an excellent choice of music by Audiomachine, seems to suggest the latter in the first shot. But it is the second shot that feels like a true beginning, when we see Luke’s discovery of the destroyed homestead and the murder of his family. But so is Obi Wan’s recollection of ‘the more civilized times’ before the Empire. This tribute beautifully shows how the Original Trilogy in a sense ‘has no true beginning’. Don’t think this was not Lucas’ intention! George Lucas realized full well he was telling a story that did not start, nor one that did stop. The magic of the Starwars Saga is to be found in it’s timelessness and this ingredient is right in our face from the very first minute of these films. Because what looks as a futuristic set of events in a familiar world is captioned as something that occurred a long time ago and far, far, away.
The Original Trilogy is the personal and almost intimate story of Luke that grows to touch an Empire and an entire Galaxy, but that in the end returns to an intimate and private moment of a child burying their parent. That represents an aspect of an order of the universe as ‘it should be’, but it remains incomplete. Luke’s journey starts in the desolation of Tatooine and of the loss of his family. But though it returns to the natural and harmonious world of Endor’s ‘Sancuary Moon’, to a redeemed father and recovered family ties with his sister there are memories that raise unanswered questions. Memories of a mother lost, a father lost and of how a dark Empire could arise.
When Anakin appears at the end in his ‘special editions blue-ray edit’ form he is a new face yet unseen in the Original Trilogy. Many fans dislike this because for them this story is over … except for a ‘bad-ass Luke’ going on to of ‘Jedi Bad-ass things’ in the EU. But it is just George Lucas’ visual way of saying … there is more to tell about the future, but also about the past.
If there was a single line in the entire Original Trilogy that focussed fans’ minds on what had come before Luke’s journey to adulthood, then it was Obi Wan’s reference to the Clone Wars. The second tribute by Third Age Films about the Prequel Trilogy captures that by the opening sequence. These are the last days of the Jedi Golden Age, the first days of their unavoidable demise and the sunset on the Republic. The task that the Prequel Trilogy needs to complete is extremely large and difficult. Of course there are those who simply wanted to see a ‘bad-ass Anakin’ turn into a ‘bad-ass Darth Vader’ but hey … you’ve got your DC and Marvel super-hero films for that. The Starwars Saga is made of completely different stuff.
Anakin needs no back story, he needs no ‘father’ or no ‘seed’. Anakin Skywalker does however need nurturing and nurtured he surely is, though not just by his mother. Anakin’s story is from the start not the ‘private and intimate’ story he so much craves. His private is sold-out to slaveholder and serfdom, his intimate is abolished by a Jedi Order and a Republic who from Day One see him as an instrument. Luke breaks out of his private and intimate life with a family to meet a galactic fate and retrieve a different and broken kind of family. Anakin seeks to break out of his Galactic fate as he yearns for and holds on to anything private and intimate.
When we watched the Prequel Trilogy unfold in the cinemas we knew the end. Many in the audience also thought they knew the whole story but unfortunately many had not understood the first part. We needed to see all of Anakin’s life, his childhood, his adolescence and his adolescent love and his deep attachment to Obi Wan to understand that his is not a traditional hero’s journey. Anakin wants to save his mother, his wife, his padawan but The Force, The Jedi, The Sith and the Republic conspire against him to make intimacy and private happiness for Anakin seem achievable only through ‘saving the galaxy’. The only way out seems to destroy it all … and in particular himself. This tribute shows that arc. It shows how the Prequel Trilogy actually contains all the ingredients for that tragedy to be clearly recognizable.
Many who do not quite like the Prequel Trilogy say it does not really add to the Original Trilogy, or inform a re-appreciation of the Original Trilogy. There are those who claim the Prequels had no purpose narrative. Of course if that were true then there would be not so much prequel hate. The real wellspring from which prequel-hate is, in my view, because the Prequel Trilogy dramatically adds to how we view the Original Trilogy.
The youtuber 1jonde1 has put together a host of videos in which he illustrates how the Original and the Prequel Trilogy meld into one. Luke’s journey becomes all the more meaningful given what has transpired in the Prequel’s, Anakin’s path leads to a dead end if it were not for the exploits of Luke and Leia.
But I think what is even more important is that the Prequel Trilogy, in a profound way, makes us realize that we have seen only half of Luke’s Journey. Anakin’s story was completed at the end of Return of the Jedi even when Anakin’s influence on Luke’s and Leia’s lives was only just beginning. After taking in the Prequel Trilogy we can recognize Return of the Jedi not as the end of a story. The pieces fit together and form a new beginning.
When I heard that Episode VII will be called ‘The Force Awakens‘ I thought that Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams may have realized that too, where the EU never got it right. Expect The Force Awakens to be s ‘set-up’ film with lots of fun and exciting action … the real meat will come in the Episodes VIII and IX, by which time I hope that we will have plenty of new tribute videos to discuss that have their go at analyzing how this nine-episode spanning Saga is one.