Print Story I really should get to work on some of this. Also, DESTINY.
By gzt (Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 12:29:54 PM EST) gzt, star wars, lotr, destiny (all tags)
I decided to reread the LOTR trilogy on the train. We just got a nice hardcover edition from some friends and it's been a while since I have read them. I finished Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, quite enjoyable.

Inside: DESTINY.

The train stood at one of the stops for like 10 minutes. Terribly annoying because it was packed.

Boss is here in town, in an all-day meeting with some vendor. Told me we could stop in for whatever part, but had no agenda attached telling us what they were going over. Some stuff would be quite relevant to me and might need my input, other stuff has no relation to anything I could possibly care about. Actually, scratch that, just been told 10-noon would be most relevant for me. I guess I will drop by. Am dressed relatively shabbily. Need to iron shirt. Oh well.

DESTINY: Teh Wife and I just discussed, and I got a text about it clarifying just now, how the new Star Trek was slightly wrong to play up the whole "destiny" thing about Kirk. This made me think: Star Wars originally did not have much of a "destiny" thing. Sure, Luke's father was a Jedi, but it seems a lot of people were Jedi. Initially, Luke was just an everyman. Darth Vader was not his father, Darth Vader killed his father. However, it was perfectly acceptable for them to change the plot a little and add some depth, doing so adds a little "destiny", but that's all right. BUT: fast forward twenty years to the new trilogy. Suddenly, inexplicably, everything about the old trilogy had to be foreshadowed in the new and everything about Luke and Anakin had to be about the mystical workings of destiny - including a friggin' virgin birth. Anyway. More time spent on series == more time constructing a stupid destiny that changes them from an everyman to the Messiah.

Speaking of which:

Reason #8
"We're trying to protect you, not start an investigation." Why are Jedi always talking like this? Jedi have gone from being just about the coolest thing I can imagine to being know-it-all jerks. Everything anyone says in presence of a Jedi they must be cautious of. If you say anything around a Jedi they'll just change it around. "Master Yoda, we're out of Pop Tarts." "Oooh? So certain are you? Always the Pop Tarts can not be found." "But I looked in the cupboard and it's empty." "Empty the cupboard is not. Absent of food it is. As 'empty' the same it is not."
So very true.

ARRRR. Don't get me started. I have a lot of hatred it seems, but it is all directed toward books and movies and broad time and modal domains. Not people. Art: it's serious business.

Okay, this one's great, too:

Reason #28
The United States of Naboo
Within thirty seconds there is mention that Amidala was so well loved that when her two terms were up they tried to amend the constitution but instead she went on to serve in the senate. Then it's mentioned that after four trials in the Supreme Court that Nute Gunray is still in charge of the trade federation. Two terms? Constitution? Supreme Court? This is just the United States of America! Where is the creative vision? I would be willing to bet that there are three branches to their government: The Judicial, the Legislative and the Executive. Some people read Tolkien or Heinlein for inspiration but apparently Lucas gets his inspiration from an eighth grade Social Studies book.
So much hatred.

I am disappointed that Roger Ebert gave favorable reviews to episodes 1 and 3 of the new trilogy, but he redeems himself by having much the same opinion of the LOTR movies as me and giving me a lot to think about. He is simply wrong about the new Star Wars trilogy. WRONG.

< Pointed sticks. | Perhaps I do have feelings and emotions. >
I really should get to work on some of this. Also, DESTINY. | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden)
Jar-Jar made Ep. 1-3 better than 4-6. -nt by chuckles (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 12:51:20 PM EST

"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
I agree. Furthermore, by nathan (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:24:29 PM EST
img by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:25:26 PM EST

[ Parent ]
There's a new SW trilogy? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 04:55:30 PM EST
I hadn't heard of that. I certainly hope you're pulling my leg, because there's no way it could top the three he's made.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Heard something about one by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10:02:22 AM EST
After the Phantom Menace I said to myself "I've seen a lot Star Wars ripoffs since the first movie came out, this wasn't one of the better ones". Had no wish to see any more.


[ Parent ]
destiny by lm (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 06:45:58 PM EST
Uh, dude, Episodes 4-6 are full of destiny.

They just don't wear it on their sleeve.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
EP5&6 yes by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 08:50:33 PM EST
"Use the force, Luke" by lm (4.00 / 2) #7 Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 09:09:13 PM EST
Uh, an escape pod finds a random planet that just happens to be the home of a farm boy that has an innate power to use the force and shoot swamp rats and has an uncle who is secretly a Jedi knight and wants to train him.

It's either destiny or a massive array of deux-ex-machina.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Does fiction get by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10:07:32 AM EST
to use something like the anthropic principle? Star Wars happened "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away". The movie won't happen without those coincidences, but who is to say that such events won't happen over such a huge swath of space/time? The story only occurs when in the right setting, the rest are pretty dull.


[ Parent ]
which happens to be... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10:24:09 AM EST
...the same planet as obi wan kenobi, who they were trying to reach with the plans. and i don't think it's a coincidence that obi wan kenobi lived on the same planet as luke (in the context of later additions to the story). not a random planet. it's still a bit contrived, but a lot of what we find contrived is from the context written back into it by the later films.

[ Parent ]
well, here's what I really mean by gzt (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10:20:35 AM EST
In episode 4, Luke is an everyman who is brought into a galactic war and discovers he has secret abilities. Yes, his father was a Jedi and there's this random Jedi - one of the last two in the universe - nearby. But you kind of get the impression that it could have been any of the guys around Ben Kenobi, not just Luke. A lot of people probably had fathers who were Jedi. In episode 5, they flesh it out a bit and turn him into a rather more important fellow: he is the son of Darth Vader and the last hope of the Jedi. Okay. It's getting a bit thicker here. It's still a conventional plot line, but Luke is retroactively not an everyman, not just some random guy drawn out of the boonies into a galactic war. In the last installment, no further stuff.

In the new trilogy, they make up a bunch of crap about prophecy, give Anakin a VIRGIN BIRTH, etc etc etc. So here's what we've gone from:

  1. Luke as an everyman who discovers he has special powers. Conventional plot.
  2. Luke as Darth Vader's son. Still a conventional plot.
  3. Anakin conceived of a virgin, lots of prophecies about him, Luke as Darth Vader's son, lots of prophecies. Frankly, this is still kind of conventional, but very high on the destiny-o-meter. I suppose something special about Anakin would have to be invented to make #2 work, as not just anybody can become the treacherous right-hand man of the Emperor. When it all gets put down on paper, though, it seems a bit much.

[ Parent ]
here's my real objection: by gzt (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10:30:33 AM EST
things get more contrived the more you elaborate on the story. initially, luke is not darth vader's son (and han solo is married to a wookie (seriously)). later, it's written back into the story that he is darth vader's son (and han is a bachelor who digs leia (who is luke's sister, too)). this backwards addition makes the initial story a little more contrived, but still plausible (it makes sense for obi wan to be near luke, though it's a little much for the droids to end up with luke). the backwards addition of the new trilogy strains the plausibility. the droid situation gets more ridiculous on many levels. etc etc etc.

[ Parent ]
"A lot of people"? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 02:18:15 PM EST
I doubt it. We are explicitly told that the Jedi are a chaste monastic order whose members are nearly all inducted at a young age. For the mammalian Jedi, this presupposes that they are pre-pubescent and will not reproduce if they honor their vows. Anakin married in secret, lest we forget.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
this only comes out in the new trilogy by gzt (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 04:12:29 PM EST
From the perspective of the first movie, there is no indication of these. The idea had not been conceived yet.

[ Parent ]
It's canon now by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 05:02:47 PM EST
so it doesn't matter. I'm sure Lucas had the rules in his head back then, but he just didn't commit them all to paper.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
The answer is he didn't. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 05:08:35 PM EST
I'm not speaking from the perspective of canon. I'm speaking in terms of the unveiling of the story. And composition. As indicated by my discussion of the revision of the story as new things came out. Initially, Luke and Leia weren't siblings, Han Solo was married to a Wookie (yeah), and Darth really did kill Luke's father. In Lucas's mind. This didn't come out in the movie. And it's not terribly important. But the point is this: when you first see Star Wars, Luke's an everyman. Then it's revised into a trilogy that's a little deeper, and that's cool. And it's still "plausible".

The Jedi-as-monastic thing came up out of nowhere. Just like midichlorians.

[ Parent ]
Lucas likes to claim that he had it all thought by gzt (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 05:11:57 PM EST
out, but the evidence clearly indicates he did not. not in the slightest. based on what he told people involved with the project, the way things developed, etc.

[ Parent ]
an everyman who has special powers by lm (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 05:53:12 PM EST
is no longer an everyman.

I still maintain that the difference is the level of heavyhandedness with which destiny is handled.

Read "A Prayer for Owen Meany" which is a novel where destiny is the very core. It's not so different from the original Star Wars trilogy. (Or don't read it. I didn't particularly like it. But that is neither here nor there to my point.)

What sets the prequels aside as being different is that they bludgeon the audience with destiny instead of making it one of the main themes.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
well, but it's a common story. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 06:00:15 PM EST
Meet Joe Everyman. Something crazy happens in his world and it turns out he has special resources to deal with it and he's now a hero against all odds. You don't get any indications that he's The One, the most Force-filled kid ever, the best pilot ever, anything like that. You just get that the Force is with him and he's pretty good at flying (which could really just be bluster on his part). This happens a lot in children's literature, especially.

[ Parent ]
uh, yeah, exactly by lm (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 09:08:45 PM EST
``Something crazy happens in his world and it turns out he has special resources to deal with it''

In other words, it's destiny. If it weren't for him, evil would prevail but it just so happens that all the little things that make him peculiar turn out to be the things that are needed to save the cosmos.

Like I said, go read "A Prayer for Owen Meany."

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
I really should get to work on some of this. Also, DESTINY. | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden)