My personal hero in life, Tom Lehrer, said those words in regards to religion, but today I realize they apply to something far more important: Star Wars.
Today it was reported that Zack Snyder is developing a new Star Wars film, a Jedi tale inspired by Seven Samurai (which itself inspired Lucas when creating Star Wars). We will see if these reports turn out to be true, but it doesn’t really matter, because fans have made it clear that this is a terrible thing and should not exist. A totally random comment from someone I do not know (I just searched Twitter for “Zack Snyder”) is totally representative of the chatter I’ve seen all morning:
Zack Snyder can't make that Star Wars spinoff film if we don't let him. There are 500 million+ on here. Someone like, punch him or something
— Steve (@DapperSteve) January 14, 2013
To be fair, others are super excited by the news. Me, I’m just completely baffled by the hypocrisy of the haters.
Remember Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn books? That series of novels picked up right after RotJ. Fans embraced it — a new story!
Remember Dark Empire? It even resurrected Boba Fett. Fans embraced it — a new story!
Remember Dark Forces? Several games in that series. Fans embraced it — a new story!
Remember Knights of the Old Republic? It was praised, and led to an MMO that I am currently enjoying. Fans embraced it — a new story!
So now we are facing a future where we will see new Star Wars stories on the big screen, some part of the main storyline we know and some that will be side stories…and the overwhelming outcry is that that’s bad. Fans rejected it — a new story!
To suggest that we can’t have new Star Wars films by new creative forces — but we can and do have games, comics, novels, and all other forms of consumable media by new creative forces — is completely ridiculous. We have had plenty of new James Bond stories from new creative forces, even though Ian Fleming died in 1964. James Bond has not been destroyed by any one of them.
And yet these “fans” think they have, as Lehrer puts it, The Truth. Their version of Star Wars — the films (and presumably none of the comics, games, or novels) as they have personally experienced Star Wars is the only valid interpretation and all others should be destroyed. Why?
They are clearly afraid of something — what could it be? The idea that this will ruin the franchise? Sweetie, The Star Wars Holiday Special probably should have done the deed, and that couldn’t take it down. People were pissed about Jar Jar Binks, and yet the franchise soldiered on. I personally thought midichlorians and Han shooting second were bad ideas that had the potential to retroactively rewrite the franchise’s fiction — not just introduce new narrative, but actually alter the story and universe that had been established. As a geek, the idea that a character was Force sensitive because of biology instead of spirituality was particularly distressing to me. But here we are, years later, and Star Wars has survived even these “threats.”
So whatever makes you worried about the prospect of a new Jedi side-story, be less worried. And definitely be less dramatic about it. Your personal interpretation of Star Wars may be your personal Truth, but the moment you try to enforce it, you’re headed to Crazytown. When the time comes, vote with your wallet.
That’s assuming the time, in fact, comes. I don’t know if Snyder’s project will get off the ground, and I don’t know if it will be good if it does get made. But I am not going to assume that it will be good or bad until it proves itself one way or the other to me when I see it. And I can’t see it if we all punch him to get him to stop making it.
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, yadda yadda Yoda.
UPDATE: Oh hey, so Zack Snyder’s team says it’s a bogus story. All that righteous indignation, all for no reason. Or is he lying to throw us off the scent??!?111?//!?