The Star Wars Trilogy by George LucasWARNING: This is not a review of the books. I plan to write those separately someday. This is, rather, a review of the original Star Wars Trilogy catalyzed by the final episode of Lost. Please dont bother reading this if youre looking for a book review. Thanks.
About twenty years ago, I found myself in a debate about the merits of the Star Wars Trilogy with a guy named Bill (at least I think that was his name. Let’s call him Bill) and my friend Dave. Bill was trying to convince us that the Trilogy was garbage, and Dave and I, proud bearers of nearly matching Star Wars tattoos – his signifying his love for Luke Skywalker and mine signifying my love for Han Solo (more on the tattoo later) – were fighting to defend its excellence. We had a serious reason for our impassioned defence.
But Bill was determined to make us see the error of our ways. He attacked the series’ kindergarten plotting, its crappy dialogue, its special effects obfuscation, its dearth of character development, its terribly pacing, and its general glorification of style over substance. He made a number of valid points, and I was willing to listen (much more willing than Dave who has always had far too much emotion invested in the series to have its greatness assailed) until Bill engaged in this fatal rhetorical device: “It’s because you’re young guys. You watched this when you were kids and you’re nostalgic. Some day you’ll grow up and see that you’re wrong.”
The willingness to listen shut right down, and I carried on debating with a particular focus on character development. Back then there was no Special Edition (and no Prequel to make my defence impossible). Han Solo hadn’t lost the beginning of his arc. He had killed Greedo in cold blood. There was no first shot/self-defence reimagining of the scene from Lucas. So Han Solo showed a clear development from criminal drug smuggler to uncomfortable rebel to passionate lover to loyal friend to self-sacrificing hero. That’s some pretty fair character growth, and even Bill had to concede my point, admitting that he’d missed some of those subtleties, mostly because he’d only seen each movie once, but he stood by his assessment of the Trilogy; it was crap and one good character arc wasn’t going to change that.
The years passed and that debate with Bill became a file locked in my personal databanks. I never had any reason to reopen it. The Special Editions came along and I hated them. It didn’t matter, though, because I still had copies of the original movies, and I could ignore Lucas’ tampering without any difficulty. Then the Prequels came along and I hated them more. But I still had my perceived greatness of the Trilogy to fall back on, so I could simply shake my head at Prequel fans and enjoy my love of the originals.
Then I watched the final episode of Lost, and suddenly my Bill file downloaded into my consciousness. And you know what? He was right. My love for the Star Wars Trilogy was nostalgia.
What I saw in the final episode of Lost was what I should have seen all those years ago in the Trilogy. I saw a show that flattered us to deceive. I saw a series that aspired to be about “characters” but was so about plot (and though its plot was convoluted it wasn’t particularly deep) that the supposedly complex characters boiled down to pretty straightforward redemption stereotypes. I saw production value obfuscation with wide vistas, globe-trotting adventures, blazing guns, smoke monsters and pseudo-spiritual claptrap hiding a deeply banal Daddy-Son reconciliation tale. I saw a pop-culture event that destroyed whatever substance it had with a pandering finale. Is it any surprise that Lost was littered with references to Star Wars or that David Lindeloff grew up loving George Lucas’ mess as much as the rest of us? Seems fitting to me.
So what’s the point of all this? Well...Lost made me see that Bill had it right about me and Star Wars all those years ago. Lost is crap, and so was Star Wars. I was a boy who fell in love with vapid screen candy and my defence of Lucas’ uber-popular mess was and is all about nostalgia.
But I’ll not be defending the series any longer (okay...I may still defend Empire Strikes Back, which is an excellent film. Thanks, Irving Kirshner, for being a real director). Beyond its lack of artistic merit and Lucas’ disregard for the simplest rules of continuity, I have seen little boys indoctrinated into violence simply by watching Jedis train. I’ve seen Star Wars entrench an overly simplistic view of good and evil in our society, which is dangerous in the extreme. And I’ve watched the entire series change the face of film in the most unhealthy ways.
I know this is heresy. I know there’s going to be many of you out there, kind readers, who will disagree and that’s okay. I am finally at peace with my feelings about the Trilogy, and I feel great relief being able to say that the Trilogy is a big steaming pile of Bantha droppings.
And for those of you who are pitying me and my tattoo, don’t worry. The tattoo was always more about Harrison Ford than Han Solo. I can live with the ink in my skin despite my new found disdain for Star Wars.
p.s. Can I just add that I feel terribly sad about having lost these movies? There, I said it. Thank the gods I still have Indiana Jones.
It’s May the 4th! Here’s 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Star Wars Books
I will say that even in these three novelizations, the canon changed — both from one book to the next and from the book to its accompanying film. I have published a longer review on my website. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.
This is a simple list of all of the full-length Star Wars novels to date, in chronological order of when the stories take place. This list does not include most young readers' books or short novellas. Books whose stories overlap within the same timeline are listed in recommended reading order based on my own judgement. Big thanks go to Once Upon A Galaxy for helping me keep up with new releases, and Wookiepedia's Timeline of Canon Media for help figuring out some of the timeline dates. If you have any questions or feedback, you can email me at books yodasdatapad.
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And have been since For the bookish, this may seem like a day that leaves you out, since we all know Star Wars is just a cinema achievement of pop culture appropriation, special effects, and cheesy dialogue. But in book form, Star Wars is a juggernaut. Because Star Wars was initially supposed to be released in the winter of , pre-release promotional materials were out in the world early. True, novelizations about popular films generally come out a month or two before the film they adapt, but back in , having a novel titled Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker hanging out in bookstores a whole half a year prior to the movie coming out created a strange and unique phenomenon. The book was published in November of and by February of was already in its second printing. However, the novelization was actually written by science fiction and tie-in-media giant Alan Dean Foster.