April 12, 2006
POP CULTURE: Smallville: Tattooine
I missed blogging on this when it came out, but it was reported about a month ago that filming on the new Star Wars TV show will begin in 2008. So far, so good. But then there's this:
The series will be set between episodes three and four of the film saga.
It would cover the 20 years in the life of Luke Skywalker growing up that remains a mystery to most film-goers.
[producer Rick] McCallum said there would be "a whole bunch of new characters" and the series would be "much more dramatic and darker".
Please tell me that this franchise, which has made so many critical missteps in the past decade and which has something of a chance to start afresh with a TV series, isn't going to make a TV show about young Luke Skywalker. I mean, the entire point of Luke's character in Episode IV is that he's been off the scene for 20 years, at a distance from the battle against the Empire, frustrated and bored living life on a moisture farm in the middle of the desert. Nothing interesting ever happens to him, and at the start of Episode IV he's never seen a lightsaber and never practiced the Jedi arts. Are they gonna rewrite that history, or is this going to be a bunch of tedious stuff about Luke's teen angst having only a tangential connection to events outside of Tattooine? (UPDATE: Anyone want bets on how many episodes they do before we get to see Luke buying power converters at Tosche Station?)
What would be doubly frustrating is that there are a whole raft of existing Star Wars characters who would be interesting to follow in that 20-year period - Darth Vader, Tarkin, Chewbacca (OK, I recognize the dramatic limitations of a series with a Wookie as the main character), Han, Lando, R2D2, C3PO . . . short of watching Yoda alone in the swamp, Luke is about the worst character you could pick. Perhaps most obviously, you could break the mold by building around a female character: Princess Leia, who is at the center of things in Alderaan, watching her father navigate the politics of staying in the Senate while he leads the Rebellion. Leia has obviously been active herself in the Rebellion, has dealt with R2, 3PO, Vader and Tarkin . . . but instead, we are to be treated to Smallville: Tattooine?
UPDATE: Tim Harden at Flying Sparrows says I've been led astray and that the series will actually focus on other characters. If Lucas knows what's good for him, one of the first 2 or 3 episodes should feature the death of Jar Jar Binks, ideally involving either the Sarlaac or how Boba Fett got a reputation for disintegrations.
SECOND UPDATE: Hey, a love interest for Admiral Ackbar!
Shrewd observations, Crank.
Anyone but Luke, if the franchise were at all a serious endeavor. But its not. Its for kids, which is why we all loved 4,5,6 and were all disappointed by 1,2,3.
"Samllville: Tatooine" It's worse than that. At least in the comic books, it was established that Clark/Superboy had had some adventures while growing up. The WB might have done some tweaking, but they didn't just completely change one of the the defining traits of the character.
How about Star Wars: George Lucas Cashes a Check
Presumably "much more dramatic and darker" would suggest it's not aiming to be a kid's show.
I'm thinking what we really need is a Godfather-like epic about how a giant slug became an intergalactic crime lord.
Survivor: Mos Isley? Two and a half Jabba? Sarlacc or No Sarlacc? Law and Order; Carbonite Edition? Come on guys, we're talking about Hollywood here. Introducing new ideas would be like teaching them all to speak Jawa.
How about following Bobba Fett growing up? Or they could really avoid a lot of backstory re-write by following a group of Jedi's in the Outer Realms who escaped extermination (at least until the end of the show's run) as they quietly battle the Empire or whatever.
I think a Star Wars TV show is a good idea, but this idea is pathetic. I didnt particularly like the bratty, childish Luke in Ep. IV and I dont want a Star Wars: Dawson's Creek.
More interresting that the Star Wars post gets more comments than the Katrina one.
The problem is Lucas had one good idea, and extended it as far as he could. He has problems accepting input from people, at least it seems so to me. He can't write dialogue, he has no clue how to edit, his camera angles are limited. One good concept, and it was, as he admitted, an old archetype that would always strike a chord. Case in point: Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg liked an Indiana JHones script over a year ago; Lucas did not, back to the drawing board. Now Lucas has the rights, and Indie was his (OK, so he had TWO great concepts). Spielberg thinks a script is good, just say yes.
A Star Wars TV show, hmm? Interesting. A Star Trek opposite: where a series becomes the movies; here? You better have characters you are willing to spend an hour with in your living room (or iPod, or wherever)--Rod Serling knew the concept, better than anyone. Luke ain't it. The adventures of Leia Organa of Alderaan, that might work.