[Star Wars Days] Return of the Jed-Five…[Throwdown Thursday] Legends vs. Canon

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Hey folks, welcome to Throwdown Thursday on this, the second day of Star Wars. In Throwdown Thursday, I’ll be taking a look back on major conflicts in the world of entertainment, and I thought I would tackle a biggie today by comparing the recent conflict in Star Wars from fans of the franchise young and old.

So in October of 2012, Lucasfilm was officially sold to Disney with Kathleen Kennedy running the show in place of George Lucas who had passed the company onto her. Between Disney and Lucasfilm, a group was created to discuss and define what the canon is and should be going forward. Previously, Lucas had a pretty open invitation for people to add to the mythos and it left a sprawling and detailed universe to jump in and in fact, starting with the Expanded Universe was scary. It was daunting and convoluted at times, too. There were even the occasional plot hole created by so many hands in the bucket.

After 18 months of deliberating and decisions, Lucasfilm wiped the slate clean, eliminating all the Expanded Universe (now termed Legends) and establishing a simpler canon that can be controlled by a committee that would construct continuity based on the plans of the company and the franchise.

So, here is the breakdown of Canon:

1. The live-action feature films are canon.

                –The Phantom Menace

                –Attack of the Clones

                –Revenge of the Sith

                –A New Hope

                –The Empire Strikes Back

                –Return of the Jedi

                –The Force Awakens

2. The Clone Wars movie and television series, including all six seasons, as well as the Rebels television series, are canon.

3. All books, comics, and expanded media released after April 25, 2014 are considered canon unless (in the case of video games) they conflict with the films or higher level canon, which likely won’t happen too often.

So why all the hubbub about Canon? What’s the big deal? Well, it shapes the way this series is heading…

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FIGHT

LEGENDS vs. CANON

Legends: There are pros and cons to each. Legends already has a gigantic universe built so there are multiple levels to branch out and do stories. Legends also has a giant fanbase who were excited to see some of their favorite stories becomes Star Wars films. The faults? The Star Wars Legends fanbase pails in comparison with the regular Star Wars fanbase and the general movie-going population. Plus, the convoluted plotlines made for difficulty in adapting the series in any feasible way. Also, it is far more difficult to tell an interesting story when you have to obey every rules, plot point, and character set in stone by someone else years ago with no intent to build a new trilogy.

Canon: It is simple and easy to make a committee oversee the new canon and help align it with franchise plans. Star Wars is massive, and it can continue to thrive under a creative team who drive the story path. Cons? They pissed off a lot of people with the elimination of Legends. People that wanted their Star Wars. People that would have been angry either way but especially angry now that their beloved stories are gone.

Overall, there are equal points on either side…but there has to be a winner here.

 

THE WINNER:

Legends was a really cool and expansive world, but not one wholly accessible by the general population who likely didn’t know the further adventures of Luke, Han, and Leia. Canon is a streamlined way to tell a story and will keep the franchise running for years to come.

CANON is the winner.

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Thanks for joining me today, Happy continued Star Wars Day, and we will see you for the next throwdown!

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Oscar Madness] Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

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Director: George Lucas

Cast: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August, Frank Oz

Screenplay: George Lucas

136 mins. Rated PG for sci-fi action/violence.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Sound
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Effects, Visual Effects

 

Today we are going to look back on Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, a film that has truly polarized fans of perhaps the most-beloved sagas in motion picture history.

Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List, Taken 3) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting, Mortdecai) are about to take part in trade negotiations with the insidious Trade Federation over trade disputes. When negotiations go south and the Trade Viceroy takes control of the peaceful planet of Naboo, the Jedi take refuge on the remote desert planet of Tattooine, where they meet young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd, Jingle All the Way), a child who may just be the Chosen One, a Jedi who can bring balance to the Force.

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Director George Lucas (American Graffiti, THX 1138) returned to his beloved Star Wars franchise sixteen years after 1983’s Return of the Jedi to create one of the most discussed entries in the canon. Some love it; many loathe it. I find it to be an enjoyable, albeit flawed entry in the series.

Jake Lloyd absolutely destroys his role as Anakin by not understanding the characters and delivering his lines as though he is just reading them. His scenes can’t even be saved by Neeson and McGregor. Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie, The Lord of the Rings) and Kenny Baker (The King and I, Willow) return as C-3PO and R2-D2 and help to tie this film to the others. Then there is Ian McDiarmid (Sleepy Hollow, Annie: A Royal Adventure!) as Senator Palpatine. I love his performance here. He is slippery like a politician should be with just a note of secrecy.

I want to say something about George Lucas. I might get flack or praise, not sure which, but George Lucas can direct just fine. He cannot write all that well. He should stick to storytelling but leave the screenplay work to others. Look back at The Empire Strikes Back. It is considered by many to be the best in the saga, but it is the only one not specifically written by Lucas. Just sayin’.

The flow of the film is nicely tied together. I enjoyed the time spent on Tattooine, and I felt like the Naboo sequences add something new to the series. I honestly didn’t care much for Jar Jar Binks, but I also accepted that galaxies far far away probably had annoying aliens. There just has to be some.

The effects are wildly well put together, from the podrace sequences to the battle for Naboo. The new Yoda (played by Frank Oz, Zathura, Monsters, Inc.) is more advanced than previously, though it doesn’t really look like Yoda.

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Looking back at the first chronological Star Wars adventure brings up a lot of questions. How has the film held up? Did the love or the hate soften? Will Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens have the same reception? I don’t have the answers to all those questions, but I can say that expectations are often the culprits for long-waited installments. I like Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It is far from the perfect Star Wars film, but it is an enjoyable reintroduction to the galaxy and the time that we love so much.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

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