The James Clayton Column: Seek spiritual rebirth, George Lucas

James might be interested in seeing the Star Wars movie in 3D, but he's still got some advice for George Lucas...

Georjeeling Limited

A long, long time ago (last week) in a galaxy far, far away (Northern California) our Imperial overlords decided that they needed to strike back, yet again.

The decree has filtered out of Skywalker Ranch that the Star Wars films will be rereleased in 3D. The Grand Moffs have decided that they want to tighten their grip on fanboys, fangirls and fanjawas and claim more of their cash. They want your wallet, they want your absolute devotion and obedience and they want to subject your senses to the Boonta Eve podrace in an extra dimension. They will not rest until they have consumed your entire being.

Oh, exalted overlords and masters of the multiverse, why do you do these things? Why do you persist in flogging that weary bantha? Why do you continue to punish those who bow down before you with such affection?

At this point I should probably do something defiant to show my bafflement and mild disgust at George Lucas and his backroom team of bad Moffs. I could post an angry video-letter on YouTube. I could burn Star Wars action figures in front of the multiplex and hold a Jedi funeral for a force for good that lost its way and sought control of the entire galaxy. I could go into desert exile and take up a life as a “crazy old man” no longer concerned with lightsabers, Clone Wars and crackpot protocol droids that forget that the role of ‘comic relief’ requires you to actually be funny. C-3PO in the prequels: fluent in over six million forms of communication, yet humorous in none of them.

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What I’ll actually do, no doubt, is just go to the cinema and watch Episodes I to VI again, in 3D, and I’ll probably cry and I’ll probably run from the multiplex with a big silly grin on my face. Why? Because I’m a sucker. Because I am victim of unconditional love and because I’m a fanboy geek fool.

Like a dirty dog who, upon hearing the word “bath”, suddenly finds his ears twitching, at the sound of a lightsaber swoosh there’s a great disturbance in the Force and my senses go haywire. There’s some kind of Freudian weirdness going on where I just want to crawl back into a childhood state of space-opera bliss and all it takes is the slightest hint of Star Wars and I’m off – irrational, regressive and, no doubt, wanting to hug an Ewok for comfort in the face of cold, callous reality.

Despite my reservations, I am genuinely stoked to see the aforementioned podrace, the assaults on the Death Star and the speeder bike chase through the forest on the Endor moon in 3D. I will get a huge nerdgasm from it all and lose a fortune on ticket stubs and the subsequent compulsion to buy loads of merchandise.

You may think I’m tragic. Hey, laugh it up, fuzzball. I’ve found a love that keeps on giving, whether I want it to or not. Don’t pity me, but rather direct your concern on to Grand Master George Lucas. For the true victim of the saga is the bearded creator behind it all.

Curious George is now 66 and has been living with Star Wars a long time. Is this not the point in his life when he should be putting aside past work and venturing on to new hobbies and interests? I’m worried for the man’s wellbeing and psychic wholeness. Too much energy and attention to one thing is not good for your soul. (We’ll assume that he still has a soul.)

Just as pretty average men hit a mid or later-life crisis and buy motorcycles and leather jackets to reconnect to the energy of their lost youth, I reckon that Lucas needs to proactively detach himself from his beloved behemoth brand, start afresh and go on new journeys of self-discovery.

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Post-phenomenal success, fame and fortune, this is the stage where, as a filmmaker, he can indulge in his passion projects. I, and a great many other cinemagoers, would love to see those. As well as creating Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Lucas is the director who produced American Graffiti and the astounding THX 1138 in his youth. His talent can’t have just gone kaput. I kneel down before the all-powerful one and state to him, quoting Luke Skywalker, “You’ve only forgotten. I know there is still good in you.”

First, I urge Lucas to pack his bags and take tealeaves of inspiration from Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, leave America and go on a spiritual journey. Once he’s taken his gap year of self-discovery in the Tunisian desert, tried some exotic drugs, ingested the ancient mystic wisdom of the Bedouins (Jawas) and had an epiphany whilst meditating on the twin sunset (who put that extra sun there?), then he’ll be ready.

Reborn and re-inspired, our bespectacled hero will then properly enter his late career renaissance and craft all new masterpieces. I foresee touching and emotive Oscar-winning tales: the film about the blind teenage boy who rises up to become sumo wrestling champion of the world, and the chronicle of the underdog politician who successfully campaigns for equal-marriage rights for time travellers.

I can see Lucas pouring his enthusiasm for old-school adventure serials into a stop-motion feature (no CGI!) about a kid genius who flies off in her homemade steam-powered whirligig and pursues the Sasquatch around the globe. He could make a lean, tense 80-minute black-and-white drama set in a single basement room where a bunch of murderous crooks try and work out who shot first and who should take the blame for a botched robbery.

Lucas could make an elegiac road movie in which an elderly couple travel across Canada visiting every single Chinese restaurant on the map in the hope of finding the Holy Grail of fortune cookies, the one that will point them towards nirvana. He could make the world’s first werewolf musical film. He could make a Western in which a lost samurai teams up with a bounty hunter to fight the hordes of railroad company robots that are raiding the plains. He could make a high school romantic comedy set in World War II-occupied France.

He can do whatever he wants. He’s George Lucas. We know that the Force is strong with this one. For the good of his soul and his legacy, I suggest that he seizes the moment, steps aside from Star Wars and finds himself and liberating fresh creation again.

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“Let go, Lucas…”

James’ previous column can be found here.

James’ movie-spoof comic strips are right here.