In the past few days, the little group of "prequel appreciators
" I count myself among has been very taken up reacting
to new reports that the story ideas for continuing the Star Wars movies George Lucas submitted when he sold the franchise hadn't been used. With all of this reaction it does sort of seem some had managed to discount or deny the earlier
reports of this happening some months back, but I do have to agree it's dispiriting. After all the casual comments from certain other people that "George Lucas ought to accept his limitations and just be the idea guy," that he's not allowed to be even that, for the apparent sake of loudmouths being primed to react positively to the assembly line of new product about to start rolling just because it'll be very careful to avoid the sort of broad comedy relief that triggered them off in the first place, doesn't make the slightly redesigned stormtroopers and slightly redesigned Star Destroyers and slightly modified Millennium Falcon
filling store shelves look much more interesting to me.
Right as that was happening, though, I happened to finish reading the last issue
of Creative Computing magazine from 1977 (I'd managed to buy a copy in an online auction before a scanned version of that magazine got added
to the Internet Archive), and it just so happened the book review column started with the reviewer bringing up Star Wars.
He did lead off "with faint praise," saying "The visual effects are stunning and superbly done, the plot won't confuse you," and invoked 1977's own form of "fan cred" by mentioning "I kept expecting the minions of Boskone and a Gray Lensman or two to pop up at any moment," but then started talking about how the movie "falls kinda flat when you think about it afterward." This seemed to have everything to do with the "world-building," including asking "How can the Millenium [sic]
Falcon take off from a planetary surface?" Writing for a computer magazine, he devoted particular space to asking why, with C-3P0's technology available (R2-D2 didn't seem to have the same impact on him), all the spaceships depended on manual controls, and wound up hoping "they listen to some competent technical advice for the sequels."
This extended criticism on objections nobody else ever seems to have thought of may not be quite the same as the work
Mike Klimo has done in searching out old movie reviews from more obvious sources, but it does get me thinking that perhaps some people weren't as ready to intuitively accept whatever "Star Wars is (but the 'prequels' weren't)" as some other people have convinced themselves these days. I am as conscious as ever of having been
conscious in concentrating on particular things and themes to say "I find enjoyment in the saga." I can also wonder what those ideas George Lucas had were, and if they would have taken an effort all over again to take in and fit into a story previously considered complete, just as a different sort of effort to whoop it up at the new product may not be entirely unconscious for some. It is one more thing to think about, anyway.