On Star Wars History And Perspectives

Reading about the early days of Star Wars can be very interesting if you care about that sort of thing. A lot has changed about movies, Lucasfilm, and many of the individuals involved since the ‘70s. Plus there’s always dirt ‘n gossip.

If you want a fair, straight-shooting look at that stuff, I suggest you pick up or download “Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution” by Michael Rubin. I also recommend it for Pixar fans since a lot of it is the roots of the fabled animation company. “Droidmaker” is long and goes into details about many things, including Francis Ford Coppola, electronic music, Lucasfilm’s early days, and of course animation. But what I especially liked about it is that there is no agenda. It’s not a hagiography of Lucas and it’s not a hatchet job. In fact, you’ll see that Lucas always had a means to an end, to make filmmaking easier, but in the process brought a lot of very talented people into his orbit whose contributions exceeded that end.

But things being what they are, there’s a lot out there that is dependent on “a certain point of view.” Fans will pick and choose what they want to see and hear, often depending on how they feel about Star Wars, Lucas himself, and Lucasfilm. A disgruntled ex-employee will have a lot more cred with disgruntled fanboys than he would with me. I think the haters and naysayers will lean toward whoever validates their beliefs. “See, I knew that Lucas was a fraud and a hack! That guy’s anecdote about Lucas being a jerk totally backs that up!” But the nutty thing is, Lucas wasn’t being a jerk to them. He made creative choices they didn’t like and they take it as being exactly the same as say, being a lousy tipper or growling at an autograph seeker.

Whenever I read this kind of stuff, I consider the source. I also know that everyone has their perspectives and everyone has their own agenda at work. Maybe they’re a little frustrated they don’t have the platform somebody far more famous like Lucas has. Maybe they’re not too happy that most people don’t realize their own contributions to Star Wars’s success.

On that note, I have seen it stated that there’s a deliberate move to “erase” certain people from Star Wars’s history. I don’t think this is the case at all. Sometimes inaccuracies happen for whatever reason but I think it has more to do with the passage of time than anything else. An employee who left 37 years ago left a lifetime ago for many people. Marcia Lucas hasn’t touched a Star Wars film in 33 years and has kept a very low profile since then. That’s a lifetime ago too. I don’t think very many fans in their 20s or younger have ever heard of official fan club president Maureen Garrett. But they do know Steve Sansweet, Mary Franklin, Pablo Hidalgo, et al. because those are the Lucasfilm employees and ex-employees who were there when they were active fans. I wonder how many younger Star Trek fans know who put on the first Trek conventions in the ‘70s. That’s just how things are.

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