Let the Force be with someone else!


Let me say, first off, I am a massive Star Wars fan.  I saw the movies as a kid, I have since seen them countless times at cinemas and IMAX screens, I have bought EVERY version released on VHS, laserdisc and DVD, I have the books, some of the toys and yes, I am building a LEGO Death Star…I love Star Wars!

BUT…I need to say this out loud, or else my head will explode…ENOUGH WITH THE FORCE ALREADY!

The SWU - its a BIG place (c) Lucasfilm

The SWU - it's a BIG place (c) Lucasfilm

There’s hype everywhere for the new Star Wars game, we’ve just had a full series of The Clone Wars CGI TV show, and yet more books are being released in the expanded universe.  What ties them all together?  JEDIs, the FORCE, LIGHTSABERS, LIGHT vs DARK …aaaaaarrrrrgggghhh!!! I can’t take it anymore.  The jedi/force stuff was just ONE strand of the original movies, which then almost eclipsed everything else in the new trilogy.  But Star Wars, and the Star Wars universe are much more about average people standing up and fighting for what they believe in.  No special magic powers, just hard work, dedication and, often enough, sacrifice. It seems Lucas & co want to remove the average citizen from the Star Wars universe and only tell silly stories about silly sorcerers.  Well, this isn’t a playground for the rapidly ageing Harry Potter fans, this is the Star Wars universe and it lives and breathes because of spaceships, droids, a massive plethora of species and a whole heap of average-being-bravery!

The Expanded Universe books, which I have loved, are seemingly the culprits behind this.  For a while they were fantastic, mixing a little Jedi trickery in with a massive dollop of high-tech interstellar warfare.  The X-Wing series of books, the original and second Thrawn series, the Bounty Hunter series, etc… Yes there were Jedi/Force specific tales, mostly about Luke and his struggle to teach, but these were always against a backdrop of real people leading real lives.  And then came the multi-book series which seem to pit the Force against everyone and everything…Jedi everywhere, in the past, present and future…what is the dark side, what is the light side?  This infected the games…OK, so we’ve always enjoyed playing as a Jedi, but now nearly every Star Wars game was about lightsabers and Jedi and the old ways, or the new ways, or some other ways we’d never heard of.  Unless you wanted to play RTS games, the Star Wars universe pretty much became a JEDI-only place.

The Clone Wars CGI TV Series (c) Lucasfilm

The Clone Wars CGI TV Series (c) Lucasfilm

And now, we have a new overly hyped game starring a proto-Vader and yet more Jedi/Sith nonsense.  We have more books charting the Legacy of the Force and the Old Republic Jedi/SIth wars, and we have more CGI TV shows focusing on the whiny, misbegotten and frankly annoying Jedi of the Clone Wars period…usefully for the writers, the battles are fought by disposable non-people Clones, so we don’t need to worry too much about plotting them and their lives!

The Force and the Jedi/Sith were an interesting sub-plot in the original movies…but it was the real people, the pilots and gunners and troopers (and Ewoks!) who did all the real fighting and dying.  To me the Jedi and their mind tricks are simply a Deus Ex Machina, a way for Lucas and the writers who followed, to get themselves out of trouble (or in to it!).

Please please please…can we have some more stories about Wedge and Lando and Han and Rogue Squadron and Wraith Squadron and…well..some real people using guns and droids and spaceships?  Karen Traviss has been the best at this in recent years alongside some interesting retro-fit stories by the likes of Timothy Zahn.  And can we have a few kick ass games like X-Wing and Battlefront, that allow us to play as something other than a JEDI, in a world that has NO Jedi or Force involvement at all?

X-Wings in flight (c) Lucasfilm

X-Wings in flight (c) Lucasfilm

The Jedi and the Force have their place in the Star Wars Universe, but for me, they’ve become too dominant, too far fetched (is that possible in a fictional scifi universe?) and far too self-important.  I have hopes that the new live action Starw Wars TV series will bring us back to the real people of the SWU…I know some people working on it and they seem to be going in the right direction.  But, no magic, no fantastical last minute powers, just hard graft, realistic scenarios and a depiction of a real interstellar war please.

I’m not calling for less Jedi/Force stories (although it would be nice)…just a bit of balance with the other ways of telling stories within the SWU.  Go back to telling a few tales from between the movies, from within the Remnant, and about the secondary characters.  Star Wars at its heart told the story of a droid (R2) who was at the centre of an epic tale, and who, through bravery and skill, helped save the universe.  I miss those stories…let the Jedi do the grandstanding, but I wanna hear about the other stuff that goes on.

I now fully expect to be lightsabered by angry fans…please remember, I am a Star Wars fan too…I just refuse to bow before the power of the Force…it’s become the Empire and we need a Rebellion to get our Star Wars Universe back!

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About hokusbloke
30-something radio producer/director/writer, owner & MD of Ladbroke Productions (the UK's oldest independent radio production company). Lover of far fetched fiction, scifi and fantasy, my cats and all thinks tech. I am also the Chair of the Radio Independents Group, a former Trustee of the Radio Academy, and a Fellow of the RSA. I co-wrote, produced and directed Robert Rankin's "The Brightonomicon" audio series, produce Dr Who audiobooks for the BBC, and directed several sci-fi radio plays for BBC Radio 4 in 2009. I am a strong advocate for more SF audio and radio...keep watching this space for upcoming news!

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