I’m not a huge follower of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which consists largely of printed publications. Very few Star Wars stories that were not concocted by George Lucas himself pique my interest anymore. I liked a few in the beginning, like Tim Zahn’s first trilogy and a few others, but it takes something a bit more epic to make me me to go out and buy a Star Wars book these days. A book that directly leads into one of the films would be a good example, and that’s what Labyrinth of Evil is—so I picked it up.
Note: This editorial was written before the release of Episode III.
The name Bail Organa has been floating around in Star Wars lore since the saga’s inception. The name and the character went through many iterations until Episode II when Jimmy Smits appeared on screen, ending the mystery of what Bail would look like and what he would do in the prequel era. The character still retained an air of mystery about him, however.
On February 10, 2004, Lucasfilm officially announced that the original Star Wars Trilogy will finally be released on DVD in September, 2004. It was a great day filled with all kinds of press coverage and non stop discussion on fan site forums. Press releases were issued, web sites reported the news with happiness and for a day, and people seemed to be happy that three of the most requested DVDs of all time were finally going to see the light of day.
This editorial was written before the release of Episode III.
Hiding, keeping secrets, duping people, duality—these are all themes that are at the forefront of the Star Wars saga. Padmé poses as a handmaiden and vice versa multiple times, Anakin and Padmé’s marriage is kept secret from pretty much everyone, the Sith hide in the shadows refining their evil machinations, Obi-Wan and Yoda hide themselves away on separate planets for years after Episode III, the Skywalker twins are separated and hidden at birth, Count Dooku is actually Darth Tyranus, the seemingly innocent Palpatine is actually an alter ego for an evil Sith Lord who will reveal himself for who he is and take over the galaxy as an Emperor—but is that last statement entirely true? Does he actually reveal himself or is it all about keeping things secret?
On February 6th, 2003, George Lucas made an official announcement at an ILM & Skywalker Sound Tribute in California about the original Star Wars Trilogy DVDs. He stated that the pre-special edition versions of the films will NOT be released on DVD at all. We will get the Special Editions in all their newly enhanced glory as soon as Episode III is in the can and there’s time to perfect them and release them. This has, of course, had a crazy effect on the fans and I’ve seen various different reactions to this revelation, which really isn’t too much of a revelation when you think about it. When George Lucas took the old films and made them into the Special Editions, he said time and time again that these are his definitive visions and we won’t see the old ones again, and we haven’t to date. People seem pretty surprised and taken aback by the whole announcement, but didn’t they see it coming? As a Star Wars fan since 1977, I have to admit that this is indeed disappointing. I’m not one of those people who go around banging the protest drum, boycotting the DVD, and asking for my raped childhood back. Perhaps no one at Lucasfilm understands or cares, but to me it’s a big mistake.
We’ve all waited patiently for three years for the follow-up to The Phantom Menace, and now it’s here. Yes it’s good, yes it’s an improvement, and yes people still care. I guess being a longtime fan can sway your opinions a little, but I really loved this film. Even people who aren’t that into Star Wars are telling me it’s really cool. Everyone loved Yoda, and that seems to be all they’re talking about—that and how his big fight scene was too short. Everyone wanted more Yoda kicking Sith booty.
I’ll just come right out and say it—I liked this adaptation. It seemed right to me. It wasn’t overdone, yet it wasn’t underdone. It wasn’t filled with long-winded descriptions of the tiniest minutiae. It moved at a good pace, never leaving me bored at any point. It read like a movie, and that’s what makes a good adaptation work.
It’s what we’ve been waiting for for 16 years. It will no doubt reel in fans of all ages once again just like it did to me when I was seven years old. It will break all kinds of records and make all kinds of news. It will be torn apart by critics who refuse to open their minds. It is Episode One: The Phantom Menace and it is good.
I was pleasantly surprised after reading the Episode I novelization by Terry Brooks. He’s done a fine job with making this book easy enough to read for kids yet interesting and well-paced enough for adults. I was never bored. The chapters did not drag on. The dialogue was reworded just enough so as to not interfere with the characters’ personalities. I found it hard to put down.