10 Seconds of Sheer Bliss: ‘Star Wars’ transcending politics and the #dumpstarwars movement

Obviously, many of the makers of the new Star Wars film, Rogue One regionally identify with San Francisco politics, because after all, that is where George Lucas moved his Lucasfilm company just prior to selling his empire to Disney in 2012.  They are not Donald Trump fans and have foolishly engaged in a progressive campaign against the president-elect adopting the same slant as Saturday Night Live has—lampooning Trump and the supporters of the new rebellion in America which they’ve associated as racists, bigots, and homophobes.

Where they’ve gone wrong is in assuming—including Mark Hamill, (Luke Skywalker himself) is that the meaning of Star Wars was always about diversity and togetherness in a collective kind of ooze, as opposed to what the masses actually cleave to making it one of the most popular modern stories of all time.  They obviously don’t understand why Star Wars is successful, and they don’t necessarily need to so long as they stick to the formula that George Lucas started so many years ago.   Rogue One is a war movie inspired from the World War II era, and that involved European politics from a time when nations came together to combat the evil of Hitler—and that is a universal theme everyone can get behind.  I personally like Garth Edwards as a director—he did a great job on the recent Godzilla film, and now that I’ve heard the Michael Giacchino soundtrack for Rogue One, particularly the section shown below at the 1:40 mark, I am getting very excited for the new film.  I wish I could have an hour-long soundtrack of just that kind of music because it reflects how I personally think.  If you could put music to my way of thinking 24 hours a day seven days a week—it would sound like that—that’s it!

I’ve went to the trouble of warning these modern Star Wars makers, like the Rogue One writer, Chris Weitz to story group leader at Lucasfilm Pablo Hidalgo and the director of Episode 8 Rian Johnson through Twitter that they needed to can their opinions because they don’t understand Star Wars in an ethical way so far as it relates to the world outside of Lucasfilm—by way of its art.  I think they are too young and as natural second-handers to George Lucas, they don’t get the appeal because they live in a filmmaking bubble.  Even George Lucas didn’t understand it for most of his life—if he ever did.  In fact, Lucas may have only understood Star Wars after he survived the car crash that nearly killed him and ever since—he has been losing that understanding year by year.  As an artist, he tapped into something by accident and that became something that changed the world philosophically and when film industry employees seek to bring modern political meaning to Star Wars, they cheapen it.  For instance, as Chris Weitz stated about Trump supporters—foolishly—the empire from the Star Wars movies were racists white supremacists and that the villains from Rogue One were much like those who put the New York billionaire into the White House over the corrupt Hillary Clinton—whom many at Lucasfilm were openly supporting.  I reminded all those mentioned above that Finn was a black guy and that Captain Phasma was a woman and as my friend Matt Clark pointed out recently, all of the Clone Troopers were copied from the DNA of Jango Fett—who certainly wasn’t a “white guy.”  So I told Chris that if he thought that’s what made Rogue One tick as a movie—as the writer—then the film would likely suck.


What those Lucasfilm employees obviously don’t understand is that most of the people I know who ran the Trump campaign on the ground level all loved Star Wars and that from their perspective the evil empire was the Democratic Party and the villains were clearly the Clintons.  The destruction of the second Death Star was election day 2016 and we celebrated by pulling down the statue of the evil empress Clinton in the city square of a metaphorical Coruscant.  So we are clearly at odds with each other and our definitions of things are defined by regional relationships—Lucasfilm by the progressive views of the coastal cities of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles—and the Trump rebellion from the flyover states like Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Indiana and Michigan.  One thing that Star Wars taught me as a young person, which the modern Lucasfilm employees have not yet mastered is that the space opera is best defined on wings of art—the kind James Joyce participated in—which tapped into ancient roots of human experience and that it is there that the keys to understanding the power and success of Star Wars is best applied.

It was only because of Star Wars that I was inspired as a young twenty-something to read the great European classics like The Canterbury Tales and Finnegan’s Wake.  One of those is actually medieval literature while the other is an attempt at preservation of life before the Catholic takeover of Europe specifically in the British Isles.  Star Wars is all about that kind of thing mixed with oriental cultures.   Lucas properly took all of the world’s mythologies and placed them on an infinite tapestry of galactic magnitude and benefited it even more by setting the story long before our modern human history.  The genius of that was to remove the audience from the here and now and place it comfortably in the past so that reflection was possible without the immediacy of modern troubles.  So I literally have spent the last thirty years reading classic literature from around the world because I was inspired by Star Wars as a kid to do so—and I am far better off for it now.  With these new Star Wars films I am hopeful that the same thing happens to millions of other people over the coming decades because there is a real hope that I have that this art of Star Wars will carry mankind to a new level of understanding even in spite of Kathy Kennedy’s immediate desires to find female directors and stick progressive causes into Star Wars which rips the mind away from the transcendental nature which evokes the magic in the first place.  She and Lucasfilm in general understand I think enough to get by.

For instance, Rogue One is really a classic spin on an old World War II movie.  The upcoming Han Solo film which goes into production at the turn of the year 2017 has the art department looking at old Frederic Remington paintings to get the look of that movie to reflect a classic western, so these guys get it, and I look forward to seeing what they get up on the screen.  I understand that we will see a newer Millennium Falcon with some cool paint schemes on it, which will be wonderful as Han Solo is my favorite character.  He’s a very Ayn Rand type of hero.  I am so excited about that project that I’m planning to visit the studio where they are filming while they are there in the first quarter of 2017—because it’s wonderful as a work of art to see those types of elements being put together in something that will inspire the world.  I’m not saying anything more about the Millennium Falcon because it’s all kind of a secret and I respect that.  We’ll all see it soon enough.

The success of the new Han Solo movie will largely depend on how well Rogue One does, so I am rooting for the film to do well.  I won’t be boycotting Star Wars just because the filmmakers at Lucasfilm don’t understand the presidency or modern necessity of Donald Trump.  They’ll get it in hindsight, but if they don’t see it now—I won’t fault them for it.  They have an important job to do in my mind and they need to stick to it.  I will say that I am encouraged by what I’ve seen so far, like that Michael Giacchino film score, and the recent update to the video game Battlefront where there is a DLC featuring Rogue One events which came out this week.  I’ve been playing it and let me just say—it’s quite astonishing.  Additionally, this past week the new VR Mission for X-Wing came out on Playstation and it was jaw dropping cool.  The neatest video game experience I’ve ever had.  There isn’t even a close second and all this is a result of Star Wars newest film Rogue One which has resurrected the science and ambition those films evoked in the 1980s.  I never thought in my wildest imaginings that I’d be able to sit in the cockpit of an X-Wing Fighter and perform dogfighting with other ships around a massive Star Destroyer on the edge of an asteroid field in the most perfect 3D imagery I’ve ever seen.  I say that from the perspective of working with the RealD 3D guys back in 2008 when they were perfecting their cameras for the revolution we see now in movie theaters.  I can only imagine what kind of technical breakthroughs we will see over the next few years as Star Wars continues to inspire science and art to push human understanding and the Trump presidency opens up the purse strings of capitalism to make those ideas happen.  If everyone can’t yet see the big picture—I can deal with that.  But lack of vision doesn’t make people correct in their assumptions.  Chris would do his project and Lucasfilm a tremendous service if he’d just keep his mouth shut and do his job within that context.

Meanwhile I will be one of the first to see Rogue One.  I ordered the soundtrack from Michael Giacchino based exclusively on that clip.  I will now go listen to those few seconds of music at the 1:40 mark for the rest of the day because it’s that kind of thing which feeds my brain—which is my favorite part of my body—and it likes to eat.  Matt Clark and I are planning a Star Wars special on 1600 WAAM on New Year’s Eve and we’ll review the new Rogue One movie and elaborate on all these topics more, once we have had the benefit of seeing the movie and comparing it to the history of the franchise which are shaped in translation by the politics of our time.  So we’ll see.  I’m hopeful, but will reserve my judgment on the product presented.  And as of now, I’m enjoying the possibilities that come with Star Wars and the hope for the human race that often trails in its wake.  I will say this, thank you Michael for that 10 seconds of music shown in the Rogue One scoring session.  Because I love it!

Rich Hoffman


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