Why I’m So Excited for Han Solo’s Movie: A brief history of cinema and the progressive attempts to control the messaging of American values


If you study any ancient society—or any society at all for that matter, scientists and historians always find a way to rationalize their successes or failures on a few key elements. They will proclaim a civilization may have been successful because of their proximity to water, or key trade routes. Or fertile soil, access to natural resources, abundance of food—those types of things. The truly great societies are often judged by the artists they produced and the literature they performed. In a lot of ways entire societies are judged based on the written works produced by their cultures, such as in England with William Shakespeare, or Ireland’s James Joyce. But we don’t really have enough history yet to properly understand how our modern age of great art and entertainment will recoil through the ages, because most of it is so new. American movies for instance are underplayed in their importance to how they shape world culture—because they essentially have only been around for a century, so the effects on people as a whole are still being determined. But I have a pretty good idea how those results will be determined as judged by time and it is for that reason that I am so excited when a new film comes out that I know will be a game changer in the way that art shapes society. That is why I am so excited for this new Solo: A Star Wars Story as it is being produced by Disney. Something very different is going on with this one and if it turns out the way I’m thinking, there will be shock waves percolating through the industry as a whole that will favor the political trajectory of the modern Donald Trump age—and that’s a really good thing.  To get a good idea of what I’m talking about read this fine movie review about Solo: A Star Wars Story in Forbes.  I don’t think I could have written a better one.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2018/05/18/review-solo-a-star-wars-story/#48a5365b7dd8

Over that same century that movies came to be as a form of new art and entertainment liberals under the umbrella of progressivism made their move to spread tyrannical socialism to every corner of the world. Movies didn’t always reflect this socialism because the cultures they were speaking to had emerged before the progressive move to take over the world essentially. Westerns specifically were a group of movies that told stories of Americans yearning for freedom at any cost and the values that could be inflicted on large tracts of unpopulated land with the barrel of a gun pointed at a bad guy, and on the backs of that concept, Hollywood was essentially born. It was westerns that propelled the film industry into being such an important artistic endeavor that became the envy of the world. Not only had America created this interesting artistic machine known as Hollywood that mass-produced art and entertainment in such an excessive capitalist fashion. But it could do so in seemingly infinite quantities quickly spreading the culture of a free North America to every part of the world that had electricity.

Progressives saw this power and sought to take it over starting before World War II but really beginning to succeed in the late 1960s. But some of the best films of that time still came from filmmakers who made movies in the traditional way of Hollywood before the liberal invasion and it was those films that carried Hollywood into the modern age financially. Star Wars is a great example of the type of America that used to show up in the movies of its culture—B movies made quickly and cheaply for Saturday Morning Matinee entertainment. George Lucas was often derided by his peers in the film industry for wanting to make such old-fashioned throwbacks to the old westerns and science fiction films of his own youth—yet the Hollywood liberals built and industry around the commercial success of those movies and the history of all that is well-known.

Fast forward to my excitement in 2012 when I found out that there were going to be more Star Wars movies because Disney had bought the franchise from George Lucas for $4 billion dollars and I had high hopes. I also had my concerns which I expressed to everyone who would listen, including the key people at Lucasfilm. I did not like The Force Awakens not just because they had killed the character of Han Solo, but because they had cheapened that very popular fan favorite into a much weaker progressive character as was reflective of the attempt by Hollywood to follow a more progressive political agenda for which they sought to take over the entertainment industry in the first place. But I kept my mind open because I knew they were planning to make a Han Solo movie in the future so I stayed on the ship awaiting the results of that to figure out if I would continue to support the artistic efforts of Star Wars in the future—or relegate that it had died with the Disney acquisition. Thankfully I am quite happy to say, the financial viability of Star Wars as a business has won out and the filmmakers at Lucasfilm and Disney have come to terms with what works and what doesn’t in that particular universe of storytelling—which is essentially the values of the traditional westerns in America, and they have unleashed all that into this new Han Solo movie.

That’s important because Solo: A Star Wars Story is not about social justice, or the mysticism of religions—its not about altruism and all that garbage—its much more of an Ayn Rand type of story which is what I have always said was the core value system of Star Wars. Han Solo has always been and will always be best when he reflects more a character that would be written by Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged than from Les Misérables. Star Wars fails when it tries to be reflective of European literature more than American bravado and that lesson has been reluctantly unleashed in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is all about guns, getting rich and taking care of the character’s self-interests.

Of course, the liberal aspects of Hollywood are hoping that this Solo: A Star Wars Story will fail at the box office, and for that to happen the industry will pounce on any numbers that don’t reach a billion dollars globally, or under $600 million domestically. Anything short of that and this Solo movie will be destroyed in the press much the way Donald Trump’s presidency is under constant attack because it threatens the status quo. But as I have been saying for many, many years—Star Wars is best when it is about all the things I described this upcoming movie to be as opposed to the self-sacrifice and general altruism of the Jedi and the Skywalker portions of the saga. Without Han Solo, I’d say there is no Star Wars. So to their credit, they listened at Lucasfilm and Disney has not been shy with the money and has thrown their full weight behind this movie knowing that it goes against the general strategies of the progressive community. And they had to do it because economic necessity dictated that they protect the property of Star Wars from the politics of the modern age. The last time I saw Disney market this hard for something like a western was The Lone Ranger in 2013, which was financially successful, but was considered a big bomb at the box office. If I had to bet, I’d say that is why Bob Iger has been nowhere near the early previews of Solo: A Star Wars Story. He is keeping one foot in the world of deniability. But I don’t think he’ll have to throw anybody under the bus. I think this new Star Wars movie will make everyone happy at Disney, even if it does give them a political paradox to deal with.

Progressives would love to assume that they can shape culture—which is why they wanted to take over the movie business. Films were to reflect the cultures they came from and the values expressed which is what other nations wanted to see in American movies. People get excited to see things they can’t get at home or yearn to become themselves, so they enjoyed the lofty characters of the American westerns who shot first and asked questions later, who did whatever they had to do to get rich so they could live free of the rest of the tyrannical world. Thinking of the great Sergio Leone movies from the late 1960s, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and For A Few Dollars More, the filmmakers were from Italy making westerns as they interpreted them, as a way out of the fascism that their country had just emerged from and the character emphasis wasn’t on saving the world or even a damsel in distress, it was in using a gun to get rich and live happily ever after alone and disconnected from the rules of society. That was always the allure of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies, that is why the Fast and Furious movies make so much money, and that is the commitment behind Solo: A Star Wars Story.

With this being the fourth Star Wars story produced by Kathy Kennedy as the new head of Lucasfilm economic necessity has dictated a more traditional approach to their films. That is a great thing because it informs what the true values of our culture are which addresses at the most epistemological level values that are conducive to a successful modern culture reflective in movies, and not where Hollywood shapes culture. The values of people are inherit and they need to form their lives around those values—that is self-interest, acceptance of capitalism as the primary driver for success and improved lives. What could be a better message in Star Wars than a black character called Lando Calrissian who loves wealth and the fine things in life and became an extraordinarily successful businessman? Solo: A Star Wars Story may be the first movie in several decades that doesn’t demonize the acquisition of wealth. I doubt the movie will do well in China for that very reason, but that’s OK. Lucasfilm made this movie and hopefully people support it the way I’ve always said they would. I can say this, I am excited for it—for all these reasons and more. I think it’s a game changer that could very well alter the way Hollywood produces films, and that is not good for the progressive elements which have taken over. Like the presidency of Donald Trump, Star Wars is rooted in old-fashioned values, and that was something that Hollywood has wanted to destroy but find that they must reconcile with if they want to live into the future. I never honestly thought I’d ever see a Hollywood product like this movie, where guns are as much of the plot as the pursuit of personal wealth and freedom. But here it is, and my hope is that people show up and support it, because it took a lot of guts to make it—and for Lucasfilm and Disney—it’s a tremendous gamble that could pay off big for them—and the rest of us.

Rich Hoffman
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‘Solo’ Gets a Standing Ovation at Cannes: Mythology and culture are on expanding in a very positive way

I can’t emphasize enough what Star Wars means to our current society—and specifically how important this next film, Solo: A Star Wars Story is to the continuation of the great mythology that is now set to take on a life well beyond anything planet earth has ever seen. As I say often the most important topic to me out of all the things that I discuss is the realm of mythology and how it captures the minds of mankind and propels it forward at each juncture of history. I am specifically thinking right now about the great legends of King Arthur, or the early works of the Iliad where Odysseus propelled modern society to its current form to the point where our civilization has outgrown those great stories. Our modern society is very complex, and we know so much about so many things that were not known at the time that the great classics were written, and we are and have been in desperate need for stories that can take us all into the future—because that’s how human beings work. They need conceptual devices in story form to put into context their observed reality—and even though Star Wars is intended for kids, it works on so many levels to get the imaginations of the human race moving that I think it’s currently the most important thing in the world happening right now, and I understand very well what is happening from North Korea to the taxation of Amazon in Seattle—to the teacher union strikes, to the corruption of our own FBI becoming weaponized against us all. Even in that context I think this new Star Wars movie is a tremendous opportunity for mythmaking to expand dramatically into the lives of all thinking beings on planet earth for the better, and it would all come down to the presentation of the film at the Cannes Film Festival in France. It’s not just because I love the character of Han Solo, but it’s why the movie was made in the first place that I think it’s so important and I was very happy to see a standing ovation for the film after its screening. This is going to be a big one.

I read the critics opinions of the film and most of them were positive, many very positive with about 23% less than enthusiastic. What those lukewarm reviews had in common was that they missed the epic scale of life and death situations that have been present in Star Wars up to this point—the save the whole galaxy or else type of storylines. If Star Wars is going to work in future, they need to become much more individualized, personal stories which we all know culminate into the three trilogies of nine films we have mostly been familiar with. And once Lucasfilm accomplished that, mythology by way of the vehicle of Star Wars will be unleased in a very dramatic way and I don’t think those people trained into their institutional professions, and are making good livings in those comfortable places, are open to these big changes. Their comments about nobody asking for a movie about Han Solo and that the movie is just capitalizing off the Star Wars name and is an entirely different kind of film altogether are missing the point. This movie was always intended to expand the Star Wars mythology in ways that I would argue it always needed to go—since the Empire Strikes Back way back in 1980 and I think everyone watching this movie is going to be in for a surprise.

I know enough about this movie to be happy with the decisions that Kathy Kennedy has made over the last two years. A lot of people do not understand how hard it is to make a movie, and to negotiate contracts with expensive actors and to hold those contacts over many films. I continue to be amazed how the Marvel team does it with all their big-name actors now and how they can put them all in a film like Infinity War. That would be an astonishing payroll to put all those stars into one movie, but Marvel has figured it out and that Disney polish is now coming to Star Wars with these Han Solo movies serving as a test bed of creative entanglement. I will be the first to say I was not happy with the Lucasfilm abandonment of the original books which they now call legends, and I was not at all happy with The Force Awakens when they killed Han Solo in that movie. Long time readers here know very well how angry I was at the way they dealt with Han Solo’s character in that film and I did several radio shows discussing the issue in detail. However, and I know I wasn’t the only one, I think Lucasfilm to a reasonable extent has listened to the fans—and they have made some adjustments with this Solo movie which is why it needed to stay on schedule even after the previous directors were fired and Ron Howard was brought on to fix things. It’s also why I believe that the last movie of the modern trilogy, Episode 9 now directed by J.J. Abrams was pushed out into 2019—because Lucasflim needed to see how audiences reacted to new story elements in this new Solo movie.

I don’t think Kathy Kennedy or Bob Iger are all that happy with the direction of Solo: A Star Wars Story, I think they’d love to have a much more progressive film with less male characters acting so strongly. That’s a very educated guess on my part, but business is business. If you are running a movie company that makes Star Wars movies and you intend for them to transcend modern politics, then they need to be timeless stories, and this new Han Solo movie needed to be more of a classic western than a modern progressive version of Guardians of the Galaxy. I watched Kathy Kennedy at the Cannes press events and I think she is breathing a bit better now—she really needs to pull in at least a billion dollars off this Han Solo movie to justify everything they’ve done with Star Wars since Disney bought it in 2012. She made serious mistakes putting top-heavy female characters into Star Wars and making really stupid comments like she did to the New York Times where she said she didn’t care about male Stars Wars fans—which traditionally have been the primary support of the franchise for over four decades now. There was always room for women in Star Wars, but they couldn’t just take everything over and get away with it. The backlash against Kathy Kennedy in general has been harsh. And Bob Iger is an anti-gun liberal, so it’s probably tough for him to see all these posters of Han Solo pointing a gun out into the horizon, but that’s the character and that’s what people want to see in movies, and putting politics aside, Lucasfilm and Disney have given fans what they want—which is a very good thing.

I will likely give a very long and detailed review on the 24th of May which will articulate many, many things that I think are superb about this new kid’s movie which I think will capture the hearts of so many people in a very positive way. It’s not just the movie that I’m happy about, but what will come out of it creatively. Mythology has always been the center of any advanced culture and when a story works—it advances everything from arts and sciences, to politics and philosophy. And after watching that standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, I am quite sure that we are all about to see something very special.

Rich Hoffman
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Donald Glover’s Brilliant Childish Gambino “This is America”: But it’s not the America the rest of us know

I couldn’t be happier for Donald Glover’s wonderful song and music video by his musical personality of Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” It is one of the most successful videos of all time pulling in nearly 120,000,000 million views on YouTube in just a week and I have to say that I think its one of the most interesting that I’ve ever seen. The music and the video are the work of a truly talented young person in Donald Glover who is playing Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars movie Solo: A Star Wars Story. I am personally very impressed with young Donald Glover, he’s a smart person, genuinely very talented, and obviously has some things to say about the world around him and can express them both artistically and commercially, which is extremely rare. For his part, I hope the new Solo movie is a huge hit because it will continue to expose him to a larger audience and culturally, I think that’s great for our civilization. However, I disagree with the assumptions he has made in his music video. His America isn’t my America and that void is truly at the center of all our modern politics.

The video done with such fantastic choreography and pacing is obviously an anti-gun message that assumes that from the point of view of African descendants living in America that the deck is stacked against them by whites who are easily distracted and put gun rights over the rights of life. From the point of view of young people, especially people making a living in Los Angeles, this is a swallow well of thought that is common in liberal regions around the country. Even though the video is well done, and the music itself is excellent, the message is flawed because it doesn’t see the bigger picture of human existence as a context, but rather progressive politics as it exists in the mind of young people not yet in their 30s. They haven’t begun to live lives yet, in many cases they haven’t started raising families and living life, yet they think like all young people do that they know it all and can lecture the rest of us how things “ought” to be based on what they feel.

Value for life goes much deeper than just saying you want to let people live—the true value of human existence that sets us apart from all other living things is our ability to think. Obviously, the kind of culture that is displayed in Childish Gambino’s “America” is a black culture with beliefs and yearnings straight from their African continent—the manner of dance and values are clearly different from what might be considered from the aggressive white Wall Street crowd in the United States. It is one thing to believe that money is the root of all evil but it is quite another to complain that everyone in the black community is poor because they have either sacrificed themselves to a new plantation of Democratic politics, or they have chosen to bring the kind of Marxism that is common in the African continent to their voting patterns in America. In either case, it should not be surprising to anybody that people who do not embrace the capitalism of western civilization will be at a loss to live within those cultures without being left behind economically. It’s not that white America has left behind black America and suppressed them into the slums of inner cities—its that blacks generally as a race of people have been slow to accept capitalism in their lives and have philosophically at the most epistemological level adopted the wrong outlook toward life and have made themselves victims.

In the video Donald Glover appears to be smoking a joint, (a marijuana cigarette) as he dances on a bunch of older American cars. These are interesting images taken together—and marijuana is a particularly popular drug in black neighborhoods which I would argue are poison for their minds. Likely more dangerous for the black community than guns is the numbing of their minds by drugs, alcohol and poor educations. Even worse has been their acceptance of big daddy government to allow fathers to leave the home and government to raise the many children born to broken families. Gun violence is a symptom of the broken homes of many black families who are struggling to accept the rules of conduct that were always supposed to be part of the American experience and instead the young people have joined gangs for social acceptance and taken to mental destruction as a way to push away the reality of their many mistakes.

I thought the handling of the guns in the video was particularly powerful. Its true, America does handle the guns with great care because firearms represent an intellectual aptitude that they are meant to protect. Just because elements of our society fall short of the values that were always supposed to be part of the American experience, the guns are not the villains. To be lectured by a bunch of liberals who abort babies at a rate that would embarrass even the most ruthless mass murders in world history that guns are killing their young people is hypocrisy at its most telling. I don’t blame Donald Glover for his lack of seeing the big picture. I have had dinner with many people in the LA night scene over the years and I can report that they have a very limited understanding of life in the big picture. They are pinned into that little valley between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains and think that everyone around the country thinks the way they do about things, and they couldn’t be more wrong. The pace of our modern world driven by capitalism is fast-moving, it is driven by money, because money represents a form of value and is a good thing, not a bad thing. And guns are the centerpiece of American freedom, without guns politicians like John McCain would have turned America into Europe a long time ago—so the guns are an intellectual protection of the founding principles of our nation—and they are to be treated with great care—unfortunately only by the conservative parts of America at this moment.

The real dangers facing the black communities are in their ignorance—their desire to march in a mob together with Marxist philosophies which have imprisoned them to Democratic politics. Donald Glover’s caricatures of Jim Crow I thought were very interesting, but the suggestions of racism are misplaced in the context of history. America was founded by religious white people from Europe who had been thinking about freedom and self-governing ideas for many centuries—largely due to the failures of the church in places like England and France. A big part of that philosophical contemplation is what freed the slaves in America and gave opportunity to blacks that they certainly didn’t have in Africa, and for some they embraced these opportunities—Fredrick Douglas comes to my mind who was a very prominent Republican at the middle 19th century period. However, many whites were skeptical of people from black culture—their dancing and music were unusual, and they had ideas from a totally different region of the world that were unfamiliar—and it took some time to bring those two races together—and nothing else should have been expected. There are few places elsewhere in the world where people of totally different background have tried to unite in peace like they have in the United States. Rather than complaining about everything, black Americans should be happy that they can find an audience of acceptance in the United States. I can’t think of anybody I know who will refuse to see Solo: A Star Wars Story because Donald Glover is a black man—and I certainly don’t know anybody who loves sports who refuses to attend a professional team because the players are mostly black. The only people who really notice blacks and whites are those who profit off the divisions, like Democratic politicians who need to victimize black cultures to keep their vote counts high. That is the real victimization that is going on—and that kind of thing certainly wasn’t in Donald Glover’s video.

But take as a work of art from a young man who still has a lot to learn about life, I thought “This is America” was a brilliant piece of work. I may look at it and clap the way I would encourage a kid in the third grade to keep trying because someday they may get it—due to their raw talent. At my age these days a third grader and a 30-year-old are not that far apart in intellectual development, so I kind of see them the same way. Unquestionably, Donald Glover is a rare modern talent and I am excited to see more from him. It’s not wrong to have opinions, or to express them. But he’s not presenting the next monumental breakthrough in thought. He’s still a young kid trying to impress his LA cultural peers with his understanding of their politics—no matter how false that politics may be compared to the sentiment of the rest of the country. And that is the real trick, not just in making interesting art that a particular sector of political order enjoys as a reality, but that speaks to everyone. In that regard, “This is America” misses the mark as it only speaks truly to the self-oppressed, the ignorant, and the inexperienced.

The big misunderstanding that persists to this day is that merit and respect are given out in American society the way a village chief might have enjoyed in some other region of the world, and under capitalism, that isn’t the case. Respect is earned by those who work hard and pull themselves up. While it was true that white Americans were weary of black Americans because they feared that the newly freed slaves would not work to incorporate themselves into the Christian based society that was so newly created from European statism. But Donald Glover certainly has made good use of American opportunity, and many other black Americans have too, and that is where skin color truly does disappear. Americans like successful people, or people trying to be successful. They tend to look down their nose at lazy people no matter what their skin color is, or people who lack intellectual aptitude. Racism isn’t the biggest problem facing America—its stupidity—from all races and sexes, and that is what needs to be addressed if we are ever to truly solve the problems of our age. America is not the problem and never has been, the burden has always been and continues to be that not all people understand what it takes to live and be successful in America. As a person, Donald Glover gets it, but as the culture he is representing in his new music video, they don’t. All they can do is discuss the symptoms of the problems instead of the causes—and for that they must look at themselves.

Rich Hoffman
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Observational Realities: What the premier of ‘Solo’ in Los Angeles tells us about the future

I am the type of person who could write a novel about the reason that a person might change the way they hold a fork. Observational changes in nonverbal communication are an obsession with me and are a constant companion. I would have to say that nothing happens that I don’t notice. I am always on the lookout for why someone might have changes to their eye movement, or the tip of a head as it’s positioned on the shoulders, does it drop more than usual, or is it cantered off to the left or right more than typical. Is there an unusual emphasis on words when somebody is speaking and if there is, what does it mean—those types of things. So I enjoy big pop culture events because of all the mass information available to the way I think. I love going to baseball games where there are lots of people, because it tells me so much about the temperature of our culture, and I love big entertainment movie premiers—especially for projects that I am excited about like this new Star Wars movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story because there are always important things that can be learned about the nature of our society. And the thing that I thought was most compelling at the Solo premier in Hollywood this past Thursday wasn’t the usual fanfare that comes from most Disney productions that they know going in will turn in big box office numbers—it was that Bob Iger wasn’t there. I would encourage you dear reader to watch the whole red-carpet coverage. It was quite impressive.

Going even further was the lack of VIP formality at the event, even after the premier. The after party mixed cosplayers and celebrity actors together in ways that were very unusual for Hollywood which is kind of a theme with this new Solo movie. Freedom from social pretension is the underlying message of this new Star Wars movie and the absence of authority figures in our lives is the goal of Han Solo, and Disney wisely embraced that during this premier. This Star Wars movie is quite different from any other in the past, and it reaches back to recapture that feeling so many people had in 1977 when the first film came out where a much younger George Lucas put out a very unusual movie he had made with his wife in what were some very happy days for the fledgling filmmaker. Not happy on the business side, or the marital side, but from the ideological position where observations made were translated into unique characters placed into the Star Wars movies, like Han Solo—maybe one of the most independent characters ever put into film. That revulsion for authority figures was actually quietly part of the Disney movie premier. There were no special speeches by anybody from Disney or Lucasfilm before the three theaters started playing Solo: A Star Wars Story—all that happened were that the lights dimmed, the movie started, people had a good time, and afterwards everyone mingled together no matter what their social standing was. If you were at the premier, you were someone and therefore welcome to interact with anybody, anywhere within the scope of the premier. It was all very unusual. The richest person in the world was at the premier, but nobody made much mention of it. At the after party mixing with fans dressed in their favorite Star Wars outfits was a bald guy introducing himself as, “HI, I’m Jeff.” No pretension what-so-ever.

What these movies about Han Solo do for the Disney franchise of what is coming in 2020 and thereafter is that they use the main character to open up the entire galaxy to new stories. Solo is the thread that is connecting the massive mythology that is being planned by Lucasfilm and that is important in many ways. Lately I have been talking a lot about the scientific changes that are coming to us in real society, like the Uber Elevate sky cars, the missions to Mars by NASA and Elon Musk’s Space X, and just yesterday The Boring Company finished digging a tunnel under Los Angeles meant to carry traffic under the busy city with car pods and Hyperloops. Currently there is a video from Boston Dynamics that is freaking people out displaying a robot running across a park and jumping over a log in much the way a human does, so we are seeing a competitive species of a living thing that humans have invented moving into our world and it is causing some anxiety. There are a lot of things changing and what I see in pop culture are ways to intellectually deal with them that are emerging in our art, like in these Star Wars movies. For many people they need science fiction and fantasy to open their minds to the explosion of new ideas that are coming to the human race in a very rapid fashion and companies like Disney are trying to embrace their role in the whole thing in a proactive way.

Humans need conceptual tools to help them navigate ideas—in much the way that Star Wars needs Han Solo to open up the context of future stories, the elements of the films—the space travel between planets, the way that space travel is conducted, the type of people who will do it, and even the tools that humans use while doing all these things—like robots, religion, and even the type of “can do” spirit that everything takes are part of movies like Solo: A Star Wars Story. The movie exists to make money for Disney and all the merchandise retailers, but of course there is a deeper meaning that people like Bob Iger may not be consciously aware of, but the greater purpose is certainly part of the overall strategy. I watched very carefully the interview with the two Kasdens who wrote this new Solo movie and just like Larry was when he wrote the great film Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back, he knew what he was doing with his son on this latest film. It is just the kind of movie that people are looking for at this particular time in our lives where technology once again, as it was in 1977—is taking over and we are wondering what our place is in all of it. The original Star Wars movies told us it was OK to embrace the future and what we ended up with was the fabulous 1980s. I think the Donald Trump presidency had a lot to do with why the original Solo movie directors were fired, because Disney had planned a certain kind of Guardians of the Galaxy Star Wars film featuring Han Solo, but that wasn’t going to work in a post Donald Trump world and Kathy Kennedy wisely made the change to more of a traditional western as opposed to a color popping change that might have been a much more progressive film. I noticed that Disney has been very careful not to put Woody Harrelson on the red-carpet interviews, because he is a major pot supporter. He’s done a few interviews, but not much—he’s not even featured in the Denny’s cards from the promotional tour—and that says something.

Everything means something and there is a lot going on with Solo: A Star Wars Story. Disney is giving fans what they want in a Star Wars movie even if they don’t personally like the direction the franchise is going, because they have their eye on the bigger prize—the furtherment of human civilization as a whole, and the part they play in it as artists. While the company of Disney may not want to do a modern cowboy movie with hot rod spaceships, the fans want it, and that’s what drives merchandise sales and brings people into the parks where the real magic happens for Disney. That’s also where new technology gets its cutting-edge tests for public consumption, and directly leads to the world we are all stepping into. We are all going to space and our daily lives are changing with all this new technology. As humans we are looking for ways to process all this information into the context of stories, which is what we have always done when processing new observational realities. And it’s all very exciting!

Rich Hoffman

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The Republicans of Star Wars: Expanding the base with new voters inspired to action by fantasy meeting reality

It was good to see that two Republican politicians that are notable in Ohio politics took a moment on May 4th 2018 to honor the now official Star Wars holiday which takes place every year on that date. Jim Renacci who is running for the Senate seat in Ohio to challenge Sharrod Brown put out the press release displayed below, and Sheriff Jones put out a Tweet that was well received by Star Wars fans. It would be easy for either politician to ignore the Star Wars holiday as both men are over 60 and could plead ignorance to the cultural changes that are taking place artistically by the Disney franchise but they wisely embraced the holiday which was very smart–politically.

Good afternoon,

Today is Friday, May 4th a normal day for many, but die-hard fans of the Rebel Alliance will tell you: it’s Star Wars Day.

The first Star Wars movie to hit theaters (eventually subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope) was released in 1977, 41 years ago. Though this blockbuster franchise has existed for over four decades, career politician Sherrod Brown has worked in politics even longer, first being sworn into office in 1975.

“While Brown has lived in a political bubble for the last 44 years—never bothering to develop real-world experience—Jim Renacci has worked as an entrepreneur for the last three decades, creating more than 1,500 jobs and employing over 3,000 Ohioans.”

— Brittany Martinez, Renacci for Senate Communications Director

I’ve been writing a lot about Star Wars lately for a lot of reasons. Not only am I excited for the new Han Solo movie that is about to come out, but I can’t help but notice a number of things that are happening where politics and entertainment are coalescing together in new and unusual ways. I personally think that the new film Solo: A Star Wars Story will be one of those special movies similar to what happened when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981 and was one of those movies that everyone went to see and was a kind of unifying factor in our society culturally. Most movies that come out don’t have the potential to touch just about everyone who watches them the way that I think this Solo Star Wars film will. When Raiders came out it was a year and a half into the Reagan White House and looking back at how politics and entertainment came together to create a positive decade for America, I can’t help but notice the similarities happening now in 2018. Only I think the potential now is much greater than it was back then. So that prospect has given me great excitement. We are facing a new decade that will not only see mankind visit Mars, but there will be economic expansion that will touch literally every country in the world and their point of entry into those new opportunities will come ironically from Star Wars. People in China and India don’t watch Fox News but they will see Star Wars and be touched by it likely in some way and that will shape their politics in ways that aren’t explored under normal circumstances. But these are not normal days of political development.

I recently wrote of the nature of the Star Wars stories as being best when they are anti-authoritarian, because that was the original vision George Lucas brought to the film series. When Star Wars works best, they are anti-authoritarian art. When Star Wars fails, they are saturated with progressive politics reflective of the creative people who work in the film business. The new people running Lucasfilm and Disney these days are starting to understand that relationship through trial and error, and I think we will see those results in the new Solo: A Star Wars Story movie. Star Wars is not a form of liberal art, it’s a conservative endeavor by its very nature. Even though George Lucas meant it as a reflective form of art from the counter-culture, it was his love of old westerns and 1950s science fiction that set Star Wars apart from everything else that was being produced by Hollywood.

It is hard for liberals to look at themselves and admit that it is the Democratic Party that is all about tyranny and attempting to control people’s lives. They sold the Democratic Party to themselves as the part of civil rights and empowerment, but it was always the Republicans who truly stood for all the things that gave power to individuals and philosophically relied on smaller government to advance a country’s needs. That is why Republicans tend to love Star Wars. Even though the creative people behind Star Wars self-identify as Democrats they philosophically have been making Republican movies because the stories have always been rooted in the traditions of mid-20th Century America. The rejection by fans of elements of Star Wars since the Disney acquisition have been those Democratic elements that just don’t fit with the traditions of the old Saturday morning matinees that inspired George Lucas. Just as Disney would never have been such a massive company if it started out as a liberal enterprise, the origins of both film franchises was rooted in traditional America which Republicans represent.

This is important because if you look at the pod cast shown below where a big show was recorded in a Denny’s to celebrate the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story which the restaurant chain is promoting, there is a represented fan base there which I would bet are all potential Republicans, yet they don’t currently vote. If you listen to them speak, they sound like Republicans, they are certainly not collectivists, but the political party structure as it currently is does not inspire them to participate. Getting to know elements about the Star Wars movies are much more interesting to them. And I can say that there are many millions of these people out there, they are politically disconnected from the real world, but the politics of Star Wars as a functional mythology philosophically grounded in the traditions of America and being shown all over the world culturally are aligned with them. It would not take much to convince these people to vote Republican, because in so many ways they are already there.

Until Donald Trump came along Republicans allowed themselves to have their messaging controlled by the Democrats who tend to be better at marketing themselves even if they steal all the good stuff from Republicans—like civil rights, women’s rights, and small government ideas. What I see happening is now with a year and a half of Donald Trump and Star Wars really dominating the entertainment landscape, those two things are coming together in a way that should expand party affiliations in favor of the Republicans. Smart Republicans like Jim Renacci and Sheriff Jones already understand that the way to expand their party base is to reach out to Star Wars fans and get them out voting for Republicans in elections.

Even through Bob Iger at Disney is a Democrat, and Ron Howard who directed Solo: A Star Wars Story is not a Donald Trump lover, they have both done a really good job for their responsibilities in the movie business. If they behaved like liberals in their jobs, they obviously would not have done such a good job so it doesn’t take much to win them over too. The new Republican Party under the Donald Trump White House is actually something that social liberals but business conservatives could sign up to be a part of and that would truly be a unifying factor nationally. I think that’s where everything is headed in 2018 so it would be wise to make strategic alignments that would allow for some really special things to happen at this year’s midterms. There are a lot of new voters out there, and in many cases people who have never even thought about voting who could be recruited once they had the doors opened to them by a party who understands them. Republicans are the party for Star Wars fans and any candidate who wants to expand their base should do so with that understanding. While Star Wars is for kids, it has an epistemology that is rooted in American tradition for which the Republican Party best articulates, and that means that special things can happen politically if everything were aligned properly. So it made me very proud to see that Sheriff Jones and Jim Renacci are some of the first party heads to understand that real potential that exists just beyond our fingertips. We are truly in a new age and those who survive best use all the tools in the tool box, not just the ones that used to be cool—but the ones that are cool now.

Rich Hoffman

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It’s all about Resisting Authoritarianism: Star Wars, George Lucas, Donald Trump and what we all see in the mirrior each day

Of course, it’s an official Star Wars Holiday, May the 4th, 2018 and at the precise moment that tickets went up for sale on Fandango I bought mine for Solo: A Star Wars Story. I am more excited for this movie than any one that I have thought about for over two decades now, so it made me very happy to get my tickets. Financial projections for the movie were released yesterday and they are predicting that Solo: A Star Wars Story will make in the $150 million-dollar range on its opening weekend. I honestly think it will be higher and will surprise a lot of people and here’s the reason why. Within this interview shown below that George Lucas and James Cameron did together for an AMC series is everything that is needed to be known as to why I love Star Wars so much and why it’s so successful. I know quite a lot about George Lucas and share with him some very basic foundation ideas about life. But ironically, both he and Cameron have evolved into Hollywood liberals over time and it is there where they depart from the rest of American society and have lost touch. All that is revealed in this short 3-minute clip, it is quite fascinating to watch.

Like George Lucas for me Star Wars is the most anti-authoritarian art that I can think of displayed on a mass scale—and that is what I love about it. That’s why even as a grown man, I still get excited about new Star Wars stories. Star Wars at its best is a warning against authoritarianism. And within Star Wars there’s no character more anti-authoritarian than Han Solo—he’s a free spirit to an almost extreme and most represents that young George Lucas who used to race cars and fight movie studios to make his movies. Deep in their hearts, most people yearn to be like Han Solo—even though they won’t always admit it, they don’t like authority figures, especially now in the United States with all the trouble we are discovering with our FBI and Deep State revelations. This new Han Solo movie comes at a particularly powerful time for movie audiences and I think its going to do some big business and may set Star Wars right again after starting off the new generation in a rough way under Kathy Kennedy. All the progressive messages that Disney and Lucasfilm stationed in San Francisco have not resonated with movie fans because it steps away from the formula of what makes Star Wars so great, something that I think George Lucas himself began to forget as he got older. So did James Cameron, I don’t think his new Avatar films will do quite so well as they did back in 2009 because he is a much less anti-authoritarian director than he used to be.

Where liberals like Cameron and Lucas go wrong is in their assumption that Democrats are the anti-authoritarians and that progressive society is the vessel to hold their message into the future. It actually is quite the opposite and I find it astonishing that being smart people, that they don’t see it. I would attribute their blindness to the fact that by working in the entertainment industry they are regionally surrounded by liberal types of people so they have lost touch with the origins of their anti-authoritarian roots and mistakenly associate all Republican ideas on the Nixon administration, which was the era for which they came of age. As creative people, they can see the need for anti-authoritarian ideas, but they can’t apply them to the world around them which is why neither filmmaker has made a hit in around a decade now.

Lucas made in Han Solo that young 1950s rebel that we know from race car tracks all across the country, the main character in Grease that John Travolta played, and the character from Happy Days that was played by Henry Winkler, the Fonz. When Ron Howard was brought in to direct this Solo: A Star Wars Story I knew immediately what was happening, and I am very excited to see those results not just because it goes back to a time in cinema that I grew up watching, but because all these very unique elements were coming together to give audiences something they just weren’t getting anywhere else in any other media format. There is a tremendous need for anti-authoritarian drama, maybe more now than ever, and while many of the modern filmmakers have forgotten what it was that made them great in the first place, Ron Howard is one of those pure directors who has liberal sentiments, but at his core he understands all this anti-authoritarian stuff better than anybody.

Like George Lucas Star Wars for me was always about pushing back against authoritarian influences and hod rod space ships. I enjoy greatly the imagination that comes from Star Wars productions, but nothing more than in their various vehicle designs. I’m a huge fan of their Incredible Cross Section books published for the Star Wars movies by DK and have spent many hours looking at them and thinking about how those vehicles could be made in real life. Hot rods and anti-authority sentiments go hand in hand in American society and are very much part of our own love of car culture. We love our cars, our ability to go where we want, when we want to, and still maintain our personal space. In the 1950s up to the 1970s cruising in our fixed-up cars was very important to Americans, especially young people. I would attribute this deep love to the success of the Fast and Furious movies, which also make a lot of money even though the plots aren’t that good. They touch on that deep love of cars and how they give individuals space against the authority figures in their lives.

However, as political reality would have it, there isn’t a more authoritarian political party than what the Democrats have turned out to be. Their authority has become the influence of mob rule where they shout down anybody who doesn’t fall in line and that is where the George Lucas and James Cameron political ideology falls apart and why they struggle with films in the modern age because the world has moved in a very different direction. All these filmmakers are anti-Trump when in reality it is the new president who like the Fonz has stepped onto the world stage and spit in the face of all authority figures. Donald Trump has a lot more in common with Han Solo than George Lucas or Stephen Colbert, yet at some deep level they understand it enough to put it down on paper in script form, but they can’t apply it to the political world around them due to their regional influences. It’s quite fascinating to watch.

But I couldn’t be happier with the result—I think for this movie Solo: A Star Wars Story that all the right creative pieces came together to really make something special that audiences are deeply craving. I think this movie is going to take a lot of people by surprise and is going to really reignite what Star Wars movies mean to people, and what sets these off from other forms of science fiction. Especially in the age of Trump where all the authority which has been built by political progressives—people who used to think they were part of the counter-culture, the old hippies from the youth of George Lucas and James Cameron, the new flower children, the environmental radicalism and the green is the new red movement people who gave birth to people like James Comey, Clapper and Mueller, I think Solo: A Star Wars Story will be best served as a mirror for us all to look at and realize how far many have drifted from the original idea of what we all truly desire to be—free people able to do what we want when we want to do it and that the real tyrants in our lives sometimes are those people who look back at us in the mirror every day.

Rich Hoffman

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The Millennium Falcon at NKU in Cincinnati: A look into penetrating the frontier of space

A17A55B5-5A01-4ECC-9F65-FC439E915ADFThe first thought I had while touring The Millennium Falcon Experience at the Northern Kentucky University campus was that this fictional ship from the Star Wars stories would be the best way to travel from Earth to Mars, or the moon and some more distant destination within our solar system. I thought of Jules Verne’s great book From the Earth to the Moon where he conceived of the rocket design that would be used 100 years later when NASA would eventually launch people into space and land on the moon. Star Wars was much more than just geek fandom. While I had personally thought about sitting in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon from the movies most of my life, and never thought I’d ever get a chance to actually do so, when the time did come I couldn’t help but think of real space travel using the actual design of the Millennium Falcon to serve as a foundation for a fleet of ships that would take commercial space travel to the next level.

I have been enjoying all this Han Solo media ahead of the new movie coming out on May 25th. Han Solo and his Millennium Falcon are some of my favorite fictional things in entertainment so I have been looking forward to a movie dedicated just to him and his famous starship. When I was a kid and was watching these movies for the first time I’d spend a lot of hours thinking of how to build the Millennium Falcon and trying to figure out the engineering of it. Obviously, I wasn’t alone, millions of people have been so enamored. It is a wonderful thing to see imaginations sparked to life by what they see in a movie. Over the years there have been attempts to build elements of the Millennium Falcon by the legions of fans that follow the Star Wars movies and I have enjoyed their attempts. Most notably I have been very excited to learn that a full-sized Millennium Falcon will appear at the new Disney Parks called Galaxy’s Edge. I can’t help but think that the human race is on a similar trajectory as it was with the Jules Verne novels and how NASA emerged.FAF7429F-2F17-4AA5-A1D5-0F18BE3AAEDC

I was one of the first in line to see the exhibit at NKU on Friday at 11 AM. I’m a very busy person but not too busy to see the interior of the actual Millennium Falcon as it goes on a five-city tour promoting the new Solo: A Star Wars Story all through the month of May. The Millennium Falcon is after all my favorite ship in science fiction and this whole tour started in my home town, so I had to take a moment to go see it, and it was quite impressive. It was really cool to visit the cockpit that was only seen in the movies from a few points of view, which have become iconic over the years. But it didn’t take long for the nostalgia to wear off for me and to look at the display put on by Lucasfilm as a film promotion to begin to take it all very seriously.22A06ED2-4BFA-4A6E-8D7B-95B09621330C

What’s really unique about this new film set before the events of the original movies is that the Millennium Falcon is presented not as a hunk of junk, but as the best and most exquisite of ships from its era. The Millennium Falcon becomes a junkie star ship because of the rough lifestyle of Han Solo, but this new movie goes to the start of all that, before a time when the popular Star Wars character owned the ship. As presented the Millennium Falcon was well made and bright white looking like an icon of luxury. It looked like the ship I remembered from my childhood only it looked much better. When I think of the Millennium Falcon I think of a dirty interior of a couple of friends living without women flying from one end of the galaxy to the other and not carrying to clean up after themselves. But presented the way it was for this promotional tour, the Millennium Falcon looked like a realistic offering for our own modern space travel.1C6066F4-14CD-4858-A108-532E87172C9A

It is a little ironic to me that it was the year of 2018 that Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise seems to start paying off. I think this new Solo movie will be one of the most popular and will ignite a fresh start for the popular films. It’s the first time that there have ever been two Star Wars films within one year of each other and the impact that has had on merchandising has been remarkable. It’s hard to go to Wal-Mart or Target these days without seeing something regarding Star Wars. And all this is happening as commercial space endeavors are literally starting to take off. Later this year Virgin Galactic will begin their commercial flights for space tourism and Space X is preparing to send people around the moon. All this is happening while a Trump presidency has thrown its weight behind a reinvigorated NASA space program and a hot economy that is redefining employment statistics. The iWatch has essentially turned us all into Dick Tracy speaking on the phone to others from our wrists, things are moving very quickly these days.

I find it all very exciting. It won’t be long before Elon Musk has a colony on Mars and commercial industry begins to move into space. The next 50 years will explode along the frontier of space much like it did in America once humans began westward expansion free of European kings for the first time in known history. Space will bring much of the same ambition for adventure and profit. But people won’t want to fly in the kind of cramped quarters that we see with ship designs so far offered. Likely we’ll resort to what we know from films and literature, and the Millennium Falcon looks to me to have solved many of those long-distance space traveling problems.

You can make a starship in really any design you want, what you’ll need for long distance space travel is something that humans are comfortable in, that can use its external surfaces to generate power and have lots of surface area for controllable thrust. The design of the Millennium Falcon presents a lot of options for hauling freight to and from places like Mars over 18-month visits one way. Sitting in the cockpit and forgetting about the hyperspace jumps we see in the movies it wasn’t hard for me to consider spinning the Falcon to produce gravity until it arrives at its destination around Mars. Hooking up to whatever cargo it needs to bring back to earth then resuming that spinning effect all the way back with the crew living in relative luxury inside the whole time. Because of Star Wars we have a whole generation of people who are intellectually ready to accept such a deep space reality.

The Millennium Falcon’s interior as it was presented at NKU was certainly something I could live in for the long back and forth journeys to Mars that are about to become quite a reality. The Millennium Falcon already has practical docking clamps as part of its design. Solar panels could easily be incorporated into the outer shell to provide power and the interior is large enough to not go crazy in over such a long voyage. It’s round and interesting taking away the boxy designs that are offered in the International Space Station which is not conducive for long periods in space where people want to gather in a common room, but also want to be able to have their personal space as well. People need to get away from each other as well as communicate in common ways. The Falcon’s interior design goes a long way to solving lots of deep space traveling problems for a functional freighter.

Looking at that exhibit at NKU I could easily see some eccentric future billionaire building a fleet of Millennium Falcon style ships to essentially become like tractor trailers hauling rare minerals from the moon and Mars to enrich life on earth then use that wealth creation to catapult mankind even deeper into space. I could live on the Millennium Falcon with the amenities that were presented in the exhibit for many months, even years on end. Normally when we see designs for space, the environment has a military look to everything which makes it so that only the most disciplined space travelers could endure the experience. But that will have to change, and it is in our science fiction designs. 22DE3546-0899-498D-BBEB-53258B13B08CTo me the most impressive thing about the Millennium Falcon Experience was that after only 50 years of film history fans of the movies have finally figured out how to make the ships that were shown in Star Wars, and now artists and craftsmen are able to actually recreate what we see in the movies in real life. The next steps become rather obvious at that point and that is truly exciting. The Millennium Falcon Experience at NKU advertising a new Han Solo movie was something I personally never thought I’d see. But after seeing it, and touching it, and soaking it all in—I have a feeling that we will all be seeing a lot more of it in the years to come. As I left that exhibit I had the strange feeling that I may just own my own Millennium Falcon in a few years that can fly to Mars and back many times over as routinely as we can now drive to Florida now in a car. And I think I would like that world very much!

Rich Hoffman
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