I just finished reading Simon Pegg’s “Nerd Do Well”. The book is a quasi-autobiography of the Brititsh actor who has starred in such films as “Shaun of the Dead” and most recently “Paul”; he also plays Scotty in the rebooted Star Trek films. The book is quite funny and I recommend it for anyone that likes humorous biographies. A main theme of the book was Star Wars and how awesome the original trilogy was for him as a young child and how it greatly influenced his life. Another main theme was how disappointed and frustrated he was with the prequels, much like myself. Mr. Pegg felt that had George Lucas set his ego aside and had been willing to accept creative input, the prequels could have been much better films, instead of what they became. There is even a quote in the book where George Lucas admits to Pegg that he realized his error in judgement, sort of.
Last week I was listening to the Webcomics Weekly Podcast archive, and they were discussing copyrights, and one crazy woman’s crusade to abolish copyrights (she apparently got mad when she was forced to pay royalties for using a song in a film she made, and instead of learning her lesson to ask permission first, she went nuts). They as artists felt they are entitled to sole use of what they create, and I agree with them wholeheartedly. The law says as much, until the property becomes public domain, which is something like 70 years, well after the original creator has died. As much as they endorse copyright, they still did wish they could have free reign to some intellectual properties, and Star Wars came up. Specifically, a story of George Lucas trumping published material because he wanted to go somewhere else with it.
For those of you unfamiliar, the Star Wars universe has many levels of canon. The movies and the Clone Wars cartoon are the first tier of canon, then video games, then finally the books (probably last because Lucas probably has the least collaboration on these). Anyhow, in one series of the books, Legacy of the Force, the Mandalorians (Jango/Boba Fett types) played a large part, and their society was mapped out in great detail. Now it’s been a few years since I’ve read them, so I’m paraphrasing, but the gist of it was that the Mandalorians had a pastoral society and were farmers first and foremost. The bounty hunter aspect of it was a means to develop wealth and to see the galaxy. You may have been a badass mercenary, but when it was all said and done, you returned to the farm to retire. It was a great way to portray the Mandalores, because even though the set-up was contrary to what you expected, it worked. Then came the Clone Wars cartoon.
On the most recent season of Clone Wars from last fall, the planet of Mandalore had a recurring role. Instead of using this already published, quality material, Lucas overrruled it and made Mandalore another boring metropolis of a planet. With a wave of his hand, Lucas undid what was a treasure trove of potential story lines. I understand if George Lucas has big ego, and gets over protective of his baby; I get it. Part of being a creator/artist/writer/whatever means being able to recognise when someone has come up with a better idea than yours, and to utilize it.
I just thought it funny that in the same week I came across these two overlapping perspectives of George Lucas and his creative ego, and thought that I would share them with you.