Star Wars magazine #4 (1992)

After all the hype, all the endless speculation, all the youthful imaginings and lunchtime conversations. it’s finally here. Star Wars Episode 6 comes out tonight. As I type this, the movie has just started playing on the East Coast, and we Microsofties are going to a free screening at 9 am tomorrow. Sometimes it sucks working for this company, but other times it feels like Microsoft is one of the greatest companies in the world. Free movie days are definitely one of the good perks. Last year we all got to a screening of Harry Potter for free, even got to bring family members along. Even better, this screening amounts to a free half-day off from work, since the whole org is going and precious little mail or bugs will be generated during that time.

I hope this doesn’t sound like bragging. Believe me, there are a hell of a lot of things that suck about working at the company, but this is cool.

So my pals and I have been having lunchtime debates over this movie for months. Will it live up to our mental pictures of it? I’m firmly of the belief that Episodes 1 and 2 basically sucked, that Lucas made a mistake by going back in to fill in the back story when it would have been more interesting to explore the world after the movies. Of course, even before Empire Strikes Back, Lucas was hyping the prequels, so obviously this debate is academic, but nevertheless it’s hard to overcome the feeling that everything seems much too preordained. One of the coolest aspects of the movies for me was that things seemed to happen pretty much randomly. Ben Kenobi saved Luke from the Sand People, and that encounter opened up a whole side of Luke that he didn’t know existed. There was a power to that story because Luke could be any of us. One random event, the movie told us, could start the most ordinary of teenagers on the road to an amazing life.

I know that Luke was never an ordinary kid. As soon as Darth Vader revealed he was Luke’s father, that concept went completely out the window. But I know that as an 11-year-old kid, I could empathize and almost envy Luke. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I could have been him.

All this retroactive continuity, for me, undercuts the power of the storyline. The encounter between Luke and Obi-Wan wasn’t accidental, it was inevitable. Tatooine wasn’t some out-of-the-way hole-in-the-wall planet, it was a gathering place for rogues throughout the galaxy. C3PO and R2D2 weren’t some random run-down robots that Luke found, they were fated to be his because they were created by his father.

In the end, for me, all the retroactive stuff just overwhelms the greatness of the core material. So I’m going to see Star Wars tomorrow. It’s free, all my friends are going, and everyone will be talking about it. I might even enjoy it. But it will never match the original.

What’s that, you say? Star Wars magazine #4? Oh yeah, see, here’s what the sequels could have been. This British mag from 1992 contains part four of a post-Return of the Jedi story called "Dark Empire". In it, Han and Leia are married and fighting a resurgent Empire. Meanwhile, Luke seems to have gone over to the dark side and is in the thrall of the Imperial emperor. It’s a fun, exciting tale, well-told and seemingly not in the thrall of mindless continuity. I’m sure this story fits comfortably into the timeline that Lucasfilm has developed, but that doesn’t keep the story from being a rip-roaring adventure. Most of all, it’s fun entertainment, nothing more.

So that’s it for today’s review before the fact. Tomorrow I guess I’ll post my first thoughts on the film. That’s right, I’ve tried for awhile to keep Obsessed with Comics away from the ordinary stuff you read on the blogosphere. But tomorrow I’ll be part of the zietgeist. I hope you’ll check back, and leave feedback if the mood strikes.

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One Response to “Star Wars magazine #4 (1992)”

  1. Sean Says:

    You "zietgeist-er" you!

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