Aug. 24, 2022

What is Star Wars? (SOMC Crossover)

What is Star Wars? (SOMC Crossover)

We attempt to answer this deceptively simple question

What makes Star Wars Star Wars? What makes good Star Wars and what makes bad Star Wars? We attempted to answer these deceptively simple questions on an episode of our cousin podcast, THE SECRET ORIGINS OF MINT CONDITION. Enjoy this bonus presentation until we return next week with a brand new episode of our own.






[00:00:00] JOSH: Welcome to Trash Compactor. I'm Josh and I have a question. What is Star Wars? This week we're presenting an episode of our cousin podcast, The Secret Origins of Mint Condition, where we attempted to answer just that. If you're already a listener maybe you've already heard this, but it's worth a re-listen cuz there's a lot of good stuff in there. And if not, you're in for a treat. Next week, we'll be back with an all new episode of our own, but until then I'm gonna turn it over to James and the rest of the Mint crew.

[00:00:26] JAMES: Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of The Secret Origins of Mint Condition. I am your host James and with me is Joe.

[00:00:39] JOE: Good day, folks.

[00:00:40] JAMES: Chris.

[00:00:41] CHRIS: Hi there.

[00:00:42] JAMES: And if we could afford the music for this episode, I'd be playing it right now. But, uh, but we don't, we can't. So you cannot hear John Williams main theme to the subject of today's episode, which is Star Wars and the, uh, main, specific thing, which cuz we could go all over the place is we're gonna be talking about what is Star Wars and to do that since it's such a large topic, we have assembled a panel of previous guests to weigh in on this.

[00:01:09] So first off I'd like to introduce, , our previous guest he and I became friends over our love of Star wars and mainly the Star Wars Collectible Card Game. John Whitmore is rejoining us.

[00:01:20] JOHN: Hey, everyone. Good to be here. Good to be back.

[00:01:22] JAMES: Yes, thank you for have coming back, John. And then the next guest I'd like to, uh, introduce, um, kind of gave me the idea for this, with his very detailed and amazing podcast.

[00:01:33] What is science fiction? Our resident professor Jack, Adrian.

[00:01:37] JACK: Hello, everyone. Happy to be.

[00:01:38] JAMES: And finally, , the person who probably most of us on this podcast has spent the most amount of time talking Star Wars with and and probably, and the person who has admittedly said his favorite part of Star Wars is talking about Star Wars to the point he has his own podcast, the Trash Compactor, A Star Wars Podcast, returning guests, Josh Bernhard hard.

[00:01:59] JOSH: Hello, everybody. Thanks for that lovely intro, James.

[00:02:01] JAMES: Uh, thank you for coming back. So, as I said, Star Wars is massive. Our goal here today is to try to weigh in with our specific thoughts about what is Star Wars. But to kick it off, I I'll start off with, um, the person who kind of helped us craft this idea. Uh, so professor Adrian, what are your thoughts of what is Star Wars?

[00:02:22] JACK: Thank you very much, James. , and, um, you know, John, Josh, I'm happy to be on with both of you, long time since, uh, we've had a chance to communicate. So this is, uh, a wonderful topic, uh, with wonderful friends. , and so, James, um, you know, when you were kind of throwing this idea around, um, there are many different kind of.

[00:02:41] Resources that I just kind of listened to kind of in the background. Um, you know, and I, I think I shared with you, uh, the beyond the screenplay podcast, uh, and they recently did a, uh, what is star wars, um, episode. And so, uh, I listened to that. Um, and, and I shared that with you, um, and I believe you shared it with everyone else in the group.

[00:03:00] Um, but it also made me started to think, you know, what is star wars and, and for me star wars, and I'd said this before, and I'm not ashamed of it. I'm more of a star Trek person than star wars. Uh, and to be honest, I don't even remember when I actually saw star wars. Um, I, I remember when I saw a return of the Jedi, uh, cause I saw that in the movie theaters, uh, and I believe I also saw entire strikes back in the theaters, but star wars at some point just kind of came about, but I've been since listening to the podcast and since talking to you, I've been kind of really kind of thinking about like, um, what it is and the good thing that I, I can say, uh, with respect to what George Lucas created these many years ago is, um, When you actually sit down and you consider it and you do all the reading star wars is this massive, massive kind of compilation of all the things that really mattered to George Lucas growing up.

[00:03:46] Uh, and he, I think in many ways put together this pastiche, uh, that is, uh, exciting. It's interesting. Um, and I think it changed the world as far as, uh, what we would expect from a movie, what we expect from science fiction, space, opera, uh, merchandising. Um, I mean, so there's so many ways that stories has changed us.

[00:04:07] Um, and I think over the course of this discussion, we can kind of break down the little bits and pieces, but, you know, I think for me, just really kind of pull it all together. I. Primarily, it, it definitely kind of starts off as, as kind of a space opera space adventure. Uh, George Lucas had really wanted to get the rights to flash Gordon.

[00:04:24] Um, but, uh, Dino Delores had those. Uh, and so then he tried to create his own kind of space adventure. Uh, but he also drew from that his, his own, uh, appreciation for westerns, uh, and samurai movies, again, highly influential, uh, and not, um, insignificant is, uh, the work that he had done, uh, with Francis Ford COA.

[00:04:46] Uh, and in many ways I think taking all of these kind of creative influences in his, again, his own childhood, um, you know, growing up at the Modesta California, um, really just kind of put together this great idea, uh, that still, you know, reverberates till.

[00:05:03] JAMES: No, that's great, Jack. That's a great, uh, that has a great opening to us. Now you used the word pastiche and Josh. I know, I think in one of your recent episodes, that is the word you used to describe, Star Wars as well. Is that correct?

[00:05:16] JOSH: Yes. Not only is that correct? That was, the first word that I have in my notes here. So, this will dovetail really nicely. but yeah, to build on what Jack was saying, star wars to my mind is past se I mean, it's really a genre mashup. Flash Gordon combined with westerns combined with samurai movies, combined with, you know, war movies, specifically World War II, war movies, and also, high fantasy.

[00:05:39] And I think you can take out any one of those, or you can lean hard into any one of those or slot in a different genre in place of one. And that's how you create new Star Wars. I think that's sort of, the recipe. and in my, opinion, it's all squeezed through the, the sausage hole, the tiny singularity of 1970s, filmmaking aesthetics, in my opinion, that's also, sort of a key, kind of ingredient.

[00:06:03] Um, the only other thing I'll say is that I really think, And I might not, I don't know if I'm, literally, correct in this. when I say, that I think Star Wars, the original Star Wars is really the first postmodern piece of mass entertainment. And by that, what I mean is it uses the iconography and aesthetics of all these other genres.

[00:06:23] And it puts them together in a new context. And this is the innovation. The innovation is relying on the audience's knowledge of these other genres and these, systems of logic and trust that they know how those work already. so it's able to kind of sketch a whole new world.

[00:06:43] when you have a man in a robe and a sword, he's a wizard, you know how wizards work when you have a sword fight, , you think samurai, you know how samurai operate when you see the orange flight suit and a fighter pilot hop into a star fighter. you have in your mind, World War II movies, you know, the logic of all that.

[00:07:01] So what Star Wars is able to do is very efficiently and very, ingeniously to my mind, really sketches out this entire universe with such efficiency because of the way it mashes up the iconography from all of these different genre.

[00:07:19] JAMES: Oh, that's, that's very beautifully put Josh. Um, and I, I agree with, I agree with all that, but I'll, I'll reserve my, my opinions until every. Everyone else has gone gone. So, um, John, what would, what would you say is the lens you see star wars or what is star wars at this point?

[00:07:34] JOHN: So the lens, I see it from it. I just start with when I did see it, um, I didn't see it immediately as a little kid. I wasn't, uh, I think I wasn't born when it came out. I was born when empire, uh, I was by the time Empire came out and. I was introduced by a very enthusiastic aunt friend of the family who, you know, was really good about keeping the secrets of, you know, what was really going on with star wars, who, who was Luke's father, things like that.

[00:08:04] Uh, but she set me down in one weekend and I watched Star Trek and Star Wars in that weekend. It was basically to keep the kids occupied and it was a strangers experience looking back on it now of loving both things for very different reasons. Uh, and I, and I, I, when you're, you know, a little kid, you don't quite know what those are and for me, what I'm convinced it really was.

[00:08:25] And what's what the appeal of star wars was for me then, and translates. Now that I know more about its creation was its very, very. Uh, uh, you know, almost academically linked notion of mythology, um, knowing now in retrospect that they had Joseph Campbell, uh, uh, consulting on the movie who was, uh, you know, until his death in the late eighties was sort of the foremost scholar in, um, studying unifying principles of mythologies across cultures, and then communicating them to the layperson in the most beautiful way possible so that it was incredibly engaging.

[00:09:01] And his famous work was hero with a thousand faces, sort of the hero's journey, which we all now think of in here in pop culture and see in movies. But star wars was the, was to me, one of the movies that took a lot. Different. I think as Josh puts at the iconography of different genres, put the sort of overall architecture of this hero's journey together with all of that and created an amazing movie.

[00:09:27] And I don't know how much of that was directly intentional. It was the luck of the people who were involved from George Lukes at the beginning to getting somebody like Joseph Campbell to weigh in on certain aspects of it. Um, but it created something that we were almost all instantly familiar with on, I don't know if you wanna call a subconscious level.

[00:09:44] We just, it just connected with us, Luke Skywalker's, you know, journey from that, you know, sort of annoying kid, you know, hunting wo rats and as what was the T 90, uh, all, all the way to where he has to, uh, you know, fight his father. And that was something that just resonated. Even as a little kid, you knew there was something profound to that.

[00:10:04] So I think starers had a. Uh, uh, advantage in that regard that it, it, it, it had that it tapped into something we all understood from the very beginning. And then it goes on to just use special effects we'd never seen before, uh, creativity and artistic work. That was, you know, the result of this amazing team, uh, that, you know, put together stuff we've never seen on the big screen in this way.

[00:10:29] And for all the, all the detractors at the time that this was just sort of, you know, another sci-fi movie clearly within, you know, weeks and months that movie came out, we all knew it was something that was gonna define movies in cinema for decades to come. And, uh, I think that the, the last component that jumps out to me is like, what is star wars?

[00:10:50] Well, you wouldn't have star wars without that amazing John Williams score. And the story that jumps out at me about that is that he was asked by George Lucas to use classical music in a, in a various sorts of arrangements to, um, You know, give the movie some sort of gravitas. And when Williams came back and said, I can't do that, I, I need to create something unique for this.

[00:11:15] I think that was the capstone of all these amazing brilliant minds coming together and working in harmony to create something. And that's, that's ultimately what movies like star wars are to me is that they are this incredible harmony of, uh, creative individuals working together and, uh, getting something that I don't think any of them individually expected.

[00:11:36] JAMES: Yeah, definitely. I, and I, I like, you're definitely true. Uh, John, what you said, and I joked about in the opening, but you know, John Williams is a. Part of making, I think Star Wars, what star wars is. I mean, way he created everything and the Anthem that he made for it, it's, it's really a big part of the gravitas of that, of that movie. Um, and the movies as a whole. Um, you touched on something interesting there too with the mythology part. And I'll, I'll probably ask this question again. Uh, bring this up again after the rest of us, like a, even our thoughts, but I wonder if star wars creating new Star Wars without, um, you know, resting on the mythology of the characters.

[00:12:11] We already have you, I mean, Ken, you can't really separate star wars from mythology, I guess is a, is an interesting point. But I be, before we get to that, um, Joe, what are, what are your thoughts about, um, what is Star Wars.

[00:12:22] JOE: Wow. Well, I'm the only one here old enough to remember when it came out. And I was, I was there the first day, May 25th, 1977. I was. Just turned 22 about a month before that. So I was at the, uh, theater up on 86th street on my upper west side to see the film and, um, like all great films, star wars reflects the society, you know, that, that, that spawns it.

[00:12:46] And our society is the great melting pot. Therefore star wars is a melting pot of all movies. You guys have all said it so eloquently just, just in the past few minutes, but it is a mash up. It, it is so many different genres. It's a compendium of genres. And I see it as the, you know, as a decades of culmination of decades of Hollywood adventure films that you know, oh its origins to universal and Republic serials, the swashbuckling films like Robin hood, captain blood, the mark ofor.

[00:13:15] Yeah. Tapped into westerns Outlaws and enforces of course, westerns like stage coach the magnificent seven, how the west was won high noon and it barred freely from. Afternoon, kitty fair. When you think about it, things like stuff that you guys would not know or you know of, but you would remember seeing live or, or seeing in res like I did like captain video, the lone ranger, even the adventures of Superman.

[00:13:39] And I realized after watching so much star wars this week to prepare for this, that, yeah. Um, it's um, it's, it's, it's amazing. When you think about the effects, the music, this phenomenon that we'd never seen before on screen before in 1977, it hit America like a wave, just, you know, just a, I wanna say a punch in the face, but that's a, the negative sounding thing.

[00:14:03] It's, uh, it just, it just resonated with everyone and I think it resonated more. With people with movie goers, not because of the glitz, not because of the, uh, the, uh, the explosions and the, and, and the, uh, the fantastic effects, the models, the, the Muppets, everything that was used to bring this story to life.

[00:14:23] But the filmmakers realized that with high adventure and high stakes, you gotta have a high emotional content, too. And from the very beginning of Star Wars, we loved, we LOA and we wept what his vast characters of humans, aliens, and droids. And that's what Star Wars is, is about to me, that connection.

[00:14:43] JAMES: Absolutely absolutely Joe, that that was very eloquently put as well. I, I agree. I agree with that. Chris, what's your take on what is Star War?

[00:14:51] CHRIS: Um, it's, you know, it has evolved over the years. Um, I, I mentioned in the sci-fi episode, that Star Wars was for me, the gateway into sci-fi. Um, despite the fact that it, it, you know, it doesn't, and this is something we get, if you haven't go back and watch, listen to our, uh, our sci-fi, what is sci-fi episode?

[00:15:11] Because, um, you know, I think there's a lot of good stuff in there. I think, uh, especially Jack and Joe make some really enlightening points, um, and very illuminating points. So I think that's important, but. You know, I watched star wars and thought, okay, this is what sci-fi is. You know, it became my definitive science fiction.

[00:15:27] And I think that's true of a lot of people. I think for a lot of people, star wars is their definitive science fiction. Uh, just like for a lot of people, Star Trek is their definitive science fiction. And it's not really until you, until you expand out into other books, shows movies that you start to realize just how big the, the genre is.

[00:15:46] Um, but it's interesting. I think star wars does, I think star wars has done a lot for science fiction as a genre in terms of bringing more people to it. Um, there's a lot of science fiction. I never would've tried if I didn't love star wars and identify it as sci-fi when I was, especially when I was younger.

[00:16:03] So it brought me to, it brought me into the genre and had me convinced that, yes, I like sci-fi, you know how I like, no, I like sci-fi is because I like star wars. Right? So it, it, I think, excuse me, for a lot of us. It, it became sort of the definitive science fiction. Um, and so it introduced a lot of new people to, to science fiction.

[00:16:26] It introduced a lot of new possibilities that it wasn't just for. So for the older folks, it wasn't just for people who were interested in, in the science of space. Um, because obviously there's a lot of fantasy in star wars. Um, there's a ton of fantasy in star wars because it's more of a space opera than anything else to me anyway.

[00:16:45] Um, you know, and, and very strongly informs a lot of those, those other shows and those other stories, one of my favorites far escape, um, you cannot help but be, but see the inspiration, especially when it comes to like the makeup, the prosthetics and the, uh, and the, the Muppets , you know, all the Muppets in Farscape, uh, and they're literal Muppets cuz it's the Jim Henson company.

[00:17:06] Um, but then there's also sort of the, the almost downside in my opinion of what star wars has done, which is that it, it, it gave so many people this impression. Not all of us and not intentionally, it just sort of happened as a, a benchmark of what science fiction is. So there are so many people who were turned off to the idea of science fiction thinking, oh, it's just people running around in space using magic and space, swords and lasers.

[00:17:33] Um, and that's how definitive it became is that it's on both sides of the coin. Right. Um, but as I've gotten older, uh, I, I think that it's, it's sort of a true love for me and for a lot of people in that I can look at it with all of its flaws and there are things that drive me nuts. There are things that bother me, but I'm, but I'm still going to consume star wars.

[00:17:54] I still love what it means. It still, um, even when I'm not necessarily moved by the stories that I, I consume, um, I'm still interested. I use it as a benchmark for a lot of my writing as a creator, um, which, which I sort of find, I find interesting, both the good and the bad. And then we have now hit a point where for a lot of people, star wars is defined as our childhood.

[00:18:17] right, because for some of us, it's the original trilogy for some of us, it's the prequels, you know, I was very, it was, it was, I hadn't really thought about it, but like the prequels are the star wars movies for my brother-in-law, which I didn't really think about, but it's like, yeah, no, from an, from an age standpoint that matches up and then there're going to be other people, um, for whom the sequels are the star wars, and then you've got those older movies, you know, so it's really, to me, it's really interesting that star wars is, is sort of, uh, for good or ill.

[00:18:47] It's very genre defining. Um, but also it's, we've now hit a point where it's also childhood defining.

[00:18:53] JAMES: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean it, our recent episode on Ghostbusters, how linked that was to our childhood Star Wars is definitely linked to, to my childhood. I think all of our childhoods to a certain degree or growing up and evolving with it, um, over time, it's, it's ingrained in us. So our feelings of it are more than just seeing it for whatever they're putting out with that particular, you know, movie or that TV show.

[00:19:17] Um, it, it runs deeper than just looking at it, I guess, critically, it also goes looking at through the childhood lens or the, the time in life when you were first introduced to star wars and your love for it back then. Um, I wanna just, you know, before I give some of my thoughts, my personal thoughts on it, um, my stepson, um, Ryan, I asked him about what was star wars, cuz he grew, he was born in 97.

[00:19:38] So the prequels were his error when Star Wars was marketed to him. Even with that being his error, he doesn't like dislike the prequels. He actually had said the first movie, he actually likes, um, his definitive star wars movie and time area though, is the original trilogy still. So I think that kind of speaks to, you know, I know there's certain people out there and people listening, probably that the, and Chris, you just touched on it, that the prequels are that person's star wars.

[00:20:02] Um, but I think the original trilogy still rings true for most star wars fans, no matter when they were introduced. Um, you know, Jack, I, I know I mentioned to you before we started this episode, what is, what is your, what is your son Grayson? Who's um, who's 10. Think about like what, what's his opinion of Star Wars right now?

[00:20:19] JACK: So he, I think is probably, um, much more so than, than the rest of us. He, you know, is coming of age at a time where through obviously George Lucas is selling it to Disney for $4 billion during the miss Dr. Evil, um, that he has so much within his love and understanding of star wars. He just has so much to choose from amongst that.

[00:20:45] And so, um, you know, he watched the clone wars, uh, the animated show, uh, and so he didn't quite get into rebels. Um, but he watched in the last three prequels, he watched the Mandalorian. And so even within the confines, within the world, that is star wars, there is just this entire playground for him to actually pick and choose, um, aspects of it.

[00:21:10] Uh, and, and then try to say, okay, this part, I, I think, um, you know, resonates with me and this part, maybe not so much, but, and then also having the back catalog, I mean, to, to Joe's point, and I think this can't go without saying, and in the course of our conversation, it, I had a flashback as to where I did see the original Star Wars and the play strikes back.

[00:21:29] Uh, we had an upstage neighbor who had a laser player. Remember those? No, no one does. Well, Joe and I do because they were big when we

[00:21:37] CHRIS: Oh, I remember the legend. Of old,

[00:21:39] JACK: Exactly. Oh,

[00:21:40] JOSH: I I have, I have a laser dis

[00:21:42] JACK: Whoa, you know what,

[00:21:44] CHRIS: of course, of course he does. I knew it.

[00:21:49] JACK: And so, and so our upstairs neighbor had a laser player and he showed my brother and I star Wars and, uh, The Empire Strikes Back and it was just kind of mind blown.

[00:21:59] But back in those days, you had to wait before the sequels were, would come out. And, and, and so there, wasn't this notion where you can go to Disney plus, um, or you can go, uh, into, uh, some place where you can find this back catalog. Um, even before star wars became as big as it is now. I, I used to read the books.

[00:22:17] Um, and so there was, um, people were hungry, desperate, uh, to, to, to, you know, feel that, that, you know, that. Void, uh, of, of new content, um, where again, bringing back to, to, to Grayson, he now has officially licensed content, uh, that is vetted. That is, um, completely in line with, uh, what they want us to know and think about it.

[00:22:43] And so I think it's a completely different time.

[00:22:46] JAMES: Yeah, absolutely. I, I agree. It's different, different time entirely. You know, my thoughts about Star Wars are I, I agree with what everyone said so far in terms of like it's a landscape where you can tell pretty much any type of genre story, and if you can make it fit within the universe, I guess it it's gonna work.

[00:23:04] I mean, we've seen now, I guess the primary examples of it, they, they haven't really stretched past this, but we're star wars is a Western in space. I mean, Joe, we kind of mentioned, talked about a little bit of this on the Western episode and even in the science fiction episode we did, but you can plug any genre into the star wars.

[00:23:20] I think it's going to work. So I look at Star Wars in terms of what it is. It's, it's just a land landscape for artists to do whatever they, they feel that they can, um, which leads me kind of to this, this other point. I wanna touch upon where, and I'm part of the problem. I get it as well. That, uh, if you, if you took away, if you completely take away all of the mythology that were, that were so far associated with, with star wars, like every, everything that's come out so far has still been somehow six degrees or seven degrees linked to the original trilogy or the characters of the, or the, or the family of Skywalker.

[00:23:54] Even, you know, The Mandalorian got threaded back into it. Bob eventually gets threaded back into it. Everything gets threaded back into that original mythology. And I'm like I said, I'm to blame because when, when Luke shows up I'm I'm was so I'm so happy, but if I wanna see new star wars, that's completely devoid of the mythology we previously had.

[00:24:11] I have to be open to that. So. I guess this kind of weaves into what would is star wars, still star wars. If you take away elements of this original mythology that we all grew up with.

[00:24:23] JOHN: If I can jump in on that. That's, that's where I've been having so many thoughts, , as to the first question, what Star Wars is, but really, I guess, defining it by what it isn't is. I had, I have very strong opinions about the most recent trilogy. Um, and, uh, to start that off where I think that is, I think that you don't necessarily need those exact same elements from the original, uh, uh, movie.

[00:24:49] And sometimes when you do take those exact same elements, it's to the detri. Of the movie you're experiencing. And the, I sort of start my journey with that with episode seven, where it's largely a retelling of almost the same story beat for beat, at least the way I experienced that. Um, but it did have those emotional grips Han Solo and a son, you know, that is a devastating moment that had a feeling that leaves you, like you've just been gut punched.

[00:25:16] So it, it accomplished that. But by the end you were still, I, I was, I was wondering a little bit of like, huh, they're still focusing on the same things. It's gonna be cool to see where Luke really went. So I was open to see where it went, but it, but something felt a little bit off. Like they were just sort of, you know, treading old territory all over again.

[00:25:34] Then episode eight, they tried something radical, which was to dismiss the idea that everything has to be about a Skywalker, that to be a Jedi, to be part of this great story, to be part, to be, you know, an amazing person. You can come from nothing and. Lots of people have lots of opinions about that movie.

[00:25:52] Good and bad. I don't think it quite worked, but I really respect the intention there. And then you get to episode nine and they went back to fan service really, really heavy. And yes, it's all about the Skywalkers again. So I think what they were missing was that thing that we're trying to answer, which is what is star wars.

[00:26:10] Um, and I think they were missing some of the, uh, uh, idea that the mythology is a template. It's not about the person. It's not about Skywalker time and time again, coming back every generation to do the same thing. Again, we're not locked in a, in, in a cycle, if you will. You know, even in that galaxy a long time ago, far, far away, and it didn't leave space for a new group entirely to be that next.

[00:26:38] Generation following that mythological template, at least that's that's that's what was, you know, you know, missing for me. So you can take, you can take the aesthetics of star wars. You can take a, a, a lot of the cool things that you've seen in the pre, like they brought back the X swings, they brought back everything, which was what George Lucas didn't want.

[00:26:55] Interestingly, the new directors did, but that doesn't guarantee you're gonna have star wars. It just, it might appeal to a nostalgia. And I wonder, I really, I think the people that ask for this question, uh, would be the kids, you know, what do they feel about what was their connection with episodes seven through nine?

[00:27:12] And does it, does it, do they use the same words that we use about the original trilogy and the answer might be there?

[00:27:19] JAMES: Well, I will say I asked, I asked Ryan also this and he, he was not a big fans of the sequels. Um, He, he, uh, he was, he actually surprisingly, he felt like the last movie, the rise of Skywalker was the one he enjoyed the most out of the three. Um, I, I wish I, I had gotten more, more information about him about that, but the sequels did not fully resonate with him and he was kind of disappointed with it.

[00:27:41] Um, but, uh, Josh, you, you had something to respond to what I was, what I was saying, what John was saying,

[00:27:46] JOSH: to, uh, respond to the question, you know, do we need star wars mythology that it's created for star wars to be star wars? I would say, no, absolutely not. I think my, , you know, in my initial answer to the question, what is star wars?

[00:28:00] , I really think the recipe is , you take those influences, the flash Gordon, the samurai, the Western, and the world war II and, the high fantasy of it all. And, , the way to make new star wars is you return to the same inspirations and, or. You know, dial one up or dial one down slot one out and incorporate, , a new genre.

[00:28:19] And I think that's the recipe. That's how you get Star wars. that feels like Star Wars. And I think it was, uh, James who said, that star wars is sort of a, canvas for artists to paint and to work on. I think that's how you keep the canvas. so that it feels like Star Wars. And just once again, I would also say, , for me, and this ties into, I think, something John said in his initial answer for me, star wars is also inseparable from the cinematic experience.

[00:28:45] Like Star Wars is very visual. It's, it's, it's very filmic. And while I've certainly enjoyed a lot of the comics and the books, but, for my money, those are, you know, sort of fun distractions, They're not quote unquote real Star Wars because I think you can't really, at least for me separate the, filmic qualities from the DNA of Star Wars, which makes sense because it was, , made and conceived as a cinematic experience, uh, by someone who was an Avantgarde filmmaker.

[00:29:14] so that I think is kind of inseparable from it. And I just want to, throw out there, I'm right or die for The Last Jedi. I will, I wanna do a whole, uh, podcast about that

[00:29:23] CHRIS: I'm right there with.

[00:29:25] JAMES: Yeah, I have, I, well, I've gone a record thing. I have issues with The Last Jedi as a te as a whole, but I, I don't, I don't, I appreciate what they were trying to do, because that is the key to saving star wars in the future, I think, is to go in a direction far away from what we've known, , to get better stories and new characters and, and sort of let old characters rest.

[00:29:45] Um, you know, we don't want to turn these characters who we love. comp of characters that never die, never evolve. And, and always, we come back to this center of, of like Skywalkers and the same Jedi stories we've always seen and heard before. Um, Joe, you, you had a response and then, then Chris, I, I know you wanna respond too.

[00:30:05] JOE: You all, you obviously, every, any, uh, franchise to be successful has to move on. The characters have to grow new characters, have to come in. And it's interesting when a movie like rogue one, they actually did that, but they did do that because rogue one is so tied into obviously the first star wars movie or is, as we now know it as the new hope, but you saw these incredible characters, uh, that we'd never seen before.

[00:30:31] I don't even think we ever heard that names mentioned previously. I'm not sure about that, but I'm not a Star Wars historian, but, um, we also knew that because of their mission, they weren't gonna survive and that made it so bittersweet. And, um, that movie to me, of all the Disney content, all the new content, the sequel content, um, Stavos rock one is my favorite of, of all those movies.

[00:30:52] It just resonates with me. It's very visceral. It's very, uh, as I said, bittersweet, that ending is just amazing. Third act another great third act in a, in a film there, but, um, and to speak about the, uh, what is it the, The Last Jedi, I have problems with that, but I don't, I don't think it's the problems me with that film are so much, uh, whether, you know, we're introducing new characters, whether we're adding to the mythos, whether there's subtracting to the, those, that film is just a slog.

[00:31:20] It's just a poorly made film, uh, from the director's point of view, it's just, it just, it just takes a long time to get the narrative across. There's that second act that I don't know what the hell they're doing in there. And I don't know why it's even in the film and it's just, um, I had trouble getting through that film.

[00:31:35] I did a lot of catching up this week. I re-watched the, the original, uh, trilogy. I rewatched the sequels. I will never rewatch the prequels. I will never touch those movies ever again once it's enough. But, um, yeah, the, you can, you can, you can move on, you can add new characters and new situations to these mythos, but you also need the directors writers to, uh, To, uh, make that vision come true.

[00:32:00] And, um, sometimes they fail as I think they did with, uh, with the, uh, last Jedi. And sometimes they succeed, they did with, uh, Rogue One.

[00:32:08] CHRIS: I agree, Joe, I really, I, I love Rogue One. Um, and I having to really love Last Jedi. Um, but I also write and exactly, you know, it's, it's. think the, one of the problems we've sort of run into with Star Wars is the same problem that we run into with comic books, which is that you have a, you know, comic books are a medium that aren't really, it's, it's a medium in which stories don't end.

[00:32:34] They just, they just keep going. Right. And I know there are some stories that do, obviously there are a bunch that do, but, um, you know, for those, for a lot of us who are familiar with comic books through superheroes, um, you know, Batman has been around for fucking ever, and he has an adventure every. Every two seconds that also somehow last two months.

[00:32:53] So that's the way they keep these stories going. But you do end up at a point where somebody decides they're done with it, you know, for anybody who's listened to the X-Men episode, Arco hit a point where he was, uh, our guest Arco Esposito was done with X-Men, which isn't kind of insane because he loves X-Men as much as he does.

[00:33:09] I've hit a point with Batman. Who's, you know, my favorite superhero that I'm like, I'm good. I've got my Batman, you know, I already, I already know. Um, I already know the Batman that I, that I like and the Batman that I want, and there are gonna be some story, good stories that I miss, but also I'm, I'm pretty good with what I have right now.

[00:33:25] And I think that star wars enters that, that, that arena, but also at a bit of a disadvantage, because it is a very, as, as other people have said, John and, and Josh especially have said, it's such a cinematic experience. So the cinematic experience almost sort of, uh, doesn't allow for quite as much of that, that serial comic.

[00:33:50] Uh, you know, that we, that we see, uh, with, with, um, with, with the superheroes, but we still have the, the attachment to these characters. And so we wanna see what we wanna see. And so, um, when we don't get those stories, we sometimes have a more visceral reaction to it. Uh, which is interesting. Cause there really is a lot of content out there, but for people who don't necessarily wanna get into the comics or don't necessarily, it took me forever to watch the cl wars.

[00:34:18] Um, I hated the animation, but once I finally started watching it, um, and once we sort of got past some of the charger stuff, I was like, Ooh, there's some really good stories in here. You know? So I think that's probably one of the biggest reasons that. I think the best way for star wars to survive is to move on from the Skywalkers and, and also maybe steer clear of grand Admiral th too, because there's some serious fan followings out there that make it difficult to tell the stories.

[00:34:44] And then you end up with some of these things being panned for no reason other than this is not Grand Admiral Thrawnas I know him.

[00:34:52] JAMES: Yeah, I, I could see your point with that. I mean, to, to kind of address something that Josh was saying earlier, I don't know if it's because maybe I, I, I comp books and movies just, you know, came. Life at the same time that I could easily make the mental shift before from something I was seeing on TV, uh, or a movie to also a comic book and all have it exist the same way in my mind.

[00:35:10] So I know they're not can anymore, but the Dark Empire and Heir to the Empire stuff, um, I, for, for a long time is all we had, and that was star wars for me for a long time. Um, and I'm okay with letting it, letting it go because I don't see how Disney could keep moving forward and recognize that stuff and make sense of it.

[00:35:28] I mean, now we live in a multiverse universe, so who knows, but, um, I definitely, I feel that star wars is probably more accepted cinematically that it would be on the page or in the comp book. So I get that cinematic experience that people are looking for from it. Um, Jack, you, you wanted to comment on something that, that came up either with, uh, myself or GI or Chris.

[00:35:49] JACK: Yeah. I, I I feel that, you know, to add to what everyone's saying, um, One of the key influences that, um, George Lucas also had was, um, you know, the Vietnam war and, and so, um, he was, he worked very closely, um, with, uh, Francis Ford Coppola who, uh, produced, um, his movies THX, uh, 1138 in American graffiti.

[00:36:15] Um, and so, uh, again, the entire notion of apocalypse now, um, was very influential on George, uh, in, in kind of the multiple draft of star wars. And, and I raised that because essentially. Although it's the fourth draft that we get when we see the movie and I'm sure there were kind of editorial, uh, and directorial changes in that.

[00:36:38] Um, the first movie actually had a, a very clear understanding of what it was trying to say. You may agree with it, you may disagree with it. Um, but it essentially, and maybe some would even say, simplistically laid out the stakes, it laid out, you know, the good, the bad, quite literally. Um, but it then essentially created this entire universe based on those fundamental ideas to touch on what John said, uh, again with, um, you know, Joseph Campbell and the mono myth, uh, again, very heavily influenced.

[00:37:10] And so my thoughts with respect to where does it go from here is. And I think now, because it's part of this multi-billion dollar conglomerate, it seemed as if the franchise is unwilling, uh, to go into an area that's uncomfortable. Um, and so to, to Joe's point, I think this is why rogue one is so, um, refreshing as, as, uh, part of the entire, um, franchise, because it does something different.

[00:37:38] It, it shows you something in a way that you'd never expected. I think of the trilogy. This is why The Last Jedi is so refreshing. It says, you know what, we're gonna move in a different direction. We're going to tell a different story. Um, and yet, you know, those, those, those white gloved mouse hands always pull it back to, to, to, to, to a very standard area where you know what just about everyone is gonna like this.

[00:38:02] No, one's gonna hate it. No, one's gonna love it. It's gonna do really well on rotten tomatoes and, and that's really what we want. Um, you know, I was listening to a podcast. Uh, recently, and there's this, this, um, philosopher and he references a, a different philosopher and, and he talks about why rotten tomatoes is horrible, uh, for, for, uh, movie going.

[00:38:22] And the reason why is it it's an aggregate. And, and so, um, those movies that do really well are the movies that people go and say, oh, you know, that wasn't bad. But the movies that are polarizing that have the audience really loved, or half the audience really hated are only gonna get a 50%, but no one delves deeper to actually try to figure out what did they love or hate about it.

[00:38:42] And, and so this is kind of where I think, uh, Disney is taking the franchise and this whole notion we don't wanna piss anybody off. Uh, we really just want to again, keep cranking out product. So I, I think that's the difficulty in trying to conceive of a world, uh, where it exists. Um, no, also I'd like to add the Mandalorian again to, to that list as well, because again, we're familiar with the world.

[00:39:05] Um, we're familiar with the concept of Mandalorians. , but even if you just watched the movies, not so much, if you are just, uh, someone who had only seen the films, uh, you would kind of recognize him that he looked similar to Bobette. Um, but again, it was a blank slate upon which they could create this whole new character and the mythology behind that.

[00:39:25] And so it's when they take those, you know, steps off the beaten path away from the pal teens and the Skywalkers, and they say, Hey, this is a universe we can populate. I think you get good content that we enjoy. But again, you know, those, those white glove mouse pause are constantly ensuring that everybody, you know, gets a cut of that pie.

[00:39:45] JOE: And

[00:39:46] JACK: those are my butts.

[00:39:47] JAMES: Yes, no, those are, those are good thoughts. Uh, Jack, I mean, the Mandalorian was, um, I mean the first season he was removed from the Skywalker timeline. I mean, except he wanted, you always call baby Yoda wrapped up in it, but it was his own unique thing. And again, I said, I, I love the end of the Mandalorian season too, but as soon as you have the end of the Mandalorian, you know, season two, you wrap man, you know, Mando in.

[00:40:09] The trilogy and the whole Skywalker timeline that we were trying to escape with. What he, you know, he represented in his first season. Um, we have lots of, um, you know, uh, hands up here. So, um, uh, Joe, Josh and John, I think so, Joe, what, what were you responding to?

[00:40:25] JOE: Well, I, I did a deep dive into the Mandalore to prepare for this, uh, this podcast. So I watched. About 16 episodes, two seasons. Yeah. Uh, this past week. And, uh, I like it. I mean, I, I realize your point change where it comes around at the end, it comes back to the beginning, uh, to, to illustrate, uh, Jack's point.

[00:40:44] But I still enjoyed it. Uh, you know, for me, he's Clint Eastwood. , he's the man with no name, although his name is D deja, is that you pronounce his name. I'm not even sure about that, but, um, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I, uh, I love the, um, the, um, the credits, the end credits with the beautiful artwork, the, uh, pre-production artwork, all that, you know, that concept artwork.

[00:41:08] And, um, I just, um, you know, I didn't know anything about these, the mandellorians and I still have some questions, but I didn't mind learning about them. This was a blank slate that they could write on and they could paint on. And, and, uh, so, uh, for me it was, uh, it was totally new and, and totally enjoyable.

[00:41:27] So how I see that

[00:41:28] and.

[00:41:29] JAMES: Yeah, no, that's that's and that's the direction they should be going into to preserve. I, I think what, what star wars can continue to be, uh, without resting too much on nostalgia, which has cut many times on, in this podcast and like in podcast, we've done about how much, you know, companies rest on the nostalgia of the character instead of doing justice to the character or storyline, , Josh, what, what did you wanna add?

[00:41:48] JOSH: Yeah. Uh, both John and Jack reminded me of a missing ingredient that I, uh, that I didn't mention. But, is integral to, , making Star Wars. And that's, you have to have something to say along with all of this, uh, there has to be a reason for the story. , not just, you know, in terms of character motivations or whatever, but also, you know, thematically and, uh, philosophically, you need to be making a point.

[00:42:13] You need to have something to say, and whenever you have something to say, you're going to piss some people off because not everyone is gonna agree with you. I mean, quite often that, that does tend to be true, but I think, you know, for a lot of people. Star Wars, is not supposed to be quote unquote, political for lack of a better, word. even though, you know, these are intensely political films, it's about, how to be a good member of society.

[00:42:39] It's about how a society, falls to fascism and, what the warning signs are and what the conditions are that, lead to that happening. And, you know, it's interesting, I don't know that the issue with Star Wars now, I don't know that it's overt Disney meddling so much as it's just the lack of a single.

[00:43:02] Creative voice that that's sort of the guiding light for all new star wars. I mean, say what you will about George Lucas's prequels, , and his vision for Star Wars. Um, they were about something, they were, they were trying to say something, , and your mileage may vary regarding how successful they were at saying it.

[00:43:19] Um, I mean, obviously we don't know what is going on inside the Disney offices and the Lucas film offices. We don't know what the mandates are or what the restrictions are, requirements are, but I would say just, by its very nature as a corporation, as a corporate property, they want to make new Star Wars.

[00:43:36] So they are looking for people to make new Star Wars and they do have a bottom line and I don't think it's as nefarious as like the white gloved hand is making them, behave and, , color within the lines.

[00:43:48] I think, perhaps there is a little of that, certainly in the wake of The Last Jedi, the strong polarizing reaction, I can't imagine that that had zero effect on the decisions that they made afterward. Um, but that said, I really do think the main thing is that , you need to find someone with a point of view, a strong point of view and something to say, I think that's a key ingredient for good quote unquote Star War.

[00:44:12] JAMES: I totally, I mean, totally agree. I mean, for any good storytelling, you need a point of view and a, and a voice to carry it. And, and somebody to like, sort of oversee that you're not going out out of the guidelines of what the story you're trying to tell. I mean, it seems like fro and Fe are they're great.

[00:44:27] They have a voice. I mean, not the only voice right now, directly star wars, but their voice seems to be like anything free the sequels, like whatever, whatever he, you know, whatever Fey could see before we get into like the, like the force awakens is where their vision goes. Cuz no one's touched anything after, The rise with Skywalker.

[00:44:45] So I, I don't know if maybe. Disney or Star Wars, whatever part of that knows what to do after that, considering how the reaction was to that sequel trilogy. I, I always, I always go back to the fact also with a single voice that Disney has, in-house the MCU, which has Kevin Figgy. That's running like a machine and not that that's a good or, or good or bad thing, but, um, but that is, you know, it's working like they have a single voice, that's overseeing everything and they know what direction they could go in.

[00:45:11] And they're kind of not picking that up for the, for the star wars property, which is what I thought they probably needed when they first, you know, decided to make more star wars. Uh, John you've been wanted to say something for a while. Um, go ahead,

[00:45:21] JOHN: This is what I love about talking with all of you. This there's just so much that comes out and all of a sudden you realize, Hey, wait a second. That's something I hadn't considered before. So I'm like scribbling down notes here, crazily and trying to reread them.

[00:45:33] Um, the, the designification is I think part of a response, what I wanted to go back to was the idea of what Josh said of the, of you have to have something to say, which. Disney hasn't mastered yet though. They are going after a lot of different types of writers and different, uh, creative people, you know, who will definitely have different messages, which I think just makes any sort of, uh, uh, universe like this better.

[00:45:59] But looking back on what I was saying earlier and everything else, the original star wars films had a lot to say. Um, and I'm not entirely sure what the prequel trilogy had to say. I'm not saying it didn't have anything to say, but it didn't say anything that really, uh, a resonated or spoke to me, thinking back and I'm sure I can find more, but I definitely, I always had this sense to me, original, uh, uh, trilogy that I knew what the empire was.

[00:46:27] They were able to describe it pretty, you know, pretty quickly there was a Senate, just, there was, you know, some internal wrangling there in those few lines that they dropped. They painted a picture of what was going on. And it had parallels to an invading empire going back to whether it, you know, whether it was Rome, whether it was a third Rike and I can't help, but feel today that there is such a visceral feeling in me while we watch these horrible events unfolding today in Ukraine and people, you know, there are memes out there of like, it's the evil empire coming back in, but it is, and that's not reductive.

[00:47:04] It's not, it's not making light of a real world issue. It's because they nailed that concept in, in star wars of what the empire is and why people were afraid of it. Um, it wasn't, you know, just this, oh, they blew up Al Ron and that's horrible. The fear, the palpable loss you get in that moment is something that really does resonate with us.

[00:47:28] And when you, when you see that happening in the world, your world or around the world, um, it really gets to that. And sometimes. I think star wars misses its voice as to what it's talking about now. Not every movie and not every series is gonna talk about the same thing. So it's not gonna always, it shouldn't be just the evil, Empire's back again, doing the same old thing, because that's sort of dilutes the story over time.

[00:47:54] Um, and that's why I love, uh, uh, uh, the Mandalorian, because the story's on a much more personal level. It's the aftermath of the fall of the empire, but it's not all roses. Uh, in, in that environment, a lot of people are trying to find their way and that's something people can relate to. Um, so I think that star wars will always have it's footing, even if it's conflicting reviews on, um, rotten tomatoes, which are, yeah, I could go onto that for a long time, but when it.

[00:48:22] A message to tell, and that usually connects to people's experience that they can rely and say, yeah, I, I could see how that's gonna be, you know, a challenge or, and a triumph, uh, for somebody, even if it's on a small scale and they fail when they just retell the same story without finding those connective points.

[00:48:41] Um, and now I see links in, I really want to get into this. I, I really want to deep dive into the rotten tomatoes thing at some point, because I've, it, it blows my mind how much Disney must be, uh, take in consideration in terms of decision making. And I call it almost like movie making by, by democratic consensus of the fans.

[00:49:03] And that's not how Star Wars was. And I think I'll leave my like sort of last point on this is that it was a collaboration of various artists, but it wasn't, it wasn't the fans dictating to them what star wars was going to be. Um, and I think that's where, you know, I hope I hope Disney is willing to take some risks in the future on more, you know, of the Ryan Johnson types, whether it works or not, because eventually one of them is gonna hit with something that's gonna blow our minds.

[00:49:31] JAMES: I to totally agree, John, I mean, could you look at any Star Wars that's new that hasn't leaned into fan service of any type? I mean, I think that's part of the, again, it's, it's, it's great when it happens, cuz again, I I'm, I'm guilty of enjoying the fan service when it happens, but if you're doing a fan service in this endless loop of fan service, then you're gonna go down just retelling and rehashing the same stories and same characters over and over again and not making any headway with, um, groundbreaking story, groundbreaking storytelling of type, um, Josh, your hand.

[00:50:03] JOSH: Just really quickly, responding to something that, John said about the, uh, the story of the prequels or what the prequels were trying to say. I actually think, um, if we can recall the halcyon days of the late nineties and the very early aughts, you know, when we were sort of at the quote unquote, the end of history, or we thought, we were, we were sort of riding the high of, uh, winning the cold war and all the problems were solved.

[00:50:24] for someone who, who came of age and grew up in the nineties, you know, seeing the prequel. It's trying to stand as a warning about how a democracy can become a dictatorship and the rise of fascism and also the, uh, a people's personal responsibility, when that is happening.

[00:50:40] I think, you know, the question of what makes people do horrible or evil things. I'm not saying that the films were successful at that, but I do think that's what they're trying to say.

[00:50:50] But even at the time, I remember kind of thinking to myself, , do we really need this now? Like we know, like we know what happened, we know how this happens.

[00:50:58] We have enough examples and obviously, you know, that can never happen again. We're not that stupid. I would say that, in the last, decade or so, I've really come to appreciate what the prequels were doing a lot more. and even, the fall of Anakin Skywalker, uh, which his motivations to me were inexplicable.

[00:51:17] But now. I kind of get it, cuz I see it. I see those kinds of, you know, entitled, young men who, who, see the world slipping through their fingers and you know, are very reactionary, when that happens and they, believe things that are, to anyone not going through what they're going through, completely false and absurd.

[00:51:39] but they delude themselves and, I really have to say that I think what the prequels said then, was something we needed to, see and needed, to be said. And it's actually interesting. I don't think, the originals really, said. Anything very profound about, , what it's like to live under empire.

[00:51:59] I think it's, it's, broadly sketched out. I think the aesthetics are there, certainly that that's, the Nazi, parallels and the Imperial iconography is there. I don't really think it's until Rogue One that we actually see like on a human level, what life under the empire is really like, and, and why it's so bad.

[00:52:16] It's like, oh, the empire shows up and they set up shop and they strip mine your planet for what they want. And they, uh, they keep you in a police state. Like, I don't think we ever really see that in the original trilogy. And, um, I'm talking a lot and I'm, I.

[00:52:31] JAMES: Well, that's what this podcast is all about. Um, those are all good points, Josh. Um, and I would say like, uh, Ryan was telling me also that he thought the, um, his, his first thoughts were about a New Hope when he looked back at it. When I asked him the question was he saw the correlation between the devastation of the Death Star, being able to destroy a planet, very reminiscent of nuclear warfare in the Cold War at the time.

[00:52:52] So those, those messages were definitely least there for him.

[00:52:55] JOSH: Oh, for sure. Which is also something that, uh, Rogue One leans really hard into. I think that the Mads Mikkelsen character is, the Robert Oppenheimer, , figure.

[00:53:03] JOE: Oh,

[00:53:04] JAMES: Yeah. Yeah. Very, very, and I will say, and Chris, I think you could probably agree with this cuz you watched this, that, uh, at least not cinematically, but in the show Rebels, they do kind of get into life under the empire, and what it's like and why the empire is evil and what it's doing.

[00:53:20] CHRIS: No, they, they totally do in rebels. I think they do a really nice job of it, but, um, additionally, That we, we really find out in the, in the lore, but we really don't see it in the, in the movies. Um, which is that the, the empire hates aliens, right? It's a, it's a very, it's a very xenophobic attitude that comes that, that comes from the empire and on which the empire is built.

[00:53:44] And, um, and even though there is, you know, a lack of, um, a lack of aliens that we see in the empire, you know, um, the movies don't really get into. Just just how hateful the empire is and how frankly, you know, racist the empire is, um, you know, in the literal, in the literal sense. And we just don't see that in the movies.

[00:54:04] So I think that's a really good thing. That's, that's fleshed out and in, in rebels and really resonates more in rebels as well as, as, um, you know, somewhat we get into that in clone wars. Um, but yeah, I, I I'd agree with that assessment. Um, I think there are a lot of people who, uh, sometimes kind of avoid the, uh, kind of avoid some of the, the animated stuff.

[00:54:27] And some of it resonates with you and some of it doesn't, and there are people who didn't like the way rebels ended, or they didn't like this depiction of that character or Orlando shows up like there's any number of things that I think people can complain about. Um, but I do think that it does a, a much better job of.

[00:54:42] um, of flushing out what life under the Empire's like and why you'd want to get out of it in the first place, especially because it's sort of, it's gotta be different, you know, um, a author authoritarianism, um, has gotta be different, uh, in a, in an intergalactic sense than it is on a single planet. There's a great book out there called, um, Luke Skywalker, can't read and, and other things.

[00:55:07] And, um, and it has to do with the notion that, um, in the star wars universe, despite having the technology news actually travels incredibly slowly. And, um, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the, the characters in this world are for the most part, they are functionally illiterate, you know, they can, they can read, um, what their Astro is, is writing to them while they're on their star fighter.

[00:55:29] But, um, but they there's a lot of news. They don't know it's slow to travel, that sort of thing. So there's, there's also, you know, why is it, why is it so bad to live. Under that kind of rule when your planet is mostly ignored by the empire. And so I think when you look at rogue one and you look at Rebels, um, they do a much, I don't wanna say better because it depends on what kind of story you're looking for, but in my opinion, much more interesting.

[00:55:52] Uh, they take a much more interesting approach to, okay, but why is the empire bad? which sounds kind of silly, but you know, looking back on it, when I was younger, it was very easy for me to go, oh, good guys, bad guys. And then, you know, you watch a movie like, you know, clerks and, uh, it's like, oh yeah, no, the rebels were terrorists who blow up the death star contractors, blah, blah, blah.

[00:56:11] And it's a great bit. Um, but it kind of makes you wonder a little bit. And so now you've got a deep dive and I think that these two, these two stories, um, really help dive into the nuance of it a little bit.

[00:56:22] JAMES: absolutely. Chris.

[00:56:23] JOHN: I think this actually answers our question. What is Star Wars about? It's this conversation? Um, that's, that's literally it for me. That's uh, because all of a sudden it's, it's unleashed all these, uh, all these topics because, uh, we all connect to in different ways. The big thing I wanted to ask, you know, mention, uh, going on, like what Josh and others are talking about Rogue One, which I think I hold is the best, uh, recent movie, you know, I mean, in the last, you know, 10 years, the best, the best movie that they've come out with, um, uh, is that empire also showed what it's like to live under an empire, but particularly a sort of a cold war or, or, or empire, or, you know, type mentality of the empire coming into a, you know, neutral space, wanting something you have, whether it's temporarily or permanently.

[00:57:08] And that line, like this deal just keeps on getting worse, you know, uh, that, that's a lot of what it's like to live in. It's not necessarily just the oblation or the direct depression, it's that expansion and decrease of your own agency. You know, you think you're going along with it. You think you're preserving what you have and you lose a little bit of it day by day.

[00:57:30] And then all of a sudden you have to make that decision. Am I willing to, am I willing to sacrifice and lose everything, um, in order to do the right thing, and it's not gonna be an easy decision and, you know, Lando Calrissian, he's risking everything he's built over his life and he's risking the safety and lives of everybody.

[00:57:49] Who's, uh, gone along with him in the end there. And that's something that, again, really resonates with people because it's that notion of sacrifice, that notion of loss and the tough decision. And, um, I think when we look at the, the best of the movies, it's one characters have to make that tough decision about what they're going to do, and if they really have something, uh, that they could lose.

[00:58:12] Um, and that, that's why looking back on it. I also can think of episode three, which was always my favorite of episodes. One through three, why that spoke a little more, because there, it was, as I said, it's a bit of a, you know, ham fisted way of like, you know, when democracy dies and all that other kind of stuff, but. You saw people actually standing up and losing things, uh, to do the right thing or what they think is the right thing at the time. Um, and you feel a real sense of sorrow as a result by the end of that movie. Um, and that's, that's what leads it on to where you say, I wanna see what's next. I need, I need to see what happens after this.

[00:58:50] And because that was what empire was all about was like, oh, this isn't what I was expecting. Uh, the good guys always went at the end of a movie. Right. And they didn't, but they were hopeful that maybe they were gonna be re rebuild and do something again. And we were all just, you know, waiting for episode, least.

[00:59:07] I mean, I'd seen them a little bit later, but I was waiting for episode six. I was waiting for a turn of the jet. I like nothing else. And when I saw it, um, it was just, it, it completed that story for me because it took everything full circle.

[00:59:22] JAMES: a great

[00:59:22] point. Yeah, you that's a good point.

[00:59:24] JOSH: John, uh, really quick. I love the point that you made about, Cloud City and Lando and how, , that actually does show a way that, what, life under empire is really like which I think is very insightful. But the only thing that I'll say is that I think a lot of people miss that because a lot of people see Lando, not as the, like,, hero with , his back against the wall who has to make a hard, decision.

[00:59:43] uh, they see him as a bad guy and they blame him for, giving Han up.

[00:59:48] CHRIS: Well, and I think that makes a lot of sense in the context of these are the things that we cuz again, I, cuz I also agree, John, those are some really great points and some of which I hadn't considered before. And so I'm grateful for you for you sharing that, that perspective because it makes a lot of sense, but we all, you know, we all want to.

[01:00:04] Believe that we would do the, when, when faced with the situation, we'd do the right thing and, and you hear it all the time, right? Like we hear it when we, when we blame victims of abuse first staying in that relationship. We hear it when, um, when people talk about the Holocaust, well, why didn't they fight harder?

[01:00:21] You know, we hear about it in all of these different situations and UN unfortunately, we are now seeing it in real time in Ukraine, these people fighting for their lives. Um, and we'd like to think that that's a thing that we would do. But when you look at the history of our own country, you know, when you look at, um, what we've seen, what we saw during, uh, during the past, really the past 10 years and what action people are willing to take versus, Ooh, I could post about it on Facebook and I convert you signal.

[01:00:51] Um, you know, there are a lot of us who, who absolutely would. Make the choice that we, we think is the clear cut the clear cut, right answer. And it's easier to project onto other people. And especially when they're characters, right. It's easier to project onto land than to try and consider. Oh yeah. If I were in that situation, um, I don't know that that is, uh, uh, I don't know that I would have the wherewithal to do that.

[01:01:16] I don't even know that I would necessarily consider that the right decision, but it's easier when I can, when I can stand apart from it. And, um, and, and make those decisions. I recently read, um, star wars, age of rebellion by Greg pack. And, um, and there's a whole thing that, that, there's a whole story about Orlando, just trying to keep cloud city afloat because he can't afford, he can't afford to pay everybody, but he's got all these people he's responsible for which he does say in empire, there is dialogue that, that he says, you know, he, he is responsible for all these people now.

[01:01:48] so I think those are, those are great points that you brought up John, but I, I think that's why so many people have it, you know, find it easy to call out Lando and, and decide he's a villain. Uh, and we shouldn't paint him with a different brush. Um, you know, , we shouldn't paint him with a different brush because that's rewriting history.

[01:02:06] Uh, you know, he made a mistake and, uh, since we haven't gotten to it yet, and, and Jack posed the question, our little chat here. Yes, it is available on our sponsor, but not real sponsor hoopla

[01:02:15] JOE: Yeah.

[01:02:15] JAMES: Yes. That's what I was gonna say.

[01:02:16] CHRIS: age of rebellion available on hoopla.

[01:02:19] JAMES: yes. Thank you for doing the, uh, hoopla spot for this episode. Uh, Chris, we would, we remiss without going the episode without hoopla. Um, Joe, you've had your hand up for a while. Um, please

[01:02:27] respond.

[01:02:27] JOE: I mean, uh, Empire is my favorite Star Wars movie. Empire is one of my favorite movies of all time. I always use this, um, reference to the American film Institute. Has it 100 top films, but John, you made me realize something about Lando. I never realized before. Thank you for that. I didn't see him as the villain, but I didn't see him as the guy who lost everything either and how that would've affected him and how it did affect him.

[01:02:50] So that's a great point and it really illustrates, you know, the, the overreaching, uh, um, hand of the, of the empire and, uh, what they can do to just about everybody everywhere. So, uh, I thought that was a great point. And, um, I just, I just wanted to, you know, uh, reiterate that. I, I just think that, uh, empire also, when you think about empire, you think about Luke leaving.

[01:03:14] Uh, after the battle of Hoth, he leaves his friends and he goes off to Dagobah, right? So you see that separation there and, you know, you, you get this sense that people are going to, uh, are going to leave behind the familiar, the safe to, to, uh, you know, to, uh, if I can use this word Trek into new worlds. And, um, and, uh, he, of course he's gonna do to complete his training, but, um, that's what makes that film so great too, that, that just unknown that Luke is heading into.

[01:03:43] And, um, it's just, uh, again, I just love this film for so many reasons. And I know Jack, when I picked it as my favorite science fiction film, you were like, huh, but, uh, . Yeah, I'm just glad, I'm just so happy that, um, but all the ups and downs in Star Wars and the canon and all the films and books and novel, novel, and comics and whatever, I'm just so grateful.

[01:04:07] We got The Empire Strikes Back because it is a marvelous, marvelous film.

[01:04:11] JAMES: And as, as we, we touched before and many have touched upon, I mean, as groundbreaking film where it's a middle part of the story that you have to have a middle cause the, the good guys don't win in that one. It's it's uh, the foundation for many storytelling is if you know, more recently, um, infinity war is sort of Empire Strikes

[01:04:27] Back for the MCU. So it's, it's uh, groundbreaking storytelling. Um, I think we should, we talked about a little, we've been talking about a little bit in the side chat we've been having, um, we've talked about a lot of things with star wars, but in terms of like shaping the future of it or, or talking about the past of it, what would we say constitutes bad Star Wars at this point?

[01:04:47] JOE: The prequels,

[01:04:48] JAMES: The ques the ques is

[01:04:50] JOE: the prequels and The Last Jedi

[01:04:53] JAMES: okay.

[01:04:53] JOSH: oh my

[01:04:55] JAMES: All right. Well, let's see, we got all hands went up with this one. Um, so let's go, I think,

[01:04:59] JOSH: not mine.

[01:05:01] JAMES: um, alright, let's see here. Well, Josh, you, you, you seem to be speaking up first, any response.

[01:05:07] JOSH: no, no, I . I mean, um, I would say, uh, just really quickly, I would say, you know, when you're making Star Wars for star wars sake, um, I think you can do some interesting things, you know, rewarding long time fans with a mythology. I don't think, uh, what do they call it? Fan wank?

[01:05:28] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah.

[01:05:30] JOE: Okay.

[01:05:31] CHRIS: Yeah.

[01:05:32] JOSH: I think there are some really interesting story opportunities that you can do when you do have the benefit of such a, long running mythology.

[01:05:40] I'm not saying that that's never a good thing and you shouldn't, utilize the stories that you've already told. I think that that, presents some unique opportunities for really good stories, but when you don't have anything to say, and, you're just churning it out as product, I think, that makes for bad Star Wars.

[01:05:57] And again, I know that this is a personal thing. , but I think for me, it's really inseparable from the cinema of it all. And specifically, you know, 1970s, new Hollywood cinema with like a dash of the, the epics of the 1950s, I think is really, what a lot of that is, which for my money, I think that's why a lot of people find the prequels.

[01:06:23] A little bit, um, unpalatable, because aesthetically, they are such a divergence from, the cinematic language and the kind of ineffable qualities of like the film stock and the, the shots, uh, you know, what was possible. I keep thinking of, the opening shot of Revenge of the Sith is this one long shot where we follow these two star fighters, through this enormous space battle.

[01:06:48] And it's, it's cool. but that shot is impossible. Like there's, there's no way to really have captured that shot. And I think, on a subconscious level, I think, the viewer knows that. And so I think, just trying to imagine, okay, what fits within , the aesthetic of 1970s, filmmaking, but not limiting ourselves to what they could achieve, but how, how can we do what we want to do?

[01:07:15] knowing that we have all of the tools to do, basically whatever we want, but give some thought into how it's presented and how it still fits within the cinematic language that was established in the 1970s.

[01:07:28] JAMES: No, that's a good answer. That's a, that's a great answer, Josh. I mean, I looking at the prequels, I mean, I wonder if like part of the prequels, like I think the content was there. I think the, perhaps the, the dialogue for sure. And the execution of that content is the questionable part. Um, I had a lot, I mean, everyone jumped in at once, so I I'm gonna go.

[01:07:48] Um, John, Chris, Joe, and Jack. So, John, what, what are your thoughts?

[01:07:53] JOHN: So I think that, uh, what makes bad Star Wars, I mean, obviously anything can make bad Star Wars if you just, you know, uh, uh, have differing opinions on it. But for me, it was look looking at bad Star Wars. Isn't a singular identifiable problem. I think it's when there isn't a creative team working together, um, in a way that, uh, really enables all their skills.

[01:08:22] And I, and, and what I mean by that, that's sort of a vague criticism is that's where I look at episodes. One through three, clearly to me, that was George Lucas in charge as the ruler of the production. Um, and, and the stories, particularly from Liam neon illustrate that he had a vision. And it was his own vision.

[01:08:43] It was a new vision of how to direct a movie, what he wanted to see in it, particularly to appeal to his children who were about 10 years old at the time. But he. The scenes and took the act, took the actual gravitas of the acting out Liam neon, almost left acting after having that experience with him.

[01:09:02] And there's a lot of criticism. Oh, well, all those actors were so wooden Hayden Christiansen who probably lost his career because of those movies. ISS, not an awful actor. I don't know if he's a great actor, but he certainly wasn't given a chance because it's like every scene it was said, all right, can you make it blander?

[01:09:17] Can you take a little bit of energy out of that? And when you have actors saying that they're almost gonna leave the industry because of that, clearly it was because it was, there was nobody to say, Hey, maybe we need to take this in a little direction. And, uh, though this isn't directly related, I, I see, I saw the same problems with the director, Peter Jackson and the Hobbit movies where the talk is at.

[01:09:38] Well, he was basically the king of the set. Now the original movies there, he was working in an incredibly collaborative mindset. So I guess this is a long way of saying. If anything is done with any director and it's a good collaborative team, you're probably gonna get something pretty good out of it when it's just somebody's singular vision and they miss they miss big time.

[01:09:59] And in this case, sadly, George Lucas missed, he missed the acting. He missed the directing. Uh, um, and I do wonder how much of his original success came from the fact that he was, you know, really working closer with Spielberg. He was working closely with Williams, for the music.

[01:10:14] And that somebody like him might have been at his best when he was collaborating with other people. And that's that's, to me, what I see in the best, the Star Wars films, and what makes the worst really the worst is when you're just. It's just, it, it doesn't have that same magic and maybe that's because star wars in order to have all that appeal from the story to the aesthetics requires all these different people and pieces moving into it.

[01:10:39] And if you don't have that, it's gonna, it's gonna fail.

[01:10:43] JAMES: I mean, it's such a big world. I mean, I think collaboration is the key in accepting input. Like George did in the first trilogy is, is a real key to good star wars making. I mean, if you look at like what they're doing with the Mandalorian, there's a lot of input there from a lot of sources.

[01:10:56] CHRIS: Yeah. Um, I echo absolutely what John said about, I think you need all the pieces to be, um, you need the pieces all to, to, to really work together. They need to be able to work in concert. And I think, um, you know, also, uh, what Josh said, you know, making Star wars For Star Wars sake is a mistake. So I think bad Star Wars, there, there are things that I have come to appreciate about the prequels in light of shows like, uh, Clone wars and rebels, because it's a more complete picture.

[01:11:24] And so even though those movies don't necessarily for me stand on their own, when I look at the rest of the canon, there are things that I appreciate. So I, I, for me, there are bad parts of. Um, but I don't, you know, I, for me, the only bad quote, bad Star Wars movie is, is, um, rise of Skywalker. And that's because I, so like The Last Jedi in the direction, which they were headed and it felt like a very hard U-turn away from that.

[01:11:49] And also the fact that Palpatine is still alive. It feels a lot like an undoing of what happened in the original trilogy and that's its all other conversation. But um, I think what really makes bad star wars is when you take on something like star wars, you know, it's, it's a big commitment because there's a lot of history there, but also because so much is, is woven into the tapestry of Star Wars in that original trilogy.

[01:12:14] We talk about the samurai films. We talk about the westerns. We talk about world war II. Um, you know, the, the, the dog fights in the air, there's so much that's and of course, jokes of Campbell. Um, there's so much woven into that tapestry to make it work that when you decide to take on a project of that size, right.

[01:12:34] If you are not up to the challenge, uh, of, of weaving those various elements together, you end up with half a tapestry and, and so it's, it's loosely woven. It doesn't actually look the way it's supposed to look. You know, you need a tight weave on that for, to accomplish its goal. And so I think that's where we run into bad star wars is when you forget the elements of the Western, you know, in our Western episode, if you haven't given it a listen, shout out, go listen.

[01:12:59] Oh wait, that may, that may be later. We have a Western episode. If it's up, go look at it or go listen to it.

[01:13:04] Joe brings up a great point in that episode about how the character, the city or the place in which it happens, the, the landscape is a character. So I think that star wars, when it's done for star wars sake is very milk toast.

[01:13:16] I think it's a very milk toast universe. It's in space. It's, it's people, mostly in space and, and, and peop and aliens who look like people in space. And that's very, very milk toast. It's very dull. So you've really gotta dig deep into, okay, why is this, why are we on this planet? Is it, is it its own character?

[01:13:34] Um, what elements of the samurai film are you, are you bringing into in, are you bringing into this movie, you know, um, are, are we going to see battles in space? And if we're not gonna see the dog fights, why not? So I think that the, the bad star wars is the star wars that, that underestimates just how much goes into it.

[01:13:52] It's like any writer who writes themselves into a corner, if you're not able to write yourself out. Yeah. It might have been a tough situation to write yourself out of. But you're the one who got yourself there. So now you have to get yourself out of it. That's why I'm so impressed with a show, like the good place.

[01:14:05] If you haven't seen the good place, it's brilliant. It's fun. And they keep writing themselves into corners and then writing themselves out. So I think if you take on something like star wars, it is deceptive in how small it, you might think it is. It's huge. And there's so many elements that you need to bring together for it to be good.

[01:14:21] Star Wars.

[01:14:22] JOE: Great point, Chris.

[01:14:23] JAMES: That's great blank, Chris. Excellent. Um, Joe, what were you gonna say about it?

[01:14:28] JOE: Well, I simply put bad Star Wars' bad filmmaking, you know, bad acting, bad, directing bad conent storytelling. I use prequels and, um, you know, Lucas was too close. The material he needed another voice maybe Lucas should have, should have done what Ivan Reitman did by bringing Akroyd's script to Ramis before they filmed Ghostbusters.

[01:14:49] Right. So, um,

[01:14:51] JOSH: I think he literally should have brought it to Harold Ramis.

[01:14:54] JOE: yeah, really, right?

[01:14:56] JAMES: Yeah, he shoulda,

[01:14:57] CHRIS: I appreciate the really awkward silence after Josh finished saying that, and everyone went ha.

[01:15:05] JOE: No, that's, that's wanted to say it's, uh, you know, uh, like anything else, it's a film and, uh, you, you need to, uh, to pay attention to. As Chris said, it's so vast. Uh, he was, he must have been out there on a, on an island alone seems seemingly uh, when he made those films. And that was just a, um, a tactical error that he made.

[01:15:26] And, um, he paid for it in my estimation.

[01:15:29] JAMES: yeah, no, I, I agree. I mean, I agree with that. I mean, the he's, I mean, he said it, I mean, he said, I, you know, I think Josh, you told me this too, like he said, that dialogue was not his primary thing. I mean, I think the, one of the biggest things with, with the prequels is the dialogue. That's the issue.

[01:15:41] Um, and, and now realizing that the actors were not allowed to act to their full capacity though. I think he and McGregor is doing his best job. To be as much of an actor as he can. Um, he's the, the, the superstar, I guess, out of the prequels is, is Obi-Wan. Um, Jack. Yeah. Jack. You wanted to respond

[01:15:59] JACK: So I think we can all universally agree, including you, Josh, that the Holiday Special is, um, absolutely, definitively Star Wars. So let's, let's, let's just get that out the way.

[01:16:13] JOSH: uh, co-sign I

[01:16:14] JOHN: Is it possibly so bad that it's good though.

[01:16:17] JACK: I don't think it's boomeranged around

[01:16:19] CHRIS: Damn it, John. I knew, I knew that was a thing that you were gonna say

[01:16:23] JACK: we, we, we need, we need another 30 years before it can swing back around to actually be considered good. Um, with respect to the, the prequels, I'm not saying they're good. Um, I will say I don't. Consider them bad. I consider them one person singular vision. And that I think is in the problem, um, in, in the same way that George, I, I look at it very similar to George Lucas and, you know, J. Michael Straczynski with Babylon 5.

[01:16:53] I mean, it could have gone either way. And the problem is I think the hubris of, of George Lucas at the time was he didn't recognize that he probably needed someone to come in and restrain some of his crazy ideas. He, with respect to filmmaking, those movies actually did a lot with respect to digital filmmaking.

[01:17:14] I mean, uh, the technology and the ideas that he had, I think were on par with some of the work that he had wanted to do. I think he was trying to do visually what he had done for sound with THX, um, and. It became a muddled mess. From what I understand, what he was emulating is Dr. Zhivago uh, in filming the prequels, uh, trying to capture that love story and the time of war didn't quite work out so well, but on some level I can't criticize Star Wars for reinventing the wheel and then criticize George for at least trying to do something different.

[01:17:49] So I'm willing to accept those prequels, at least as one person's vision. For me, I think it really starts to break down is when you do get into some of the animated, uh, shows, and, and again, I think rebels, uh, is trying to build on the cache of Clone Wars. Uh, it's almost entirely, this sounds ironic cuz it's animated, but it's almost entirely just a kid's cartoon.

[01:18:13] Doesn't really seem to have many, much stakes. And then again, they're trying to bring in, you know, Tron in there and so that's where it starts to get messy. And then spoiler, I

[01:18:22] CHRIS: forward to fighting with you on another episode about that, Jack

[01:18:24] JACK: Oh, oh, oh, I, yeah, gauntlet thrown, gauntlet Um, but, but, but, and, and, and, and so for those who haven't seen the animated, uh, series, um, you know, spoiler Ahsoka Tano dies, um, but they

[01:18:37] bring

[01:18:38] JOE: lot, Jack. I haven't seen

[01:18:39] JACK: well, but, but obviously she didn't because then she appears in the Mandalorian because again, and, and I think this kind of goes back to, you know, what Chris was saying earlier is this is where star wars starts to get very comic book.

[01:18:51] Like, um, and, and, and so that's where I start to become disgusted, um, with the franchise, because you tell a story and, you know, the actual episode where. The event happened was very touching. Um, you know, they create this new character, whole cloth, um, you know, who is, you know, uh, Padawan to, to Anakin Skywalker.

[01:19:14] Um, but they sell it. You can buy into it. You said, okay, fine. Maybe we never heard of her. Maybe we'd never seen her, but I'm willing to go along for a ride and then something happens and then they change their mind later on. And, and again, so I that's where I say, I, I can't stomach it. Um,

[01:19:31] CHRIS: It's just, it's just such a shame because I, Jack has been such a great guest. It's a shame. He's not gonna be able to do any more episodes after

[01:19:37] JACK: this has

[01:19:45] JAMES: Uh, well, you know, that's Jack's opinion.

[01:19:50] JOE: That's fine.

[01:19:51] JAMES: a whole other episode there.

[01:19:53] JACK: In the words of The Big Lebowski, hey, that's kind of like your opinion, man.

[01:19:59] JAMES: Um, but so John, I would like you to weigh in with your final thoughts,

[01:20:02] JOHN: well, I think, I mean, this has been amazing in, in so many ways, because I think as I said earlier, I think what is star wars is answered just by what we're doing here. Uh, it's it, what star wars is, is it's something that inspires us to think and inspires, uh, uh, joy and interest and, uh, amusement. Um, and that's, and that's really, I think that's the greatest legacy that, that Lucas and everybody involved in it has given us is that we're talking about it decades and decades later.

[01:20:33] We want more of it, uh, even if we're gonna be critical of it. Um, and, uh, that's that's, to me, what star wars really, really is a mythology that talks to so many of us and we get to talk endlessly about it and really nerd out and have fun with it. And that's here. With, you know, with us with the next generation, uh, uh, the different mediums, whether it's movies or TV or the toys or anything else.

[01:21:02] And, uh, it's why I think that even, even with, um, what's been going lately, I, I think that stars, wars has legs left in it. I think we're gonna be surprised by what comes, uh, uh, in the future. Uh, and I'm still excited and here for it.

[01:21:16] JOE: I agree.

[01:21:17] JAMES: I agree. Josh, what are your final thoughts about what is Star Wars as we've discussed it so far?

[01:21:24] JOSH: I really enjoyed this conversation. I of course agree with, John I've always said my favorite thing about Star Wars is talking about Star Wars. So, um, I mean, you'll get no argument from me. And Joe, , I think you put it, very succinctly. Um, when you said, What makes bad star wars is bad filmmaking?

[01:21:39] I, I mean, I think you might be right. I think, I, I think it it's, just as simple as that, when it all comes down to it. and, Jack, what you said about the prequels I'm of a similar mind as you? I don't have it in me to hate them. I appreciate them for obviously not, not only what they did for, cinema and, the language of filmmaking, the technology of filmmaking.

[01:22:00] I think, you know, what it did for filmmaking is on par with what the original Star Wars. Did for filmmaking, but, um, unfortunately, for a whole slew of reasons, it's legacy is, I would say largely a negative one compared to the original trilogy though, though. I think, perhaps that's, being reevaluated somewhat I know John's not here to respond, but, who does star wars belong to? I agree. Yes, of course. when you put something out into the world to be experienced, by an audience, at some point stops becoming yours, but, , you know, George Lucas is free to put his vision out there.

[01:22:33] And I think, if you ask him, , those movies are exactly what he wanted them to be he said, you know, I think somewhat. tongue in cheek, but I think he, he means it, he said a couple years ago, Jar Jar is his favorite character. you know, so, so, uh, so I think that, um, I really think what is star wars?

[01:22:55] I think star wars is something unique to every person.

[01:22:59] JAMES: That's a

[01:23:00] JOE: perfect. That's

[01:23:01] JAMES: that's it? That's it. That's

[01:23:02] great. Yeah.

[01:23:03] JOE: Well, I I'd like to weigh in on something. We were talking about offline before we started with Jack. And, um, as I said, I got, I had just recently finished the fourth episode of, uh, of the fed gathering. And, um, I would just, I, I was, I was blown away by that episode and cause I went into something we don't want, you know, uh, talking about the, uh, the prequels, but uh, uh, just hate those films.

[01:23:28] But you know, um, what I saw in that, in that episode of above a effect was, um, his man doesn't wanna be a button man anymore. Doesn't wanna, he wasn't doesn't wanna have his strings pulled by the, uh, by the, uh, the elite up. Um, Boba Gett is Don Corleone to me right now. And, um, you know, uh, he wants to do what's good for business, for personal gain.

[01:23:50] He wants to take out those PIs cause the PIs are Thetas, uh, in, in, in that episode or in this, in this world. And I will do I'm justs wondering Jack, if the Pikes are at Tatas, as anybody else gonna show up who are gonna be the Baris, remember that's who the Baris are. That that was, uh, the Godfather's main nemesis.

[01:24:08] Not that Thetas cuz atta was a punk, as he said, but I'm just enjoying the

[01:24:13] JOSH: all

[01:24:14] JOE: It was Barzini all along. Right. So I'm just down for the rest of this, uh, Boba Fett, um, series. I, I I'm enjoying the hell out of it.

[01:24:21] JOSH: love you, Joe.

[01:24:22] JOE: thanks.

[01:24:25] JACK: So, um, I, I did wanna touch on what, what, uh, Joe said with respect to, to Star Wars and, and again, um, my thought and in kind of looking, um, because, you know, it's, you can't actually see the original script. I think people have made comic books of it. Um, it's out there and available, I think, um, you know, as George was writing it.

[01:24:44] He leaned heavily on, on, you know, Francis Ford Coppola and I think Francis probably said, Hey, George, what are you doing? You gotta make it a, it's gotta be about a family. That's, that's what really matters. And, and exactly. And, and so in many ways I consider star wars, you know, a very, very close cousin to the godfather.

[01:25:05] I mean, it basically tells about lineage. It tells about relationships. It tells about trust. It tells about betrayal redemption. All of this is kind of contained in there. Um, that exactly that I don't think George in his original script was able to see. And I think in talking to, uh, various other people, that's what came out and I think that's what make it resonate as, as much as it does.

[01:25:30] Um, and almost to its detriment because then, you know, the prequels and then the following, you know, Sequels, uh, trilogy also then kept trying to recreate that, that one aspect of it all. And, and no one, I think has been daring enough to try to tell a different story. Um, but in many ways I do feel that, um, you know, to, uh, to Joe's point is, yeah, in, in many ways that's another aspect of star wars that we haven't literally discussed, uh, in this conversation.

[01:26:00] But I think that is what made it such a driving force. I mean, you have, you know, uh, all of those interrelationships and they matter, um, in the course of the story, um, I, I think they were just now too afraid to move away from that.

[01:26:14] JAMES: absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Uh, Chris.

[01:26:18] CHRIS: I just, I, yeah, I did. I appreciated all the, the different, uh, perspectives. I liked it. We all pick up on, on different things. That is one of the, the great parts of, of Star Wars and why I think it's so important that, that, um, so much of it be, be. So many different elements be interwoven together because there's some, there should be something for everybody I think.

[01:26:37] And, and, um, you know, maybe we don't love the entire product, but there's, there's plenty of it that we, that we can relate to, that we do enjoy. Um, you know, and, and I also wanna say that, you know, this is, I think this has been a really, really great experience, the back and forth that there are obviously things on which we disagree and, uh, you know, in, in person, we probably break out into our little side groups to, uh, to debate certain things.

[01:27:01] Um, but you know, this is, this is also not for nothing. This is the experience that for, for people who don't know about the mint condition culture that, you know, that we really, really loved about being in mint condition was this idea of, of having these kinds of debates. And they were impromptu more often than not.

[01:27:18] Um, but it was such a joy to be part of these, these conversations and, and feel like we were being heard, but also debate these things and, and, and maybe learn something new about 'em. You know, there's a lot that I know about Star Wars and I consider myself a Star Wars fan, but you know, then I get to hear five different people, each, each offer of viewpoints or new information that I didn't have before, which, which, you know, rounds out my own knowledge a little bit more.

[01:27:42] Um, and finally I've been informed off air that, uh, that I will no longer be a coast of this podcast, but Jack will. So I look forward to being a, a guest in the future and, uh, and you know, that's all blood under the bridge, Jack. It's all fine. So I look forward to being a guest at some point. Thank you.

[01:27:56] JOE: That's great. Good, good, great, Chris. Great.

[01:28:01] JAMES: well, I, I just wanna say that this is, this is, yeah, this is a, this is Mint Condition. And this is what I was uh, hoping for from this conversation. I, I knew the topic of what his Star War would generate, lots of conversation back and forth disagreements on, on this and that, but, uh, that this is how the store was.

[01:28:18] So I'm just very grateful that we all were able to make this work and be part of what I really feel is probably the first part of diving into it. Cuz now we have to have a rebels discussion and a prequel discussion. So there's lots of star wars stuff now on the table, but to end things and I know I didn't, again, Josh, I didn't prepare you or Jack for this, but we'll wrap up with some quick recommendations for the audience.

[01:28:39] Um, so I'm just gonna put my guests on the spot. So Josh, you got any recommendations for the audience to listen, to read or consume this week?

[01:28:48] JOSH: Yes, two movies, The Eyes of Laura Mars, which is directed by Irvin. Kershner, the movie he directed right before The Empire Strikes Back. That stars, , Fay Dunaway, and Tommy Lee Jones, and a bunch of, other, familiar faces, it's kind of a supernatural thriller that was written by John Carpenter of all people.

[01:29:06] And I had no idea what to expect. I absolutely loved this movie from top to bottom. I thought it was so good. I watched it in preparation for, , the podcast we did on Trash Compactor that was focused on The Empire Strikes Back. And I'm so glad that I did, because it really shows how Ivin Kushner's particular skills as a director.

[01:29:25] really, elevate what. In a lesser director's hands could be kind of schlocky, material. the other movie I will direct is, Eye of the Needle, the film that Richard Marquand who directed Return of the Jedi directed right before Return of the Jedi. It's actually what got him the job.

[01:29:43] it's kind of a world war II, , spy thriller it's, sort of like, um, a, more of a popcorn, Tinker Tailor Soldier, Spy vibe, I watched that, to prep for the, uh, podcast we're doing on, Return of the Jedi and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

[01:29:58] So, those are my two, uh, recent, uh, recommendations things. I've been enjoying Eyes of Laura Mars, and Eye of the Needle.

[01:30:05] JAMES: Excellent Josh

[01:30:06] JOSH: the two eyes. That's weird. didn't,

[01:30:09] I didn't.

[01:30:09] CHRIS: Thanks for sharing Josh.

[01:30:10] JAMES: No, that, that was excellent. Uh, Jack, you got anything for people to check out?

[01:30:15] JACK: yes, so I, I finally finished, um, lost in space. And so, um, I, I thought it was a satisfying ending. Um, you know, um, it kind of wrapped

[01:30:23] JOE: no spoilers, no spoilers.

[01:30:25] JACK: None at all. They wrapped things a bit quicker than, uh, I, I would've liked, but I, I think it was a good, fair, um, kind of ending. Um, and another thing, and I, I did mention this during our, um, science fiction episode, but there's a show on Netflix called travelers that I, I really liked.

[01:30:41] I watched it a few years ago. Um, and periodically I, I go back to it and the basic premise is, um, people from the future travel back to the past, um, you know, to try to make the future a better place. And so it has a lot of 12 monkeys vibe to it. Um, I think it's a lot less dark, a lot more fun. Um, but it, it raises some really interesting, uh, questions about free will.

[01:31:05] Um, obviously since it's time travel predestination, um, and it's, it's just kind of a, a really. Quirky, uh, science fiction show, uh, that's was on for, for three seasons. Uh, I enjoyed all of it. And so if you're just looking to, to watch something to really get into it, uh, something that doesn't really require that much thought, but it's kind of fun.

[01:31:26] Um, I would recommend, um, you know, travelers and, and just like we were saying earlier, they write themselves into a corner and you say, there's no way they can get out of this. And yet they find a way. So, uh, it's pretty.

[01:31:36] JAMES: Excellent. I will check that out. I, I you've mentioned that to me before, so definitely wanna check that

[01:31:39] CHRIS: Great. Thank you, Jack. That's

[01:31:40] JAMES: Yeah. Um, Chris, what do you got for, for the audience this week?

[01:31:44] CHRIS: Sure. Um, so I just finished rereading Neil Gaiman's the graveyard book and, uh, I adore it if you haven't read it, it's, um, it's a take on the jungle book, but, um, but I just, I love Neil Gayman and, and the graveyard book in particular, um, was the inspiration for my first tattoo. So if you haven't read it, I think, um, anything, I, I really enjoy everything.

[01:32:04] Neil Gaman writes, but, uh, but the graveyard book is a nice. but, um, I think also if you're a parent, it can really, it can really hit you right in the field. So, um, so that's one suggestion I've got. And, uh, and currently I am on episode six of the fourth season of young justice, and I know Joe and I still have to throw down on that a little bit, but, uh, but I really, I really love young justice.

[01:32:26] I think it is the best, uh, DC animated series since Batman, the animated series. And that's, for me, that's really saying something, cuz I think there's been some, some really good stuff out there, but I think young justice is, um, is just outstanding. So, uh, I think those were my I'm, I'm very slow to consume right now.

[01:32:42] Cause I'm doing a lot of like what I call work related reading. Um, but I would, so I don't, I don't have a comic right now to, to suggest either outside of, um, stars, star wars, age of the rebellion, uh, which I think I mentioned, uh, previously, but, um, but yeah, those are my, those are my suggestions, my recommendations.

[01:32:59] JAMES: Yeah, that's good stuff. I love the graveyard book too. Chrisa that's great. Um, excellent. Uh, Joe, what do you got for the audience? This.

[01:33:06] JOE: Well, I, Chris just gave me a great segueway, cuz my recommendation is for Chris this week and he just

[01:33:11] mentioned 2, 2, 2 animated series. One that I despise and one that I love and I love Batman, the animated adventures. And Chris, I just got in the mail the other day, the volume season one, Batman, the adventures continue it's if, if this, the, uh, if they had continued on, uh, the animated adventures on, uh, on TV, this would've been the next season and it's uh, from a digital series.

[01:33:34] It's the first eight issues. And it's, uh, beautifully rendered by, uh, uh, Ty Templeton. And it's written by Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, the show runners and the writers of the show. So I think you would like this and I'm, I'm sure it's on our favorite, uh, platform, James.

[01:33:49] JAMES: It is, it

[01:33:50] JOE: So I highly recommend it.

[01:33:51] CHRIS: Okay. No, that's great. Bad, man. The adventures continue. Thank you very much. I mean, you're, you're still wrong about young justice, but this is great. Thank you.

[01:33:58] JOE: you're welcome, Chris.

[01:33:59] JAMES: Um, and my recommendation since, uh, Josh is here, I can, I guess I'll sort of tease this, but I'm rereading the dark empire trilogy from the original dark horse comics, but now in the, uh, Marvel digital copy. So, uh, in doing that in preparation for a future Trash Compactor episode where we're talking Dark Empire, um, and at the time of this recording, , Ivan Reitman has recently passed away.

[01:34:22] You've listened to our Ghostbusters episode, but because of Ivan's passing and, and my wife had not seen it, we watched Dave this weekend

[01:34:29] JOSH: Oh, great movie.

[01:34:30] JOE: Good movie.

[01:34:30] JAMES: yeah, Dave is a beautiful movie.

[01:34:33] JOE: Hmm.

[01:34:33] JAMES: Excellent. Done. I think it's, I think Jason Wrightman said it's, it's his favorite of his father's catalog

[01:34:38] JOSH: Oh really?

[01:34:38] JAMES: this past. Yeah. but yeah. So if you haven't seen Dave see Dave, I think, especially during these political times, maybe it, it gives a sense of, of wish fulfillment or hope, but, uh, but, uh, go see Dave and that that's, uh, that's all the recommendations I have for this week.

[01:34:53] I wanna, uh, thank every everyone for being here. Um, and, and all our guests. Um, Jack, thank you for being here and, and giving all of your feedback and knowledge on the subject of star wars. We definitely appreciate it.

[01:35:08] JACK: Oh, you're more than welcome. Thank you. it's my pleasure. Please have me back. Sorry, Chris. I didn't mean to offend

[01:35:14] CHRIS: No, no, no. I'm looking forward to you being a new cohost there, Jack, and, uh, you know, again, blood under the bridge, I'm looking forward to being a.

[01:35:22] JAMES: And Josh, thank you for being here. Um, and please, if you could also, once again, plug, plug your podcast and, and every anywhere else people can find you.

[01:35:31] JOSH: Oh, no. Sure. It's a pleasure to be here. I always love, to be back in mint. uh, yes, I do a podcast called Trash Compactor: A Star Wars Podcast, and it's and trashcompod across all social media. If you search for us on Spotify or apple like dunes or whatever, your podcast platform of choice, it comes up.

[01:35:50] And, , we are officially launching in may though. We did, , kind of a soft launch, last month where we reviewed episodes of Book of Boba Fett week by week as they came out. So those are still up. And, hope I can, come back in May to plug the launch for season one of Trash Compactor.

[01:36:09] JAMES: Of course, of course. And at some point, Josh, this year you're gonna come back and defend Star Trek, The Motion Picture to Jack and Joe.

[01:36:15] JOE: Oh, yeah. Oh, that's the big, that's gonna be the big, the big dust.

[01:36:18] Oh yes.

[01:36:20] CHRIS: Getting my popcorn.

[01:36:21] JOSH: as, soon as the new 4k director's edition drops on paramount. Plus I, you give me , the time and the place and I am there. I'm ready.

[01:36:29] JOE: I'm bringing a

[01:36:30] JACK: Okay.

[01:36:31] JOE: one.

[01:36:32] JOSH: wrong franchise, my friend. That's

[01:36:33] not, that's cheating. That's cheating. That's cheating. That's cheating. You

[01:36:37] JOE: is fair.

[01:36:39] JOSH: that's that's cheating

[01:36:41] JAMES: See you see, we're getting a little snippet of that, so

[01:36:43] JOSH: about doomsday machine.

[01:36:44] You can bring a doomsday machine. How

[01:36:46] JOE: All I'll bring, I'll bring a, doomsday I'll try to find another one.

[01:36:49] JOSH: All.

[01:36:50] JAMES: so that's a good preview for the future. , thank Joe for you being here.

[01:36:55] JOE: I'm honored to be, part of such a luminary cast of, uh, pop culture enthusiast. This is, this is great. This is

[01:37:01] JOSH: Yeah. Yeah. These are a ton of fun.

[01:37:03] JAMES: And Chris, thank you for being here.

[01:37:05] CHRIS: Oh, my pleasure. This was, this was, this was a great time. And, um, again, you know, I think I, I enjoy all of our episodes, but, uh, this is one of those episodes that really felt like Mint Condition. So thank you everybody for being here.

[01:37:17] JOSH: uh, Chris. So when are you, putting your name change through for a name that starts with, uh, J

[01:37:22] CHRIS: you know, it's funny, I mentioned this to, to, to, I think James, when we were chatting or maybe it was Joe, but, uh, but, but yeah, no, I mean, I'll, I'll, I'll think of something. I just don't know what it

[01:37:32] JOSH: well, so, Chris, Christopher, I guess the J uh, to go along with that would be Jesus, I guess you could be Jesus or Jesus.

[01:37:39] CHRIS: that feels like a really presumptuous change on my part, but I, you know, I mean, if the shoe fits, I don't know what to tell you.

[01:37:46] JOE: Chris Chris,

[01:37:47] JOSH: I don't,

[01:37:48] I don't know of

[01:37:49] any Jenn.

[01:37:51] JOE: Yeah. Chris, Jen from The Expanse.

[01:37:52] CHRIS: to be fair. I love Christian and I would've. Absolutely. If I could have like, even a fraction of her, her, her sass and her smarts, I would take it every day of the damn week.

[01:38:02] JOE: I love I'm enjoying the of that right now.

[01:38:05] JAMES: Uh, so thank you for Thank you, Joe Jack, Josh, John, and Chris, for, for this episode of, of Mint Condition. as always, if you would like to respond to anything we've said here, you can find us on the Facebook page, Secret Origins of Mint Condition. You could also find us on Instagram, SecretOriginsMC and SecretOriginsmC is the Gmail where you can email us your thoughts, questions, things you're hoping to see in the future from us. And we thank you for listening and we will talk to you soon.


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Sometimes I make things.

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Artist/Wellness Expert/Podcaster

Host of THE SECRET ORIGINS OF MINT CONDITION podcast, featuring the kinds of discussions you used to have in your local comic shop.