I want George Lucas to be awesome again. I don't know if he can be, and I certainly don't expect a project like Indiana Jones 4 to be the film to do it, but I want the old man to find his magic again. For the last several years it's been geek-vogue to slam George Lucas, and yours truly has been no exception. And yet occasionally I pause to remember how much I love the man, and how much the geek community at large owes to his creative genius. I encourage you to remember the way you used to feel about Star Wars before the new trilogy. It's easy to hate the man for taking away our love, but we should remember he is the one who gave it to us in the first place.
Maybe George Lucas has grown fat and lazy on his own excess. Maybe the rich old man is too far removed from the edgy creative youth which brought us the struggles of the heroic rebellion fighting the Galactic Empire. If I had to place bets, I'd wager on it being so. But perhaps the edgy, creative George Lucas still exists somewhere beneath the layers of CGI and dollar bills. If he does still exist, the best way for him to re-emerge would probably not be to continue on producing huge blockbuster movies with zillion dollar budgets. Who knows, maybe the best way to bring him back is with the smaller, shorter, more experimental flicks he's talked about lately. Do I expect a re-awakening of the George of old? Not if I'm being honest with myself. What's probably going to happen is Lucas will continue making big budget flicks like his forthcoming Indiana Jones, and meanwhile segue into television projects like the upcoming Star Wars TV show. His "new" mentality will probably look nearly identical to the last several projects he's done, only in a slightly different medium. Big money and a passel of people who continue to tell you "yes, George, you're such a genius," tend to have that effect. But am I willing to give up on one of the godfathers of cinematic geekdom? No, not yet. Because if the man could ever get his stuff together again, who knows what he could create.
From George Lucas to one of his chief descendants; one of the leaders in the new generation of American film geekdom -- Joss Whedon. While Lucas hit big with feature films, Whedon build a name for himself on the backs of the popular television series' Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Like Lucas before him, Whedon has built a veritable army of dedicated followers. For a time, it seemed as though anything Whedon touched turned into gold. Heck, even his "failed" television series met with such vocal fan support it revived itself in the form of a feature film.
But, sadly, the film failed, and even some of his own fans were disappointed by the effort. Whedon these days is tied up with his continual efforts to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen -- a project many are already casting doubt upon. The poor man admits to being mentally fatigued, and doesn't really have time to stop and catch his figurative breath.
Here's the deal for me when it comes to Joss Whedon: I've never been a big fan of his work, but I love the guy and what he means to the community. In many ways he is the opposite of modern George Lucas. His finger is smack on the pulse of the people he creates for, he constantly listens and responds to the desires of his fans, and he truly seems to love creating for the sake of creating. His boundless energy and enthusiasm is just what I'd love to see from every director in Hollywood, and I've often said other directors should be insanely jealous of the relationship Whedon has with his fans.
Yeah, Serenity was kind of a bummer. Okay, so I don't really expect much from a Wonder Woman movie either because, honestly, I just don't really care for Wonder Woman. But I'd love for Whedon to come out swinging and really knock the film out of the park because I think Hollywood needs more people like him, and it'd be a true shame if he slipped into mediocrity after such a powerful beginning to his career. Wonder Woman may not be the movie to do it, but don't count Joss Whedon out yet. The man is simply too creative and willful to go quietly into that good night.
Maybe I'll never see another engaging, edgy project from the once great George Lucas. And maybe Joss Whedon burned himself out early, or was perhaps even overrated from the beginning. Lucas has a stronger geek pedigree -- no matter which way you cut it, Star Wars has significantly more importance than Buffy -- but he has also dug himself a much deeper hole. Whedon had one failed (but still loved) television series and a mediocre movie to bounce back from, while Lucas has taken the most popular sci-fi movie franchise in history into a straight free-fall. What do you expect from these two greats as we slide into the next generation of science fiction on film?