Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Origami Yoda, Chris Flemish, Star Wars, and Letting Go

First and foremost, I want to thank the universe that all my loved ones (and internet literary friend types) on the eastern seaboard are safe. Not everyone made it, and even for those who did survive, there is still plenty of struggle ahead. You are in our thoughts and meditations.

Now, to today's blog post, can you tell what that it up there? It's an Origami Yoda! I don't know whether it relates to the book, but I don't really care, I think it's awesome.

It was a gift from my friend Chris Flemish. Chris just recently released his debut work of fiction. The Devil's Whorehouse lies short of novella but long of short story, and is a work of horror. I had the honor to critique this tale before it went to Chris' editor, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

However, it was an interesting experience, as these things often are, because I really didn't know Chris, and moreover, because English is not his native language. Chris and I met on Facebook, because we are both friends and fans of Andrew Smith, and after a while we got to talking, and he asked if I would read his story. It sounded intriguing, so I agreed.

It needed some work, but the underlying plot was awesome. Chris hadn't really asked for a critique, so I was nervous about giving him one (we all know how these things can go), but when I did, he took it very well, and thanked me.

In fact, I think this Yoda he sent me is is thanks for the feedback I gave him. Or maybe it's just for the friendship, either way, congrats on your release, Chris!

Disney buys Lucasfilm

In goofier news, Disney has purchased Lucasfilm for some 4 plus Billion (with a B) dollars. Does that photo not make your inner child as sad as it does mine? It seems to make George sad too (look at his face).

There's been plenty of discussion on the internet about this, most opinions leaning toward thinking it's a good thing, and I'm not here to disagree with them, but I do want to talk about Star Wars, sadness, and leaving well enough alone.

I was born in 1977. I was 5 years old when The Empire Strikes back was released, and I have been a dyed-in-the-wool Star Wars fan and geek ever since. My eldest daughter was three years old when I took her to the premiere of Episode I in 1999. I was disappointed, of course, but she loved it, and we slogged our way through the poorly written, terribly performed remainder of the trilogy without shedding too many tears.

Looking back today, and being a bit of a creative person myself, I have to wonder: when should we just leave well enough alone? J.K. Rowling seems to know how to do it. Yes there were 8 movies, and there are toys and video games, and there are heaps of money, but none of it has tainted Harry Potter for my children (or me). But Lucas never seemed to be able to let go of Star Wars.

I'm not saying I blame him, I don't. Had I been in his position, I probably wouldn't have been able to let it go either. And I'm not even sure I would have completely wanted him to. After all, where would die-hard Star Wars fans be without properties like Knights of the Old Republic, The Force Unleashed, and Fanboys?

Would I trade those games and films for an alternate history where the prequel trilogy was never made? I don't know. Maybe. What about one where the prequel trilogy was done right? I'm not sure, but probably.

Anyway, the bottom line here is that I'm not sure how I feel about Disney buying Lucasfilm and making Star Wars VII. I'm still pretty mad at George for selling out my childhood, but like John Scalzi, I'm willing to accept that it's probably a good thing.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have to agree. I didn't like the second set of three movies either. Even when Lucas did Willow, he was still pining for Star Wars. I don't think he'll ever let it go.
The Yoda Chris sent you is really cool.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That paper Yoda is very cool. I can't even make a convincing looking paper airplane, so I'm very impressed.

Maybe I should learn to do origami, then I can send agents likenesses of themselves with my query. That's bound to get me an offer of representation. :D

Cute Disney photo. I don't know, maybe having those guys act in the next trilogy might improve things. My kids might actually watch it. Much to my husband's utter dismay, they weren't impressed with Star Wars. lol

S.P. Bowers said...

Love the Yoda!

Thanks for your thoughts on this interesting StarWars news. They echo mine pretty well. My hubby is still in shock.

Christine Danek said...

That Yoda is awesome. My hubby and I are fans. I have to agree the first set was better than the second (especially Episode 1). I saw A New Hope in theaters, yes I'm that old. That movie changed my life. I'm not sure how I feel about this Disney business.

Nick Wilford said...

Chris seems highly talented. That's one cool piece of origami!

The second pic is highly disturbing. Can't say I'm holding my breath for Episode 7, but maybe they have learned lessons from the prequel trilogy.

maine character said...

Awesome origami!

And about Star Wars and Disney, that photo sums up my queasy gut.

But they did do Wall-E and Pirates of the Caribbean, so who knows what will happen? Maybe it'll be like Young Indiana Jones, which didn't suck, and maybe like the remade Battlestar Galactica, which was awesome.

The thing is, we'll get more Star Wars to choose from, and with Lucas putting it in the hands of new directors (like Irwin Kirshner with Empire), there's a chance for new life.

JeffO said...

Origami Yoda, or mummified Yoda-in-a-jar? Pretty cool stuff.

What really struck me about the Lucas-Disney deal was Lucas's statement in the press release. Everything he said was about Star Wars. LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic (and isn't that one of the greatest names ever?), etc., have done some incredible, groundbreaking work over the years, and all he can talk about is the Star Wars franchise. He's like Bilbo leaving the ring for Frodo: I don't think he wants to let it go, but knows it's time. I just hope that, when Episode VII comes out, he's not sitting on the sidelines taking potshots at it and acting like a grumbly old man.

JeffO said...

I'll also add that I guess I can't blame him on some levels. Letting go is not easy.

Liza said...

I've only ever watched snippets of the last three movies...I could never get into them the way I did the first three, which still stop me to watch whenever they are on. Love your Yoda.

Suzie F. said...

That origami Yoda is amazing! I am in awe of what talented people can create.

I was 12 when the original Star Wars came out; my brother, 8. It played a significant part in our childhoods. Like maine character, this whole thing makes me feel queasy. Mickey Mouse, with that huge grin, holding a light saber is just wrong imho.

Louise Bates said...

Creatively, I find it frustrating that instead of exploring new ideas and ventures, Disney (and most other media corporation) insist on revisiting old concepts over and over and over. Do we really need a dozen Pirates of the Caribbeans? A redux of the same superhero movies half a dozen times over? Even Star Trek, for crying out loud - instead of a brand new series in the same universe, they insist on going back and reshaping the original characters. I know there's nothing new under the sun, but still. It's getting a little ridiculous.

So I'm definitely not a fan of the idea of Disney making a new Star Wars movie, any more than I was of Lucas' own endless tinkering with the legend. Can't we just leave well enough alone? And unless they're planning on bringing Tim Zahn in as a consultant, and making Mara Jade a major part of the movie, I am not particularly interested.

Well, that's a lie. I'll watch even if it's a train wreck!

Emily White said...

Ugh. I did NOT like the news. In fact, I felt pretty sick to my stomach when I heard about it.

Here's my problem with continuing the Star Wars franchise: George Lucas did it wrong. You could tell he was trying to accomplish with the latest trilogy what he did with the original one. He was trying to revolutionize the industry. But the problem was the movies became more about the CGI than the heart of the story that people fell in love with in the first place. And he got lazy. Jar Jar wouldn't have been so bad if he'd been given a language other than some bastardized pig latin.

And now I'm afraid of Disney making the same mistakes. If they make it more nostalgic than a technological wonder, it might be good.

But still, ugh.

Kristen Wixted said...

I'm hoping the next 3 movies will be well-written, at least, because of it.
But doesn't he look so sad in the photo?

Old Kitty said...

What I find hard to stomach is Yoda making adverts for vodaphone. :-(

Take care

farawayeyes said...

That Yoda is 'Cool, much too!' You have the most awesome followers. Ha, ha, ha.

Disney and Lucasfilms Ha! I hadn't heard that. Seems Disney is intent on gobbling everybody up. Have to say 'How many billion does it take to make you smile Georgie?'

mshatch said...

Agreed. Very sad that Lucas sold out, but then, in my mind, he did that when he chose to add/include *shudder* Jar Jar as a marketing ploy. Yup, lots of kids liked him but all his original fans despised Jar Jar which should've told him something. Whatever. I guess he didn't feel he was rich enough.

Anonymous said...

I'm scared of how they'll proceed with Episode 7. I'm hoping they go with The Thrawn Trilogy. I did hear rumors--and they are just that since the deal was only announced yesterday--that Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams, and Joss Whedon are in the running to direct. Sadly, since they expect 2015, I think Joss is out because of his commitments to Avengers 2 and the SHIELD TV series. Of those other two, I'd pull for Abrams over Nolan, though they would both be spectacular.

D.G. Hudson said...

I'm a purist, too. I don't like it when someone tampers with the original movies most of the time.

But Disney likes to do 3D versions as well, so the next generation may like it if they've grown up with the new versions.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I wouldn't have a problem with Lucas making more Star Wars if he just wasn't so crappy about it. He reminds me of Shymalan - somehow, somewhere, they just lost their way

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Origami Yoda is dang cool. It's hard for me to comprehend that Princess Leia is now a Disney Princess.

Andrew Leon said...

I could say a lot here, but I'm going to choose not to since I talk about this stuff all the time (and blogged about it today, myself). However, I will point out that Empire came out in 1980.

Elise Fallson said...

It bothered me more when Disney bought out Marvel. Lucas bugs the crap out of me and after the let down that was episode I, II and III.... I wouldn't be surprised if Disney does a better job with episode VII.

Elise Fallson said...

Also, that origami Yoda is awesome.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Should be interesting to see what Disney has in mind for Lucasfilm.

Lia said...

QUESTION: "Dyed in the wool" - a lot of teachers have corrected me over the years, all of them never being able to form a consensus. So, is it died in the wool or dyed in the wool? A history teacher from high school explained to me that the expression is "died in the wool" because of the many deaths dying wool caused (exposure to chemicals, etc, etc). But now that I'm in college, I still get a 50-50. Which one is it?! (sorry to nitpick on just ONE thing)

Not being a fan of Star Wars AT ALL (original trilogy and prequel both included), I really didn't care. However, I did raise a questioning eyebrow at the prospect of a 7th episode. I'm hoping Disney does a service to the fans who perpetuated the Star Wars universe via spin-off novels and much-loved, canonical fanfiction. Who knows though right?

I am also biased about how terribly performed the prequel is. Natalie Portman showed her acting chops when she was much younger in the "Professional". The rest of the cast - Ewan McGreggor, Liam Neeson in episode I, etc, etc - were all good actors outside of the film, so how did it end up being so cheesy?! I don't know. I blame the bland screenwriting (you know, that attempt at an archaic jargon?).

Jamie Gibbs said...

The Lucasfilm/Disney merger is a little concerning, but then I realise that Lucas can't really do any good to Star Wars on his own anymore, so good luck to them!

Also, that Yoda is amazing.


Matthew MacNish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew MacNish said...

@ Lia - (from Wikitionary): "The expression "dyed in the wool" refers to a state of steadfastness, especially with respect to one's political, religious or social beliefs. The expression comes from the fact that fabric can be dyed in a number of ways. The woven fabric may be dyed after it is complete, or the threads may be dyed before they are woven. When a color is "dyed in the wool," the wool itself is dyed before being spun into threads, so the colour is least likely to fade or change. (Dyes: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases. Icon Group International. 2008, p. 344.)"

I've personally never heard of "died-in-the-wool," and I would have no idea what that might mean, anyway. Thanks for visiting!

Jessica Bell said...

Chris Flemish is awesome. I met him on FB too :-)

Laura Pauling said...

I don't feel the attachment to Star Wars that you do, but this is just another example that the movie and book business are businesses and about money, not about emotion. :)

I do think he milked Star Wars a little bit too long.

Kelly Polark said...

My family loves Star Wars. I came home Tuesday night and my husband said, "did you hear hte big news?!" which I thought was his cousin having a baby, but was the Disney-Star Wars deal. My thoughts are mixed. I hope they treat the franchise well, and not just be a sell out. But I'm happy for my kids who can't get enough. (my husband is thrilled too.)

Theresa Milstein said...

You must read The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. I was so impressed with it.