This is a story about storytellers, about the people behind the words and images. We all have our own ideas as to whom this person should be. A lone artist atop their ivory tower, slaving away at their magnum opus. A moderately successful director known for quirky, realistic movies that probably star Jennifer Lawrence. A writer that lives somewhere in New England, in a log cabin miles from anyone else. A camp leader with kids around the fire. Wherever or however, stories are told by everyone. Some particular stories are fairly universal, and told by many people. Some less so. Some stories are iconic, recognized by millions. Again, some less so. But given that today is the 39th birthday of the movie that would come to be known as Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, you can imagine that I’ll be talking about one story in particular. Or, rather, one storyteller.
George Lucas is a visionary director, a powerful force in the film industry, and, surprisingly, not the enemy. I can’t imagine what he thought or felt when he signed away LucasFilms. I don’t know his creative process beyond how the movies were made. I don’t know why some decisions were made and others not. I’m sitting here, watching the GOUT version of A New Hope, after a short argument with my sister over the fact that she initially grabbed the Special Edition DVDs. I get excited over the idea of the De-Specialised Editions. And then there’s everything to do with the prequels… Why do we get invested in a story to such a degree that such changes are seen as sacrilege? What makes the Special Editions different from LOTR’s Extended Editions? But mostly, who “owns” Star Wars?
It’s not who you think.