Adding To The Canon

10 Jul 2012

No matter the works involved, it is heresy to reimagine the canon. Just think of the outrage there would be if someone were to remake Total Recall or radically transform the plays of the Bard. Audiences would riot and the streets would become rivers running red with blood.

Oh. Wait.

If Romeo & Juliet can become West Side Story and Total Recall (1990) can become Total Recall (2012), no works are sacred enough to be spared. To that effect, John Seavey has suggested alternative responses to the most important moment in the Star Wars saga1:

Instead of fighting to redeem Vader, Luke would be fighting against his own self-doubt. Both his mentors lied to him. The man who showed him a wider universe turns out to have deprived him of his first connection to it.

Stories are meant to be told and retold. The good ones, the ones that stand out, evolve into a sort of myth that becomes much bigger than the original.

The most interesting moment in Reign of Fire was when two characters were reenacting the very scene from Empire that John is talking about. Why? Because they are not doing a perfect replication, instead altering it to better fit with a new audience. They could have chosen to create something completely new, but it is an important story from their own childhood that they believe has value and needs to be remembered.

George Lucas believes he is doing this with his recut and remastered versions of the original trilogy, but adding digital background aliens and making clear that Greedo shot first are superficial changes: they do nothing to update the story itself for an audience thirty years removed from the first release. In truth, by licensing the franchise out, Lucas has already done a great deal of work to build Star Wars into a much bigger story and it has become a mythology into itself. Clone Wars, the second trilogy, Knights of the Old Republic, countless novelizations. The scope of the universe that Lucas started has become too vast for any one person to know it at all, let alone take credit for.

This is all to say: there is room enough in Star Wars for John Seavey’s take on the films especially because he has clearly thought these ideas through and does not suggest them without fleshing out their significance to the overall narrative of the series.

Luke: “He told me enough! He told me you killed him.”
Vader: “No. I am your father.”

  1. Vader: “If you only knew the power of the dark side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.”