I always feel a little guilty whenever I spend any of this space talking about Star Wars. It’s such a cliché, over-discussed geek topic. I try to avoid it. It keeps sucking me back in.
To the point, the new Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith trailer debuted recently. As usual, it was brilliant. George Lucas may not be much of a writer or director, but he's a masterful marketer and knows how to cut one hell of a trailer. What irks me is not the trailer itself, but fan reaction. The number one Star Wars fan comment about the new film? "I can't wait to see all the lightsaber battles." In fact, Star Wars fandom has somewhere along the way become completely obsessed with lightsaber battles. In response, so has Star Wars. All anyone cares about is which characters can be shoehorned into convenient mano a mano battles with laser swords. When did that become the embodiment of Star Wars? When did Star Wars become Celebrity Death Match?
The first three movies contained a sum total of three lightsaber battles. They were cool, because they weren't overused. In each case, the Lucas created, operatic weapon of elegance was used as part of the emotional culmination of each movie. The battles were significant, and important. Now they're just a part of the "action pack" of stuff thrown into the new movies to make Star Wars fans drool. With the new movie potentially being rated PG-13, more than ever fans are crying "Blood blood blood!"
Star Wars didn't used to be about blood or sabering off limbs. It was something innocent, iconic. That's not to say Revenge of the Sith shouldn't be darker. Of all the Star Wars films, this is the one that should be the grittiest, the most violent, the most disturbed. I'm fine with that. I'm even fine with people being geeked out about lightsaber battles. I just wish that wasn't fandom's entire burning focus. It seems to me that with Star Wars, there used to be more to it than that.
But then perhaps fans are simply grasping on to the only thing about Lucas' prequels that hasn't been an utter disappointment. No matter how bad the dialogue gets or how boring the plot, lightsabers are still cool. There's no screwing up that.
About the Author
Joshua Tyler is the Owner and Creator of CinemaBlend.com, a movie news and review resource updated daily and available for paid syndication.