Alden Ehrenreich will be a Great Han Solo: ‘Star Wars’ is making a nice comeback

Star Wars3For me Star Wars has always been something of a vacation for my mind—a place to go for leisure and to think about basic formulations regarding good and evil.  I am one who believes that books are far superior to movies made from them, so I am still extremely disappointed with what Disney has done with the franchise.  However, I accept because of the Metaphysics of Quality that they do not understand at Disney how to do anything original and that they are essentially mining the old Star Wars novels for their new projects and claiming them as originals from the new regime at Lucasfilm.  It has really bothered me.  But of late I have respected what Lucasfilm has been doing with Disney—some of it anyway.  I think Rogue One will be a great movie.  It will likely be a combination of a lot of books that I’ve read, especially the A.C Crispin Han Solo novels and the video game Dark Forces but I have come to think that we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  The essential stories are still good even if they are mangled by Disney.  To me, the books will always rule.  But for kids, the way that the books have been reinvented and put up on the silver screen has value—real value and I have found that in this really rough world that we are all living in, that Star Wars certainly is one of the best things in it for families and little kids.  They aren’t as good as they were when George Lucas was in charge, but they are still pretty good.  My mood lightened a lot about Star Wars after I watched Harrison Ford introduce the new Star Wars land in Disney World, seen below.  Lucasfilm finally announced that they found their pick for the new Han Solo films, and I had an opportunity to watch a Reds baseball game on their yearly Star Wars weekend where on Friday night they always do a fabulous fireworks display to John Williams music—which is always wonderful.

It was a beautiful night in May 2016.  I was at the Reds game watching the sold out crowd enjoy the Star Wars festivities and noticing how much the kids in the audience were excited about the event. I was also thinking about the kid Alden Ehrenreich who got the part of playing the new Han Solo in the upcoming stand alone films.  As I said many months ago I thought they would be smart to put Han Solo into all three of those new movies, and it looks like that’s what they are going to do.  With the casting of Alden Ehrenreich I was suddenly very excited about that possibility.  Even though I was very disappointed with The Force Awakens death of Han Solo, the possibility of a lot more Han Solo adventures suddenly perked me up and I found myself enjoying Star Wars for really the first time in months.

I remembered how much I loved Han Solo as a kid.  Of course I’ve long outgrown that character, but I still love the idea of Han Solo and always loved Star Wars because of him.  Without Han Solo for me there is no Star Wars.  But now, with this new kid whom I am very impressed with, I am suddenly having fun in that world again.  I am actually looking forward to the new films which is a bit of a relief, because like I said, for my mind which is very active, Star Wars was always kind of a vacation.  star wars1I probably enjoy the behind the scenes art stories about how Star Wars is made more than I do the actual movies.  So for the prospect of new Han Solo stories—of seeing some of the elements of the old A.C. Crispin novels about a young Han Solo being put up on a screen for everyone to enjoy, I’m excited about it.

As I was thinking of Rogue One, coming out this Christmas the prospect of Han Solo making a guest appearance is pretty exciting.  It will be nice to share those new adventures with my grandkids even though they may never read the same books I did.  I decided it was more valuable to share those experiences with them than to just check out.  I am still concerned about all the progressive trends that are emerging because essentially the young people making all these new Star Wars movies are fans of the original films that grew up with more progressive values as opposed to the original westerns that George Lucas grew up on.  I don’t think the new films will be nearly as good for me as the originals were, but for kids who don’t know any better—it will be very special to them.

More than anything, which was very obvious to me while watching the fireworks at the Reds game, the John Williams music alone was a proper bridge that is just beautiful to behold.  The new themes from the most recent Star Wars film fit in quite nicely with the old ones and it was a special fireworks display for me because of it.  It’s the first time I have heard the new pieces put together with the old and that’s when I thought—what the hell.  There will be six new Star Wars films over the next 5 years and a lot of new music—and Han Solo will be back in the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca, and those are some fun stories.  And in just a few years there will be my dream of seeing a full-sized Millennium Falcon in Disney World.  That will be a dream come true and I am far more excited about that than I should be.  So even though Matt Clark and I torched Disney’s handling of Star Wars on the radio when The Force Awakens came out—I will give credit when I do see a reason for it and Disney is doing a good job—lately. Hopefully that trend will continue.

For the imagination, there is a lot to look forward to.  For me, Star Wars is all about imagination and possibilities.  That quest for the imagination is what makes me get up each day to face real world problems and work through massive tribulations.  At the end of all those tribulations, it has always been nice to have Star Wars to rest my mind in.  So in that context, it is nice to see that I may be able to continue enjoying it.  Alden Ehrenreich was a very good pick.Star Wars2

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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The Sexless Exsistence of Reincarnation: Maybe there is hope for ‘Star Wars’ yet

One of the issues that most angered me about the obvious deviation from the Expanded Universe in Star Wars regarding the new movies was the betrayal of some really good science fiction written particularly about the nature of the Force as it was pressed in the gravitational anomalies within the region of space known as the Maw.  It’s not perfect, but there were some high concepts concerning life and death in those novels that were what I’d consider significantly important.  The Force Awakens avoided all that and went in a new direction which as presented was a much more watered down entry.  Jaina Solo was in the books one of the greatest heroines of the saga, and Rey obviously wasn’t her and it just made no sense to me that she was excluded.  I still think it was a huge mistake not to utilize those very good stories as canon.  But, obviously Lucasfilm under Kathy Kennedy with the input of George Lucas felt the stories were getting away from the core Skywalker family lineage so they wanted to make a change in the new movies—and that didn’t seem justified—unless this recent rumor of Rey’s origin turns out to be true, which I am inclined to believe.   The answer is in the link below.  Click on it only if you want to know.  Having the answer isn’t really necessary for what I have to say about it.

http://myinforms.com/en-au/a/31266981-star-wars-episode-8-plot-and-scene-description-leak-online-reys-back-story-and-parents-revealed/

Most religions believe in some form of reincarnation around the world—where the spirit of an entity returns to the world of the living in some other form, whether it’s a dog, cat, or another human being—it is something that is heavily revered around the world.  Even George Patton believed that he was an ancient warrior from days long gone and that he had been on earth before.  One of the things I have always liked most about Star Wars is that they took kid’s topics and wrapped them very carefully into modern religion.  The nature of the “Force” is an unusual concept that combines many world religions into an updated moral grounding that I have always thought was healthy.

Star Wars for me was the gateway to Joseph Campbell’s teachings which I discovered during my college age days.  I was so affected by Joseph Campbell that traditional college lost its meaning and it sent me into a five-year deep dive from about 19 to 24 years of age reading all his books, particularly The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Masks of God series from his work in Transformations of Myth Through Time.  When I wasn’t reading Joseph Campbell I was listening to him.  I had about twenty hours of lectures by Campbell on tape which I listened to at my various jobs for several years to the point where I knew the material backwards and forward.  For another five years I spent reading all the supplement books which inspired Campbell—books like Finnegan’s Wake and Thus Spoke Zarathustra and studying great artists like James Joyce and Thomas Mann so that I could understand Campbell much better.  I did all this essentially because Star Wars had inspired in me a desire to deep dive the material of myth and how it informed the human mind about the world we live in and the world that exists beyond four-dimensional living.

I probably could have become something of a museum curator or some world traveler doing work in this field of mythic interpretation—but instead I wanted to turn even further inward and read more and think more.  I took jobs that would give me time to read and write yet still take care of my growing family.  For me—for about twenty years—from age 20 to 40 years of age I was in my own version of Luke’s Dagobah—working hard, but intellectually developing myself rather intensely and I loved it.  My mother told me that when I was one and two years old that I said strange things about the world around me as I was learning—as if I had always known certain things.  I don’t think it had anything to do with reincarnation but instead being able to understand what pours forth from the eternal spring of life essence which is at the heart of everything—call it God, call it the “Force” it is beyond human definition.  I’ve described my teenage years as being extremely fearless—because I felt I understood that the universe wanted me to live and I pushed my limits to the extreme to see how forgiving it was—and I turned out to be right—it wanted me to live.  This evoked in me a strong sense about individualism because it takes such people to tap that well.  So this life spent over the subsequent twenty years was designed to figure out the essence of that well the best I could—mostly through literature and artists from the previous 2000 years and a study through Joseph Campbell of comparative religions around the world.  I felt that the Star Wars novels were some of the greatest explorations into the nature of life beyond life that I had come across and they were great contributions to the tapestry of mythology.  The plot lines in some cases could have been better but the explorations into the “Force” were important in my view—and it was a shame to eject all that for some Disney commercial tripe.

However, in my view this revelation about Rey is something I think advances Star Wars properly—let me just say that.  It’s a fairly high concept that will conceivably provoke in many young people hopefully a similar journey as I have been on over most of my life.  I will say that if it turns out to be the case, that I will be impressed—which is likely why the information was leaked in the first place.  I have been very down on Star Wars since The Force Awakens.  Like I said, I haven’t played any video games, or even watched the television show Rebels since seeing The Force Awakens on December 17th 2015.

The mind bender which is pretty important and contrary to our lives is that a soul in whatever configuration that it entails isn’t necessarily the sex it was while it resided in a body during what we might call “life.”  When first thinking about the possible direction of the next Star Wars movie, Episode 8, I thought it was a Disney attempt to appease gay rights advocates.  But, it is deeper than that—and that’s important.  I think it’s so important that I’d consider giving Star Wars another chance because it just might advance the human race—not into the sexual rolls that we play as human beings but into the essence of what we are all made of in the eternal aspect.

However, the roles we play as a culture is important too.  Men are men, and women are women—nobody would think to walk into a Navajo tribe and start telling them to make sand paintings different or to rearrange their culture in some disrespectful way—and nobody should attack traditional American culture in a disrespectful fashion the way that progressives do.  I would argue that only American culture could produce something like Star Wars in this modern age—because it requires freedom and financial resources to extrapolate from the depths of imagination and to put it in front of the masses in such a spectacular fashion where literally the Internet was buzzing around the globe at the leak about Rey’s parentage.  So forcing gay subject matter down the throats of Disney fans is not what I’m talking about.  But a sexless existence that is eternal is something I can get excited about.  If Star Wars is knocking on the door to heavy mythic representations—then I will go in the door behind it.  If not, I’ll be done with it forever.  This news about Rey is encouraging to me.  I could get on board with that.  There may be hope for Star Wars yet.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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‘Star Wars: Rogue One’: Hope and perhaps a second chance

I was not a fan of The Force Awakens.  I still think it was a rip-off fan film and it wasn’t very good.  It’s obvious to me that Star Wars saw its best days under the control of George Lucas and that it will forever be in a declined state.  I was a tremendous fan of Star Wars because under Lucas they had established a nice storyline that embodied several video games, novels, comics and of course the movies themselves into on giant mythology—and that mythology had a conservative lean to it—rooted in Ayn Rand oriented individualism.  Now it is clear that when Lucasfilm under Kathy Kennedy released The Star Wars comic series about two years before the release of The Force Awakens that they were telegraphing what they were going to do with the many novels that had been written after The Return of the Jedi in 1983—they were going to rip them off and retell many of the stories because they thought they needed to be more Huffington Post oriented progressive stories instead of Ayn Ran.   In that comic series Lucasfilm took George Lucas’ original screenplay and turned into a comic to show how rough the story had been compared to what ended up on screen—as a ploy to justify what they were about to do to the Extended Universe.  Well, that’s all water under the bridge and Star Wars is forever ruined for me—because I had stayed with them through many years—and they let me down.  Now that I know that, I can at least appreciate what telling some of those old stories from the books to cinematic vision can do for a new generation desperate for some positive mythology and after seeing the trailer for the new Rogue One film by Garth Edwards, I am encouraged.  Lucasfilm might earn back a little respect with it because it looks nicely done.

The sad thing about that movie and premise is that it is essentially a retelling of the story of the video game Dark Forces and the name of the female lead is essentially a take on Kyle Katarn’s trusted ship captain.  Dark Forces was the first video game I ever played with my oldest daughter and it was a special story for us, and now Lucasfilm is going to screw that up too—but I think Edwards will do the story justice.  I suppose the sad thing for me is that there won’t be any new ideas coming out of Star Wars.  But the value of what has been told is important and to a new generation that is seeing some of this stuff for the first time—these movies are good for them.  This is consistent with the Disney Company that has taken stories told over time and put a modern take to them for their movies.  There is value in retelling a story, so to that extent I’m glad to see Star Wars doing what it’s doing.

It gives me hope that the future stand alone films featuring Han Solo and Boba Fett will be very good and dramatic—even though the topics have been covered in the novels of the past.  It is still fun to see these things put into a movie even if the story is better in the original novelizations.  Let’s face it, not many people read any more, so at least these stories will get told.   Rogue One, I would say will arguably in that case will be better than the original story of Dark Forces.  So if that’s what Disney is going to do, I suppose it’s better than nothing.  I see Star Wars as just another remake the way that Godzilla was recently retold with an updated spin on a classic story.  I am looking forward to Rogue One because it tips the hat toward the spirit of the original trilogy and I trust that director to do a good job.  It will be fun to visit that universe again by someone who obviously loved the original film as much as I did—if not more.

Still, I can’t help but think how special Star Wars could have been if they had stuck to the carefully planned books.  But Hollywood in general has lost its creative impulse—very few filmmakers these days have any imagination and those that do can’t get funded for their projects because backers are caught in a static pattern that is dangerous to their own industry.  All of Hollywood is stuck in this creative vacuum of copying off old books and comics to update stories for a more visual format.  I had the benefit of seeing Star Wars when everything was truly new and original and I wanted that freshness for this new generation.  But it can still be good.  Just not as good.

Since The Force Awakens I have been pretty staunchly anti-Star Wars.  My brother and kids have been a little sad that I can’t share my enthusiasm for it as I once did.  To me the death of Han Solo was essentially the death of Star Wars.  It will never mean the same to me, especially with the progressive direction that they are going.  I don’t care about the minority roles or the strong female characters—but the collectivism push is something I just can’t get into—stories where the individuals take a backseat for the collective benefit of everyone.  With Han Solo, everything was better, his selfishness epitomized Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy wonderfully.  It may have been unintentional by George Lucas, but it was very pro capitalist leaving A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back the best two movies likely to ever be made for the Star Wars saga.  It was exciting to see images of costumes, ships, sounds, and other elements of those two movies in the Rogue One preview—so I’m sure it will be enjoyable.  I may not enjoy it as much as I otherwise would, but Lucasfilm has a chance to win me back just a little.

To put things in perspective, since I was like 10 years old I bought every single video game that was ever released for Star Wars the first week it came out.  I loved every one of them, particularly the Dark Forces games, Force Unleashed, and Rebel Assault.  That lasted until essentially The Force Awakens.  I dropped Star Wars like a rock and pushed it out of my mind completely.  It was so bad that when we finally bought a Playstation 4, I had the option of buying one with the Star Wars: Battlefront option, or with the Call of Duty bundle—I picked Call of Duty.  I don’t want to play that game because I don’t want to play as a bad guy—because they force you to if you want to play online.  And I refuse to play any game that makes me shoot at the Millennium Falcon or Han Solo flying it.  So Battlefront is the first Star Wars video game that I haven’t bought.  I’ve even bought game systems to play specific Star Wars games.  I would love to play Battlefront as the rebellion.  But I have absolutely no interest in playing as the Empire.  To my mind, George Lucas was treading on shaking ground when he attempted to humanize the bad guys in his prequels.  But I thought there were good points to make, and I personally liked Obi-Wan enough to hang with Lucas through those stories.  But without a good guy to hang morality onto, Star Wars falls apart and becomes just another average story.

Fortunately, it looks like Garth Edwards understands what makes Star Wars good, so I am encouraged, and will likely see the new Star Wars film when it comes out in December.  I’ll give it a second chance to win my respect.  I think it was pathetic that The Force Awakens only made a bit over 2 billion dollars—it could have made more.  I’m sure Disney executives are happy, but they are obviously unaware of their short-sightedness.  So we’ll see.  We were so serious about Star Wars that my family had been planning to go to London this upcoming summer to attend the Star Wars Celebration there in 2016.  Those plans changed after Force Awakens quickly.  We’re not going.   It remains to be seen how good Rogue One turns out to be.  If it is respectful to Dark Forces, then I might be able to like it.  If it craps all over it, then that will likely be it for me.  My opinion is pending successful implementation.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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Corporation of Disney Versus Sole Proprietorship of George Lucas: Why the new Star Wars is so terrible

With all the accolades given to the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens I take a bit of pride in being one of the very few to point out the obvious problems with it, and the gross neglect it represents on not only American culture, but international civilization.  Star Wars has a responsibility provided to it by its half century long quest to play that part with the human race, so when it takes that role for granted, it is the job of people like me to point it out.  Anybody can do such a thing after others have already jumped on the bandwagon.  Presently, The Force Awakens is the fastest movie to hit $1 billion in global sales and it’s still moving along at a respectable rate.  By every box-office measure, The Force Awakens is a glorious success.  Yet I’m saying that it’s not successful, which to some may appear baffling.  Here’s why, Star Wars surrendered what it was to become something that it isn’t and that deduction can be reduced to a very simple social understanding of how things work outside of a mother’s womb.  To get the gist of what’s wrong with The Force Awakens watch the very interesting reviews shown below. Watch them all, they tell the whole story.  I’ll go a step further in my explanation, but it’s a good place to begin.

One of the most difficult things a job creator can do is make decisions to eliminate the jobs of the people who count on you.  It is excessively hard—I think it’s one of the hardest things a human mind does in a capitalist society—because a means to a living is the sustenance used to survive from day-to-day.  George Lucas wanted to retire at 70 years old but he had all these employees that he felt responsible for, so he went looking for a way to keep them all busy so that he could retire in good conscience feeling he did what was right by them.  He sold his company to Disney hoping that it was the closest company to his own methods that would respect his former property and do well for an entirely new generation.   I was a supporter of it, until I saw the results. It would have done more people more good to just leave Star Wars alone and laid-off all the Lucasfilm employees.  Laying off 2000 Lucasfilm employees would have been painful, but the results have been worse.  Because in destroying Star Wars, it has taken away the good meaning it has possessed to literally hundreds of millions of people who now consider it something of a religion.

When the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney took place, many proclaimed that it was a sale to the dark side, but they said so without really understanding why.  Corporations have a tendency to be viewed as evil, while individuals are given great latitude for forgiveness.  This is the heart of the problem.  As a fan of unlimited capitalism, I should be very supportive of corporations—which I am in that they provide jobs and great products to a free marketplace.  But, they are often very socialist in their nature and their employees bring that mentality with them to the voting booth. For instance, a worker at P&G or GE works in an environment that does not promote personal growth and individuality—they work in very team oriented environments where the greater good of the company is often the focus.  This is a standard in most corporations—so when Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton expresses the values of socialism most voters are already receptive to it because they live that life within the corporate world.  Corporations are collective based organizations that are often top-heavy and loaded with too much management at the back of the train defined by the Metaphysics of Quality.  Not enough people at the front providing leadership, and too many in the back which slows down the train from true productivity.  To hide this problem, corporations hire lobbyists to work K-Street in Washington on their behalf to prevent competition, so that the corporation can stay alive longer at the expense of more capitalist invention.

I’m not a fan of corporations, but I am a fan of the people who lead them, individuals like George Lucas, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the original Walt Disney—among many others.  To me, once those strong leaders leave their corporations, everyone who follows are second handers.  This is why I am a fan of people like Carl Icahn who is the original corporate raider—who defined the term, “hostile takeover” by purchasing the stock of failing corporations and inserting new management with real leadership to make a sizable profit.  The introduction of competition to the corporate world makes everyone better and more honest and is needed in a capitalist society.  Without that behavior, you only get degrees of socialism which is terrible because it forces people to behave as collective entities proving detrimental to individual integrity.

Star Wars was always about the power of the individual, Luke Skywalker being the only hope for the Force to overthrow the emperor, Han Solo to always be functioning just outside the organized systems of the rebellion long enough to save everyone, and Obi-Wan residing in a desert all alone as the last of his kind to preserve goodness for a new generation.  Even the robot Artoo Detoo functions as a rogue individualist often breaking protocol to do what he thinks is right as C3PO representing the corporate world of doing as programmed berates him for comic relief.  In The Empire Strikes Back when Luke senses that Han and Leia are being tortured on Cloud City Yoda tells the young Jedi that he must stay and not be lured into a trap if he honors what they fight for.  The designation is clear, the relief of collective pain is not more important than the value of an individual who alone has the power to save the galaxy.  That is powerful stuff and why I along with millions of others have been a fan of Star Wars for over three decades.

The Force Awakens is a corporate movie made by the second handers of George Lucas and Walt Disney.  They are corporate minds who think in terms of sacrifice and the greater good before individual integrity, just as any corporation resents the individualist–those who do what they want in the corner cubical, and does not socialize during lunch with others and doesn’t follow orders from their superiors.  Rey the strong female who is obviously Jaina Solo from the Expanded Universe miraculously knows how to do everything which is a problem that many people have with the film upon viewing.  Many are willing to suspend their disbelief because the female hero is such a strong and compelling character that viewers are willing to overlook the problem initially.  The dilemma is that the characters in The Force Awakens are just along for the ride.  The Force is the hero of this movie and all the characters are subservient to it.  Rey is the victim of the sword that finds her, not because she finds it—her role is a passive participation in the adventure which is a direct violation of the “Hero’s Journey” that all Star Wars movies embody to some degree.  The Force uses her to get through impossible situations like flying the Falcon and fighting Kylo Ren at the end of the film.  She doesn’t survive them because she is an active participant.   She’s just “going with the flow,” and yielding to a mysterious Force that is guiding her actions.  Those are aspects of Star Wars that have always been weak, easily overshadowed by the efforts of Han Solo.

In the original films The Force was something to be listened to, but according to Obi-Wan, it also obeyed your commands—as an individual.  In The Force Awakens The Force is doing all the heavy lifting which is a corporate view of what Obi-Wan said in the film A New Hope, “there is no such thing as luck.”  This indicates that all the heroics of Han Solo in the past movies were not because of his skill as an individual pilot, or a decision that was made at a key time, but was due to The Force working through him.  This cheapens Star Wars considerably into a religion instead of a myth building tool to encourage people to follow their personal bliss.  It is the difference between a company run by a strong individual, and a corporation ran by a board of directors and a CEO as their representative.  One is an individual enterprise; the other is a collective based entity.

In time, once the fun of a new Star Wars movie fades, the impact that the films had will fade considerably as they will lose their meaning due to this corporate interpretation of The Force as opposed to the one that George Lucas nurtured.  The corporation puts up memos on a bulletin board and expects everyone to be appeased and to serve the needs of the collective entity—no matter who it is.  A company ran by a strong individual personally speaks to everyone and gives them guidance in developing their own individuality for the good of the company. It is a slight distinction that makes all the difference in the world regarding the end result.  Clearly George Lucas understands that distinction, and Disney as an organization collectively based, does not.  That is why The Force Awakens is a failure even though on paper immediately it appears successful.  Its mythology has been tampered with and is now changed forever—for the worse.  The message is one now of collectivism as opposed to individuality and that makes it very dangerous—and vile.

Now you should understand dear reader why you felt that The Force Awakens was a bad movie, but didn’t quite know how or why. It looked like Star Wars, sounded like Star Wars, had the same characters as the original Star Wars—but it wasn’t Star Wars.  It turned the overall message away from the rebellion of freedom fighters fighting for an individualized galactic republic and put the emphasis on collectivism and the reach and authority of corporations and the eventual tenacity to grind away everything that stands in their way.  And there isn’t much anybody can do about it but wait for some unseen Force to tell us what to do.  To those broken by corporate socialism into waiting for permission to use the rest room or get their vacations approved by a superior, they love Rey in the film because it’s all they can hope for in their lives after being beaten by collectivism for many years into no other option but to hope that they’ll win the lottery or gain an inheritance to earn their freedom from the grind.  But for hard-core Star Wars fans, Han Solo was the self-determined individual who functioned heroically not due to special powers or hooky religions—but by his own actions.  And in The Force Awakens, they killed off that character—for the “greater good.”  The message couldn’t have been clearer from the corporation known as Disney.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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Why Disney Destroyed Han Solo: Progressive activism and attacking “white, American, family men”

I knew there was trouble on June 3rd 2015 when Marvel comics announced that Han Solo had an ex-wife in its comic #6 issue.  I didn’t want to believe it, but after later seeing The Force Awakens, I am 100% sure that what I was watching Disney do was on the scale of the old medieval churches in Europe re-writing history with their printing of Bibles to control the mass population through religion.  Star Wars was becoming something of a religion around the world, and now that the Disney Corporation had paid 4 billion dollars for it they were taking great liberties with very important characters in an attempt to change their original meaning to the overall story.   They didn’t have to, because the property had already been developed by George Lucas over three decades into a positive household name with no signs of abating.  Even more alarming was that Han’s revisionist wife was a black woman named Sana Solo proving that Disney was more interested in establishing progressive values in their ownership of Star Wars instead of just continuing the story that so many loved.   Disney was deliberately smearing the market impression that Han Solo had on the Star Wars stories and they were doing it not to be more successful, but because they wanted to change the meaning and mythic impact of the overall story arc.  That is why if you were listening to WAAM today at 1 PM in the afternoon, you would have heard Matt Clark and I dismantling Disney’s ownership of the Star Wars franchise.  If you missed it, you can hear it again here and above this paragraph in two parts:

http://dorksideoftheforce.com/2015/06/03/meet-sana-solo-han-solos-wife-star-wars-6/

I am quite a believer that the Bible has been revised to such an extent by political forces over the years that it has lost much of its original meaning—so I don’t trust it.  One fine example is the missing Book of Enoch which would have been an important part of Genesis.  It is not considered by Jews and many other Christian groups to be part of the Biblical “canon” and knowing that one can only wonder what else has been left out, or added to the stories that have made three of the world’s religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims.  Like it or not, Star Wars has become something of a religion.  Another few hundred years and it will likely have more influence over mass populations than Christianity does today—and that all starts with these seemingly simple stories being shown in our lifetime.  So it concerned me greatly when Han Solo was introduced in Marvel #6 with a black wife—which I didn’t believe at the time.  My wife and I talked about it a bit, I was then involved in a large motorcycle accident which soaked up a lot of time and attention.  I was also involved in a massive international project that was taking a lot of time.  But my concern was so great that I stopped buying Star Wars merchandise at that moment.  I had been reading the books and comics to alleviate the daily pressure associated with my life.  But upon the release of Star Wars #6 under Marvel Comics, I stopped, immediately.

When Marvel took over the comics which were supposedly Pablo Hidalgo approved from the Star Wars story group six months earlier from Dark Horse I was curious that they didn’t show a desire to connect the story material between the two publishing conglomerates.  I didn’t let that bother me too much because comics I don’t consider to be as important as novels—especially the New York Times bestselling books that had taken over the Star Wars canon for two decades in a really positive way.  But under Disney’s ownership of Marvel they had introduced a black woman to be Han Solo’s wife in an effect to emphasize negative character traits of one of the most popular characters in Star Wars Solo was a white guy superman type of character, so I wondered if Disney’s direction was a political one.  Later when I saw The Force Awakens, it clarified it emphatically.   Disney had revised the Star Wars canon personally created by George Lucas to make the stories more progressive politically.  They were essentially destroying a major character for the sake of editing the impact the character had on established mythology.  This was equivalent to the way that progressives have attacked Thomas Jefferson as a real historic figure with the Sally Hemings allegations, or to attack Jesus and his relationship with Mary Magdalene, the prostitute in the Bible who traveled with Jesus and was there at his execution.  We have witnessed revised history taking place in our public schools and colleges for the purpose of erasing history and now it was happening in Star Wars—an entertainment property that was just supposed to be for fun.  Yet Disney was purposely destroying the character of Han Solo because of the impact he had on so many fans as being a very strong, and reliable character. My suspicions were confirmed at the beginning of September when a gay character was included in the new Star Wars novel Aftermath, which I reported a warning to Disney upon release.  CLICK HERE TO REVIEW. 

I’m not against black characters in Star Wars, or even alternative sexual types.  However, Star Wars has always been an updated western, a space opera intended to communicate mythic stories that propelled our society with foundation philosophies.  Until Star Wars comic #6, then the novel Aftermath followed by the confirmation of all my concerns with the movie The Force Awakens, I felt I could trust Lucasfilm with a story canon that was personally managed by George Lucas.   I could read a story in a book or comic and believe that it had meaning to the overall collection of stories that had been canon until the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm from George Lucas.  Now in a very short time, Disney didn’t even try to cover their intentions with subtlety.   They disrespected the long-time fans so much that they counted on sheer numbers to justify their collective activism of taking a deeply traditional story like Star Wars and turning it into a progressive mess.  Disney was showing itself to be much more interested in selling the politics of the Obama White House than in just telling a story set in a galaxy far far away.   Disney was promoting gay sex and interracial marriages over protecting the value of what made Star Wars successful to begin with.  So for me, the only Star Wars canon is the one that took place before Disney took over.  The last official book in the Star Wars canon under the guidance of George Lucas was the very good book The Crucible.  It takes place 45 years after the Battle of Yavin in the film A New Hope  After watching A Force Awakens, which takes place around 15 years earlier I had thought that there was some time travel going on that gave the Star Wars story group an out if things went wrong with their progressive activism, but I’m now convinced that it’s too late.  Disney executives have made progressive concepts their priority which has ruined Star Wars forever, they can’t go back now—they are too committed.  Here is how The Crucible went and is officially the way that Han Solo and the other characters of the George Lucas canon rode off into the sunset of storytelling. 

http://www.starwarstimeline.net/

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes–and far deadlier consequences.

Now Han, Leia, and Luke team up once again in a quest to defeat a dangerous adversary bent on galaxy-wide domination. Only this time, the Empire is not the enemy. It is a pair of ruthless geniuses with a lethal ally and a lifelong vendetta against Han Solo. And when the murderous duo gets the drop on Han, he finds himself outgunned in the fight of his life. To save him, and the galaxy, Luke and Leia must brave a gauntlet of treachery, terrorism, and the untold power of an enigmatic artifact capable of bending space, time, and even the Force itself into an apocalyptic nightmare.

I have praised George Lucas often because I think he’s a great filmmaker.   He is too liberal for me, but I respect him greatly.  He does have a black wife, which I don’t think is a big deal and he supports Obama.  I gave high praise for his film Red Tails because it was an important story that needed to be told.   When he sold Star Wars to Disney he did it because he was 70 and wanted to retire—but he had a massive company with over 2000 employees.  It would have been better for Star Wars if Lucas would have just maintained control of his property, but then he couldn’t just let his employees rot—at least in his mind.  So he sold Star Wars to a corporation he thought might preserve it, and washed his hands of the responsibility of being a major employer.  I can understand all that.  I thought it was a good move so long as Disney respected what George Lucas had built.

There is a lot more of George Lucas in Han Solo than in any other character I think.  I’m sure George would say that he’s Artoo Detoo, or Yoda and that Star Wars is all about Luke Skywalker.  But Han Solo is the old drag racer that Lucas used to be—and in many ways still is.  I have read hundreds of Star Wars novels, most of them have Han Solo in the stories so I know the character very well—and he’s what George Lucas wanted to be.  And let me say, Han Solo would have never had a wife during A New Hope.  He had a long time girlfriend who was a drug addict prior to meeting Princess Leia, but he was not a sleep around.  He wanted to be as far away from attachments as possible to protect himself from the obligation of maintaining those relationships and violating his opportunities for freedom.  He wanted nothing more to limit his loyalties to his Wookie friend Chewbacca and to travel the galaxy in his hot rod Millennium Falcon.  Much of his gruffness toward others was an act, just as he deliberately kept the Millennium Falcon looking like a wreck to disguise the power within it—the ship was the embodiment of Han Solo himself.  Solo would have never had a wife, and once he did, he would have never left her. Han Solo is not the kind of character who gets drunk on Nar Shaddaa and wakes up with a wife.  Han Solo was the embodiment of all the cowboys that George Lucas grew up loving as a kid, and he created a character that modern kids could look up to.  That’s why he was always my favorite character, so it was very easy for me to see the revisionist history that Disney was attempting to perform without getting caught.  Only, they got caught.  I know too much about all this stuff not to see it.  I know Star Wars not just from the surface but the structure of it—where it all started from the perspective of the Joseph Campbell Foundation.  I was a member way back when George Lucas was on the Board with Campbell’s wife Jean running things.  I’m not just a fan boy who didn’t want to see Han Solo killed in The Force Awakens.  I’ve studied history and I know the impact of mythology, and why politics seeks to capture stories to control mass populations.  That’s what Disney is doing with Han Solo, destroying him so that they can rebuild him in a progressive way to satisfy their political activism.

Star Wars fans really want to like The Force Awakens.  I’m one of them.  My opinions as of now are in the extreme minority.  Just like a religion, when people find out something is wrong with a mythic device that contains all their foundation thoughts, people tend to get defensive—and some of that could be heard on the broadcast I did with Matt Clark on WAAM radio.  But being in the minority does not make me wrong.  A million fools cannot erase a truth and what Disney is doing will bite them in the ass—because they are changing essential portions of the Star Wars mythology to satisfy current political concerns.  But those concerns will change over the next 60 years and these gay subplots will seem silly to future readers—especially when they seek out the original stories under George Lucas and compare the activism that occurred under Disney.  Disney could have made a lot of money and done something really good by just leaving Star Wars alone and letting the profits from the endeavor follow.  But they chose to be activists politically—for progressive reasons.  Executives at Lucasfilm and Disney looked at Han Solo and noticed that he was a strong, traditional white male, and they wanted to dirty him up.  So they gave him a wife that he was cheating on, and she was a woman of color to make her more of a victim.  Then they had Han leave Leia in A Force Awakens to return to smuggling as if that was all Han Solo was ever good for without his marriage to a woman of stature and prestige.  They purposely muddied up the character to make a point and create more social diversity because that is their value system.  And that is why the Star Wars stories for me ended with The Crucible, a New York Times bestseller that has as much value to me as the novel Lord of the Rings, or The Bridges of Madison County.  Disney by corporate design to elevate minorities, gays, and women in their stories to appear more diverse, politically, took the strongest character in the Star Wars mythology and erased his essence with a revised canon that makes him into a scumbag more relatable to modern audiences.  We are living in an age where a lot of children cannot relate to a Han Solo type, a man who stays with his wife and is loyal to a fault. So Disney tried to weaken the character to appeal to younger audiences—but all they did was cause trouble for themselves.  I’m not the only fan who will reject their product.  Many others over the years to come will follow and Disney will only have themselves to blame.

For me this whole exercise has provided proof of something I’ve long suspected, that mythologies over time are radically redesigned by politics in all cultures to justify the failures of social mismanagement.   The Bible has certainly been altered over the years to reflect the values of the Roman Empire, and the churches of Europe who wanted to use religion as a natural extension of that imperial control.  Modern progressives are trying constantly to re-write history from the vantage point of the conquered Indian to erase the merits of cowboy capitalism in the West.  And China prohibits proper archaeological study of their many pyramid-shaped mounds to suppress the real history of their ancient culture.  Those are just a few examples.  And right in front of our faces we have watched Disney revise something in our lifetimes in spite of the many witnesses.  I read just the other day a defense of the movie A Force Awakens straying from the original plots created in the Expanded Universe by declaring that Solo had a wife in the EU.  No, Solo did not have a wife under the EU.  That plot device was created six months before the release of the 2015 Disney film to justify why Solo left Princess Leia after Return of the Jedi to become a typical white, American male—a Homer Simpson loser who can’t keep his pants on, and is unreliable to family life.  In Disney’s desire to make Star Wars more accessible to women, and minorities, they have deliberately tampered with what made Han Solo one of the most popular characters in the saga—and they did it out of political activism, not intellectual necessity.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

A Company Out of Ideas: The embarrassment of Disney and it’s second-hander employees

As this article blasted onto the World Wide Web Matt Clark and I were hosting a podcast giving the Disney Company and the makers of the new Star Wars a large dose of tough love.  And they deserve all the criticism and then some that we broadcast.  We are in a new day of media, unlike the days of old.  Disney does not control everything—they are in fact experiencing a contraction period as their media empire is feeling the effects of small media types like Matt Clark and I who are not bound by contracts or addictions to swag buying our loyalty at any price.   Quite the contrary, Matt and I have both been huge fans and supporters of all things Disney for many years now.  We offered our endorsements out of real passion, not purchased manipulation—so that relationship was built on trust.  People like Matt and I were the best assets a company like Disney could hope for.  Out of our own free will, we cheered on their behalf in small ways that often avalanched into big market impressions by sheer opportunity.  But, what they are doing with their theme parks—regarding toy guns, and what they have done with Star Wars is really inexcusable.  They are free to take any position they wish, but Matt and I as fans are also free to reject their product and to let people know why.  Disney counts on word of mouth to maintain their strength of their product marketing, but it can also work against them.  And because of their betrayal of key fans like Matt and I, they asked for it.

It was the first time in my life that a soundtrack to Star Wars arrived in my possession and I was not in a hurry to listen to it.  I bought the soundtrack because I love John Williams and have most of his music, so I bought The Force Awakens out of respect.  But I have yet to open it and the film has been out for over a week as of this writing.  I just have no appetite for anything regarding Star Wars presently, which is a big shift for me.  It was only a short time ago that was playing Star Wars: X Wing Miniatures and was sitting in a swing on my front porch waiting for new products to arrive in my mailbox.  I enjoyed immensely reading about all the different characters and playing in the galaxy that George Lucas created.  By the time that The Force Awakens ended, nearly everything I loved about Star Wars was destroyed like a Death Star blasting away the history and life of an entire species in just a moment.  It was one of the only real bright spots I saw on the horizon of our cultural mythology, and Disney had purposely destroyed it.

We’re not talking about stupid people who work at Disney, or Lucasfilm.  Kathy Kennedy had been around Spielberg and Lucas for decades and if anybody had learned to make a great movie by their apprenticeship, it should have been her.  J.J. Abrams is a great director.  Industrial Light and Magic—is the best special effects house on the planet.  Everything in their tool box was great to make a new Star Wars film.  It seemed impossible to screw it up.  Instead, what happened was that they proved emphatically what I have been saying about the metaphysics of quality over the years.  A committee of people do not surpass the singular vision of a strong individual leader.  As bad as many proclaim the George Lucas prequels to be, or his special additions, they were vastly better than what Disney came up with considering all their incredible resources.  There was no excuse, yet they failed miserably.

It was hard for me to admit how terrible The Force Awakens really was, so I know other Star Wars fans will dance around the issue for months.  But in the context of years, they’ll slowly realize just what a travesty this latest Star Wars film was to a franchise that many loved.  And it was all consciously done by Disney; they watched the screening of the film and thought they had a great product.  They sold it to the world as their best work and it clearly wasn’t.  It was essentially a fan film made by a second generation of spoiled brats, who had hitched a ride on the coat tails of greatness as perpetual second-handers. Yet nobody noticed within all of Disney’s organization—that is alarming.

It was difficult for me to accept the recent Mad Max film, because in the original, Max had a little boy who was killed by a gang of thugs. In the updated version it was a little girl.  I was willing to overlook that slight change because the film had the original director in George Miller and the film was a dramatic improvement over previous installments.  But it was distracting.  If the movie hadn’t been great, I would have felt toward it the way I do The Force Awakens.  Characters matter and once an artistic entity offers it to the public for consumption, they have an obligation to maintain those characters to their audience.  If they violate that trust, they risk alienating their audience to the characters they’ve created.  Star Wars over the years—Lucasfilm through their publishing arm—did a great job of nurturing their characters along with a sense of continuity.  For instance, a character in the novel Rogue Planet which took place well before the Prequel films appeared as a major character in Star by Star which took place many years later—like 50 years in Star Wars time, and that character had traces back to the Jedi, but lured Jacen Solo to the Sith through mental torture that lasted over many novels.  It was then no surprise that Jacen became a feared Sith Lord.  It was a set-up by Lucasfilm so that the mythology they created could be enjoyed by fans across multiple platforms—movies, books, comics and video games.  You could always trust that most of the Star Wars content was following some kind of ultimate timeline.  So when The Force Awakens borrowed all those elements but changed the names cheapening the stories told before, the whole mythology fell apart instantly.

Then it becomes even more shocking that given all the material the filmmakers had to use, that Disney couldn’t even create a single original thought worthy of a movie.  Everything in Force Awakens is borrowed, from the comparison of the Lord of the Rings plot driving the lightsaber quest to find Luke Skywalker hidden on a remote island—to a third Death Star (this time called Starkiller Base).  Every act of The Force Awakens is nearly copied from A New Hope—the movie comes across as a remake of Robocop—or Total Recall.  The big difference is that there aren’t any memorable moments of wisdom in the new movie to solidify the content. At least in Phantom Menace there are lines of Jedi wisdom—in A Force Awakens, there is nothing—astonishingly.  The filmmakers robbed the Expanded Universe of content and the original movies, and then passed it off as an original work of art disgracing all the good minds that did create new plot devices in past installments.

It wasn’t that long ago that I bragged about Star Wars having an essential conservative moral to their stories.  After all, in the novels, Han and Leia, as well as Luke lived somewhat happily ever after.   They did save the galaxy many times, but they had fun together doing it.  There was a lot of pain, but there were a lot of laughs and they all did it together, loyally.  In the later novels, right before the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, a new Sith order had imbedded itself into the Galactic Senate of the New Republic and had begun to subterfuge politics into a New Sith Order—and they had the entire media under their thumb.  They were actually magnificent stories done on a huge scale, and Han, Leie, Luke and the Millennium Falcon and some of the children of the primary characters were rising up to become easy stars in their own way.  One of the greatest characters in Star Wars was Mara Jade who was an assassin who worked for the Emperor in the original trilogy and eventually became Luke’s wife.  They had a son named Ben who was a great character.   In Force Awakens, they named Ben after Han and Leia’s son who is the ultimate villain, Kylo Ren—essentially Darth Caedus from the Legends series.   I could literally go on and on.  If The Force Awakens had made a superior movie to the books, all could have been forgiven.  But they didn’t.  Instead the butchered the story in a very disrespectful way.  Han Solo, not in a million years would have walked out onto a bridge with no sides and confronted a bad guy—even if the bad guy was his son.  He NEVER would have done it.  He might have said, “hey kid, I’m going to blow this place up.  I love you—now get your ass out of here.”  But he never would have lowered his weapon and pleaded with him to come home like a guilty father trying to rescue a child from jail.  What Disney did was disgraceful.

I have a pretty good idea what’s at work here, so they deserve the ridicule.  Star Wars has been something I have valued, and these idiots just butchered it—so they get what they get.  Disney was more interested in making a progressive film than a good installment to the Star Wars saga.  They were intent to push out the conservative values of the founder, George Lucas—who these days is a flaming liberal.  But while he was building his companies, he was very conservative.  Disney as a company expected to rip-off and re-write the stories and outcomes away from conservative viewpoints to much more progressive perspectives.  This is why The Huffington Post and The White House love this new Star Wars and why people like Matt and I hate it.  Disney has declared war on conservative America and that has never been clearer than in their new Star Wars film.  I didn’t want to believe it was possible, but it is.  And just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean that I’ll give liberalism a free pass just because they put the name Star Wars on it.  If anything, that makes it more worthy of attack, which Matt and I are relishing in—and will continue for what Disney has done to something we both have valued for many years.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

‘The Force Awakens’ Killed off Han Solo: Why the prequels were a lot better and how Disney blew it

Piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissssssed off, that is the feeling I have walking out of The Force Awakens.  

Sadly, the news I was so excited about three years ago regarding the new Star Wars film is tragic—the worst of what I feared might happen, did.  Taken by itself, The Force Awakens is a very good movie, the acting is good, the special effects everything that you’d expect, the directing, the writing all very good—then there’s the music by John Williams—upper level wonder.  Unfortunately for Disney, Star Wars is much more than one movie now and Disney did exactly the wrong thing.  Like rumored, they abandoned the Expanded Universe and they killed off Han Solo in the first movie of a three-part trilogy which was my favorite character.  While on the business side I can understand why they did—Harrison Ford was 73 at the start of The Force Awakens, so it’s not a bad idea to start planting the seeds for future characters.  However, killing off Solo without having the context of the greater story developed over the last two decades is extremely problematic for the Star Wars franchise.  Here’s why.

About 15 years ago a super Star Wars fan was talking to me about the novels that came out every few months and wondered why I wasn’t reading them.  I explained that if the books didn’t come straight from the mind of George Lucas that I didn’t consider them part of the Star Wars canon.  However, the novels leaned very much on the character of Han Solo and his marriage to Princess Leia and their three children Jaina Jacen and Anakin.  So figured I’d give the books a try.  I had tried the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn and couldn’t accept it, but decided to try again with Vector Prime.  It was a great book—although Chewbacca died—and I was hooked.  I have since read most of the Expanded Universe novels which have greatly over-shadowed the original movies in sheer content and emotional story arcs.

I thought there was a whale of a story developing at the end of Apocalypse involving The Abeloth and that The Force Awakens would be about that massive galactic conflict—which would have been great.  Disney could have given the hard-core Star Wars fans what they wanted while giving a new generation of fans what they wanted.  The old characters could have faded out leaving the new very strong character of Jaina Solo to have filled the boots of her father nicely—and that would have been appropriate.  Everyone could have had what they wanted out of Star Wars.  But that’s not what Disney did with the help of J.J. Abrams, and Kathleen Kennedy.  They thought they knew better than all the minds who had been guiding the Star Wars stories through three decades of New York Times best sellers so they screwed with the story with a progressive agenda which was the worst of my fears.

If they had stayed with the Expanded Universe storyline, they could have still had a Latino lead character, a black character and a strong female lead to reach all their target demographics.  But they did more than that—they weakened Han Solo considerably and made him a self-sacrificial parent who threw himself on the sword of Kylo Ren at the end.  He and his marriage to Leia obviously went bad and the kids were damaged leading to his son (Ben) turning to evil.  Suddenly the very strong characters of the Expanded Universe were modernized into dysfunctional parents who had screwed up their children and felt guilty about it.  At the end of The Force Awakens, “General Leia” is alone with no signs of family—except the daughter Rey to find out who she truly is.  This is probably the most disappointing aspect of The Force Awakens—in the novels the son of Han, Jacen falls to the dark side over many books and his intentions were always good.  Han stayed with his wife for many years and they had a pretty good family life.  Han was always a rock solid person in those stories giving Star Wars geeks the father figure they didn’t have in real life—and it worked well in a mythological way.  The daughter Jaina was the new light of the next generation—The Sword of the Jedi.

J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan essentially took the big themes of the novels and retold the story of Jacen’s fall to the dark side moving around the names of the characters and having him confront his sister—in an epic lightsaber battle.  Knowing all that felt cheap to me.  It took Star Wars from an epic pinnacle of the highest mythological order and dumbed it down to be simply another Avengers movie.  It was fun to look at, but the content was certainly watered down from the types of bold stories that were told in the novels.  I will probably see future Star Wars movies just to see what they do and how they look—like I would a superhero type of film—the many times the Batman story has been told, or Spiderman—even Superman.  But with Star Wars, Disney had a unique opportunity to build on a massive story arc, and they screwed it up—rehashing the old by putting their own stamp on it in a way that did a disservice to the fans who helped carry the franchise for so long with their loyal support.  Clearly the emphasis by Disney and Kathleen Kennedy was to weaken the original characters from the bold embodiments of their youth into guilt driven losers in the future—which might make them relatable to a larger audience who feels the same anxieties.  Of course they had to plant the seeds of an interracial romance—which felt forced—and was distracting.  Han returned to his days as a smuggler instead of the reliable family man that he was in the books.  Luke was in hiding feeling guilt for creating Kylo Ren though his failure in teaching future Jedi—which in the books Luke had built an entirely new Jedi Order.  In the books all the lead characters were strong and determined personalities who had suffered through unimaginable sorrows, but were still people a reader could lean on and trust to do the right thing in the end.  In The Force Awakens it is obvious that the all the old characters were flawed, especially Han Solo.  This was obviously a conscious choice to make him more relatable to the modern viewing audience instead of just trusting the story the way it had evolved over the years with great success.

There has been an effort from The Alliance to Save the Star Wars Legends Expanded Universe shown at the link below to save the storyline of these movie from just this kind of misery.  But, Disney didn’t listen and they’ll pay for that.  The Force Awakens will make a lot of money, but it won’t be as much as they could have made.  They just handed the next generation a bunch of loser characters not quite sure of themselves putting an emphasis on progressive values instead of American traditional ones.  The Force Awakens is about sacrifice and the greater good whereas a theme which always ran through the original trilogy was individualism and following a personal bliss.  Han Solo as the individual always had the answers to save the Luke and Leias of the galaxy from their altruistic tendencies.  In The Force Awakens it is Han Solo that needs saving from his guilt over failing their son in ways that aren’t yet shown.  Essentially the decision to turn Han Solo from an Ayn Rand type of character into a Shakespearian tragedy was meant to erase his lineage of strength into something modern audiences could identify with.

https://www.facebook.com/AlliancetoSavetheStarWarsLegendsExpandedUniverse

http://twibbon.com/support/star-wars-legends-never-die

The result for me, and I’m sure many others, is that I completely reject these new stories by Disney.   I just came out of seeing a premier showing before it opened officially on December 18th 2015 and my sorted emotions tell me that this story in The Force Awakens is not real.  I can’t accept it as cannon.  It’s actually pretty stupid.  It represents another case of activist filmmakers trying to plant progressive Huffington Post values into a very traditional American story for the sake of unifying the world around common values.  To do that they dumbed down the American influences of individuality, and created a much more “inclusive” universe that was the obvious intent they had in making the film.  People like Arianna Huffington will love this new Star Wars.  John Wayne would have hated it.

I can deal with the death of my favorite character.  What I have a problem with is weakening their presence out of a desire to appeal to a weakened society—where movies are made by committee rather than by strong individuals.  The Force Awakens obviously understands that few people have intact families these days and that people can’t relate to the type of strength that Han Solo projected which has carried the franchise quite frankly for forty years.  They made a conscious decision to weaken Solo—hand over the Millennium Falcon to a “girl” (his daughter) and reflect the values of the present global community instead of the values of the story itself.  They cheapened Star Wars in ways that will be very costly in the years to come.  So while the movie was beautiful to look at and had many elements that are respectable on the surface, the underlining message was feeble and a tremendous disservice to the fans who have stuck with the story religiously all these years.  Star Wars had a chance to be above modern politics, but the filmmakers failed to carry it to those lofty heights.  Instead, they surrendered to the currents of modernism—and the movie shows it desperately.  The movie felt to me like a fake and something to reject—which is not what Disney wanted, I’m sure.  Forever for me, and many like me, there will always be the Expanded Universe where Han didn’t leave his wife and fail his children with some “force bending” scheme of time to save his daughter from the wrath of her brother, Han’s failed son—and the Jedi master Luke who lost his pupil to the dark side.  I’m sure there is a story of redemption in the next episodes, but by then—who cares.  Disney already screwed up the story with renamed characters and repeated themes which were already told in the novels years ago.  And in that respect, The Force Awakens fails in every way that it never intended.

The prequels were a LOT better.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707