Hi there, first time poster, on a guest account, following up on a thread that passed a few days ago. So, at the risk of covering old territory:
***Joss Whedon’s Serenity is a fine example of the part of Star Wars that the prequels abandoned. ***
Basically, in Star Wars you had two male (human) leads who stick with you through all three films: the young knight in training, and the rogue scoundrel. Along with the light sabers duels, you also got a western-like gun fighter with dirty tricks up his sleeve.
On the school yard where I grew up in the 80s, Luke and Han had about equal numbers of stubby little guys wanting to be him.
In Lucas’ series of prequel films, those kids who wanted to be Luke are treated to six hours of non-stop Jedi fan-service. It is difficult to locate a scene in any of the prequels in which a Jedi does not appear, and in the few scenes that do exist, the non-Jedi are typically talking about the Jedi. What non-Jedi characters exist, exist to interact with Jedi.
Lucas’ choice to focus his film so unblinkingly on the Jedi portion of his universe was a smart financial decision, in my opinion. But in doing so, he abandoned the gritty western elements of his original trilogy that many loved.
In creating Firefly, and later Serenity, Whedon did the exact opposite of what Lucas had done. He had created a Star Wars world with nothing but the archetype of Han Solo populating it. As Lucas filled every scene with Jedi, Whedon filled every scene with smugglers. While everyone and their mother threw about force lightning and double ended lightsabers in the prequels, Firefly featured a wide cast of people who always shot the bounty hunter first.
Setting aside opinions on how good or bad the Star Wars prequels and Serenity were, I believe this theory accounts for the small but very dedicated fan base Serenity achieved. It fills the gap left in the expectations of Star Wars fans who found their favorite part of the franchise missing from the prequels.
While both films often put their creators’s personal predilections and cliches on stage for the whole world to see, each expanded on half of what made the original Star Wars movies so enjoyable when we first saw them.