Serenity & Star Wars fans- A theory

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.

Interesting theory - makes sense to me

I’ll buy that.

Works for me. I always thought Luke was a pussy anyway.

A very sensible analysis. I wonder: Does this mean that, had the Star Wars prequels shown the same balance of rogue and knight as the originals, that the fandom for Firefly would have been smaller (having been sated elsewhere)? Or would the two have reinforced each other, resulting in a greater following for both?

I always wondered if the previews for Serenity were a deliberate swipe at Star Wars. In the Serenity preview, the Operative specifially says he’s not armed and Mal says “Good!” and then pops a cap into him. This seemed to be in direct contrast to the whole Greedo shoots first issue… Our hero shoots first and is damned proud of it. So proud in fact…

He actually shoots three unarmed people in total: the hapless Reaver victim they encounter during the heist, the Operative and last but not least the Alliance solider who was trying to surrender on Haven.

As Rick James would say, “Cold blooded!”

Of course the obvious and outstanding difference between Star Wars and Firefly is the deliberate lack of aliens in the 'Verse. Firefly was always meant to be an exploration of the human condition through the interactions and shared experiences of the characters. Star Wars… not so much. I wouldn’t want Lucas trying to explore the human condition even if he found a way to steal Joss Whedon’s brain.

The OP is all well and good; but here’s the cruicial difference. Joss is a good writer and Lucas is a hack.

I think the problem is that Lucas’s talent actually lies outside the creative process- he’s not a bad idea man, but if you want someone to script, direct or act in* your movie, you don’t get Lucas. Empire and Jedi were mostly worked on by others (Hope has Lucas scripting, I think, but nothing else) with Lucas doing wonderful things coordinating, marketing and funding the films. Then he lets fame go to his head and churns out three pisspoor scripting and directing jobs in the prequels, rather than letting someone else handle them.

*I realise Lucas didn’t act the prequels, but according to Hayden Christiasewhatever, his direction was so minute as to give no room for actor’s individual interpretation.

Well, unless you count a mutant cow fetus.

It’s upside-down.