What have you learned from Star Wars commentaries?

So far, I’ve found the commentaries on the Star Wars films to be fairly enlightening (if a little too well organized) and have given me some insight into the films (I still have ESB and ROTJ to go… but I find the sloppy lightsaber work to be distracting to my viewings of the films).

  • Lucas never planned to film the prequels
    When watching serials as a kid, you wouldn’t always be able to see the episodes from the beginning, so he thought that it would give the right feeling to open midway through this “pretend serial”. After hearing this, I realized that one of the problems with the prequels is that they aren’t in “pretend serial” format. It’s also a reason I like “The Clone Wars” so much.

He did write down an outline of the prehistory of each character in order to give the characters more depth. It’s from this outline that he sat down to write the prequels. (As a side note, he didn’t originally plan to have Vader be an astmatic from a lava pit: The idea was suggested by some preliminary art by Ralph McQuarrie who felt that Vader would need a breathing mask to survive in outer space. Lucas liked the look and decided to keep it, adding on the backstory.)

  • No technological/cultural exposition
    Watching Japanese films such as The Hidden Fortress, dropped Lucas into a film with no idea what the culture was about. Again, he enjoyed the feeling and really like the idea that, despite being a science fiction film, he didn’t want to bog people down with technical explanations.

That is one thing I really like about the films: Don’t worry about what shields, hyperdrives, cloaking devices, etc. are. What’s a swamp rat? Who cares, it’s not important! Just know that they exist. Of course, now-a-days, every Star Wars geek wants to know how everything works and it doesn’t help that Technical Manuals were released.

(I had others, but they’ve gone out of my mind now that I’ve written down those two :slight_smile: )

Whomp rat.

runs

I like that, as well. If you’re put directly into a universe, it seems so much more realistic. Why would Han Solo explain what a hyperdrive is to Chewbacca? He wouldn’t, and therefore he doesn’t. That type of thing always takes me out of the mindset and makes me remember that I’m just watching a movie.

Yeah yeah yeah… I realized that a little while after a posted… musta had ROUSes on my mind. :smack:

Rodents of unusual size? I don’t think they exist. :wink:

“Womp rat”.

runs faster

-Joe

I like this, too. It’s what makes Star Wars feel more “real” than Star Trek. Trek feels the need to explain everything, usually using lots of techobabble, with the result being that everybody seems like they’re some kind of scientific wunderkind. Star Wars just says “Here’s the Death Star. It has a huge energy weapon that can blow up a planet. That’s all you really need to know.”

Although when “Enterprise” had its Xindi superweapon, they didn’t do too much explaining as to exactly how it was going to blow up Earth. And when Archer and crew went to destroy it, they didn’t go much farther than saying, “OK, yanking out this series of bright blue cylinders and making them turn red will blow the superweapon up.”