Far, far away

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a bloke who’d never seen a Star Wars movie and was arguably better off for it on balance.

Until recently I would probably have said I love Star Wars. Yeah I’m one of those ancient bastards who just about remembers it coming out as a kid – the second one obviously, I’m not an OAP for Christ’s sake. As we know, the second one’s a lot better than the first and third. The fourth one’s childish drivel, five and six are forgettable. Seven is a remake of the first one for no discernible reason, eight was a glorified chase movie and nine brought little beyond blessed relief that we were finally done with it all.

So I’m really looking forward to 10, 11 and 12, as you can tell, because oh fucking sweet Christ they’ve only gone and announced another trilogy.

It probably won’t have a scowling Luke Skywalker shitting on his image as a fresh-faced and innocent starfighter pilot and they’ll have to get CSI in to luminol the cutting room floor if they want any more Princess Leia. But there’ll be the usual taciturn aliens with trowel-shaped blue heads whose costumes take months to perfect for their 25 seconds of screen time before they explode in a cantina.

There’ll be new letters for the space ships because it turns out they’ve only used A, B, E, V, X and Y so far. There’ll be conflicted characters who don’t reveal whether they’re good guys or bad guys until, coincidentally, the end of the third film. Chances are there’ll be a non-gender specific Malagasy Turkmen bisexual dwarf in the lead role. Star Wars now can’t be about galactic warfare, billions of lives threatened and destruction on a planetary scale, because it’s more profitable to court controversy by showing Gimboidian spoon-trader Bong Mong-Wango struggling after an illicit kiss with a cow-cum-hoover android lifeform as a way to get people on Facebook to watch ads. Plots cost money you know.

If I’m honest with myself it’s shocked me that I’m surprised they’re making more. In a spectacular display of naivety I actually bought the notion that the original trilogy was the end of it. Of course they’re going to milk more out of it, because Star Wars has to become one of those glorious cinematic entities we couldn’t have imagined back when the industry retained a scintilla of imagination: a universe.

The thousands of Avengers are obviously the monsters among us and I think they’re trying to do the same with Batman and his crowd. What about the X-Men, where do they fit in? Fucking nonsense the lot it. There’s a fledgling universe involving The Walking Dead, because in the end zombies will never be done to death. Potter has a universe, obviously. Star Trek has been at it for a while with catastrophically diminishing returns from the moment the lad from Quantum Leap turned up.

And now Star Wars has fully left behind its history of still-boxed figurines and dubious comic book fan fiction putting a cock on C-3PO. Now it’s two films every year, a social media presence for every character staffed by a single minimum-wage Disney employee in a bunker in Orlando and an absolute Argos catalogue of TV shows. In the next few years there’ll be limitless new Star Wars across every media we know. In one article they list four definite new TV shows, seven films and a cartoon, and they don’t even mention how Disney plan to Star Wars the fuck out of the video game industry.

But it’s all top quality content, right? Which brings me to The Mandalorian.

I tried it with an open mind. The first episode was all right. Bloke looks like Boba Fett but isn’t. Comes across a baby version of Yoda that isn’t Yoda, which at least doesn’t speak so we don’t have to endure that backwards bollocks. Baby floats in a metal ball. Never explained why.

Not-Boba fights some folk and a robot and gets lumbered with this kid for some reason. Second episode, their ship breaks or something and to fix it they have to fight some massive rhino, for some reason, in a shit space remake of the brawl from They Live, which I must stress once again it’s important you watch on Youtube if you ever want your life to be complete.

I must admit I stopped after two episodes. I find it’s incumbent on screenwriters to make some modest effort to provide me with a flying fuck about the story or the characters, and even the rhino wasn’t cutting it. But on it pounds to great acclaim, AND NOW IT TURNS OUT BOBA FETT IS STILL ALIVE AND getting his own show. Wow, revelation.

It’s TV mealworm. It’s the small-screen equivalent of Solo, the first Star Wars creation to bring an excellent cast together, lock them onto a closed set and repeatedly shout “Go on then, make a film” at them over a tannoy. (Yes, Rogue One came first, but everybody died so I won’t have a bad word said against it.) The Mandalorian says nothing but an extended ‘buuuuuuuuuuuuuy ooooouuuuuuuurrr shhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’ – the first time a programme has been made with the sole and express intention of having you pay a subscription for a group of chuckling executives to take a dump in your mouth once a month.

That sums up the 21st century entertainment landscape: fully quantity over quality. People now want to gorge on regular sub-standard output instead of waiting to treat themselves to a visual or thoughtful gem now and again. Countless low-quality plotless dramas released every week, script-writing utterly dominated by the lazy ‘based on a true story’ and a bored Bruce Willis in nearly every movie. Our gluttonous we want more for less fast-food mentality pushes quality to the margins and leaves Dude Where’s My Car? as the last film left to put into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

But this is us in the world of universes. There’s literally no such thing as over-saturation when the brain-dead universe posse get hold of something. You could argue that the three original Star Wars films aren’t changed by the subsequent bastard spawn of George Lucas and Walt Disney. What’s wrong with new stuff for a new generation?

You are going to make me hate Star Wars, that’s what’s wrong. An important part of my childhood is going to be swallowed up by Resistance this and Force that, as Harrison Ford thanks his lucky stars he got kicked off a bridge when he did. The tightness of those first three films will be Jabba the Hutted all to fuck by the flab of an entire race of identical Yodas, at least 25 more Death Stars all inexplicably built with the same air vent and, because it will eventually swallow all of science fiction, a time travelling Jar Jar Binks.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you as you swallow Walt’s every last drop. Forgive me if I prefer the tight script of a Daisy Ridley deepfake.

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