Ed Driscoll

Princess Leia Joins the Empire

That whole “small band of rebels up against the big evil empire” theme? That’s soooo-1977, Carrie Fisher says:

Is there anyone you haven’t met that you’ve always wanted to?

I’m surprised you haven’t met him.
I know. I love him. Hopefully I’ll meet him sometime. I’m just happy he exists.

Do you think Tea Party is just people who are pissed that there is an African American president?
Yup, and the fact that they chose to call themselves “teabaggers,” which is slang for a certain act involving b***s. It sort of says a lot. I would say a mouthful. Looks like it’s very upsetting for them, but he’s brilliant. The thing is, he’s half white but that’s still not enough — for them it’s all white or f**k off. I think we don’t deserve him and certainly teabaggers don’t deserve him.

As is reasonably well-known by now, when George Lucas first conceived Star Wars in the mid-1970s, he wrote its subtext as a metaphor for the then-two biggest stories in the news, the Vietnam war and Watergate. And given his kooky San Francisco Democrat politics, naturally the communist North Vietnamese were the good guys, and (of course) Richard Nixon was the heavy.

Back in 2007, in the original incarnation of the Libertas film blog, Jason Apuzzo wrote:

As early as the mid-70’s Mr. Lucas began describing his ‘Star Wars’ story to his friends as a parable for America’s war in Vietnam – with America serving as the evil, hyper-technological Empire, and the ‘primitive’ Vietnamese as the Rebel Alliance. This is well known, and I’m privately able to confirm this through people who’ve known George for about 40 years. Mr. Snyder also might want to listen to Lucas’ DVD commentary for Phantom Menace, in which he refers to low-tech Vietnamese victories over high-tech American forces as “kind of inspiring.” If that isn’t sufficient, here is Mr. Lucas speaking at Cannes on Sunday, repeating what he’s been saying about the ‘Star Wars’ series for the past 30 years:

Lucas said he patterned his story after historical transformations from freedom to fascism, never figuring when he started his prequel trilogy in the late 1990s that current events might parallel his space fantasy. “As you go through history, I didn’t think it was going to get quite this close. So it’s just one of those recurring things,” Lucas said at a Cannes news conference. “I hope this doesn’t come true in our country. Maybe the film will waken people to the situation,” Lucas joked.

That comment echoes Moore’s rhetoric at Cannes last year, when his anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 won the festival’s top honor.

Unlike Moore, whose Cannes visit came off like an anybody-but-Bush campaign stop, Lucas never mentioned the president by name but was eager to speak his mind on U.S. policy in Iraq, careful again to note that he created the story long before the Bush-led occupation there.

“When I wrote it, Iraq didn’t exist,” Lucas said, laughing. “We were just funding Saddam Hussein and giving him weapons of mass destruction. We didn’t think of him as an enemy at that time. We were going after Iran and using him as our surrogate, just as we were doing in Vietnam. … The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we’re doing in Iraq now are unbelievable.”

The prequel trilogy is based on a back-story outline Lucas created in the mid-1970s for the original three “Star Wars” movies, so the themes percolated out of the Vietnam War and the Nixon-Watergate era, he said.

So it’s not all that surprising that with a far left president whose most fanatical worshipers in the entrenched corridors of media power are just begging to seize dictatorial control, and who has already been said to have mystical and quasi-religious powers, an alumni of such a cinematic venture would side with the Emperor in this scenario over the rebels.

(Though the Obama as Emperor theme starts to become a tad shaky when one considers that it makes the hapless Joe Biden the equivalent of Darth Vader…)

But the beauty of science fiction is that by cloaking a story in space ships and ray guns, it’s possible to bury its subtext in so deep, that only the writer can grasp his original intentions, at least for a time. This is why Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek in the mid-1960s — to get his stories and themes past the NBC censors and discuss relatively serious concepts then relatively rarely explored on network TV.

Not to mention the opportunity to portray highly trained female officers in miniskirts, go-go boots and stratospheric bouffant hairdos.

Who knows how much the cast of George Lucas’s original Star Wars movie knew about its subtext when they signed onboard. Besides, for young struggling actors and actresses, a job’s a job.

Flash-forward 35 years, and Carrie Fisher is already a Hollywood legend. By smearing half the country as racists, she’s just further cemented her standing amongst the Tinseltown cognoscenti.

Finally, note the headline on this New York magazine story: “With Sequels and Reboots Failing, Hollywood (Finally) Puts Out a Desperate Call for Original Material.”

Is it possible that like network news before it, Hollywood’s continued trashing of half its domestic audience might just be playing just a teensy bit of a role in its decline?

Fortunately for the industry, there may  indeed be A New Hope on the immediate horizon.

Or not.

Update:Nobody tell Carrie, but “We’re All Racists Now!: Behar, Garofalo & Ron Reagan Attack Obama.” Elsewhere, a grave disturbance in the Force.