This weekend has been a productive one around the house. The garages were subjected to massive domestic carnage resulting in greater order, cleanliness and substantial purging of unnecessary material doohickery. Today the twins and I baked home-made pizzas with crust from scratch and then made pumpkin bread muffins. These are going quiet nicely with the main event of the weekend, the kids first viewing of Return of the Jedi. As I sit here watching what is probably my second favorite move in the franchise I find myself thinking about Ewoks.
That’s right, I said EWOKS.
No, not genocidal thoughts, though many of you probably went there. What I am thinking about is the value of NOT giving fans what they want. The rumor I have heard is that Lucas the Hutt originally wanted to have this last, epic battle fought on Kashyyyk with Wookies. (I got that spelling right by memory–behold my geek powers)
When it came time to make the movie whether it was the result of cost or the NBA was unwilling to take a year off to all go be wookies, the result was a compromise.
Truly the LESSER of evils. Right?
I certainly have spent decades, (Decades? Jesus… yes, decades) hating those goofy little furry bastards. AIIIIEEEEE HAAAAA! I have always said they were a mistake.
Now at the ripe age of, *mumble mumble* I wonder if I have been wrong all this time. Ewoks annoy us, they irritate us, but we also love them. Even those of us who love to hate them, hold that feeling years later.
Wookies would have been cool and indeed, the battle of the forest moon with Wookies would have ruled. But would it have been as memorable? Would we be talking about it years later? One thing that CGI has taught is that just because you CAN do thing, does not mean you should. A story filled with only that which fills us with thrills and pure animal lust and fan joy is not necessarily the story that stays with us.
Imperfections are contextual in their relationships to those things we love. The contrast they create provides a sense of attachment.
When I think along these lines I think about my writing, because I am a narcissistic, obsessive nut like that. Maybe what feels the coolest is not the best thing in story telling. I have not read George R.R. Martins Fire and Ice series, but one thing many friends talk about when they read it, is how much they HATE what happens in those books. There is a light in their eyes when they talk about how satisfied they are when some loathed character gets their comeuppance. It is not about what is cool, but emotional connections with the need for justice, or revenge.
I think that the concept I am proposing here is hardly revolutionary, but it is not one I have thought deeply on in terms of creating stories with lasting emotional hold on the reader. Maybe sometimes you just need Ewoks?
What do you think?