It’s frustrating to feel alone, like your opinion doesn’t matter. Like you’re “wrong” because you don’t see things the way others do.
I have felt this way for years as it pertained to the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Something that I loved so dearly was the subject of scorn and derision, anger and snarky put-downs. But the worst of it was the way that Director George Lucas was treated. Search his name in any Google feed and you’ll be greeted only with snide, condescending or vulgar remarks.
That’s right. The creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones (not to mention two of my other favorite films– American Graffiti and THX-1138) is being equated with the likes of Osama Bin Laden because he dared to make movies the way he wanted them.
I’m not denying that he’s a controversial figure. I understand why some fans would be irritated at his refusal to release the original cuts of the first trilogy. I even sympathize with some of the complaints about the changes. But the level of discourse tilted from respectful disagreement to downright hostility and has descended into a deeper and darker hateful pit ever since.
So what did I decide to do about it?
I put my money where my mouth was and started a business called George Shot First.
George Shot First is a collaboration between myself and a few other like-minded souls: designers, artists, writers, cinephiles. The goal is to offer t-shirts, apparel and premium streetwear that combats the anger, fear and aggression that has consumed the pop culture narrative of Mr. Lucas and respond with a counterpoint, a rallying cry against the haters.
For those not in the know, George Shot First is an inside joke with Star Wars fans who have long deliberated over the controversial change in the Special Edition version of the original Star Wars film. In one scene, Han Solo confronts a bounty hunter called Greedo. In the original version of the film, it appears that Han shoots first, gunning down the bounty hunter before he can end Solo’s life. In the 1997 Special Edition version, Greedo fires first, missing Han and the smuggler returns fire, ending the bounty hunter’s life. It’s a small change and one that doesn’t change the outcome of the encounter, but it set off a wave of resentment against Mr. Lucas.
Han Shot First became the rallying cry of the disenfranchised.
George Shot First speaks to the perspective that it’s ultimately Lucas’ decision what he wants to do with his movie. Making the first Star Wars film almost resulted in a nervous breakdown for the guy, so if he wants to go back decades later and fine tune some points that never sat right with him, he shouldn’t have to ask anyone’s permission first.
In case you haven’t gotten the joke yet, the guy with the camera always shoots first.
If you’re a fan of George Lucas and believe the disrespect and animosity has gotten way out of control, please consider supporting this movement any way you can. The primary goal is to get the message out there and be loud enough that the haters and the media have to take notice.