Since 1999, bashing George Lucas seems to be the done thing. The Star Wars prequels didn’t live up to everyone’s expectations (but let’s be honest, they probably never could) and were problematic pieces of cinema. Even Lucas himself knew he’d gone too far with the ending of The Phantom Menace. But the overwhelming amount of vitriol against George Lucas that has flooded the internet ever since from the more rabid fans is just completely ridiculous.
So now that Lucas has stepped back from the Star Wars universe, here are five reasons why people should stop bitching about him…
5. Everyone Merchandises Stuff
With the release of the prequels came angry cries that George Lucas was milking the franchise with all the commercial tie-ins. No s**t, Sherlock. The long and the short of it is that filmmaking is a business. Films exist to make money and merchandising is an extension of that. Everything from Star Trek to Sonic The Hedgehog to Thomas The Tank Engine gets merchandised. Star Wars shouldn’t get some kind of special immunity from that.
Also, it’s case of supply and demand. If somebody wants to buy an action figure of a character like Aayla Secura or Dengar, then why is it a bad thing to supply them? My childhood bedroom back at my parents’ house is crammed full of Star Wars merchandise. Why? Because I was and still am a massive Star Wars fan and loved using the action figures and the Lego sets to create my own stories. Star Wars toys helped to fuel my imagination and keep me occupied as a child. And it’s thanks to George Lucas for licensing it all. Also, you’re not obligated to buy any of it.
Lucas had the foresight to see that merchandising revenue could be huge. So why should he be so reviled for taking advantage of that? Character Options release Doctor Who toys with incredibly tenuous connections to the series and nobody has a go at the BBC for merchandising it. Hell, pretty much every child or family-orientated film that comes out is merchandised. So why should George Lucas get so much abuse for both supplying something that people want, and taking advantage of something that practically every other studio does? Answer: he shouldn’t. Take off the rose-tinted glasses and realise that most things get merchandised, and that Star Wars is no exception to that. Also, I’m willing to bet you’re not going to get on your soapboxes about all the merchandise that came out in the seventies and eighties.
This article was first posted on November 5, 2012