If you haven't heard this yet, it's all true.
Star Wars: Episode VII is coming in 2015!
How is this possible, you may ask? I'll give you a small clue:
"Hey! Where's Pluto?"
The Walt Disney Company made this possible with the purchase of this franchise and everything under the Lucasfilm banner. Now, if you're a huge SW fan (like me) this is a big deal. A mixed reaction is expected and understandable, and I wish the franchise well as it grows and continues to be an amazing stretch of the imagination. On top of all that, Mr. Lucas is giving most his $4 billion away. Nice one!
This, coupled with the election next week, it got me thinking. Lots of people love the original trilogy. The recent one? Not so much. For me, I enjoyed them and I'm glad the new trilogy doesn't surpass the old, since it would make the latter three not as cool. With acting, Jar Jar, and other things in the complaint list, I've yet to see or hear serious cripes with it's politics. In many ways, I feel that's where the strength of the prequels lie - depicting the fall of a galactic government.
And this, I feel, is the most powerful line of all those films:
Did you catch that? Applause. Not war. Not famine. Applause.
I remember watching that scene in theaters opening day. Those words chilled me to the core. The idea that such a huge governing body could be duped by a single Sith awed me, even though I was expecting it. Not too long ago, my good blogging/author friend Michael Offutt featured a post about the new Clone Wars season and brought up this relevant question: "How is it that Palpatine had the Jedi eliminated and the galactic populace seems fine with that?"
Let me add a little real world perspective on that ...
How did the 3rd Reich get away with eliminating so many people (mostly Jews) and most of the Nazi Party seemed fine with it?
It's not an overnight process, I can assure you.
In college, I had the chance to take a psychology class that focused, in depth, on Good and Evil - or rather, how people become good or evil. What motivated them to do so? It began with the premise that most people have the desire to do good. Life experiences (social, educational, economic, whathaveyou) has the power to reinforce this good or drive it to more nefarious purposes. People in Germany were not suddenly okay with mass murder overnight. It took decades of persuasion. The Old Republic in Star Wars didn't fall overnight either. It was already falling, well before Episode I began (taking down a government that big would require a thousand-year-old plan).
Am I saying liberty is going to die soon? Not at all, but it can't be taken for granted either. As history has already shown, politics and government have a cycle. Greek authors called it The Kyklos, a cycle of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy (lather, rise, repeat). Today, there's the Tyranny-Liberty Cycle, which (so far) accurately describes the rise and fall of every major government in history, in the order of Liberty, Complacency, Dependance, Tyranny, and Revolution.
Let's see this cycle at work in Star Wars ...
Episodes I and II played out during the Complacency stage, as Palpatine put it “The Republic is not what it once was—the Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates. There is no interest in the common good.” Episode III showed the Republic's Dependance on the clone army, using it to "clean up" the mess left by the Separatists.
"What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?" (I think she was onto something ...)
Tyranny officially began when Moff Tarkin said "all remaining reminisce of the Old Republic have been swept away" in Episode IV.
Episode V and VI is all about Revolution. Lather, rise, repeat.
Kudos to Lucas for dreaming up this complicated political dilemma.
But if sci fi is a precursor to sci fact, could this happen for real? It can and it has, in its own way. Ender's Game, after all, showed how social media could effect government well before the advent of Facebook.
Over the last couple of mouths, I decided to inform myself about my country (America) and the world as it stands today. I am astounded. I think it's completely fair to disagree with people, but the viciousness and divisiveness right now is at the worst I have seen in my 30 years of life. What has happened to civility? Did it ever exist or was the lack thereof hiding all this time? And in all the research I've done, I'm amazed how ill informed some are - or worst yet, misinformed.
This negativity is more than enough to make a little girl cry.
We live in a great time where information, on just about anything, is readily available in our pockets. Unfortunately, every story has indefinite angles - they can be spun to have more. Fact Checkers have been reduced to semantic word plays. Death threats are somehow okay, so long as it's through Twitter. Articles (and history) have been rewritten to match or comply with current narratives.
The list goes on. I am hopeful, after November 6th, regardless of the outcome, the good nature that I have seen and know in people that has been absent these last few months will return. I won't deny, however, while I've been sitting quietly in the background watching all this happen, I have a better understanding of how people react to certain things, which I hope will make the politics in my fiction writing more believable. Being informed, even with sources we don't agree with, can enhance real and fictional perspectives. What's the advice?
Be informed, with multiple sources, and vote. Research and practicing the right to elect our government officials gives us the unique chance to increase our knowledge of how government works, can work, and in turn, allows us to participate in history. I'm glad to be part of it!
This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. This blog isn't meant to sway anyone politically. There's plenty of other places to go for that, but I will say, to have a good understanding of the political spectrum, especially if we plan to use politics in our fiction, we have to branch outside of our leanings and look at the other side too, and try to understand without being on the attack. It's hard to persuade people when we call them a racist or a socialist, directly or indirectly, only because we disagree. We're better than petty name-callers.
Politics, on the other hand, make for excellent reading. Some of the best books out there are rich with them, such as Dune, Game of Thrones, and Mistborn. My works have a fair amount of politicking, especially my first round of sci fi attempts, Made for good drama. I wish you a great weekend and a greater week ahead. To my friends on the East Coast, I wish you well and hope you'll recover soon.
"May the ballot be with you!"
Looking forward to the end of this election? Do politics play an active role in your writing? What's your favorite politics-rich story?
I'm David, and the Solo kids had better have sabers, so help me ...