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Month: November 2009

The Creative Mind of George Lucas Divines a New Star Wars Character

The Place: Skywalker Ranch.
The Situation: A creative meeting is taking place to create a new Star Wars character who will be the focus of a new live action television series that takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi.Major brainstorming is going on.
The People: Present are George Lucas and the LucasFilm databank keeper.

Databank Keeper – “Okay, so what have we got so far?”

Lucas shakes his head. He is tired and exhausted from running the Lucasfilm empire.

George Lucas – “Nothing. We have nothing.”
DK – “Alright…what is it? Human, creature of some sort….something…”
GL – “Not human. We have enough humans. Make it a creature.”
DK – “Sentient or not?”
GL – “Definitely sentient.”
DK – “Wise or not?”
GL – “Wise? Like Yoda?”
DK – “Yeah.”
GL –  “Hmm…not so wise. Just normal.”
DK – “Okay, a normal creature. What does it look like?”
GL – “Furry. Tall and furry.”
DK – “Like a Wookiee?”
GL – “Okay…no, make it short.”
DK – “Like an Ewok?”
GL – *Sigh* “Scratch furry. Make it scaly. And green.”
DK – “Like Greedo?”
GL – “…Okay. Scaly, green, big beaver teeth.”
DK – “Like Walrus Man?”
GL – “Why is this so hard?”
DK – “I don’t know. You thought this stuff up.”
GL – “Short. Pigish…creature.”
DK – “Like an Ugnaught?”

Lucas hits his fist on the desk – repeatedly.

GL – “Okay, not scaly and green. Scaly and…orange.”
DK – “…Orange is good.”
GL – “Yes, orange is good. Don’t have many orange creatures.”
DK – “What do we call the orange creature’s species?”
GL – “How about a…Rith.”
DK – “No can do. Too close to ‘Bith’. And ‘Sith’.”
GL – “Toynarian! Vimbanite! Morax! Anything!”
DK – “Toydarian, Mimbanite, Gorax. Already done.”
GL – “Okay…Flangian.”
DK – “Flangian?”
GL – “Yes. A Flangian. He will be a Flangian.”
DK – “Where did you come up with that?”
GL – “I just…created…it.”
DK – “Fine. What’s the Flangian’s backstory?”

Silence for 5 minutes…and then…

GL – “The Flangian was recruited by criminal elements on his home world, Flangia, and eventually grew up on a crime boss’ ship, the Bardo’s Luck. He eventually bought his freedom from the crime boss and joined the Imperial Academy. He was a good pilot but he got kicked out for…some reason…so he got back into crime and smuggled…things…around the galaxy. And then for…some reason…he got caught up in the Rebellion.”
DK – “…That’s Han Solo.”
GL – “YYYYYYYAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Lucas breaks a technical Oscar against the wall.

DK – “You know this isn’t easy, George! Remember how long it took you to come up with Yoda?”
GL – “Jar Jar was so much simpler.”
DK – “Yeah, but the whole ‘race’ thing with him…”
GL – “Yeah, that sucked.”
DK – “Yeah.”
GL – “Okay…he grew up privledged, but then was sent to a farm when his parents died. He moved to a swamp planet and then after being hunted down by Dark Jedi he fled there to go live with…Ewoks or something. And his best friend, he’s a Jedi too, and so his friend and he love the same girl but finally have a duel on a space platform -”
DK – “…You’re kidding…right?”
GL – “…What?”
DK – “That’s like everybody you’ve ever created in the whole saga, main-character-wise.”
GL – “Hey, who came up with this? Me? Yes, me! I’m detecting a more critical tone than usual, so don’t screw with me! Remember, man, I am your boss. Making this stuff up is hard!”
DK – “Well exsqueeze me.”
GL – “Shut up, Jar Jar.”
DK – “Okay, easy one. What’s his name?”
GL – “How about…Fluke Bolo?”
DK – “Or Gorge Mucus? Come on, man! Are you kidding? Are you really out of ideas? Come on, man!”

Lucas hangs his head.

DK – “Okay, let’s take a step back and start over again. What should we call our scaly orange Flangian? I don’t know. Just say whatever pops into your head. That’ll be his name.”
GL – “Bill.”
DK – “Bill?”
GL – “That’s the first thing that popped into my head.”

George twiddles his thumbs….

GL – “Okay, we can work with…Bill.”

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Michael Jackson

I thank my lucky stars everyday that my family and I were overseas from mid-June through mid-July. We went to Italy. It was wonderful and we had a great time and our family felt better again since Kim and I had been working 60+ hour weeks.

In the town of Loro Ciufenna that we were staying there was a newsstand that sold, on each Sunday, one copy of the International Herald Tribune. The IHT is the European version of the New York Times, but from a decidedly Euro-centric viewpoint, but you still have to put up with Paul Krugman and Roger Cohen. So the first time we bought the IHT (for  2 Euro) and splashed across the front page was a story about Michael Jackson, sort of a career retrospective and how it mentioned that he had planned to tour in the fall. Only after 10 or so paragraphs did it mention that he was dead.

Wow. Michael Jackson was dead? I called my mother and asked her when it had happened and was told that it was a few days after we had left the States, which made me happy to be in Italy, because it meant that I didn’t have to live through all of the crap that was going on in the States about how, oh my God, he’s dead! What happened? What will we do without this lovable eccentric genius who died before his time? Let’s all run out right this freaking second and buy everything that we can that has Michael Jackson’s voice or picture or essence on it!

Supposedly Michael Jackson’s estate has earned over $100 million since his death. And yes, I feel for his children, whom I’m sure loved their father, even though he nicknamed one of them Blanket. And I’m sure that his family was sad when he died, but I hope there is some remorse they feel cashing checks for everything from their shares of his estate to the new reality series that is going to be broadcast with most of the Jacksons in it. I’m probably being pessimistic, given what human nature is really like, of course.

I think that the thing that gets me the most about this Michael love is that everyone seems to have forgotten how completely freaky this person they are worshiping was. All of these “Thriller” dance things and “Thriller” on Party City television ads and Neverland Ranch and the child-sex thing – what the – ? This person, only a few years ago, was considered a freak of nature, a possible child rapist and understandably distrusted by many people. Is the new love the product of a remarkable PR campaign? It’s definitely possible. Who knows.

And why do I care? Part of the “Thriller” thing is, I’m sure, a long-lost love of an ephemeral, imagined 1980’s and a simpler time. Do people feel lonely for this? Should I care at all?

Give it a little while. It will go away.

I hope.

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