Bring Back the Muppets!

Use the Force, George.

When Disney announced they were buying Star Wars from George Lukas, my first thought was, good, now we’ll know what happens. Back in 1980, after the success of the original film—and before any further films had been released—Lucas revealed that he originally had nine films in mind: a central trilogy, a prequel trilogy, and a successor trilogy—in effect, a nine-part saga. Some 20 people had seen all the plot summaries, with 10-page outlines of each. But they weren’t talking.

Once the original series was successful, Lukas said he had put that book on the shelf, and wasn’t sure if he’d ever pick it up again. Making movies is hard work, and these three had taken a big toll on him. But eventually he came back to the project, first with enhanced versions of Episodes IV through VI, and then with Episodes I through III.

But the final story was still a mystery, until now. Lukas may have aged, but institutions don’t tire so easily. There’s a great demand for fiction and fantasy that both provides an escape and also presents issues of right and wrong, corruption and redemption. That’s at the heart of many enduring stories.

So it makes sense that someone would want to use Lucas’s alternative universe to present additional stories. Whether that will include an aging Luke Skywalker and Han Solo is an open question. After all, there are thousands of characters from the original series to explore—along with kickin’ special effects!

Which brings me to my “new hope.” What I loved about the original trilogy was the fun: Princess Leia calling Chewbacca a “walking carpet,” a flying C3PO amazing unblinking ewoks. And Luke’s growth from restless farm-boy staring at the twin Tatooine suns to mature, self-sacrificing leader (“I will not fight you, Father”) has universal appeal. But technological special-effects wizardry can distract us from character development and significant questions.

So I say: bring back the Muppets—low-tech aids that are fun and advance the plot, but don’t get in the way of the central questions. And please: no Jar-Jar.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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