I had the action figures. Who didn't? I dressed up as Princess Leia, complete with donut hair, for Halloween. Those of us who grew up with Star Wars and Indiana Jones can't imagine our childhoods without the creations of George Lucas. But all things must come to an end.
It's time for the Bearded One to retire. And perhaps change his shirt. If I didn't believe it before, Star Wars: The Clone Wars pushed me right over the edge. Here are a few reasons why it's time for Lucas to go gracefully to his hilltop house, where he can spend his sunset years sitting atop a pile of thousand-dollar bills and leave the rest of us with our fond memories.
1. Hasn't directed a really good movie since American Graffiti. Lucas started out directing artsy short films and then the much-loved American Graffiti. Then Star Wars--we refuse to call it Episode IV: A New Hope--which, let's be honest now, was pretty good, but not as good as Graffiti. Then nothing for 22 years. So what does Lucas choose for his return to film? The Phantom Menace. The Phantom "Jar Jar Binks, the Force is really some sort of infection, Watto the flying stereotype" Menace.
2. Howard the Duck. Lucas thought it was a good idea to produce a movie about a talking duck. From space. Who almost has sex with Lea Thompson! Yes, we know it was based on a hit cult comic book, but come on: It's just plain wrong. When Golden Girls makes fun of your film, you are not in good shape.
3. Willow. A Lord of the Rings ripoff fantasy film starring Val Kilmer. Because that's exactly who comes to mind when you say "magical realm with dragons." This collaboration between Lucas and director Ron Howard is notable for naming the two-headed dragon after film critics Siskel and Ebert. For those who actually liked the movie, Lucas disappointed by not releasing a 20th-anniversary edition with the scenes that were hacked from the original theatrical release. He might as well have spread out the actual film, blindfolded himself and slashed it with a sword. (I still love you, Warwick Davis.)
4. Won't stop messing with Star Wars. Lucas created the greatest science fiction fantasy franchise of all time, then proceeds to destroy it piece by piece. First, he changes plot points: Greedo shoots first? Then he shoehorns Hayden Christensen into the final scenes of Return of the Jedi, replacing Sebastian Shaw. Then the prequels and Jar Jar and midi-chlorians. Then Ahsoka, the perky teen Jedi. Then Ziro the Hutt. What next? Howard the Duck as a Jedi master?
5. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. By all accounts, we have Lucas to blame for the worst thing about the fourth Indy installment: the aliens. Supposedly, Lucas' original idea for the movie was Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars. And part of the reason that the fourth film took so long to, um, get off the ground is that director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford didn't much cotton to the idea. The back and forth of the film's various scripts and incarnations likely had to do with how much Lucas held out for including the sci-fi elements and how much Spielberg and Ford tried to take them out. Guess who won.
6. Threatens to mount a live-action Star Wars TV show. This one is supposed to take place between Episodes III and IV. The video game from the same period, The Force Unleashed, had a good storyline, but I highly doubt that the show will. Just imagine the Darth Vader appearances where someone tries to do the James Earl Jones voice. Think of the celebrity cameo Hutt-of-the-Week. Think of all the ways he could work in Jar Jar.
7. Needs a stylist. Mr. Lucas, please. You're on the Forbes list of billionaires. Buy more than one plaid shirt. Better yet, skip the plaid all together.
8. Refuses to re-release his movies in high-definition versions. The man who gave us Industrial Light & Magic, reworked sound in film as we know it and help start what is now Pixar refuses to re-release the Star Wars series in high-def. What the hell is he thinking? Since every decision he's made in the past couple of decades seem to involve increasing his vast empire, I can't imagine why this might be. Still, maybe it's better this way. He'd probably decide that in this edition, the aliens from Indy show up in the cantina and shoot first.
9. Not enough women. Why is it that a man with multiple daughters can only seem to get one female lead into each film? Sure, there are peripheral characters. Sometimes he actually manages one good woman and one evil bitch. But, really, in the age of kick-ass female characters like Angelina Jolie in Wanted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars and Rosario Dawson in pretty much anything, isn't this a bit antiquated?
Mr. Lucas, it's time to sit back and enjoy your lovely Skywalker Ranch. Hey, it's even got it's own vineyard. And Han shot first, dammit.