GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Star Wars ripping off Serenity!

POSTED BY: GREENFAERIE
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 17:57
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 2:06 PM

GREENFAERIE


On the Discovery channel, I am watching this show, "The Science of Star Wars", and within the first three minutes they describe the rebels as "a ragtag group of space cowboys". Huh? All I could do was yell, "Bullsh!t!"



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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 2:24 PM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


Now hold on. I'm not leaping to Star Wars defense, but I'd heard Star Wars described as an "Oat Opera" set in space a long, long time before Firefly was even conceived.

Star Wars has all the elements of high adventure that was included in most westerns. You have the aging gunfighter (Kenobi), the overeager youth that will take on the legacy at the end (Luke) the unbeatable bad guy (Vader), the maverick (Solo) and the damsel in distress (Leia). There's even a class element much like there was in old Westerns...in much the way a land baron would use horrific methods to clear land and gain land rights. Or, an Empire that wants the little Rebellion crushed and out of the way.

These are concepts that are not exclusive to Firefly, is what I mean...

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 2:28 PM

CAPTBAGGYTROUSERS


Yeah, I'm going to have to agree that Space Cowboy was in the palance long before the 'Verse was a twinkle in Joss' eye.

And while I obviously love Firefly, it is a pastiche of many things which have come before, even if it is more than the sum of its parts. I don't think it's entirely coincidental that Mal has the same stripe on his pants that Han Solo does, for example.

History repeats the old conceits

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 2:32 PM

GREENFAERIE


Kenobi is no gunfighter. He was more of a Samurai. The only space cowboy in Star Wars was Han Solo. The rebels as a group are no cowboys, by any extension of logic. Sure, Star Wars has some elements of westerns, but not enough to claim that the rebels were cowboys. After seeing all of the movies (some multiple times) I remian unconvinced of the "space cowboy-ness" of the rebels.

I'm not saying that it was Joss' invention, but in thirty years, this is the first time I've heard "space cowboys" in reference to Star Wars outside of Han Solo himself.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 2:36 PM

MSCKAREN


Quote:

... damsel in distress (Leia). ...


'Scuse me?! Leia could kick Luke and Han's ass in a second!

Now the Princess from these newer episodes - eh - if you back her in a corner she'll fight, but she's no rebel-warrior like Leia. It was the hair style teasing that made her tough, I'm betting...



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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 3:07 PM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


Sure, Leia can talk poo with the best of them, but, that was her little ass caught in a cell block, awaiting termination before Han and Darth Jr. showed up with their Walking Carpet.

And Kenobi more of a samurai...Yes, but that was a conscious decision...Look at The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven...See what I'm gettin' at?

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 3:46 PM

THEGREYJEDI


You should reword that to say "Discovery Channel Show Ripping off Serenity in a Presentation of the Science of Star Wars." Really, though. Serenity is no threat to Revenge of the Sith. If anything, they can only serve to help one another in the long run. So ease up off the old guy, will ya? And to be fair to the comparison, only Mal, Zoe, and Jayne fit the cowboy set. Simon is a doctor. Kaylee and River are kids. Book's a preacher. Inara's a prostitute. And Wash ain't no cowboy. I'm with ManWithPez. Star Wars has a huge number of Western inspirations.

Besides, if you were so upset, why were you watching a show about Star Wars to begin with?

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 4:06 PM

GREENFAERIE


Quote:

Besides, if you were so upset, why were you watching a show about Star Wars to begin with?


I like Star Wars. I just don't get the "Space Cowbays" reference. I think they're cahing in on the future of Serenity.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 6:04 PM

CEDRIC


When I was a kid and went to see Star Wars in the theaters with my parents, my dad commented that it was basically a Western in space. The poor prairie farmers fending off attacks from hostile savages, the numerical dominance of male characters, and let's not forget the saloon--these are classic Western hallmarks.

Of course, if you're looking for antecedents to Star Wars, you have to mention the Japanese Samurai flicks, which by the way are called "jedai-geki" in Japanese (iirc). One of Kurosawa's films, The Hidden Fortress (again iirc), was a big inspiration for Star Wars. (It's been a long time since my history of film class, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm rusty on some of the terms.)

The brilliance of Star Wars is much like the brilliance of Firefly--both blend cultures and influences in a gritty future, both play on universal themes. Now if only Lucas had been able to hire Whedon to write his screenplays, maybe Count Duku wouldn't have sounded like a Saturday morning villain. And JarJar would have been likable.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 6:15 PM

MONTANAGIRL


Quote:

Originally posted by Cedric:
And JarJar would have been likable.


Even with Joss' help, I don't think that is possible. I'm still hoping that JarJar gets a horrible reptilian disease and dies.

If you can be an idiot, I can be an idiot. - D'Argo

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 6:16 PM

THEGREYJEDI


News flash. Serenity's not that big. And even if someone was using the phrase on purpose to "cash in" on Firefly (which is highly unlikely because knowing the Discovery channel like I do, they don't use sound bites to promote programs like the major networks do. Further more, as I stated the first time, I have a strong feeling that it wasn't a show that was produced by LucasFilm, otherwise it would have been on Fox. Blame the writers and directors of that particular show, not Star Wars.) it would be a pointless gesture. Anyone watching that show is already interested in Star Wars, Browncoat or not.

Why do I defend the Great Lucas Devil so fiercely? For the same reason I defend Wal-Mart, retail corporations and the USA. Because I'm a Republican. Seriously, though. Firefly is truly an amazing thing. And Serenity, too, will be a fantastic piece of not only sci-fi cinema, but cinema as a whole. However. Star Wars has been a part of my life (all 23 years of it as of this past Sunday) as far back as I can remember. If someone told me I could have only one or the other, I would chose Star Wars and never look back. I am not one of the Disillusioned. I do not rally against the Prequels as though they were Bastards and Unwelcome. I am the Patron of the Bastard and Hated. I have a Blue Sun tan t-shirt that cost me $13 and a fan poster that was free. I have a lightsaber that cost me $60 and a poster that cost me $12. I love Firefly. Otherwise I wouldn't be on this board. But just look at my name. Star Wars came first. Being the oldest of five, that tends to mean something. Is it better? That I can't really say. Star Wars is a media behemoth. Firefly is a small collection of 14 episodes of television. You can't compare the two fairly, so I don't.

But I digress. Star Wars is not trying to cash in on Serenity. It doesn't have to. Serenity, I'm willing to bet, doesn't even ping on Lucas' marketing radar. I believe they moved the movie date to give it a better chance of survival by not pitting it against the marketing monster that is LucasFilm. Calm down. Watch Star Wars tomorrow. See Serenity fly in September.

--------------------------------------------------------------
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http://www.jed-soft.com Gamer Rigs, Budget Prices
http://tomeofgrey.blogspot.com
Real Fans Wait - 09/30/05

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 6:36 PM

THEGREYJEDI


Quote:

Originally posted by Cedric:
maybe Count Duku wouldn't have sounded like a Saturday morning villain



1) Star Wars. Made for kids. of course he sounds like a cartoon villain.

2) Totally with you on the points that make Star Wars a space western. Joss just used slug throwers instead of blasters.

3) Jar-Jar should be eaten slowly by tiny battle droids with dull teeth then stabbed in the face by Anakin in the Jedi temple.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Chief Engineer - USS SereniTREE.
http://www.jed-soft.com Gamer Rigs, Budget Prices
http://tomeofgrey.blogspot.com
Real Fans Wait - 09/30/05

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 6:47 PM

JADEHAND


I imagine Episode I "The better version."
Qui-gon (sp?) running through the forest in the beginning, Jar-Jar pops up and instead of knocking him down as the thing hovers over them, he draws his lightsaber slices him in half and keeps running. And replace the kid. 100% improvement.
I didn't hate I & II, but they were disappointing when compared to IV-VI. I remember seeing IV-VI in the theatre and I love them all. Looking forward to III, just not as much as Serenity.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 2:03 AM

QUIETUDE


I seem to remember Joss writing that Nathan Fillion was the new Han Solo, so I wouldn't worry about people ripping off Firefly for Star Wars, as the man himself has said the same type of things.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 2:10 AM

STATIC


Quote:

Originally posted by montanagirl:
Quote:

Originally posted by Cedric:
And JarJar would have been likable.


Even with Joss' help, I don't think that is possible. I'm still hoping that JarJar gets a horrible reptilian disease and dies.

If you can be an idiot, I can be an idiot. - D'Argo




I've not read the entire thread, just skimmed it. . .

If Lucas hadn't gotten lazy and started depending so much on CGI, and had 'old schooled' it, which I think he could have done and still produced great movies, Jar-Jar would've turned out differently.

I imagine a NON CGI Jar-Jar as being a humanoid with fleshy "dreadlocks" a-la Dargo. . .dark or mottled skin and a deep voice with a distinctly carribean accent.

THAT would've been alot less stupid.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 2:49 AM

WHOISRIVER


Quote:

Originally posted by Quietude:
I seem to remember Joss writing that Nathan Fillion was the new Han Solo, so I wouldn't worry about people ripping off Firefly for Star Wars, as the man himself has said the same type of things.



Indeed - Serenity's marketing pitch is actually 'the new Star Wars'. Everybody is quite up front about this.

TheInside.org - Firefly Producers NEW TV series

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 3:02 AM

INEVITABLEBETRAYAL


Quote:

Originally posted by GreenFaerie:
Quote:

Besides, if you were so upset, why were you watching a show about Star Wars to begin with?


I like Star Wars. I just don't get the "Space Cowbays" reference. I think they're cahing in on the future of Serenity.



If anything, Serenity would cash in on Star Wars, not the other way around. How can a relatively unknown quantity like Serenity possibly get cashed in on by a massive, lumbering, omnipresent, media powerhouse like Star Wars? Come now; back to reality.

You seem to be of the "Serenity Will Be the New Star Wars" or "Joss Whedon Will Be the New George Jucas" mindset. I just don't buy that at all.

Now, don't get me wrong; I think Serenity will kick major ass, enough to get us our sequels. But new Star Wars? Hardly.

Enough people didn't get the show that it was cancelled. That might be because of Fox's mishandling, but it might also be because it isn't what people expect. There's a reason it's called a "cult success"--a few rabid fans (such as ourselves). But just because your buddies think Firefly is the greatest ever doesn't mean everyone else will too. It's too early on that score.

Let the flaming begin.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 4:05 AM

GWEK


A few folks have mentioned Kurosawa but I don't think anyone has stated the full truth of it yet:

Star Wars is largely "adapted" from Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress, and other, similar Kurosawa movies were "adapted" by Hollywood to form the basis of the modern Western (this include the Magificent Seven, as well as the movies that made Clint Eastwood's career before Dirty Harry).

For anyone who understands the history of film, there's no denying that Star Wars and "cowboy movies" share an ancestor in Kurosawa's samurai movies (similarly, John Woo was inspired by Kurosawa, and he, in turn, inspired Tarantino, which makes Star Wars and Pulp Fiction cousins...).

Much as I love Firefly, I always think it's very funny when people think the idea of a space Western is innovative, becauase Star Wars has been consistenly described in such terms (in reviews, articles, etc.) in it's 30 year history. At least two Star Trek series (the original and DS9) were pitched as Westerns in space.

Space cowboys has been done many times before, but maybe not with such obvious costuming in the past...



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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 4:20 AM

GWENHARKER


.... So I suppose we decide to overlook the space flick from three years ago titled Space Cowboys... I'm sorry but uh, no one's cashing in on Serenity. I love my Buflight, but Space Cowboys have been around for a very long time.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 5:10 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


Not, its not innovative, but let's look at what about it is, and I think that's the blending of cultures to such a degree as to make them so unrecognizable that they're recognizable. What's old is new again. Its almost glaring the the pilot, but, it becomes subtler later on in the show. In the Eavesdowne Docks, it looks like a zoo in Serenity. But, later on in Shindig, it becomes more centralized. With the shops selling the old and the new and such. You can't use the term anachronstic here, because you're describing a time that doesn't exist yet, but, if we ever get there, I think this would be an accurate representation of a galaxy that holds most of its technology and control at its center. Its what rural is all about. The closer to a city, the nicer things are (if that's how you look at it). The further out, you're not going to find cell phone stores and shoe shops and such. You're going to find people that raise crops, go to a pot luck, go to church more, etc. And, such is represented in Firefly better than anywhere else. Its not a brand new idea, but its one that's exploited the best. I think this idea may be new to TV.

The best description or mission statement for Firefly is Joss Whedon's phrase about lasers. Lasers exist, but not most people can't afford them. That's something that's not covered in sci-fi, for the most part. Sure, things look grubby in The Terminator, or Star Wars, or The Matrix, but everyone seems to have the things they need right in front of them. The story we're watching unfold is how they use those things to what effect. In Firefly, those things aren't there, so we must see how they go about getting these things. We never see Luke's X-wing run out of gas, but the threat is very real to Serenity. Travelling hover-crafts with on board EMPs...sure, might work, but Mal would never do that to his ship. People don't hardly have enough food in The Terminator, but they got guns out the butt, don't they? How do you manufacture weapons when giant machines are out looking for any sign of humanity all the time? Skip it, that's how. We see how the crew of Serenity gets there weapons. They steal them, they buy them, and take care of them accordingly.

When you look at it that way, Firefly is almost a step backwards from how most sci-fi is presented, and that makes all the difference. It is more human to watch people scramble to make a living by procuring the things they need, than to believe that a rag tag bunch of rebels (who seem to be very well funded, ala) take down such a huge foe as The Empire. I would rather watch someone consumed by the fact that they have a fresh strawberry in space than see someone wave a laser sword(given to him by someone else).

Sorry for going on, but its Firefly's differences from mainstream sci-fi that makes it compelling to me, and not just another "Space Western". Its more like an actual frontier movie, filled with hardship and heartbreak...its just happens to be set in space.

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 10:39 AM

MANWITHPEZ

Important people don't do field work.


I refuse...I absolutely refuse to be the cause of death of yet another thread!!!

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 11:08 AM

FRAY101


Quote:

Originally posted by manwithpez:
I refuse...I absolutely refuse to be the cause of death of yet another thread!!!

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."



Battle Beyond The Stars - aka The Magnificent Seven in Space. When was that, early 80s?

Let's face it, there are very few truly original ideas left. Tarantino was seen as a breath of fresh air when Reservoir Dogs was released but he's only to happy to admit all the films he's plagurised (sic!). Same with George Lucas, as mentioned above he never made a secret about the films that inspired Star Wars.

But the thing about "Firefly" and the like is that it takes ideas that already exist - but adds that little bit extra, Joss's zingy dialogue, characters with real depth etc.





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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 11:26 AM

CAPTBAGGYTROUSERS


Pastiche is going to be the dominant genre of the 21st Century. Joss is ahead of the game because he mixes and matches- on all the series he's created- yet always makes them something more, too.

There may be nothing new under the sun, but that doesn't mean themes of family, hardship, trust, and freedom don't still resonate.

History repeats the old conceits

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 3:21 PM

STILLSHINY


If you listen to any of the commentaires or various featurettes on Star Wars they more often compare the story to fantasy, than a Western. Theres the old wizard, the young knight in training, the dark knight, the damsel who is a princess. The rogue pirate. The lowly comedic servant (C-3PO). The whole chivalary of the Jedi knights. And again i point out the word "KNIGHTS" I mean look at the robes they wear, noting western there. THis show is full of FANTASY archetypes. If any sci-fi has ever been referred to as western it would be Trek the "wagon train to the stars", and even that was quite the stretch. Though I did see the one "Western" episode of Enterprise, that was a straight Gorram ripoff of Firefly. But I ain't going down that road.

STAR WARS = FANTASY

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 4:09 PM

INEVITABLEBETRAYAL


Quote:

Originally posted by manwithpez:
I refuse...I absolutely refuse to be the cause of death of yet another thread!!!

Kaylee: "What's so damn important about being proper? It don't mean nothing out here in the black."
Simon: "It means more out here. It's all I have..."



Can I help it that you have the best ideas and the best writing? Sheesh--if there were anything to add, I'd do it, but well...there you are.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 5:57 PM

GREENFAERIE


I don't mean to disagree with those who took my points to task, but look, y'all can holler and yell about how the space western has been around forever, and how space westerny Star Wars has always been, but all I'm sayin' is that bang-for-the-buck, Firefly is more a Space Western than Star Wars ever meant to be.

The statement on the Discovery channel only told me that they were at least aware of Serenity, because I've never seen a TV Star Wars special that made a point of presenting the element of a "ragtage group of space cowboys" so blatantly.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems they minimized and trivialized the "Space Cowboy" aspect to claim they came first. And frankly, Star Wars was always a space opera, and space fantasy, and only in this show it has become a space western. Yes, it is rooted in the samurai story, "The Seven Samurai". Overall, it's "western-ness" is tangentially related to "The Magnificent Seven", only in that both of these movies has the same root. But compared to Firefly, Star Wars is a lame Space Western.


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