is there a name for the phenomenon where an up-and-coming artist creates a really inspiring work with radical, progressive themes, and it becomes popular, and they’re pulled to create more work, but as they become more successful they start leaning more to the conservative side and it almost seems like they never understood what made their original work so important in the first place?
I mean, you may have suspected this from the title of this blog, but I disagree wholeheartedly about Lucas being included in that list of tags. The original Star Wars trilogy is white as hell. Male as hell, too. Looking back on it, it’s actually discomfortingly white in all honesty? I really think that. The first Star Wars may have been progressive in terms of storytelling and technology, but that was about it.
But flash forward sixteen years and the prequels are quite a bit better: there’s more women (Padme, Shmi, the handmaidens, assorted queens) there’s many more men of colour in prominent roles (Mace Windu, Bail Organa, the clones, Jango Fett, Boba Fett revealed to have been a Maori man behind that helmet) and whilst things weren’t perfect they were certainly improved. Which is what progressive means I suppose.
Fast forward a few more years and Lucas financed, produced, and hired the right people for Red Tails, in his own words “an all-black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all” which is a faaaaar cry from the original Star Wars trilogy which has precisely two speaking roles in it, I’m pretty sure, that aren’t white. (Lando, and a pilot. Not sure whether to count JEJ doing the voice of a white character.)
-fast forward a few more years and he’s stopped making movies, but he is working on anti-Trump ads and donating vast sums of money to Black and Latino filmmakers and other progressive causes. I bet a lot of that is Mellody Hobson’s influence, but still, Lucas definitely didn’t start out with progressive movies and become more conservative! He went the exact opposite way.