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.
you make several really good points.
is there a name for the phenomenon where you percieve an artist’s earlier work as being more progressive, but upon further inspection, they’ve actually been making strides over the course of their career, and the supposed perfection of their previous content boils down to mainly nostalgia?
(Star Wars Tinted Glasses? I have them too.)
Everyone bear in mind though that I think Lucas became more progressive throughout his career/later life because of the people around him mostly : his best friend (Spielberg) is possibly the most prominent Jewish man in Hollywood, and his wife is one of the few Black women behind the scenes of what we all know is an incredibly white-male-dominated industry. (Mellody Hobson is legit amazing, incidentally.) And he has a child with her. But I think the mark of progression in anyone is being receptive to the people around you and changing once you meet people. I’d have been really, really disappointed if he hadn’t used his position as Incredibly Famous White Male Billionaire to do at least something, be it donating lots of money or anything really, but luckily he did. (Otherwise this blog probably wouldn’t exist.)
suffice it to say, I would actually consider it a really Good Thing if Lucas went back and edited some actors of colour into the super-white original Star Wars, there would be so many opportunities there, but a) he’s probably not allowed to edit them anymore now that Disney owns them and b) this is the same fandom which has a large amount of ‘fans’ screaming about political correctness whenever Finn does anything, so maybe that wouldn’t work so well in the long run :/