DON’T SUGARCOAT IT FORBES, TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: The Acolyte Episode 3 Review: One Of The Most Disappointing Star Wars Episodes Ever Made.

I have no words.

I do have a theory, however. Imposters have taken over Star Wars (and lots of other popular genre properties, from The Witcher to True Detective). Maybe they’re fans, maybe they’re not but they’re certainly masquerading as good storytellers. And they think they know best, making whatever changes they see fit to “make it their own”.

As Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin wrote recently:

Everywhere you look, there are more screenwriters and producers eager to take great stories and “make them their own.” It does not seem to matter whether the source material was written by Stan Lee, Charles Dickens, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, Jane Austen, or… well, anyone. No matter how major a writer it is, no matter how great the book, there always seems to be someone on hand who thinks he can do better, eager to take the story and “improve” on it. “The book is the book, the film is the film,” they will tell you, as if they were saying something profound. Then they make the story their own.

They never make it better, though. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, they make it worse.

Amen, brother.

I’d say that Star Wars deserves better stewards, but George Lucas didn’t do a very good job of that himself in the later years. In fact, The Acolyte keeps reminding me of the prequel trilogy in all the worst ways.

The Critical Drinker adds that with episode three, “I’m Done And So Is Star Wars:”

The Acolyte represents their ultimate vision for this franchise. It’s the perfect distillation of everything Disney and the so-called creatives that Lucasfilm want to inject into George Lucas’s vision and they’re not going to stop. Kathleen Kennedy recently bemoaned all the criticism that she and women like Leslye Headland have taken for their creative decisions, because the predominantly male fan base just can’t seem to recognize their genius.

Well, congratulations Kathy! Because that seems to be a problem that you’ve gradually solved with every new show and movie that you’ve produced: If there’s no fans left at all, then there’s no toxic male fans left either, genius! So in that respect at least I guess you’ve kind of won by default. Congratulations — Star Wars is all yours now, and this here is your prize: an empire of dust, a franchise in ruins, and really I hope it was all worth it. I hope it was worth the billions of dollars you’ve blown on failed projects over the years. I hope it was worth provoking the contempt, and finally the apathy of millions of Star Wars fans that have just chosen to walk away. I hope it was worth it to have a legacy of absolute failure.

Near the end of Julie Salamon’s brilliant 1991 book, The Devil’s Candy, Brian DePalma and others involved in the stillborn movie adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s epochal 1987 novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, begin to realize that they’ve produced a dog, and no amount PR hype or post-production massaging in the editing bay is going to save them once the film is released to the general public:

It was common practice for Hollywood studios to hold a special preview just for “the community” shortly before a movie opened. These “industry screenings” were frequently followed by a party and had the appearance of a gala. A giant searchlight outside the theater sent flashes into the sky, and paparazzi would wait outside in hopes of spotting a major celebrity, or a minor one. How well the evening would pay off for the paparazzi depended on the buzz preceding a picture – the early word-of-mouth. If the word was good, there would be plenty of high-level studio executives, major dealmakers, and stars to choose from. However, when the buzz was bad, the “industry” was suddenly populated by secretaries, junior agents, and minor actors – people who’d been handed invitations by their bosses, and people who were happy to be invited anywhere at all.

* * * * * * * *

Two days before the party it had hit De Palma for the first time: he might have directed a disaster.

Exit question: Do those who assembled The Acolyte have similar feelings, or as the quote above from George R.R. Martin implies, do they blame the public for not understanding the breadth of their sheer genius and talent?