This video from Kinect Star Wars recently ruined a lot of people’s day, and with good reason—it’s potentially the most degrading official use of the license ever allowed.
It brings to mind a notion that fans discuss whenever something particularly despicable happens to something they love: The idea that our enjoyment of a story can be lessened when creators tamper with a property after the fact.
Star Wars is the most blatant case. An entire prequel trilogy is just the tip of the iceberg of sub-par content that Lucas has approved as a part of the world he (more or less) created. Devotees get understandably upset, although perhaps to degrees that the general populous considers ridiculous.
I don’t get too defensive of Star Wars (although I’ll admit this hurt a bit) but that doesn’t by a long shot mean I’m unfamiliar with the phenomenon. Three seconds into a conversation about Avatar: The Last Airbender and I’ll likely bring up the fact that I’d murder M. Night Shyamalan if he harbored intentions toward a sequel to that thing he did.
Interesting to note that we only get upset when the bastardization in question is somehow “official.” If a fan made a video of Han Solo dancing his ass off everyone would think it was brilliant. But we see a little “™” symbol and suddenly we create a standard of quality and respect that our entertainment has to uphold.
And really, that’s the creators’ fault. They place huge importance on owning the legal right to their stories, so we expect that when they produce content it should justify that ownership. Especially when they want us to pay for it.
But it’s useful to remember that they’re just people making stuff too. I mean honestly, the development team for Kinect Star Wars has to know how gleefully stupid their product is. They must have reveled in it, frankly. You don’t make the goddamn Emperor dance with any illusions about being taken seriously.
We’re only mad because we want a motion controlled Star Wars game to be a badass force simulator.
In regards to when the story itself is terrible, a la the prequels or Shyamalanification? Well that’s worse. We care about stories, is what this all comes down to. When we love the way part of a story is told and then the rest of it’s awful? That hurts.
My advice to any fans of Star Wars, Avatar, or a show that goes off the deep end like Heroes, is to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with claiming you adore one aspect of a thing even though the rest of it is shit. You neither have to defend the bad parts nor make excuses for liking the good.
Just enjoy stories while seeing them for what they truly are. You should absolutely have high standards and get furious when they aren’t met, but the chief reason for those feelings should be that you’ve been denied another good story. Not because something you love has been ruined.