This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, June 14, 2022
In 1977, a little movie came out that you may have heard of called Star Wars. 9 years later, in 1986, another movie that you may have heard of came out called Top Gun. These two movies introduced us to two heroes; Star Wars introduced us to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Top Gun introduced us to Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
Here in 2022, both of these characters are enjoying a bit of a revival. Obi-Wan Kenobi is back in a Disney+ series called Kenobi. It is tracing what happened to Obi-Wan after the Jedi order fell and they were no longer the peacekeepers in the galaxy. Maverick is back in Top Gun where he is tasked with training a bunch of younger pilots to accomplish an impossible mission of bombing a uranium enrichment plant.
What I want to discuss with you today is how these two characters are treated very differently in their new stories. Obi-Wan has gotten the typical modern Star Wars treatment in that the characters are hollowed out and almost unrecognizable from who they were originally. They have destroyed all of the characters from the original Star Wars. Luke Skywalker lost all hope and relinquished his Jedi status so much that he wanted to kill his nephew and burn what was left of the Jedi order. Han Solo is a deadbeat dad who ran out on his wife and left his son with no direction so he could go scavenge the galaxy. Princess Leah managed to become a leader of the Rebel Alliance but she no longer cares about empowering the people she is leading. None of these characters resemble at all what we loved about them in the late 70s and 80s when we were watching the original Star Wars. They were pathetic shells of their former selves. Obi-Wan did not escape this terrible fate. In the first three episodes of his new show, all he did was tell everyone he is no longer “that guy” and has done everything in his power to prove it. He hasn’t done a single heroic thing. He watched Darth Vader murder a whole bunch of people and did nothing to stop him. He spent half an episode trying to run from Darth Vader, and the one time he even activated his Light Saber, he looked like a drunken clown trying to use it.
Disney, for goodness sakes, these characters mean something to us. I have more respect for them than you do, and I am tired of you doing all you can to just destroy these beloved characters. The actors who play them are getting older so this is probably the last time they will be able to portray them, and this is what you do with it? You make them a joke to what we all remember them being.
Disney, before you wreck any more of our childhood heroes, please go and watch Top Gun: Maverick. A movie that understood exactly what we wanted from our stars. Tom Cruise, who portrayed Maverick, still looks like he is 30 years old. I have no idea what kind of bargain he made to have access to the fountain of youth, but the guy looks like I wish I looked today let alone what I’ll look like when I am nearly 60. The story of Top Gun: Maverick starts off with Maverick flying an experimental plane over Mach 10. That is where we meet Maverick 36 years later after the original Top Gun. What did we meet Obi-Wan doing in his series? Working in a meat packing plant and getting bullied by his foreman.
Now you may want to argue that Obi-Wan being down on his luck is more realistic than thinking about Maverick still at the very top of his game after 36 years. I would respond by asking you what part of reality did you think I was looking for when I started watching Star Wars?
I don’t remember doing this when I was younger. How many popular characters from my parents’ generation did my generation destroy? We didn’t destroy Matt Dillion, Ben Cartwright, or Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie. Why do all the characters that Gen X grew up with have to be portrayed as so pathetic?
Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and if you are going to subvert our expectations for no good reason, it just seems mean.