Error processing SSI file

Star Wars Returns to the Empire

This editorial is something of a departure from most of our editorials, but is something I felt had to be said. My opinions may be controversial and are not necessarily those of my teammates here at The facts I present are document ed so that others may confirm what I write. I'd also like to thank Jonathan Holden for providing much of the information for this editorial.

Much of Star Wars' popularity is due to the fact that, despite its backdrop of sci-fi and fantasy, it is very much a mirror of our own world -- heroes and villains, empires and rebellions, good and evil.

Our own world is not without its Empires. In 1949, a great charismatic leader led his armies on a crusade of conquest and upheaval. Spurred onward by false promises of peace, prosperity, and equality, his men plundered, raped, tortured, and starved those who opposed -- it is now believed that as many as eighty million people were killed in the process (Washington Post, July 17).

This emperor was not Palpatine of the Galactic Republic, but Mao Tse-Tung, leader of the Chinese Communist revolution. Today, his legacy lives on in a country that attempts to control the very minds ands beliefs of its people. Those who disagree with the State are routinely imprisoned -- no other excuse is needed other than that they are a "threat". The situation is not getting better, it is getting worse, according to the U.S. State Department's annual human rights report. I draw not only upon the word of others, but also personal experience -- I have visited China, and made friends whom I am now told have been imprisoned for "subversive" beliefs. I am also told that torture is the rule, not the exception, in many Chinese prisons. Mr. Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, is never allowed to visit Tibet because his wife Melissa Matheson wrote Kundun, a movie which accurately portrayed Chinese atrocities in that country.

Which brings us to Star Wars, for Episode I just opened in the People's Republic. With the recent poor relations between China and the U.S., and China's restriction of American movies into the country, how did 20th Century Fox pull it off? It turns out that Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp. (which owns 20th Century Fox) has done many favours for the Chinese. For example, in 1994, Murdoch removed the BBC from his satellite broadcasts into China at the request of Chinese officials, who did not like a BBC-aired program about Mao Tse-tung. Murdoch also canceled a book by former Hong Kong Gov. Chris Patten that was critical of the Chinese leadership, which was to have been published by his HarperCollins unit (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 10, 1999). Murdoch has also been recently making disparaging personal statements about the Dalai Lama, ruler-in-exile of Tibet, in an attempt to strengthen his friendship with the Chinese government. (The Daily Telegraph, London, Sept. 7, 1999) The list goes on....

Now that we know a bit more about the "man in charge", it's not so surprising that 20th Century Fox got the extremely lucrative go-ahead to market Episode I in China. This editorial is not in any way to smear the good name of all the wonderful people at 20th Century Fox and LucasFilm Ltd., who have worked hard and long on the movie undoubtedly have had no part at all in this little charade. And I think it's fantastic that the good citizens of China will get a chance to share this great movie along with the rest of us. However, I do think it's important that we understand that the cost of showing a movie about freedom and truth was to turn a blind eye to real oppression and brutality.

And maybe I have Murdoch pegged wrong. Maybe he's only a guy trying to make a buck. Well, so were the Neimoidians.

For general comments on this editorial, please email For specific comments or criticism, please email me personally.

Paul Davidson
Nov. 11th, 1999


04/08/03 - Christopher Knight - Oscars Give Short Shrift to Fantasy
03/17/03 - Joshua Griffin - Put the REAL Classics on DVD
01/29/03 - Joshua Griffin - Imagine a Star Wars HALO Videogame
01/14/03 - Michael Potts - Clone Wars: Expanded Universe Editorial


09/03/02 - Joshua Griffin - Digital Pirates Sink Ships
05/17/02 - Chris Knight - Digital Projection: The Audience Is Watching... And Waiting
04/11/02 - TFN Staff - Thumbs Up, Tumbs Down for SW2 Marketing
03/08/02 - TFN Staff - Clone War Trailer Reaction
01/13/02 - TFN Staff - TFN Reaction to SNL N'Sync Skit
01/03/02 - TFN Staff - Boy Band Jedi Reactions


12/12/01 - Chris Knight - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
12/07/01 - Jeff Yankey - All I Want for Christmas
11/17/01 - Guest Editorial - Ritual and Romance of Episode II
10/04/01 - Guest Editorial - Why Episode I is Brilliant
10/02/01 - Guest Editorial - Episode I is Star Wars
09/30/01 - Guest Editorial - Why I Loved Episode I
09/25/01 - Joshua Griffin - Episode II: Make It or Break It Time
08/21/01 - Chris Knight - SW2: Attack On The Soul?
07/13/01 - Joshua Griffin - Special Time for SW Fans
05/14/01 - Joshua Griffin - AlphaCon is Finished
05/09/01 - Chris Knight - In The Beginning... Star Wars Comes To A Wired World
04/17/01 - Joshua Griffin - Global TFN - International Outlook on Star Wars
03/14/01 - Chris Knight - Palpatine vs. Hitler: Prequel Speculation Runs Amok!
02/13/01 - Chris Knight - "The Force" of Love: A Valentine's Day Editorial
01/17/01 - Chris Knight - Star Wars Could Continue... As Television Anthology
01/11/01 - Guest Editorial - A Review of A New Hope After the Prequels
01/07/01 - Guest Editorial - No - We Want the DVDs Now!
01/04/01 - Chris Knight - New Digital Disciple Says "Lets Wait On Star Wars DVDs"


12/21/00 - Joshua Griffin - Is George Lucas Really a Genius?
11/18/00 - Joshua Griffin - To Spoil or Not to Spoil
11/06/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Power of the Election
11/01/00 - Chris Knight - Why Isn't There A Star Wars Postage Stamp?
08/17/00 - Jason McCabe Calacanis - The SW2 Fan Trailer (guest editorial)
07/14/00 - Joshua Griffin/Scott Chitwood - TFN's Spoiler Policy
06/20/00 - Chris Knight - Star Wars and the Saga of Life
05/13/00 - TFN Staff - Wish List
04/08/00 - Special Guest Editorial by Skybaugh - Worth the Wait
03/30/00 - Joshua Griffin - What Star Wars Has Won
03/19/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Next Denver Celebration
03/14/00 - Joshua Griffin - Fair Weather Fans
03/07/00 - Joshua Griffin - Predicting the Academy Award Winners
02/22/00 - Joshua Griffin - Who should profit from Star Wars?
02/16/00 - Joshua Griffin - Episode I and the Academy
01/27/00 - TFN Staff - Flaming TFN over DVD
01/25/00 - Chris Knight - Motivations of the Sith
01/20/00 - TFN Staff - Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin?
01/10/00 - Joshua Griffin - World-Wide Star Wars
01/03/00 - Joshua Griffin - Mass Merchandising Menace


12/13/99 - Joshua Griffin - Questioning Star Wars
11/22/99 - Joshua Griffin - Trusting Internet Rumors
11/11/99 - Paul Davidson - Rise of the Empire: China and TPM
10/28/99 - Scott Chitwood - Signs There Probably Won't Be a Sequel Trilogy
10/18/99 - Joshua Griffin - Why not Episode I DVD?
10/15/99 - Joshua Griffin - What Makes SW Fans Special
10/01/99 - Joshua Griffin - The PG Rating of TPM
09/07/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - Comic and Book Wishlist
08/18/99 - TF.N Team - Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down on Episode I Everything
07/11/99 - Joshua Griffin - Parody Site isn't that funny
07/10/99 - Brian Linder - The Jar Jar Factor
06/08/99 - Joshua Griffin & Chris Knight - Why is Jar Jar in Episode I?
05/06/99 - Darin Smith - Return of the Child
03/09/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - A Chat with LFL
02/07/99 - Amy Pronovost - Convention Romances, Can they Work?
01/23/99 - Scott Chitwood - What's up with Prowse?
01/01/99 - Scott Chitwood - Uncle George and Episode 1


11/23/98 - Scott Chitwood - What Lucasfilm is doing right
11/05/98 - Scott Chitwood - Prequel Spoilers
09/28/98 - David Coates - First thoughts on the the Episode 1 Title
06/19/98 - Scott Chitwood - How Godzilla affected Episode I
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - The Art of the Space Battle
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - DIVX SUX
02/26/98 - Scott Chitwood - X-WING TV Series Should Fly
02/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - Xerox Sites
02/03/98 - Scott Chitwood - Canon Issue, Part 2
01/07/98 - Terrence Daniels - Canon = Personal Preference


12/17/97 - Darin Smith - Everything I need to know...
11/15/97 - Chris Kivlehan - Six Episodes or Nine Episodes?
11/07/97 - Scott Chitwood - How do you solve a problem like Ewan?
11/03/97 - Scott Chitwood - How we get our Prequel 'Spy' info
10/22/97 - Paul Davidson - Trek vs. Wars

E-mail us at: