The Redemption of Count Dooku

So, we have Disney+, I don’t know for how long. I assume forever. Who knows?

I am rewatching the Star Wars prequels. I was in high school when these came out, and in an act of uncharacteristic trust and dispensation, my mother let me go with friends to the midnight premiere of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. I had the biggest infatuation with this girl Megan, and I met her inappropriately older boyfriend James, who shook my hand when he met me (I was fourteen and gayer than a party hat and absolutely not a threat) and told me, “Don’t touch her.” Life was weird back then. I remember this far more than the movies because one, they were at midnight and two, guys, the prequels are not very good.

I know I am not unique in this perspective, but I don’t hate them. I have never hated them. I am also not heavily invested in them. When I went to see Die Another Day, I rage-screamed with my friend Stevo in his Honda Odyssey outside the theater for a good ten minutes–I get the rage some felt about the shredding of the extended universe, and the half-assed children’s cinema and payout George Lucas apparently created because he’s evil? I never get through a full article.

These movies weren’t bad for lack of talent. Take, for example, Baron von Poopy or whatever, played by the indefatigable Christopher Lee.

Fun fact: They did not put him in costume for this picture. He usually dressed like this.

He hams it up in the second and third movies, is executed once revealed as Darth Tyranus (which is why I think calling him the Dook is a little rude, George) and lends his weird macabre credibility to an otherwise uninspired trilogy of movies.

Then Star Wars: The Clone Wars happened–these stories that seemed awful, that were awful, got better because people kept playing with them, adding parts, explaining others. At one point, Jar Jar Binks ruins everything and the other characters acknowledge that’s just what he does instead of ignoring the fatuous aqua-clown like in the films. It is as if when we tell stories together, and play with stories together… they get better. Count Dooku is fleshed out–and the voice actor is invoking his best Scaramanga Dracula to boot. Building upon it. Yes-anding but not all at once.

This is simply on my mind as I prepare to preach tomorrow on the Parable of the Sower. It’s not a prequelesque parable of Jesus Christ–though, I guess, if it’s early on… and Robert Capon does suggest Jesus lays it on thick in the beginning… no, I digress.

I’m preparing to engage a congregation with a text that they have all probably heard at least once before, that’s been preached a million times in a million voices… but if Count Dooku can be redeemed by creativity, joy and love, why can’t my preaching?

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