No Right Answer: This Generation's "Star Wars" Part 2

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I am going with Harry Potter, mostly because of how the question was phrased. It can't be the prequels because the question was not "what franchise best represents this generation?" and it isn't Lord of the Rings because, good as they were, they did not have this huge, over reaching popular culture impact that Star Wars did. Harry Potter is the closest to being the same sort of cultural phenomenon in its entirety that Star Wars was.

Xanadu84:

artanis_neravar:

As for the cast of Star Wars being type casted; Harrison Ford was obviously the biggest break out star from that, but Mark Hamill became the Joker, and Kerry Fisher became the chick that tried to kill Jake and Elwood Blues.

Harrison Ford went on, sure. But he was still kinda his Star Wars persona, and that was only matched by his playing equally iconic characters. Hamill had to go to a medium where you never saw his face, and sounded completely different and the opposite of his Luke character in order to take on another role. He was only not still Luke because he was hiding that fact, throw him back into live action and his identity outside of star wars evaporates. And yes, Kerry Fisher was in blues brothers, where people could point out that princess Leia was in blues brothers. They were always tied to those roles.

Just because we remember them by their Star Wars names isn't the point, it's whether they were stuck in the same rolls for all time, and Fords roles are only similar in that they are all kind of gruffy

The Matrix is GenY's Star Wars and here is why:

Star Wars - Originally was not meant to be a trilogy. The movie had a beginning, middle, and end. Episode IV wasn't even added until later! Also, Jedi were dead, Rebellion saved by new Jedi, story left open but essentially could have stood on it's own.

The Matrix - Originally was not meant to be a trilogy. Neo was discovered as the one, prophesied as the savior, expected to save the world when the movie ended. Stood on it's own.

Star Wars - Unexpected smash hit! Essentially Unknown director with one good movie under his belt. Some big actors, small actors, and some unknowns. Yeah it sounded cool with the advertisements, but no one knew what it was or what it would be. People laughed at the trailers. It came out, instant cultural phenomenon.

The Matrix - Another Unexpected smash hit! Essentially unknown directors, some alright actors, some big actors. Many skeptical based on the trailers - interesting idea but otherwise a sci-fi flop in some peoples mind. Came out, changes cinematography, culture (goths anyone? and before Twilight!), and instant classic.

This is where they differ
Star Wars - The other two movies come out to compliment the first and finish the story. Written*** and directed by someone other than the original director. 2nd act and 3rd acts are still stand alone movies but answer some questions and leave others to the imagination based on the universe that's been created. Plus - *SPOILER*...... Darth Vader is Luke's father!!! Great space opera!

The Matrix - Directors decide two more movies need to be done - and probably had an idea for them in the works, but ideas seem overtly rushed. While both to compliment the first one they're barely able to stand on their own. They do answer some questions and bring up others but the execution is terrible. Certain aspects are ignored for cheesy effects. Plot holes GALORE! Yes the great Matrix secrete, but it's so under delivered and too late in the movie it makes the second movie feel like a waste of time and the third even more of a waste (but that's because of the ending).

Yes they were different, but there are more similarities to these two movies than with the new Star Wars, the LOTR, or Harry Potter. Problem was the fallow through wasn't what we all had hoped for. Maybe they'll be a directors cut someday to fix this up, or a fan mashup. They've always got prequels that they could tackle!

***EDIT: SORRY, Star Wars sequels were written by GL, some edits made by actual directors, just directed by different people (primarily).

The_root_of_all_evil:
snip

Yeah and look at ron weasley!
image
But in all honesty i do think that Twilight is most likely this generation's star wars.

Because everyone has seen twilight.

Or the matrix.
Because they also have "the one who fixes everything" "The all knowing evil villain" and the "mentor" to name a few spots that are taken from both trilogies.

I think LoTR is this generations Star Wars because it just gives the Star Wars feel. There are good characters, an overarching epic in the background and amazing scenes that we will remember forever and will be quoting and reenacting for generations.

I think you've got this all wrong. Why do you think this generation's Star Wars would be another movie? I would have given it to Harry Potter if it had stayed in purely novel form because it was extraordinary and unexpected. But the films dragged it into the mainstream and suddenly it's just another family-friendly adventure franchise with about as much cultural clout as Pirates of the Caribbean.

Look at it this way: Star Wars was sci-fi and still considered sort of geeky when us gen-x-ers were kids. But now that model of effects heavy action adventure is the standard for summer blockbusters, and the reason we have LotR, Harry Potter, Twilight, The Matrix, Transformers and so on. Star Wars changed sci-fi. It didn't just make it mainstream, it entrenched it at the very heart of popular culture.

The modern equivalent must do that same task for some other realm of cultural expression. I say we look to this generation's medium for this generation's Star Wars. It must be a game. Is there a game out there, right now, that millions of kids play, love and obsess about, in spite of the continued sneering of mainstream media? WoW? CoD? Angry Birds? If this generation has a Star Wars, that's where you'll find it.

Ok, can someone tell me the definition of a generation's "Star Wars," because I don't really see a set one here. In terms of cultural awareness and financial earning, I would still say Star Wars is this generation's Star Wars. The prequel trilogy isn't really that old, the Clone Wars television series is popular, The Old Republic and The Force Unleashed brought in the revenue, toys are still selling, and you show anyone a picture of Darth Vader and they'll probably be able to name him. Harry Potter definitely has selling power with the books, merchandise and theme park. Lord of the Rings, not so much really.

In terms of the possibility of story growth within the setting, Star Wars can still qualify, as new books, games, and Clone Wars episodes are constantly expanding it. Lord of the Rings also did that with Tolkien's other works, setting the mythology in place and showing how the world of LOTR got that point. With Harry Potter, I never really felt any true urgency from it. There didn't seem to be a true all-encompassing threat that the Sith and Sauron brought to the table. I just saw one guy with a couple hundred followers trying to kill a kid and take over one system of government. When it was done, I didn't really feel like anything else significant would happen. It felt like a "lived happily ever after," ending. In terms of story growth and setting expansion, besides the actual Star Wars, I would probably give it to Mass Effect. Like Star Wars, it has the advantage of a whole galaxy to work with, containing many established worlds, races, technology, and view points to explore. Hell, it also has those previous galactic civilizations that were wiped out that could possibly be explored and expanded on.

In conclusion:
Financial and Cultural: Star Wars, then Harry Potter
Story potential: Star Wars, then Mass Effect.

This generation's Star Wars has yet to be made. So for now it's youtube.

That or footage of September 11th. The cultural impact of that can be seen in Homeland, 24, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Transformers, Spiderman, The Dark Knight, etc, etc, etc...

I'd go with none of the above?

Star Wars Prequels are cribbing on the originals in terms of any lasting impact. They have nothing of their own besides being a gateway drug for the originals and the expanded universe.

Lord of the Rings doesn't belong to Gen Y, and as amazing as the movies were, their impact is derived by the original books spawning today's high fantasy. This has nothing to do with the movies.

I don't see Harry Potter being Gen Y's Star Wars because it simply doesn't have that kind of staying power or cultural relevance. Maybe it's the circles I run, but nobody talks about it and I don't see any real presence in popular culture. A lot of people enjoyed it and it made a lot of money, but as far as I can tell, that's the end of its story. More damning is that it hasn't changed the way people think about anything, beyond movie tie-ins being a must for any popular book series.

The Matrix and The Dark Knight are closer to Gen Y's Star Wars equivalent than those three.

But maybe the real answer is Youtube in that I'm not sure a movie can create the sort of impact that the original Star Wars did in this day and age. Cultural memory and attention are too short at this point for any static creation to have the staying power to really dig in like Star Wars did, nevermind survive more than five or ten years without the anchor of being a remake or update of something from a past generation.

In terms of acclaim it's Harry Potter. It came from nowhere and happened in one generation, as did Star Wars. Lord of the Rings has been around for decades.

If we're talking about changing the way films are made as much as Star Wars did, it's LotR.

Rythe:

I don't see Harry Potty being Gen Y's Star Wars because it simply doesn't have that kind of staying power or cultural relevance.

stopped reading there.

Dead_Lee:
In terms of acclaim it's Harry Potter. It came from nowhere and happened in one generation, as did Star Wars. Lord of the Rings has been around for decades.

If we're talking about changing the way films are made as much as Star Wars did, it's LotR.

Rythe:

I don't see Harry Potty being Gen Y's Star Wars because it simply doesn't have that kind of staying power or cultural relevance.

stopped reading there.

Eheh, whoops. The things our fingers do when we aren't looking? Fixed.

That said, a lot of things come out of nowhere and happen in one generation. Doesn't make them special. And I look at Harry Potter's acclaim the same way I do FF7's acclaim. It's not the best game out there by any stretch of the imagination, but it was the game that got people hooked on the genre in that it was new, shiny and fun to play. Harry Potter was just the gateway for many people in terms of reading in that it was actually fun to read. Harry Potter may be an icon to the fans, but to the rest of the world? I don't see it anywhere. This also doubles back on the LotR problem. The books have all the clout, the movies are just the icing on the cake.

TheSchaef:

beniki:
Yeah, when I finished watching that movie, my impression was that it would become this generation's Star Wars. The story felt like it was aimed at younger kids, much like younger kids, with the special effects spectacle to hook adults.

But we won't know about it's success until after the next few movies.

At this point it's not even about that, really. It's about the fact that, even with effects-laden production, movies have always been about filming actors and then adding the fine details - green-screen backgrounds, CGI characters, laser blasts, whatever. Full-blown CGI efforts have been largely relegated to cartoonish efforts, even with the hyper-realistic (for the time) attempts of the Final Fantasy movie, or the motion-capture efforts of the recent Zemeckis films.

No, Avatar turns the model completely on its head: the entire setting of the movie is utterly virtual, and the ACTORS (the live ones) are the details dropped in. We've crossed a threshold that was only marginally imagined in the world of The Matrix (time dilation) and enhanced in Lord of the Rings (mass-CGI battles), where now Avatar has pushed the technology to the point where I honestly believe the capacity for computer-only locations is ready to be realized. It won't happen right away, just as Orson Welles' camera techniques and ILM's effects took time to bleed into the mainstream, but we're in transition. Scott Pilgrim and - God help us - Transformers are symptoms of this phenomenon.

The Matrix would have been my wish for Gen-Y's Star Wars, but the sequels kind of put a damper on the whole thing, and as good as the effects were, the only thing that really REALLY carried over is time dilation. The Matrix was something of a catalyst for this movement but Avatar is the realization.

Well the thing is that Star Wars pushed the boundary for effects, whilst at the same time making a brand new rabid fan base... to the point where Jedi is listed as a religion in at least one country.

I'm just not sure if Pandora is a big enough place for imaginations to thrive in the same way as Star Wars. We won't know until the sequels come out. It'll be interesting to see if the Inter-tree-net will do for Generation Y growing up with the internet what hyper space did for generation X and the advent of commercial flights... an outcome which would have a great deal to thank the Matrix for!

It's like in the great stories, Mr.Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you ...that meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they
didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something. There's some good in this world, Mr.Frodo. And it's worth fighting for. [Enter flood of tears]

I'm not old enough to fully appreciate episode 4, 5 & 6. But I'd bet those who are, have at least one scene that invokes as many feelings as Sam's ode here does for me. I'd argue that no HP fan has such a scene and that fan dedication to Tolkien's world is more comparable to Star Wars than Rowling's. If Star Wars is in any way defined by it's fanbase then the LOTR has just as devoted and loving a fanbase.

TheSchaef:
Again, you guys miss the boat.

AVATAR.

Like Star Wars, like Citizen Kane, a clear demarcation line between the movies that came before it and the movies that came (or will come) after it.

but has Avatar had the same CULTURAL impact as it has had on the technical realm?

i kinda have to say no, and if you'll recall Star Wars didn't just 'change how movies' where made, the culture changed to some degree to

Kitsuna10060:

TheSchaef:
Again, you guys miss the boat.

AVATAR.

Like Star Wars, like Citizen Kane, a clear demarcation line between the movies that came before it and the movies that came (or will come) after it.

but has Avatar had the same CULTURAL impact as it has had on the technical realm?

i kinda have to say no, and if you'll recall Star Wars didn't just 'change how movies' where made, the culture changed to some degree to

The cultural impact of Star Wars was not immediate, and keep in mind that at the time, Lucas marketed the crap out of Empire - a plot he hatched when he secured the merchandising rights from Fox - and which had been a complete mystery to people 30 years ago.

Today, everything is merchandised to death (the crux of the Yogurt joke in Spaceballs), and it's entirely possible that the mythos of Avatar will be lost in white noise. But it IS the highest-grossing movie of all time (not adjusted for inflation; that honor still falls to Gone With the Wind), so it's definitely something that had an impact in the short term. time will tell if it has an impact in the long term, but it's a different game now than it was then. I'm not sure anything can recapture that.

Of the ones mentioned herein, LotR, Harry Potter and prequel Star Wars are all movies built on established properties; they had a built-in fan base before a single frame was shot, something which neither original Star Wars nor Avatar had going for it. The Matrix is the only "original story" candidate, and like I said, the cinematic impact was significant but not world-altering, and the cultural impact is largely limited to the first movie, and not really much deeper than the likes of Fight Club or Spider Man.

If we throw out Avatar, the closest thing in my mind is Toy Story. I don't think it changed live cinema the way Star Wars or Citizen Kane did, but it changed animation in the way Disney used to do in the 30s and 40s, it put full-length computer animation on the map, Pixar caught fire, and everyone knows Woody and Buzz. I don't think it's apples to apples but Toy Story is my silver medal choice.

TheSchaef:

Kitsuna10060:

TheSchaef:
Again, you guys miss the boat.

AVATAR.

Like Star Wars, like Citizen Kane, a clear demarcation line between the movies that came before it and the movies that came (or will come) after it.

but has Avatar had the same CULTURAL impact as it has had on the technical realm?

i kinda have to say no, and if you'll recall Star Wars didn't just 'change how movies' where made, the culture changed to some degree to

The cultural impact of Star Wars was not immediate, and keep in mind that at the time, Lucas marketed the crap out of Empire - a plot he hatched when he secured the merchandising rights from Fox - and which had been a complete mystery to people 30 years ago.

Today, everything is merchandised to death (the crux of the Yogurt joke in Spaceballs), and it's entirely possible that the mythos of Avatar will be lost in white noise. But it IS the highest-grossing movie of all time (not adjusted for inflation; that honor still falls to Gone With the Wind), so it's definitely something that had an impact in the short term. time will tell if it has an impact in the long term, but it's a different game now than it was then. I'm not sure anything can recapture that.

Of the ones mentioned herein, LotR, Harry Potter and prequel Star Wars are all movies built on established properties; they had a built-in fan base before a single frame was shot, something which neither original Star Wars nor Avatar had going for it. The Matrix is the only "original story" candidate, and like I said, the cinematic impact was significant but not world-altering, and the cultural impact is largely limited to the first movie, and not really much deeper than the likes of Fight Club or Spider Man.

If we throw out Avatar, the closest thing in my mind is Toy Story. I don't think it changed live cinema the way Star Wars or Citizen Kane did, but it changed animation in the way Disney used to do in the 30s and 40s, it put full-length computer animation on the map, Pixar caught fire, and everyone knows Woody and Buzz. I don't think it's apples to apples but Toy Story is my silver medal choice.

not to sure if the 'established fan base' apply to LotR as much as it did with Potter, given just how old those books are, cause that would make me part of that 'fan base' and i don't really recall caring that much when Fellowship came out, or Two Towers or Return of the King, but i was all up for a second Matrix movie ....

till i saw it anyway ....

but i agree about Toy Story, wait -.- why wasn't Toy Story in the debate? it was much better then potter or the prequals ....

that's it, changing my answer, to Toy Story, its effects are much more wide spread then anything potter or LotR had, and :D there's 3 of them so it works in the trilogy sense.

as for Avatar, which was kinda of the main point >.> sorry dude, i still don't see it, but that's a 'mileage may very thing', as i've never finished watching it, just so ... boring ...

If we're limited to looking at the movies, I'd say Harry Potter.
If not, then Star Wars. Expanded Universe FTW!

big bang theory, since this generation dont have the attention span for an entire.......ahm...wait what was this about?

Chris, you called me good looking and smart... how's a guy NOT gonna side with you after that?! :)

As much as I love the Star Wars and LoTR franchises, I'm afraid I must go with Harry Potter with this one. It isn't because I think Harry Potter had the best movies (God no.), but their impact on youth culture is undeniable. Hell, I can't walk through my high school without someone yelling out a HP reference.

I do say I believe Harry Potter wins this argument. As much as I love me some LotR, the books, the Hobbit, the movies, the history and languages and setting... Harry Potter really has become a phenomenon. Plus it made a ton of freakin' money.

Harry Potter for sure. Not only were the BOOKS a phenomenon, which is a god damn miracle in this modern age. You have people dressing up at midnight releases... for BOOKS, can not stress that enough. Then you get the massive undertaking that was the series of films, and all the videogames spun off from those movies, and it is this generation's "Star Wars."

The Lord of the Rings were just good movies, but it did not make as big of a cultural impact as Harry Potter. What did you really get from that anyway, it didn't encourage people to go back and read the books, and we're left with a series of slight above average videogames.

Am I the only one who still thought Harry Potter was bent even when I was 10?

Harry Potter, clearly.

Lord of the Rings was so, so much better, but the impact of Harry Potter was so much bigger. It's hard to deny - even though LoTR was the superior product (film-wise, anyway - much as I absolutely adore the LoTR books, I also adore HP because I grew up with it) Harry Potter had the greater saturation in popular culture.

As for Star Wars...well, really? A trilogy of movies which have become synonymous with disappointment? Sure, everyone remembers them, but very few of those remember them positively. Hardly the Star Wars of our generation, exept in very literal terms.

nackertash:
Am I the only one who still thought Harry Potter was bent even when I was 10?

Bent as in the character was homosexual, or that you considered the series in a negative light and therefore labelled it as "teh gay"?

In the first case, no, a great many slash writers agree with you. In the second, also no, but you should be aware that you've aligned yourself with a camp composed largely of people who agree with the maxim that "if it's popular, it sucks" rather than having actual opinions. Not saying you're one of those guys, just that the small number of anti-HP people I've met hated it because everyone else liked it :-P

Lord Of The Rings. Easy.

Sure, Harry Potter sold a shitload of books and made a ton of money at the box office. But here's the thing: there are 8 movies. It's not hard to make a billion dollar franchise when you've got 8 separate instalments to make money from. Divide the box office receipts up among the individual films, and would the figures be all that impressive anymore?

Lord Of The Rings had only three instalments, and it still gets damn well close to Harry Potter's total box office revenue, despite the HP series having more than double the number of films of LOTR. Harry Potter may have grossed more in total than LOTR, but each LOTR movie grossed higher than any single HP film. Return Of The King grossed a billion dollars on its own.

There's also another way to tell: which movie had a greater impact on the way movies are made.

Look at when Lord Of The Rings first came out. How many epic Swords And Sandals movies were there focused on epic battles fought between armies carrying nothing more than swords and shields? Aside from Gladiator, none. The genre had pretty much died in the 80s. Post LOTR, look how different things are. Almost immediately, we saw films such as Troy,300 and Kingdom Of Heaven springing up and trying to capitalise on LOTR's success, putting ever larger battles and wars on screen. Even divorced entirely from the books, the LOTR films brought about a new era in blockbuster entertainment, where hundreds of thousands of soldiers fight each other to the death.

That was part of what gave the LOTR films their hype in the first place: aside from being adaptions of the books, The Two Towers was heavily marketed on the fact that it had the single largest, longest, most extravagent and expensive battle sequence ever committed to celluloid in Helm's Deep. The damn battle was half an hour long by itself, and they marketed that for all it was worth. Then, with Return Of The King, they upped the ante even more with the Siege Of Minas Tirith.

You want to see how influential that sort of film-making was? Look at the damn Harry Potter film themselves. You can see the massive influence LOTR had on the HP films the further the series went on. In the original books, even towards the end when shit is going down, the whole thing is presented more as a sort of secret civil war, a series of skirmishes going on in a very secret world. The HP films took the central conflict of the books, and blew it up to about ten times its original size, making it a war for the ages between good and evil. Where in the books you'd get a bunch of skirmishes or raids by Voldemort's forces against the Wizarding world, in the films we got epic battle after epic battle, with all sorts of over-the-top special effects beign thrown all over the place. That wasn't because the film makers wanted to up the ante. That was because they looked at Lord Of The Rings and went "Damn, people really like their all-or-nothing back-against-the-wall all-out bloody wars, don't they? Maybe we should up the ante and see if we can't get in on that."

And that's not even looking at the new wave of Fantasy films inspired by LOTR's success: the adaption of the Narnia books, the Dark Material books (well, the first one), Bridge To Terabitha, The Immortals, Beowulf, Eragon, Pan's Labyrinth, Stardust, Spiderwick...

This isn't even going into Howard Shore's magnificent score which every nerd worth his salt can hum along to, just like John Williams' score to SW. Harry Potter? Outside of the theme tune itself, can you hum any part of the HP soundtrack? The LOTR films are packed full of iconic pieces of music that have entered the nerd-music lexicum.

Finally, Harry Potter has not had a single scene as iconic as the "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" scene from LOTR. That scene has become every bit as iconic as the scene with Vader from Empire.

HP may have grossed more than LOTR in total, but then again, ET grossed more than Star Wars. Does that mean ET was actually the Star Wars of its generation more than Star Wars was? No. ET was a great movie, but put the receipts away and Star Wars had the greater legacy, just as LOTR has the greater legacy now. Just look at the veritable shitstorm of interest when the trailer to the Hobbit was finally released. That alone should tell you how insanely popular the LOTR movies are.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Anyway, this generation's Star Wars is Transformers - Most popular, Highest Grossing, and goddam embarassed to have ever seen it. And you'll STILL get people telling you that Bayformers is greater than ORSON WELLS as Unicron.

Which they are wrong about.

Oh yeah, and Transformers 4 is coming out soon - let's see how many people enjoy the NEW prequels.

MWahahahaahahaahahahahahahahahah

Okay, I have to call BS on this point, not because you're wrong, but because you technically agree with Kyle.

The Star Wars prequels, Transformers, Spider-Man, The Green Lantern, on and on and on... Generation Y has been given nothing but an endless stream of disappointing rehashes of properties that were popular when they were kids. Desperate, contrived attempts to revive nostalgic memories, falling flat on their faces.

Also recall that Star Wars was a throwback to the adventure serials and campy sci-fi that was popular when the boomers were kids. Something to think about.

DanDeFool:

Also recall that Star Wars was a throwback to the adventure serials and campy sci-fi that was popular when the boomers were kids. Something to think about.

Star Wars was a hodge podge of a lot of stuff, the landspeeders/Space battles were Flash Gordon; as were the Gamorreans/Jawas, Han Solo/Cantina is the Westerns; the script is Joseph Campbell, the lightsabres were pure Zorro...

But again, Zorro created Batman, the westerns went to Police Drama which went to CSI, Flash Gordon came from the Pulps and went forward to Sci-Fi (The Matrix?).

Most of film's history is self-devouring.

I think you're unfair to trot out all the crud though - there have been some truly great films (The Blair Witch Project, Police Academy (Only the first - A Real Life Police Pantomime), Troll Hunter, Pan's Labyrinth, Dog Soldiers, District 9) - YMMV but there's been startling few good series that haven't been drawn from other media first.

Just as Flash Gordon (which would be the Baby Boomers "Star Wars") came from the Pulps etc. etc.

Now Harry Potter reflects Generation Y's growing up - we're still in private school territory, with terribly middle class kids and Lord of the Rings again, is terribly terribly middle class.

Transformers though...it's classless. it may be a robotic dirge by someone who really doesn't like the Transformers themselves - but that's how Lucas was. Alec Guinness especially loathed it.

The people who liked Harry Potter liked Harry Potter. The people who liked Lord of the Rings liked Lord of the Rings.

The Transformers people though...there's not even a consistent view of what they are. Potterites, Whovians, Trekkies, Middle-earthers are all very distinct groups.

Transformers likers aren't. Star Wars likers aren't.

That's why I say Gen Z is Transformers. And Generation AA(?) will probably be the Marvel movies.

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