Yesterday became a day I really never thought I would see… an announcement that Episodes 7 – 8 – 9 will be made in the Star Wars franchise. I gave that up many years ago because Lucas kept saying the third trilogy was never going to happen. The actors were too old, time has passed, I want to do other thing. Now because of the buyout of LucasFilm by Disney we have found out that the movies will actually happen but without Lucas at the helm.
While I am super-duper excited, for many reasons, I can’t help but worry that what so many fans, including myself, will be expecting will not happen. Why? Because we really have no clue what vision these new people will have. Yes, people are excited that Lucas won’t be part of it but myself, I am a bit worried he won’t have any hand in it. Maybe with the Prequels he spent too much time int he kitchen, refusing to let anyone else in but he was always involved in some way with anything else that has happened in the Star Wars universe. Skywalker Ranch was the eye of the Star Wars hurricane. He was also the one who made the major decisions on parts of the Extended Universe – while we all were angry at Salavatore for killing Chewie it was really Lucas who chose him out of a list of many. So, one wonders… who is going to be the guiding hand in this. Will they keep it in some semblence of a Star Wars Universe or will be suddenly have a completely new world that makes no sense.
In a video released yesterday after the announcement of Disney buying LFL, Lucas tells us he is retiring and handing his reins over to Kathleen Kennedy:
First thing on my mind was… who is this woman? Second, I am kind of sad George is walking away now. I know, I know… people say he screwed the pooch and messed of the Universe with the Prequels but I on of the few that don’t think he did. At least as badly as many people bitch about.
So, now we have to wait until 2015 to find out how screwed up can possibly look. I am not hoping for the best right now and there is a ton of speculation of who will fill the Directors chair.
- Christopher Nolan doubt it, he has Superman on his hands now
- the chick behind the Twilight movies and Riding Hood – I really hope not. I don’t like her movies.
- JJ Abrams: nope, in the middle of a Star Trek trilogy
- Whedon: nope, he will be busy for the next decade on the Avengers Trilogy
- Robert Rodriguez – intrigued by his style might not match the series very well but he has done a lot of high action, hi CG films and he a Hollywood outsider like Lucas.
My only hope is that whoever they get, they will love the series as much as we diehard fans do because you have to love it to do it right, IMHO. Lord of the Rings was as amazing as it is because Jackson was so passionate about the books and loved them. He put that love into the movies. Many things were changed but he kept the soul of the story. You can not just put a body into the chair for Star Wars, they must have that same love for it. Of course, I have a hard time imaging a director in Hollywood who doesn’t love the Series. They are also going to have to be willing to focus on these three movies for the next 12-15 years (depending on when pre-production starts) which is not easy if you have other projects you want to work on. Of course, they could just round robin the 3rd trilogy like with Harry Potter. Get a different director for each movie, finding the one whose strength will work best with the direction of that particular film. I am not a fan of this because you must have a connecting feeling.
One of the least likeable thing about the HP movies (at least the first few) is that the setting, feeling, etc changed with each director because each one had their own vision for the series. While, yes, the Original Trilogy was directed by three different people the feeling stayed the same. Why? Because they had the same person keeping an eye on things. Okaying everything – Lucas. As producer he was able to make decisions about what happened. These are some of the hurdles the series will have and it’s just been announced.
The same with the writing. Lucas has mentioned he has things written down and its ready for someone to take and create a screenplay with. This is my second concern. The story. While yes, we want to see the magic cast back from the originals and we are all fully aware that there is no way they could set this right after the OT (original trilogy) because of this. People have speculated that they could, if they use Pixar and animate it but I don’t think that would work. How can you have 3 out of 9 movies be animated while the rest are live action?? Yes, I know Lucas had animated characters but it was a mixed world of CG and human actors. This means we need to look at a possible third generation. .Vader is dead, Luke and Leia are older. The Star Wars stories focus on the Skywalker family which means we have to see kids.
I can only hope that whom ever takes on the job of writing the movies looks towards the Extended Universe because there is a plethora of material there. Material that fans adore and obsess over already. I also believe that if you want to keep the fans on your side, especially with Star Wars, you need to go there. Yes, there is an openness of using the Star Wars world as background then jumping ahead so many years but I have a feeling if you give Han & Leia kids and they are not named: Jacen, Jaina and Anakin you will have some very angry customers on your hands. If Luke isn’t married to Mara Jade with a kid named Ben… you get my drift?
Now my plea to the producers of the 3rd Tri-logy… so to the bookstore and start reading. Find a story in something that is already published. You do not have to go with that exact story but there is a rich world there to pull from. Amazing dramas, characters who are well thought out. But there are some well written stories:
- Anything with Thrawn- the blue dude with attitude. He is probably one of the best villains in the EU.
- Mara Jade Skywalker – once the Hand of the Emporer, now the wife of Luke. She kicks ass and has a very filled our resume in the EU.
With these three characters being drawn into the series, you have so may stories you can build upon but I believe there are several that are worth noting.
- The New Jedi Order Series: While Thrawn is there right before it happens. This is about an invasion into the galaxy from outside. Its dark, gruesome and would be visually stimulating. The sucky part is that the first book has a death in it that would crush non-EU reading fans and it would be difficult to explain. While amazing… not the best choice.
- Legacy of the Force Series: This is a very powerful series and would help round out the movie series. We see yet another Skywalker fall into darkness, following the steps of his grandfather. It takes place 40 after a new hope – just about right for the age of the actors of the OT and they are in the series pretty heavily. But the story focuses more on the next generation and a rebirth of the Empire many decades later. Out of all the books I believe this one would translate the best for the big screen.
My only hope though is that it continues to be amazing. We have a lot coming at us in the Star Wars world right now. The Clone Wars continues on Cartoon Network, we have the new Detours by Seth Green and the highly anticipated live action series. I am excited to see what happens. I can not wait to buy tickets and see the new movies on the big screen with my son; just as my parents took me. I am in love with the knowledge that this series I love so damned much, has helped me in many ways is still alive and kicking.