Guys: in case you didn’t know, Star Wars happened today. George Lucas learned that he was, in fact, mortal, and decided that the franchise would be best place in the hands of Disney to the tune of four billion dollars. In the same breath, Lucas, new Lucasfilm president Kathleen Turner and Disney announced that work would begin on a new sequel trilogy, consisting of the New Republic’s adventures following the fall of Vader, Palpatine, and the second Death Star. Few details are known at this point, primarily because Lucas is probably still making them up, but where will they go?
The existence of Star Wars sequel trilogy, making up a rounder nine films instead of capping it at six, has been in dispute, primarily because Lucas has had zero consistency in his remarks about them. When working on the original film – that is, Episode IV – he made many remarks to the existence of enough story to make nine or twelve films. But as he finished the original trilogy and divorce wrecked his home life, the idea of doing nine films seemed to prove a bit daunting. Each trilogy takes nine years to build and he made remarks, following the release of Episode III in 2005, that if he were around another twenty years, he’d start working on a new trilogy. At the same time, he said he didn’t have any material for a third set of films and that they’d be “making it up” just to see Luke Skywalker be old.
Well, I guess he changed his mind again. So what can we look forward to in a new Star Wars film?
George Lucas Will Take A Seat. You could make the argument that the biggest problem with the prequel trilogy was that Lucas was both the gate keeper and the key master: he made all the creative decisions and only he held himself accountable, which obviously didn’t happen. Instead, we got a lot of bad decisions that made their way to film, ones that could’ve been easily prevented had he simply had someone else in charge. The best decision he ever made was to let his old cinema professor, the late Irvin Kershner, direct The Empire Strikes Back. Lucas will no doubt be on hand to guide the fiction and ensure only the best technology is made available for these new films, but letting new writers and a new director get their hands on Star Wars is exciting.
Another Director. Believe it or not, Lucas had asked surrealistic David Lynch to direct Star Wars, who had “next door to no interest” in the film before he enlisted Richard Marquand – and then subsequently directing a lot of the film himself. While he’s totally not fit for the kind of production, Kerry Conran (Sky Captain) immediately flies to mind as a potential candidate, but it’s hard to believe that he’ll pick anyone other than an unknown to helm the film. Anyone else, I don’t know, maybe there’d just be too much ego, something I doubt Lucas could handle.
No Thrawn. My favorite character in the Star Wars Extended Universe probably won’t make the cut. George has been consistent that, when a sequel trilogy should be made, it would take place at least twenty years after Return of the Jedi, long after the reign of Grand Admiral Thrawn, the blue-skinned master strategist who combined the remaining fleets of the Empire to bring the New Republic to its knees in the years following Return of the Jedi. In fact, Lucas has some contempt for some elements of the Expanded Universe – strange since he allowed them to happen – and I have no doubt that a lot provided by EU authors over the past twenty-five years will probably be skipped over.
Of course, the staff of FEZ will be there on day one, lightsabers optional.