Thursday, December 10, 2015

How "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Came to Be

With little time to blog today, I thought I'd pass on an interesting article in io9 titled "J.J. Abrams Told Us the Origin Story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens."


I'm as excited as anyone for the new film (Episode VII in the Star Wars chronology). And, as a writer, I was fascinated to learn the story of how the most significant new Star Wars film since The Return of the Jedi came to be, especially after the disappointing prequel trilogy.

For anyone who is worried that The Force Awakens might turn out like the prequels, I think you can take a deep breath. According to io9, Disney nixed George Lucas' outline for the story, and instead allowed J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasden, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back, to take the story in a new direction. Here a few excerpts from the article on io9 by Germaine Lussier:
Abrams co-wrote the script for Episode VII with Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. This wasn’t the plan at first. Originally, Abrams was set to direct, with Kasdan consulting, and Oscar-winner Michael Arndt penning the script. So how did we end up with the script we have today? We asked Abrams to take us through the early days and explain how this new story came to be.
* * *
Abrams confirmed that Star Wars creator George Lucas provided outlines for the films before Abrams came on board, but “Disney had determined they wanted to go a different direction.” That direction was developed over the next six to eight months—basically the better part of 2013. He, Kasdan, Arndt and others came up with a structure and lots of elements everyone loved, but Abrams said “some things were still unsolved.”
At that point, they hit a bit of a bump. Arndt – who Abrams describes as a “precise gentleman” – said he needed 18 months to finish the script. He only had six.
“Despite my absolute, burning desire to direct a script that Michael Arndt had written, I realized I didn’t have that time,” Abrams said. “[Lucasfilm President] Kathy [Kennedy] didn’t have that time. Disney didn’t have that time. And so I sat with Larry and I said, ‘Look, there are things about the story that I know are right. And I believe we could actually answer the questions that we still need to be answered if we wrote this together.’”
Kasdan agreed, but because he was now coming on board with a different position, he decided he wanted to wipe the slate clean.
You can read the full article here.

Also, Germaine Lussier has been running posts on io9 that critique the prior films, and his critique of the three prequels is well worth reading. Here are the links: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. Those prequels were problematic on so many levels, and I really think Lussier nails it in these posts.

As always, I'm curious to hear you thoughts on the prequels or the upcoming film, so feel free to leave a comment.

Update: Germaine Lussier has posted his critiques of Episodes IV and V. Here they are: Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Once again, he's spot on!

3 comments:

DAN ASUNCION said...

Happy New Year, Joseph!

I see a pattern, here. Both Gene Roddenberry &
George Lucas had a creative imagination that was
TRULY original. BUT -
____________________________________________________

both were LATER told that their services were no
longer required. That's a shame. In the case of
STAR TREK (of which I know more about), as series
after series was made, it became clear to all that
GENE'S original series was far more CLEVER, and
far less OLD FASHIONED than previously believed... :))

Joseph Finley said...

Dan, thanks for the comment! I don't know much about the Star Trek situation, but I didn't mind someone else getting a crack at Star Wars after Lucas' three prequels. I wonder if Lucas had become so caught up in his elaborate backstory and so enamored with CGI that he lost sight of what made his earlier films so good.

DAN ASUNCION said...

After RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, the team found it hard to
capture the magic in the sequels: understandable, since
sometimes, it's difficult to figure out how you "hit it out of
the park"!
____________________________________________________________

George has said, recently, that STAR WARS is about
family relationships, NOT spaceships!