Open Thread: Disney Ditched Lucas’s Ideas

We’ll see if the Disney suits try and walk this back or reassure those who still care that George Lucas’s intentions for the post-ROTJ trilogy are followed, but Cinema Blend’s scoop that Disney took Lucas’s treatments, likely for the whole trilogy, and tossed ’em in a shredder is quite disturbing to me. One of the last things I want for Star Wars is it to turn into some generic sci-fi action bull puckey, which I guess is what they want. No ring pattern, no tone poems, no symphonic pattern.

I have a BAD feeling about this.

Update: Here’s more of what I think.

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52 Responses to “Open Thread: Disney Ditched Lucas’s Ideas”

  1. madmediaman Says:

    This seriously dampens my interest in the Sequel Trilogy…

  2. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Oh dear. That’s disturbing. I hope, for their sake, they have something better.

  3. starwarschanges Says:

    This raises the guestion who exactly is the author of this new story.

  4. Tony Ferris Says:

    So ‘The Force Awakens’ is effectively EU material, or little more than fan fiction.

    I’ve never really cared for the former. It all too often displays a complete lack of understanding for what ‘Star Wars’ actually is, and what it’s creator’s intentions are/were.

    The latter is largely nebulous and overly specific. It can be enjoyable, but it usually leaves me numb.

    Will I see J.J. Abrams movie? Sure. But ‘Star Wars’ is now officially just another blockbuster franchise. I’m sure it’ll manage to be fun and engaging, but has lost it’s authorship, and with it I suspect it’s purpose. It’s vision. The worlds only truly personal blockbuster series is no more.

    I suppose this was true the minute Lucas signed those papers in 2012. I suppose I knew it then too to be honest, but it really just hit me now.

    Strangely enough though, I’m fine with it. ‘Star Wars’ for me, really did end with ‘Revenge of the Sith’. ‘The Clone Wars’ was a fantastic extension and expansion of Lucas’s vision, but it should largely be treated as an adjunct. ‘Star Wars’ finished in 2005. And that’s okay.

    We move on…

    • M. Marshall Says:

      But at least the EU had George’s input. After all if it wasn’t for the EU, we wouldn’t have Aayla Secura.

      “But Lucas allows for an Expanded Universe that exists parallel to the one he directly oversees. In many cases, the stewards of the Expanded Universe—editors within the licensing division of Lucasfilm Ltd. who work with authors and publishers— will ask for his input or blessing on projects. Though these stories may get his stamp of approval, they don’t enter his canon unless they are depicted cinematically in one of his projects.” – Pablo Hidalgo. “Star Wars: The Essential Readers’ Companion”.

      • Tony Ferris Says:

        True, but there’s also enough evidence to suggest that Disney et.al are still culling material from Lucas’s treatments, they’re just not following his story.

        The EU never felt like Star Wars to me. It always seemed to miss the point. I expect these new movies to behave similarly. Doesn’t mean they won’t be good or fun, but it does mean they won’t speak , to me at least, in the same way.

        I’m cool with that though…

      • M. Marshall Says:

        Yes, but there’s one major difference between the EU and ST: literature > film.

        I had an English teacher in high school, a movie buff, who insisted film IS literature.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        Yeah with silent films and foreign films perhaps…

      • Tony Ferris Says:

        No, with any film I would say.

        Obviously not every film aspires to being ‘literate’ in this sense, but then neither does every novel. American cinema though, is frequently capable of extremely rich and literate output. Just look at the work of Kubrick, Scorsese, P.T. Anderson, Wes Anderson, Lucas, Aronofsky, Jonze, Coppola… The examples abound, quite frankly.

    • Tony Ferris Says:

      Well, I certainly don’t agree with that statement. Obviously someone might hold a preference, but film is as powerful and capable a medium for artistic expression as prose.

      And being as it is the medium for which Star Wars was created, it is and always has been the one for which it is best suited. Particularly when we consider that it’s creator is a filmmaker dedicated to visually driven narratives, something impossible for the written word.

      Star Wars should be composed of moving images, embedded with sound and music. That’s how it works best.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        Literature has been around longer than film and has more diversity. It builds up vocabulary and spreads ideas quicker and more easily than film (try smuggling film into a totalitarian society). And in this country, a film can only be limited to 2 hours, something that doesn’t hinder books. And if it wasn’t for authors like H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, there wouldn’t have been Star Wars. As an advocate for the importance of SF & F literature, I think the EU opens doors for readers to other SF series and writers. The first SF book I picked up was an EU novel (Young Jedi Knights) which then led me to “Dune”, which led me to the original novel for “Planet of the Apes”, which led me to…

        My statement had nothing to do with the current saga but with this upcoming trilogy. I think the EU will prove to be better than the sequel trilogy because we’ve had it much longer. I don’t agree with everything that’s in the EU, but I don’t agree with everything in the movies either. Some people ask me if I think the Star Wars books are better than the movies (1-6) and it always perplexed me because I don’t view one as better than the other, I think the EU just fills in the blanks that the films didn’t have time to mention.

        It appears that Lucas was planning to take Star Wars into other mediums, like television (I was so looking forward to that live action tv show that was going to take place between eps 3 and 4, alas). I think two trilogies was enough.

      • Tony Ferris Says:

        “Literature has been around longer than film and has more diversity. It builds up vocabulary and spreads ideas quicker and more easily than film (try smuggling film into a totalitarian society). And in this country, a film can only be limited to 2 hours, something that doesn’t hinder books. And if it wasn’t for authors like H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, there wouldn’t have been Star Wars.”

        I want to stress the fact that I read books by the dozen, but what your saying here doesn’t to my mind support the thesis that prose is more worthy than cinema. Cinema’s relative youth might suggest that it has more development ahead of it, but it is as capable of expressing rich, complex, human, and personal ideas as any other medium, and it can do so in ways entirely unique to itself.

        Run-time certainly doesn’t matter either, because visual language, in the hands of someone that understands it, can deliver ideas with much greater efficiency than even the written word.

        Is a book a more easily distributed delivery system for ideas? Sure. But I’m not sure what that’s got to do with the price of eggs.

        I love books. I love language, word, and phrase. But I also love cinema. Image and sound. Words and pictures. You can do anything with words and pictures.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        I’m a visual person my self but I’m saying that the written word is more important than film. Technology can break down any day but the printed word is more resilient. The strength of a society is in the written word. It preserves our culture, our history and our written language. The point I was originally making was that you can’t compare the EU to the ST because at least George has had some supervision over it and it’s basically the Star Wars we’ve had for so long, even if it isn’t canon. Even George has stressed that people still want something tangible and printed in their hands in this digital age. Also I work for the schools and reading is considered important. Plus with the lack of creativity and stupidity in the film industry lately, I’ve forgone going to the movies all together. I much rather visit a bookstore than a theater.

  5. Nobody Says:

    I honestly don’t know if I’ll see it now. “Star Wars” without Lucas is like “Twin Peaks” without Lynch. Sounds like we have now entered the Cooper-wearing-plaid period of the GFFA…

  6. J.Bradley Says:

    Supposedly though he and Abrams conversed a great deal before the script was finalized. Could Abrams have found some middle ground between what Disney wanted and what Lucas wanted?

  7. J.Bradley Says:

    And also too, while they may not have used the treatments there may still be elements of them that may have been retained.

  8. Tony Ferris Says:

    “I know that many Star Wars fans were alarmed at this news of the Disney acquisition. But I take the view that Lucas is correct to devise a reliable system for future professional oversight of the Star Wars franchise and legacy. Who else could possibly be designated as his managerial heir? Despite its conglomerate sprawl, Disney is a respected name in the history of modern entertainment. After all, it was Walt Disney who began the great genre of feature-length animated films with Snow White in 1937. Disney as a visionary entrepreneur and media pioneer was definitely Lucas’ creative ancestor. It’s obvious that there is a worldwide thirst for more Star Wars movies, even if Lucas himself no longer wishes to make them. The Disney deal ensures that the tradition will continue, even if the first non-Lucas-made films might be uneven or unsatisfactory. I told a TV interviewer in Toronto several weeks ago that a parallel could be drawn with Homer’s epics about the Trojan War, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which date from around 750 B.C. For centuries afterward, Homer inspired hundreds of imitators churning out second- and third-rate poems about the Troy saga. It wasn’t until Vergil wrote the Aeneid shortly before the birth of Christ that there was another major epic about the Trojan War that reached the same level of brilliance as Homer’s originals. The same thing here—sure, there might be some bland or mediocre Star Wars films for a while, but then some day, a film-maker of genius will come along who is Lucas’ true artistic heir. I suspect that only a corporate enterprise of Disney’s size and scale can ensure that the creative matrix for Star Wars will survive until that pivotal, redeeming moment.” – Camille Paglia

    I hope she’s right, that it happens in my lifetime, and that I’m open-minded enough to see it when it does.

    I’d certainly like to get a look at Lucas’s treatments.

  9. J.Bradley Says:

    It certainly puts in doubt any genuine continuation of Star Wars “ring theory”.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Well… then it means that the ST is nothing more than a live action version of the EU. No thanks. Only thing to get me to watch the ST now would be to have some involvement from Filoni (who I credit for Rebels actually being a decent addition to the saga).

  11. mindless droud Says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. You always lose something when the visionary component is removed. A large corporation even with people who had been there changes the creative dynamic. Lucasfilm on it’s own was more about creativity while Disney’s concern is the bottom line just look at The Clone Wars compared to Rebels.

  12. Keith Palmer Says:

    The most discouraging thing about this to me seems to be thinking of those people whose “Lucas Derangement Syndrome” is so severe they react to hearing it with unbridled satisfaction (and, of course, there was already a bit of that in the comments to the piece…)

    • Tony Ferris Says:

      Oh god, who cares about those people. Seriously, it’s group-think (if ‘think’ even really applies). If these people ever had an original thought it would die of loneliness.

      I’m mostly zen about all that these days. It’s just noise to me. It’s pretty pathetic really, and not a little funny.

      What actually struck me watching the video, was how much Lucas doesn’t actually seem bothered by how things have developed. It would seem he truly is done.

      Time to move on.

      Think I’ll join him… 🙂

      • Jim Raynor Says:

        Yes, life is better if you just stop stressing over this internet nerd rage nonsense. The rabid Lucas bashers are fueled by a persecution complex, and everyone else would benefit by not following the same path. Which is really Anakin’s path to the Dark Side if you think about it. Funny how Lucas has life so much more figured out than his most vocal haters.

        I’m not surprised or outraged that Disney chose to go in its own direction instead of using Lucas’s. Companies tend to do their own things when they acquire a new property.

        It would be nice though to hear about what Lucas’s ideas were after the movie does come out. I do have some concerns about the loss of “vision” going into sequels. Lucas had some really strong themes running through his six movies, about generational conflict, managing your emotions, and doing better than the ones before you (even “wise” old mentors like Obi-Wan and Yoda, both of whom were happily proven wrong about Vader at the end of ROTJ).

        However, all of the hype so far on the Sequel Trilogy seems to be about surface elements instead: Emulate the original trilogy. X-wings. Millennium Falcon. Tatooine. “Practical effects” (as if the CGI will be any less than in any other modern blockbuster).

        Based on his recent Star Trek movies, other works such as Super 8 and Cloverfield, as well as his stated “mystery box” writing technique (which basically boils down to “making things up as I go along), I really get the impression that JJ Abrams is a 1980s fanboy turned director. He’s skilled with visuals, action, humor, and suspense. I’ve really enjoyed some of his work. But he definitely has a tendency to make movies based on hollow hype, with stories that rely on excitement a lot more than logic.

        The big mystery of Cloverfield was…a generic giant monster. The big mystery in Super 8 was…an alien with almost no backstory. Star Trek 2009 was a fun but nonsensical popcorn flick.

        I will say that Abrams can turn out a good time at the movies though, and I’m far from hating him the way a lot of internet fanboys hate on George Lucas. This is just my impression of him and the hype campaign for Episode VII and they could end up proving those doubts wrong. So while my hopes for the new movie aren’t sky high (Age of Ultron is the one movie this year I’m actually really excited for), I am looking forward to it and will do my best to see it with open eyes.

        Don’t fall to the Dark Side and hate on this movie in advance. We should all be better than that!

      • Tony Ferris Says:

        I find myself in complete agreement Jim, with everything you say.

      • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

        Yeah….

        I’m extremely disheartened, and a lot of my centering about some of the news has been “Lucas’ treatment, so give it a fair shake.”

        And really, it’s not fair to VII-IX that I am so appalled with the way it’s been produced and promoted that it will be challenging for me to judge the film on its own merits. I have some soul-searching to do.

      • Tony Ferris Says:

        I would urge you to let go Adam. Try to approach The Force Awakens and all that follows as something new, inspired by George Lucas’s work but not beholden to it.

        I’m far less interested in the new movies than I was in Lucas’, but I aim to have fun with them. The first thing to do in that regard is to utterly ignore any and all commentary on them for the foreseeable future. Approach them as space fantasy films to be enjoyed superficially. If they manage to provide more depth than that then wonderful, but lets not expect it.

  13. Nick Skywalker Says:

    “http://www.slashfilm.com/disney-abandoned-george-lucas-star-wars-7/”

    Well there you have it.

    I’m already not crazy about the TFA or the ST for that matter but this really just sent my feelings for it completely south. The fact that the screenplay was based on Lucas’ original story for VII is what kept me going but now that’s out the window.

    It’s whatever. I feel like any new SW films at this point is just extra. I’ll be perfectly content with the 6 films and call it a day. The EU never has and never will interest me. Too much of a mess for my taste. But with that being said, that doesn’t mean I want them or wouldn’t care if they completely screw up the story. THAT would irritate me to no end. And sad to say, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if these new movies somehow invalidate anything previously established in the PT or the OT, for that matter.

  14. Eduardo Vargas Says:

    Well said, LP.

    An interview Bryan Young had with Simon Kinberg seems to suggest something different, so I’m not ready to call out the jury yet. However, the possibility of what this means is certainly a very bad one. Still, how come several fans aren’t even bothered by this?? (And I’m not talking about the haters, because their probably celebrating now).

  15. darth66zannah Says:

    I have faith in writer Lawrence Kasdan…he was picked by Lucas to write this film and he wrote empire strikes back and return of the Jedi…as long as he is on board I’m okay…in Lawrence Kasdan we trust…but I will admit it does suck that it won’t say “story by George Lucas”

  16. peacetrainjedi Says:

    While I would love to see those Lucas drafts too and am saddened by this news, it by no way spells doom for the future films. I’ll take the Qui-Gon approach and say “Just relax … We’re not in trouble yet.” Premature despair is unwarranted at this point. Only after the credits fade on opening day will we know for sure if these new crop of films retain the Star Wars spirit and truly honor Lucas’ original six-film saga.

    Though I have had severe doubts and have gone back and forth about the potential merits of The Force Awakens, one thing I know is certain: It has John Williams. JOHN ****** WILLIAMS. There most definitely WILL BE a symphonic pattern, if only in the musical score.

  17. M. Marshall Says:

    Well, I’m just sticking with what came before. I have two trilogies, the EU, the Dark Horse comics, both Clone Wars series and maybe one day I’ll watch the Ewok adventure and Droids/Ewoks cartoons. Heck, I even have the soundtrack to “Shadows of the Empire” by Joel McNeely (a worthy successor to John Williams if there ever was one). It’s the end of an era and as another George once said: “All things must pass”.

    • peacetrainjedi Says:

      Absolutely love the “All things must pass” song and album. George Harrison! The original Dark Horse himself. 🙂

      And I treasure the old EU material as well. TV series, video games (KotOR! Republic Commando!), Dark Horse’s fantastic run of comics over the years will always be among my favorites. Disney’s new Star Wars has big shoes to fill, but if Rebels is any indication, they have the potential. I’m not quite ready to give up on the future films just yet, despite some warning signs. Come December, I might end up joining you in just “sticking with what came before” if the new films really are generic blockbuster fodder, but until then I still can’t help but be excited and hopefully optimistic at seeing a new Star Wars on the big screen once more.

  18. piccolojr1138 Says:

    I suppose he wrote those treatments because he initially wanted to produce Episode VII.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2015/01/12/george-lucas-strange-magic-movie/21624493/

    But when he left earlier than planned, it was certainly more difficult for him to protect his story.

    I don’t think we’ll ever see those treatments, but I hope the Arndt’s draft which is based on it will leak.

  19. lovelucas Says:

    I’ve had that feeling all along ……. My one hope is that they don’t break George’s heart and that he has no regrets. and, oh, yeah, f**k ’em all.

  20. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Although I’m disappointed that they had jettisoned Lucas’ story idea and insisted upon using all three leads from the first trilogy, I’ve decided to give it a chance. I don’t want to become similar to the old fanboys who have spent the past fifteen to sixteen years putting down the Prequel Trilogy, because it wasn’t like the old trilogy. I don’t want to become that. And since Abrams is more of a STAR WARS fan than a STAR TREK fan, I’m willing to give him a chance.

  21. PrinceOfNaboo Says:

    Doesn’t surprise me.

    Lucas is an artist who managed to make films that are very personal but still immensely successful. Disney is a corporation that makes successful movies first, and that has to be calculable. In order to to make a movie calculable successful, you need to stick to rules and formulas, Lucas never sticked to formula.

    It was clear this wouldn’t harmony, which is sad. Over the last years, I kind of tied to convince myself that I’m interested in Episode VII. I’m just not. I don’t care for it.

    Which is strange.

  22. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    [“The big mystery of Cloverfield was…a generic giant monster. The big mystery in Super 8 was…an alien with almost no backstory. Star Trek 2009 was a fun but nonsensical popcorn flick.”]

    I’ve never seen “CLOVERFIELD”. Of the J.J. Abrams movies I have seen, I would say that “SUPER 8” and “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3” were his best. However, I noticed that “SUPER 8” strongly reminded me of a “STAR TREK VOYAGER” episode called “Prey”.

    When it comes to movies, Abrams is not that creative or original. He either continues what someone else has started or copy someone’s original idea. When it comes to television, he is a lot more creative. Shows like “LOST”, “ALIAS” and “FRINGE” are prime examples of his creativity. Unfortunately, he never sticks with these shows very long and usually ends up placing them into the hands of others.

    “STAR WARS VII” is obviously an example of Abrams’ work in motion pictures. I only hope that it turns out to be more like “SUPER 8” and “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3” in terms of quality storytelling.

    • Nobody Says:

      I haven’t enjoyed any of Abrams’ films. To me they range from mediocre and forgettable (MI3 and Super8) to intollerable (the Trek movies). The sad thing is, as you said, he was really impressive as a television-creator. “Lost” was one of my favorite things ever for a while, and his pilot episode was a superbly directed intro. It’s hard to see the same guy who did that as the director of the near-incomprehensible histrionics of the Trek films, or the treading-water boredom of his other movies.

    • Tony Ferris Says:

      I’ve enjoyed Abrams’ movies (with the exception of the Trek flicks which, beyond there senseless plotting, seem to show no real understanding of what Trek is, and what it’s actually for), but what I’ve not seen from him as yet is anything resembling a personal vision.

      He feels like a man who’s trying to recreate the cinema of his youth, but without having much to offer beyond homage, bordering on outright pastiche. Super 8 for example, is effectively a mish mash of every movie Spielberg made or produced in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It’s perfectly enjoyable (I like it quite a bit actually), and manages to tell a nice story about a young boy dealing with the death of his mother. But I can’t help but feel that even that is just a knowing reversal of E.T.’s story of a young boy coming to grips with the departure of his father. Where is Abrams in all this? His personality? His vision? What are the recurring themes of his work? Do his films say anything beyond, “Hey, they really made some cool movies when we were kids, huh!?”

      Like I say, I like his movies and I hope I enjoy his Star Wars movie, but Star Wars has always been very much a vessel for George Lucas’s self expression, those who succeed him should attempt the same. Abrams thus far has only expressed an interest in the more facile, surface aspects of Lucas’s creation, which is missing the point if you ask me. But then, perhaps that’s just marketing, and he has indeed finally found something to say…

      • M. Marshall Says:

        I remember overhearing one worker at Half Price Books said that Star Trek Into Darkness seemed more like a rehash of “The Wrath of Khan”, then she made a raspberries sounds.

      • Keith Palmer Says:

        I managed to miss Star Trek Into Darkness when it came out, and haven’t got around to seeing it since then, so I do fear any comments I make on it are just “passing on the reactions of others”… but there are times when it seems J.J. Abrams burned his bridges behind him with that movie when it comes to a certain number of Star Trek fans. There were some clever moments to his first Star Trek, but also other moments where I wondered if indeed he really “got” what had come before or was just making a movie people dissatisfied with the new Star Wars movies could praise as their latest example of “what Star Wars ought to be!” Cloverfield was just kind of depressing in the end for me.

      • Cathie Scott Bergfels- Brown Says:

        sounds to me like the woman at Half Price books has not watched the original Star Trek episode Space Seed.

      • Tony Ferris Says:

        I liked Cloverfield myself, but his Trek films are awful. To begin with they’re just not Star Trek. Star Trek is meant to be about something. Say what you will about Gene Roddenberry as a writer, but he created Star Trek with the intention of discussing modern social and political issues in a context that would be more palatable to a general audience. He created a hopeful science fiction continuum about exploration and the human spirit. Abrams films miss all that in favour of admittedly well crafted action set pieces, cartoon characterizations, and needy over-focused fan service.

        Star Trek Into Darkness’ failed attempt to be The Wrath of Khan as M. Marshall alludes to, is almost laughable given it’s complete lack of understanding of that movie and it’s themes.

        It shouldn’t have came as any kind of surprise though, after 2009’s Star Trek chose to dramatize Kirk’s famous Kobayashi Maru exam grift without realizing that the whole point of that story in Khan was to illustrate Kirk’s hubris. Into Darkness started promisingly enough, with a tale that might have sought to teach Abram’s and Co’s version of Kirk the lesson of humility, but it decided not to bother, if it really ever intended to in the first place.

        I could go on on, but I’m a little annoyed at myself for spouting off at all. I’ve never made a movie, so I should keep my gripes to a dull roar. I usually do. Promise. 🙂

  23. lovelucas Says:

    LP – Any theories on the pushback from Bryan Young and now Tom Hodges, both saying the original article has been “debunked”? My theory is it’s true but they are trying to defuse the controversy.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Where did Hodges comment? I don’t see anything on his Twitter or FB page.

      I’ve read Bryan’s views and I’ll acknowledge he has more access to the PTB than I do. Simon Kinsberg told him whatever he told him. On the other hand, due to my unfortunate legal edumacation, I tend to parse words. Maybe Lucas was exaggerating; he’s not exactly known as the Great Communicator either. Maybe Cineblend, a notorious click bait of a site, was exaggerating. Maybe Kinsberg was being completely honest. But “blueprint” could mean something very specific or something very general.

      I put two and two together when he said in another interview that he had no idea what the movie was about, and then this got dropped yesterday It tells me he’s totally kept in the dark and in all likelihood, he’s right, Disney went for something it made up almost wholecloth. The fact it will use “Luke Skywalker” or “lightsabers” or “X-Wings” isn’t enough DNA for me.

      Bryan also noted that lots of things changed from Lucas’s initial outlines and drafts on the previous movies to the final script. This is true but the difference is in the past, Lucas saw the whole thing through to the end. He was changing things even in the editing booth and doing reshoots. He won’t be involved with that this time. So I would say barring a miracle, there’s way too much opportunity for the new cooks to do whatever they want without consulting the original recipe.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Kinda off-topic, but I really wish JJ Abrams and every other person mentioning how the ST will be like the OT read this: http://io9.com/your-movie-is-not-the-goonies-stop-saying-it-is-1680990115

  25. ace Says:

    Bs. This has been exaggerated. The only thing rewritten was expanding the original kids involvement. I seriously doubt they threw evetythING out. In place of what? don’t believe it one bit.

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