Tag Archives: George Lucas

7 Wishes for Star Wars Episode VII

I think the Internet has been having a constant nerdgasm since Disney announced they were buying Lucasfilm and making a new Star Wars film. I can’t blame it, I’m right there too. I’ve been following the gossip and rumours and speculation with as much anticipation as I had in the run-up to The Phantom Menace.

I know. I never learn.

That said, I’m cautiously optimistic about the news. After all, Disney bought Marvel and the Avengers was my favourite film of the year. I reckon we’re in for a treat as long as Disney do seven things:

1. Bring back the original cast

Let’s face it, when we go to a sequel we want to see the characters we saw last time. We don’t want a new cast. So bring back Luke, Leia and Han. Give us a Luke still struggling with the change from Jedi Knight Errant to Jedi Master. Give us Leia crushed under bureaucracy and fighting to make sure her rebellion doesn’t dissolve into political nonsense. And give us a Han lost and fearing irrelevancy, not sure what to do on the right side of the law. Fertile ground for passing the torch into our new heroes!

2. Don’t rehash the originals

If you’ve not seen Prometheus, look away now because I’m about to spoil it. Seriously.

Prometheus is just a rehash of Alien. You’ve got the eggs/vases, facehuggers/oil snakes, xenomorphs and crazy robots ad nauseum. And while it may have been a financial success, it made for a poor film.

In the same vein, don’t use Luke as an Obi-Wan character only to kill him halfway through the film. Don’t have another superweapon. Don’t have the hero be a Jedi discovering his heritage. No secret family members. No Tatooine; we’ve seen enough of it. It’s a big galaxy with plenty of opportunity so let’s make the most of it.

And no incestuous kisses. Just no.

3. Tell the saga of the Skywalker family

This is how Lucas often described the story of Star Wars in the early days and I think it’s paramount to stick to this vision. The Prequel trilogy followed Anakin. The Original trilogy followed Luke. The Sequel trilogy should follow Luke’s kid. Retaining the Skywalker link will help keep the story cohesive despite the gap between films.

4. Make use of those Force ghosts

Speaking of links, get Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor and Frank Oz back and helping out from beyond the grave. Skywalker Jr. could probably do with their help. Plus there’s a lot of narrative potential in having those three watching their successors rebuild the universe they remember (and helped destroy).

5. Lay off the CGI

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a beautiful, sumptuous visual feast. And so much of it was built in real life. The Prequel trilogy, on the other hand, is already showing its age.

Build some sets for crying out loud.

6. Don’t resurrect the Sith

The Sith have been the villains for six films now and digging up some more will feel a little tired. Timothy Zahn proved you could create a great Star Wars story without Sith villains. His trilogy of books set after Return of the Jedi had Grand Admiral Thrawn as the foe; no Force, no lightsabers, but a brilliant foe nonetheless. Plus we’ve never actually seen what the hell a Jedi does when there isn’t a Sith to whale on.

7. Have more female characters

This one is a bit of a lie because I’d actually like to see Miss Skywalker Jr. but I know that won’t happen. But both trilogies have been replete with males and only one female. Let’s change that. If the lead has to be male (which the marketing department will demand) at least surround him with a variety of female characters (rather than the stock royalty with funny hair in silly clothes). And maybe a female Jedi or two might be nice for a change?

So those are my seven wishes and I think they could produce an excellent film. What do you think? Am I strong with the Force or bantha pudu? What would you like to see from Episode VII? Let me know in the comments.

And may the Force be with you.

Writing Lessons from George Lucas

Last week I mentioned the three last-minute books I bought before I embarked on No More Books 2012. But now I have a confession to make: I was lying.

There was one other book.

That book was Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays.

A friend of mine called this purchase the geekiest thing he had ever heard. And he’s a huge geek himself. But I don’t care. I love stuff like this, the behind-the-scenes of the writing. It’s a chance to see how other writers work, a chance to examine how they do things and to learn from them.

To prove it, here’s three things I’ve learnt from the geekiest purchase ever.

Steal From Other Stories If Need Be

“I have a bad feeling about this”, a line which ended up in every Star Wars film, was originally in the script for Indiana Jones. But Lucas felt it would work better in Star Wars, so he took it out of Indiana Jones’ mouth and placed it in Luke Skywalker’s. If you’ve an idea that would work great in one project but you originally envisaged it in another, don’t protect one and hurt both. You need to make this current project as strong as it can be.

Remove Characters With Nothing To Do

In earlier drafts, Lucas didn’t kill Obi-Wan. But he found he was making no contribution to the film after the escape from the Death Star. Alec Guinness was going to be very expensive set dressing. So he killed him off.

If a character is a good one, killing them off should feel like a loss. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a loss to the story. Sometimes it’s a gain.

Don’t Be Precious; Change Whatever You Need to Make It Work

Lucas’ first treatment was radically different to the final film. About the only things that remain from treatment to screen are an empire, a rebellion, a force and a few names. Luke Skywalker was Annikin Starkiller. Obi-wan was after a Kiber crystal. Darth Vader was a bit part.

No writer should be afraid of the red pen, even if it causes the end result to be almost unrecognisable from the first plot outline. If it’s making things better, it can only be a good thing.

(Bonus Lesson: If you’re tempted to create a Jar Jar Binks? Don’t.)

Cover of The Fey Man by James T KellyFind out if I learned the writing lessons of George Lucas by picking up your copy of The Fey Man today!

★★★★★ – “A must read for fans of epic fantasy”

The Fey Man is available now from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords