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Topic: Star Wars Ep. VIII:The Last Jedi - SPOILERS begin Pg 12 Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 12:36am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I paid to see Star Wars 28 times 77-78.  At the time, I didn' t know from story structure so it never occurred to me that there's a point where the Story Is Over.  That idea came much later for me.  Thanks to TV series having season-long or multi-season arcs, not to mention the seeming death of the one-shot in comics, it seems like people are getting more and more used to the open-ended narrative.  Even at conventions, if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me "when's the next one coming out," I'd have...well, maybe 20 bucks.  But it's not an unusual question!

In retrospect, I think one of the charms of the long-form motion picture is (was?) the "complete story" aspect.  But I guess the market supports that rather less than it did.  Fans want more of what they like, and the creators are happy to oblige. 

Oh, and my new favorite Snoke theory:

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 12:54am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Setting aside, for a moment, the ridiculousness of the whole "fan theories" trend...that is friggin' hilarious.



Anyway, there's in certain irony in that STAR WARS itself is largely responsible for Hollywood's obsession with trilogies, franchises, and extensive, cross-media merchandising and marketing of a given property.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

As noted above, Lucas seems to have never really committed to the idea that the destruction of the Death Star would automatically lead to the end of the Empire. Numerous comments made before, during, and after the making of STAR WARS point to--at least--a trilogy of films which would detail the final defeat of the Empire.

Whatever his original "intent," in STAR WARS as first released Lucas gave us a story that included the assurance that the destruction of the Death Star would mean the END of the Empire.

What he then went on to do was essentially the same as revealing Norman Bates was actually adopted, and having his birth mother show up to bust him out of jail.

As I have said, we all wanted a sequel, but the reality is we did not get one!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 11:21am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

As I have said, we all wanted a sequel, but the reality is we did not get one!
++++++++

In retrospect, it's pretty easy to see what happened. Lucas had hoped to do sequels, using the novels he was working on with Alan Dean Foster as a basis. Then, STAR WARS came out, and was not only a hit, but the biggest hit in movie history. Very quickly, this allowed Lucas to create a much more grandiose plan, one which would provide the financial resources to build Skywalker Ranch as a state-of-the-art facility for independent filmmakers...assuming he could turn STAR WARS into an ongoing franchise.

So, Lucas went from a tentative plan for two modest sequels, to an announcement for twelve films, which eventually settled down to nine. However, things didn't quite work out as expected. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK went wildly out of control, in regards to budget and schedule. Skywalker Ranch ended up being located too far away from mainstream Hollywood to become a hub of activity for filmmakers. Lucas ended up getting divorced, and was burned out after making only three STAR WARS films. He'd also found himself a lot more involved in the making of the sequels than he'd intended to be.

In the end, this all led to Lucas' long hiatus, and his coming back to make the prequels, which he maintained total control over--both because of his bad experiences when letting others assume the reins (the disasterous STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, and the afforementioned EMPIRE), and because of his personal drive to tinker with and expand filmmaking technology.

If Lucas had only ever made those first three STAR WARS films, things would be very different, today. He'd already been lionized as a genius and a modern-day mythmaker, and could have done just about any project he wanted, including those "weird little experimental films" he's wanted to make for literally his entire career. Instead, he made the prequels, and the fanbase turned on him with a vengeance. How quickly people forget that Lucas is one of the great innovators of modern cinema. Even with the prequels, he broke a lot of ground which has since become standard procedure for the industry. The "What have you done for me, lately?" attitude is in full effect, it would seem.

I remember back to 2002, when Lucas was pushing the limits of technology by having ATTACK OF THE CLONES filmed and projected digitally. At the time, people in the industry were laughing and scoffing at this, saying that digital simply wouldn't replace film. Fast-forward to now, and there's nary a traditional film projector to be seen at any given theater.

Anyway, there's a very telling moment in the making-of documentary presented on the PHANTOM MENACE DVD--Lucas and Frank Oz are on-set, discussing the possibility of whether the film will beat TITANIC's box office. Lucas firmly says that it won't, and that "it is possible to destroy these things, you know", citing the failure of MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI. That's a moment I've thought of often, when reflecting upon Disney's Sequel Trilogy. When you resurrect a franchise--especially decades later--, you run the risk of tarnishing or destroying the whole shebang, be it through poor execution, or life and death simply getting in the way. The recent death of Carrie Fisher is a stark reminder that anything can go wrong with even the best-laid plans. 

I mean, perish forbid, but what if Mark Hamill suddenly dropped dead, tomorrow? What in the heck would happen, assuming that he's supposed to play a key role in EPISODE IX? 

Resurrecting a beloved franchise runs any number of risks like that.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 12:17pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Whence comes this notion of Lucas planning a 12 part series? Back in the day, when it was "revealed" that there were more than one, the number was 9 -- "A New Hope" the first of a middle three, with three in front and three after. And even that quickly shrank to 6.

(Lucas is lucky he was not beginning his mythmaking in the age of the InterNet. He'd have had rabid fanboys fact checking his every word. The "had it all planned from the start" legend would have died aborning!)

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 12:40pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Whence comes this notion of Lucas planning a 12 part series? Back in the day, when it was "revealed" that there were more than one, the number was 9 -- "A New Hope" the first of a middle three, with three in front and three after. And even that quickly shrank to 6.

+++++++++

In early, post-release interviews and public statements (such as the official BANTHA TRACKS newsletter, and, if I recall correctly, Lucas' famous ROLLING STONE interview), 12 was the number being floated around. In the early days of sequel planning, the ideas were much looser, and apparently intended to be non-linear, and not necessarily tied to the Galactic Civil War--a "young Ben Kenobi movie" rather than a prequel trilogy, a Wookiee movie, etc. In late 1977, the intent was for 12 films, but by early-to-mid 1978, the nine-film plan we're familiar with was now in place.

It wasn't until the writing of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (renumbered from "Chapter II" to "EPISODE V" once Father Vader entered the mix, in second draft) that Lucas firmly committed to three trilogies, and retconned STAR WARS into the first film of the middle trilogy. Father Vader was the springboard which convinced Lucas that the rise of the Empire could be depicted in a trilogy of its own.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 2:21pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Long time since I read the ROLLING STONE interview, but I would have bet a nickel he said nine. 3 and 3 and 3, with the droids as the only recurrent characters.

After it slipped down to six, supposedly it was Linda Ronstadt who talked Lucas back up to nine.

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 5:19pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply


I find the lack of detail for everything bar the one SW film he'd already made slightly hilarious.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 January 2017 at 11:21pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Yeah, that's presumably (since Lucas' publicly-available notes are undated) a post-release outline intended to break down where exactly STAR WARS would now fit in the grand scheme of things. A Prologue film, a Clone Wars trilogy, an Epilogue/Prologue film, then the STAR WARS trilogy. That's eight films. My guess is that the next page of notes (if it existed) would have listed another Epilogue/Prologue film, then the Sequel Trilogy, for a total of 12.

Lucas clearly axed the transitional Epilogue/Prologue films in favor of the three-trilogy plan that he ended up going ahead with...until he axed the Sequel Trilogy, and crammed the ending of the story into RETURN OF THE JEDI. Even as far back as late 1977/early 1978, he was already jotting down notes about how the Sequel Trilogy would focus on the final defeat of the Empire, and the introduction of Luke's long-lost Jedi sister, who'd been receiving training on the other side of the Galaxy.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 28 January 2017 at 11:22pm
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 29 January 2017 at 3:19am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I do remember being very shocked that Luke was going to face Vader in Empire and thinking 'if they meet now, how do you get another four films with them both in'?

I was expecting a couple of films of Empire building (literally) before we got to the big fights
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 January 2017 at 7:52am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

It is so hard to peel away all the myth-building after all these decades, but with a little effort (or age!) one can get back to original context. As I have said before, having only STAR WARS (not yet "A New Hope") from which to operate, my reaction to the announcement of the title "The Empire Strikes Back" was "With WHAT??"
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 January 2017 at 7:56am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

My guess is that the next page of notes (if it existed) would have listed another Epilogue/Prologue film, then the Sequel Trilogy, for a total of 12.

Or there is no "second page," and the first film actually ENDS the story, since the Good Guys have most demonstratively WON.

A long string of prequels seems pointless, in any case. We already know the ending!

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