Friday, May 2, 2008
A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far In The Future...
You know, as we get closer to the release of the new Indiana Jones film, I'm reminded of a talk George Lucas had where he was asked about the possibility of more Star Wars films. He stated then and many times afterwards that there would be no more films in the universe of the Jedi... instead he said, the future of Star Wars was on television. We're about to bear the first fruit of this statement these fall with the Clone Wars television series. The live-action series will air a year later on a network to be chosen once Lucas has something to show executives. This way he can ask for the best deal possible for the series and his company.
So there you have it. No more Star Wars. No more movies. Right from the Master Jedi himself...
Well, let me wave my hand and tell you something that is hidden from the mind of Master Jedi Lucas. There will be more Star Wars films.
I don't care what George says, there will be more films in that universe a long, time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
It will happen. George Lucas may not be directing them. He may not be producing them, but someone will make them. Do I have some kind of ability to see into the future? A time machine, perhaps? No, but knowing human nature I can tell you something that is obvious and neglected.
George Lucas is...
Not only that, but I have news for Sci-Fi geeks everywhere. He's not immortal and he won't live forever. We know all too well that he's human("Episode I: The Phantom Menace" anyone?). Someday, maybe ten years from now, maybe twenty years from now, he's either going to do one of two things... or both. He's going to pass from this world and become a part of that "Force" that binds us or he's going to relinquish control of Lucasfilm to others. Perhaps he's sell it or hand it over to his children. More than likely they will license their characters or films. If they sell Lucasfilm there are many companies that would love to have the films and characters he owns. The two most prominent would probably be News Corp, owner of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation and the Walt Disney Company, owner of well, if you don't know that then you're reading the wrong blog.
In all likelihood one of those two will wind up with ownership or the rights/license to use such characters. And not just Star Wars characters either. Remember that Lucas owns the rights to Indiana Jones as well. Not to mention characters from several other films that didn't do as well("Willow" comes to mind). With a stable of existing properties like these and "THX-1388", "American Graffiti",ect. this company will look quite attractive to someone, everyone...
So do you think if one of these companies had control of this property that they would just leave it alone? Just keep releasing the movies and television shows in new formats like Blu-Ray? Not a chance. If Bob Iger ever had the opportunity to actually own these characters that the Mouse leases for its parks do you believe he wouldn't take the chance? And I don't think there would even be a question about continuing with more films. More Adventures. More profits. When Iger bought Pixar he had every intention of moving forward with new projects and cultivating the talent there. If Disney or Fox purchases Lucasfilm it would do the same as it has done with Pixar, only more so...
As well as that, there is the Star Wars fan community to deal with.
It wouldn't be an understatement to say that the fan base is dissatisfied with the Prequels. Specifically the first one which is one of the worst films I've seen. The second one was half good and half really bad Harlequin romance novel. The third one was the only one of the three to be worthy of the original. Even though I detest many parts of "Return of the Jedi"(Ewoks... sigh), it is vastly better than EP I and II. Many of the problems fans like myself and others have with EP III is as with the first two, the dialogue and the transition to the Dark Side happening so quickly. Not that there aren't other problems, but those are the most prevalent to my friends and me.
As a close friend once said to me in a conversation:
"Lucas screwed it up and it's going to be for future fans to have to correct it."
He didn't use screwed, btw. The language was a little more colorful, but the point is made. There are many film makers out there that would love to make a new Star Wars film. It's not going to happen right now, but somewhere in the future there will be some hot director or screenwriter that gets the jewel gig of reviving what Lucas himself almost killed. It may take twenty years like it did for the prequels to happen, but I have an idea that by then the wraith of the fans will be very vocal about what we like and what we don't like.
I'm sure there will be a different interpretation of Darth Vader's universe by then... in fact, it may not even be about him or Luke... I'd bet some movie in the form of "Knights of the Old Republic" will get made first. But new characters and old will occupy these films. And they will try and do justice for the universe Lucas created and forgot about. We may even get darker tales about this galaxy. Zack Snyder("300", "Watchmen") is on record as saying he wants to make an "R" rated Star Wars film with Jedi's going around with light sabers creating carnage across the universe... errr, that universe. And he's not the only one.
Remember for a time it was even talked about having Steven Spielberg directing one of these. As much as that idea makes me and other SW fans all numb, it ain't going to happen. I don't think that Steven would ever do it out of respect for George... others won't have that problem.
Imagine the headlines when someday in the future you see an announcement that a super hot writer has been signed to write the first of a new trilogy. And then just as the buzz starts to settle down a blockbuster making director is hired to direct it. The fans will start to get excited and nervous. Praying for the best, fearing the worst. I'd love someday to have Peter Jackson direct one, but that's probably just a pipe-dream from me.
But basically a lot of problems the prequels had will have to be fixed by the fans or film makers who happen to be fans. Problems had by most, but not all who saw the films. I'm sure there are people out there that like Jar Jar Binks... I'm sure some people like Jake Lloyd's wood performance as "Ani". Sign, that name alone was a big problem. But it will be left to future generations to fix the potholes that Lucas left in the construction of the road he built to the Star Wars universe. Somewhere along the line someone will fill in the stories and explanations and give us a better reason for what happened than the man that created it. The problems the prequels have are legion, but the focus that Lucas should have taken was(according to Blue Sky Disney and its inner circle of friends)...
All of EP I should have been broken down into the first half of the first film. If it was up to me(I know it isn't) it would have only occupied the first act and other two thirds would have been what you saw in EP II, minus all the crappy dialogue like "I'm haunted by the kiss you shouldn't have given me"... EP II should have been the Clone Wars. Simple as that. And EP III should have been a longer and darker decent into what made Anakin become Vader... he turns too quick. Also the Jedi should have appeared a little more wise. They are Jedi after all... From the prequels they come off as totally clueless to all that is happening around them.
THIS is the movie we wanted. The one we expected.
We didn't get it. We should have, but you get what you get... Time will go on and eventually we'll get another Star Wars film. Or maybe a trilogy? The mistakes of the past will give way to a clearer vision of the future. But enough talking about DCA's "Makeover", we're supposed to be talking about Star Wars here.
Not now, but someday in the future... perhaps when a little distance has given us more perspective and Lucas has handed over the reigns(voluntarily or not), we'll sudden get a surprise that they're about to make a new Star Wars film. Then you have to wonder, will it have that 20th Century Fox logo in front of it? Or maybe Cinderella's Castle? Don't think that could happen? Don't be too sure... the Clone Wars animated film that swoops into theaters this August has a Warner Bros. logo in front of it. It's a new world... Things change... Just as long as Lucasfilm doesn't hire Paul Pressler we should be in for a good future. Patience. Lucas isn't an immovable force... just a temporary delay. And speaking of force...
May the Force be with you.