Monday, 23 December 2019

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Episode IX was released last Thursday and I went to see it, obviously. I still remember sitting in the Forum Cinema Lime Street in 1977 watching the first film, episode IV and saying to my friend next to me, "I don't remember the first three!" to which she said with a smile on her face "They haven't been made yet".

George Lucas has not made a Star Wars movie since Revenge of the Sith, but that has not stopped him from imagining where his franchise might have gone. As long as there has been a Star Wars series, Lucas has talked openly, even after selling Lucasfilm to Disney, about how his version would have wrapped up. The story of the Skywalker Saga, which will end with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, has been in the planning for the better part of 50 years, and for most of those, the only person that could see the whole picture was George Lucas.

According to Lucas, there were always plans for a Star Wars sequel trilogy. But the conception of the story only started in earnest as he prepared to sell Lucasfilm, the idea being that he could send whichever conglomerate bought his company in the right direction on a new set of films.

Along with a return from the original cast, which we got in Disney’s sequel trilogy as well, Lucas’ sequels supposedly covered the stories of Anakin’s two grandchildren, who were supposed to be around 20 in the films, so it was not "Phantom Menace again". In the book, The Art of The Force Awakens, one of the characters, a Jedi named Kira, is described as a "loner, hothead, gear-headed, badass." The other teen was most often referred to as Sam, and mostly appears depicted with a blaster, which seems to indicate that he did not have Force powers himself. Kira and Sam eventually morphed into Rey and some of Finn, which makes sense: Lucas had been developing his sequel movies with the help of screenwriter Michael Arndt [Toy Story 3], who went on to receive a writing credit for The Force Awakens, the first of Disney’s trilogy.

Lucas has always had a difficult relationship with Star Wars fandom, and classifying The Force Awakens as a movie it will like is not exactly an endorsement. According to the filmmaker, he has always been disappointed that fans did not really, in his estimation, understand Star Wars, and to him Disney and J.J. Abrams’ film was a reaction to that fact.

For all his struggles with Star Wars fans, particularly their reaction to the prequel trilogy. It does seem that George Lucas wanted his version of the story told. As much money as the Lucasfilm deal made him, it is hard not to see Lucas as a little bit disappointed. Lucas himself may have summed his feelings up best in The Story of Science Fiction.

Myself, I still prefer the books.

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