Facing the 5-ton Bantha in the Room

Lets not be coy, Lucasfilm and its directors are having a problem. It seems the only film so far of the five known films without script and/or director problems was The Last Jedi. That seems a little disconcerting to most fans but we’re going to say it should be encouraging. Let’s talk about why.

First off, let me begin by stating that we have no inside knowledge of the events that discussions that take place inside Lucasfilm headquarters. What follows is speculation on the little bit of info that we have. We intend no disrespect to anyone involved, but we’re a Star Wars site and we discuss all things Star Wars, especially when it pertains to the movies. We think that these changes in directors and writers do say something important about the vision of Lucasfilm.

All of the individuals exiting Lucasfilm projects seem to be over “creative differences”, more or less. This means two things. First, it means that Kathy Kennedy and Lucasfilm have a vision of what a Star Wars film should be like, and second, they are willing to part ways with filmmakers in order to ensure that their vision is met. So what could possibly be the issues with Edwards, Lord and Miller, and now Colin Trevorrow?*

After the first cut of RO was done and they were preparing for follow up shoots we got word that those would be greatly extended. According MSW up 40% of the film was being re-shot. Then we learned Tony Gilroy was coming in to work on script and to help direct scenes(this is uncredited). So what happened? There are a lot of rumors but in the end I think it boiled down to one thing–it wasn’t good enough. In this case Edwards was willing to go ahead with what Lucasfilm wanted and I think its because he was inexperienced, knew they had the film’s best interest in mind, and wanted to deliver a good film. So in the end Rogue One turned out to be successful and well liked by most fans.

With Lord and Miller the problem appears to be have been how they were interpreting the script and the changes they were making. Based on their previous work, and other rumors, it would seem that they were likely going in the same direction with tongue-in-cheek, irreverent humor. Does that mean we couldn’t one day see the same type of movie in the future? No, but for Han Solo it wasn’t the right fit. Kennedy and Kasdan tried to work with Lord and Miller but they did not want to alter their vision of the film. That is what lead to their firing. Does this mean that Kennedy is hard to work with or controlling? No I don’t think it does. It means that there is care surrounding the characters and how they are portrayed. Han Solo has to be shown in a certain light and have a certain attitude, if Lord and Miller wouldn’t take the advice to make changes that protect the character then Kennedy did what was right and her job.

Finally we have our most recent parting of directors, Colin Trevorrow. Again the script is the issue at the heart of the matter. It was given to another writer a few weeks ago meaning that Kennedy wasn’t happy with what Trevorrow and writing partner Derek Connolly had come up with. This may be related to the fears that some fans had regarding how the two have written female characters in the past. Then again it could just be that it wasn’t very good, we don’t know and we likely won’t know for years, if ever. It’s possible getting a new writer could have initially soured the relationship, but we don’t know. Either way it points the same basic issue that has happened before, Kennedy and Lucasfilm have a vision for the Star Wars universe.

What is that vision? Its my belief that they want to stay as true as possible to the vision that George Lucas had laid out for the universe. The simple themes of Good and Evil, a hero’s journey, redemption, family, and trusting yourself and your friends. It also means taking care of your characters, building the universe in a way that its meaningful, and staying true to the style that defines Star Wars. This last part of it that can’t be understated is the George Lucas style. The wipes, the classical score, the acting style, and the often maligned (but possibly misunderstood) writing style. Going too far away from that, and it isn’t Star Wars. Star Wars can be serious, but it also doesn’t take itself too seriously at times, but in its own way. Kathy Kennedy is often accused of rejecting Lucas’ ideas, but make no mistake–she is firmly dedicated to upholding what makes Star Wars films great. In the end that is what Kennedy is doing and she is making the tough calls to make sure that vision is upheld. Based on her track record, I’m going to trust her and so should you.


*We didn’t include Josh Trank as it appears his issues were personal in nature

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