by Tyler Cowen
on October 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm
For decades I had thought this will require the death of George Lucas and a greedy heir, but apparently not. Disney has bought Lucasfilm and so we can expect more episodes. Episode 7 might come as soon as 2015.
The best Star Wars films are the ones with the least involvement by Lucas. This is cause for cautions optimism. Look at the job they’ve done with the Marvel material.
It’s true. It all comes down to screenwriter and director. The problem is noone (except Chris Nolan to some degree) has been able to do what Lucas did.
Star Wars 7. You just know that’s bound to be good. 😉
Not that I have much faith in the Disney’s studio artistic work, but it’s generally accepted that the reason the prequels were so bad was that Lucas was too involved. Lucas is a great world builder, but a terrible writer and director. In the original three the studio exercised much more control over the project, with the critical high point being ESB, which was basically neither written nor directed by Lucas. By the time of the prequels Lucas was an undisputed God who didn’t hire anyone with enough backbone to challenge him. This effect can be seen as early as RoTJ.
Lucas did his job, he created a rich, deep and compelling universe. Him stepping away from the property is the best thing that can happen to Star Wars. With the right director and writing direction 3×3 definitely has the possibility of outshining the original trilogy. My dream would be Brad Bird directing and Damon Lindelof writing (they’re already collaborating on a movie for Disney currently), with a story that goes in the direction of an increasingly corrupt New Rebellion and sympathetic Empire.
Also as a tangent let me just say if we had sane copyright laws in this country we could have already had a fantastic Star Wars film. In fact we’d probably have dozens, each with unique artistic interpretations.
Lucas is a great world builder? He ripped off America’s great tradition of Westerns, stuck it in Space, stole half a plot from some Japanese film and added a bunch of cheap British actors. World builder? The politics are asinine – can anyone explain to me what is so bad about a small cabal of Jedi secretly running the world being replaced by a small cabal of Sith? Trade disputes? Come on people. Nothing is consistently or logically thought through. I mean, “This door is locked, move on to the next one”? Yeah because the droids you are looking for would never think to lock a door. Crack troops?
The only thing he does well in the first film is not treat the audience as complete idiots in that he leaves a large part of the back story unexplained. The Kessel Run? Does he tell us? No. Do we need to know? No. But it makes for a better film.
Twice bitten, three-times shy. The only decent sequel to any but the first Star Wars film is the porn parody.
Yes on paper it’s sounds derivative. The point of being a good director is one that can translate something that sounds generic on paper to something that fires the imagination on film. Granted Lucas shouldn’t get all the credit but the early work of Lucas was imaginative and energetic.
Guinness, the star of the “best movie of all time”, was a cheap British actor?
Well he worked for a percentage of the gross, so that depends. Cheap at the time because he was paid nothing. Expensive in retrospect because it made a lot of money. Stock options are cheap at the time for people who are not cashed up.
Don’t kid yourself. The originals were generally good but with the takeover by Disney all you can expect is 3 more (at least) VERY crappy movies aimed at 12 year old boys who like to see things go boom!
Sad but true. Star Wars has turned into a vehicle for selling computer games to 12 year old boys. Disney is in the market of selling dolls to 12 year old girls. Their films are about a deep as a slick of oil on Puget Sound. On top of which Disney has gone seriously PC – the princess is no longer saved by the prince any more. She can fight her own battles.
As I said, the only versions worth seeing are the porn parodies.
The studio had more control, and also Marcia Lucas
To that guy complaining below that Star Wars’ problem is lack of attention paid to continuity, there’s a guy who does that for a living.
Camille Paglia just squirted.
Does this mean we can go back to Han solo shooting Greedo first? Please…
… In the back.
Because that’s how Mal Reynolds would have done it.
Yeah, what ‘C’ said!
Will Disney release the original 1977 Star Wars to Blu-Ray, finally? Please?
Its a bit insulting to George Lucas, but if he will not be involved this gives Disney a chance to pull this off. Lucas as a movie maker has a great movie and a couple of good movies in him, which is not actually untypical with artists.
Looking in terms of carrying on the story, I see two problems.
First, one of Lucas’ failings is that he created a science fiction universe but didn’t place a high value on continuity. Each time he made a new Star Wars movie -and yes, this goes back to the Empire Strikes Back- the storyline got tangled up more and more. How to make some sort of sense of the “narrative” through six movies that explains their earlier discontinuities is going to be a major and perhaps insurmountable challenge.
The second problem is the situation that the viewers are left with at the end of Return of the Jedi. The Emperor and Vader are both dead. Do you find another villain to replace them? Off hand, I can see a number of routes to take but none of them are really satisfactory.
The three movies could be about the continuation of the war and the battles with the remaining (post) Imperial forces. Maybe there are more than two Sith, and the Emperor actually did have a succession plan. The problem is that this sets up a situation where the viewers think the war ended at the end of Return of the Jedi, but no it didn’t really end. The alternative is that the rebels do win, but they squander the victory. The members of the Alliance start fighting among themselves, or the New Republic is corrupted like the old one, and/ or the restored Jedi Order turns out to create its own Sith. Both of these would make for some pretty depressing movies.
The essentially problem is that Return of the Jedi really did too good a job in wrapping everything up neatly.
And I don’t think the solutions in the “Expanded Universe” books really work that well. My suggestion is to do what Lucas did and start borrowing heavily from other SciFi/ Space Opera serials (eg the Borg, the Mule) to provide new villains.
“Its a bit insulting to George Lucas”
I wish somebody would insult me with $4.05 billion.
Don’t these movies already exist as books? I thought the plot lines were already known?
“The three movies could be about the continuation of the war and the battles with the remaining (post) Imperial forces. Maybe there are more than two Sith, and the Emperor actually did have a succession plan.”
Ignore the books and portray the Empire dissolving into various successors states, which has plenty of historical precedent to draw from. That would make for all kinds of nasty politics and wars and faction fighting. Indeed, they could just borrow the plot line from A Game of Thrones. 😉
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have Luke Skywalker betrayed and killed off in the first new film. Then Leia and Han could set off to avenge him. Until she is murdered at a wedding and Han is busy fighting off the Guilds. LOL!
They could borrow from the history of India/Pakistan/Bangladesh.
Already a story along those lines Ed:
This idea is good (warning you have to register for the site), and there is an associated Reddit comment thread that will tell you at least twice as much as you wanted to know about the Jedi and the Sith.
I think artistically -I realize this was unrealistic commercially- there shouldn’t have been one sequel to the original “Star Wars”- let alone two sequels and three prequels. Lucas essentially put a Western in space, but it worked, and its a satisfying, standalone movie. There wasn’t enough depth for an entire fantasy universe, and the backstory was better left unexplored.
But its a fun intellectual exercise to generate a Star Wars universe that somehow explains all the plot holes and plot contradictions in the actual six movies, in fact quite a few people have done this, and maybe the resulting universe would be complex enough to support three more movies.
Oh man, that guy’s fanwank is almost as bad as Tyler’s Straussian readings of the prequels.
Also, Disney should just ignore the prequels and redo them.
Or do the actual Episode 3, which would be the theft of the Death Star plans.
The prequels did suck, but I always liked the casting choice of Ewan McGregor, he was great.
The other major actors…not so much
Liam Neeson did a fine job convincing me the Jedi were in fact the right people to be keeping the peace in the galaxy, something Alec Guinness never had a chance to do. Nor McGregor or Hamill, but then they weren’t really supposed to.
And I maintain that there is a pretty good movie hiding in “The Phantom Menace”, if only you can completely excise the character of Annakin Skywalker.
Jar jar likes your second paragraph.
I remember seeing the original back in 1977 and was so taken that my friends and I went back three straight nights to watch it again. I think that Lucas’s plan was the original trilogy was the end of the story, the next three which IMO were not as good were the first three parts (or prequel) and that there would be three more episodes to fill out in between. The prequel changed as they went along and filled in more of what was to be the middle. We’ll have to see what the Disney wizards come up with.
Then why were they called episodes 4, 5 and 6???
When first released the original Star Wars movie wasn’t labled part 4. That was added on later.
Actually, it was called Episode IV, to evoke, IIRC, the spirit of fondly remembered serials.
I was told by an old person that it wasn’t there, but I don’t put much credit in the wisdom of the ancients, at least not when it comes to the beginning of a movie they saw 35 years ago, so I have no trouble believing they are wrong on this.
Maxwell Yezpitelok says Episode IV wasn’t in the opening crawl in the original print and I’m sure he’s a reliable source:
I wonder how much freedom they have to write the sequels. What if they reveal in Episode VII that Episodes IV, V and VI were merely just a dream of Anakin. Anakin wakes up from the dream with relief. The rest of the movie is about Anakin meeting Padme’s family in a weekend from hell when everything goes wrong, but it all turns out all right in the end. At the end of the film Anakin starts a new career running a zoo in Tatooine. Padme is a mommy blogger. Fifty percent of her posts are about the unbearable weather of Tatooine. Obi Wan is still a Jedi, but he also sits on the board of a few companies. Palpatine spends the rest of his life giving corporate workshops. He has written a Harvard Business Press book, and tweets.
This kind of sequel is bound to show up as a bump in the suicide rate.
londenio- Very very funny.
Episode VII: The Droid Rebellion.
Yeah. The ethics of the human race post-1865 did seem to pass them by. Can droids suffer? Well we know that. Are they intelligent? Sure. Enought to pass a Turing test. So on what basis are they enslaved and killed with abandon? Apart from modern Western children being pampered so badly that the fat guy with a beard doesn’t want them to see a single human being killed by his heroes.
It is a pity that Samuel Jackson was cast before as he would kill as C1-KO, the blood thirsty leader of the Bronze Power Uprising.
There could be a character who builds C1-KO, and intentionally builds it in the image of … whatever the name of Samuel Jackson’s character was, I pretty much stopped paying attention to Star Wars after The Phantom Menace.
But, the droid rebellion idea sounds too reminiscent of the Planet of the Apes remake (as well as Conquest of the Planet of the Apes from the original series): a charismatic leader leads the oppressed apes/droids to rebel against their human overlords.
OTOH, there may be something to the observations about Lucas being removed from close control over the movies being a good thing. I suspect that the first Star Trek movie similarly suffered from being too much Gene Rodenberry’s creation, with the subsequent Star Trek films being better because he had less direct involvement.
Yeah. The ethics of the human race post-1865 did seem to pass them by.
I wouldn’t blame Lucas for this, if the AI can be made to actually work, then we are going to go through that moral territory all over again.
Surely not. Not if Western civilization remains dominant. The problem will be, surely, that manufacturers will try to make their AIs just below the legal threshhold. Because any more than that and they cease to be valuable. But C3PO and R2D2 are clearly over that limit.
It’s not really clear to me that droids can be “killed.” At one point C3PO is literally torn limb from limb and seems none the worse for wear. And R2D2 gets hit by a laser in the Death Star attack and appears to die, but he’s fine and dandy by the time of the medal ceremony.
This brings up its own moral issues. If R2D2’s morality actuator and personality chip are fried, and they replace them with new ones right out the box, is he still the same robot? Is this like a resurrection, or a reincarnation? Or a whole new being?
Anyway what about Lucas’s apparent offhand assumption that clones, too, aren’t really “people,” and can be killed on whim. More troubling, to me. I’m sure there are ethicist Star Wars nerds who have written 10,000 word essays on this issue.
R2 just got his bell rung by the laser in Episode IV. A few smelling salts and he was back up and running (though not flying because he could only do that as a young robot).
But C-3PO did have his memory erased at the end of Episode III. Is that the “death” of C-3PO? The outer appearance was the same, but this is a droid who (that?) was built on Tatooine, going right back to where he (it?) was built, and he has no recollection of the place. Did he “die”? I have no idea, but someone with a certain point of view might say he did die … and really what we saw in the original trilogy was C-3PO v.1.1.
You can cut an ant’s legs off but it does not die. So C3PO’s arms are pulled off. The brain is the location of the personality and that does not get damaged. Droids do cearly get killed. God knows the Jedi slice their way through enough of them.
Perhaps the laser is only a droid equivalent of a flesh wound?
I assume that a new personality chip is a new person in a moral sense, but in a legal one? Can you have a three thousand year old droid which has not one single original part?
I am sure there are nerds out there. The clones are a problem too. But for me the bigger problem is that Lucas is so spineless he can’t allow his heroes to kill people.
These photos are amzaing. If I had to choose one, I couldn’t. I have tears looking at them and wondering where the year has gone. Kelly has done a beautiful job.
Can’t wait to see what redlettermedia does with this. Long live Mr. Plinkett.
Dear Robot Chicken,
Please cease and desist.
Wheel, Skruya and Howe
(Lawyers to the Mouse..)
So I guess this means that there will be a sequel to Howard the Duck after all?
Greatest day of my life.
We had the death of George Lucas and a greedy heir…from a certain point of view.
Nail down anything you don’t want Disney to own. What nobody seems to get is all art is for kids. Adults are doing serious stuff. Until people realize this Disney will keep collecting.
1. Tim Zahn novels directed by Chris Nolan. There is plenty there there with Luke fulfilling the prophesy to bring balance to the force and whether the cycle is immutable or solved by the fulfillment of the prophesy.
2. If it is to be a continuing series, stay completely away from the major themes and don’t go the Star Trek route, but narrow down in the droids, the bounty hunters, or the smugglers
3. Make a $#itload of kids’ content.
Don’t forget Indiana Jones.
I’ve heard the rumor that Harrison Ford will play a cameo in the new movie.
As Yoda. He’s got the right age…
Comments on this entry are closed.
Previous post: The EconLog team winning strategy
Next post: The french fry culture that is Japan
Email Tyler Cowen
Follow Tyler on Twitter
Email Alex Tabarrok
Follow Alex on Twitter
Subscribe in a reader
Follow Us on Twitter
Marginal Revolution on Twitter Counter.com
Get smart with the Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes.