There is a lot of Star Wars material to work with. George Lucas originally had a few thoughts on where Episodes VII – IX should go, there are countless novel adaptations and comic books, and if you culled the collective amount of fan advice, there would be enough storylines for a thousand more movies. Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan probably knows that better than most, but as the scribe has signed on to write one of the new sequel entries, he told the LA Times that his plan was to start from scratch.
“I’m trying to start fresh,” he said. “There are certain pleasures that we think the saga can bring to people that they’ve been missing, and we’re hoping to bring them that, and at the same time, have them feel that it’s all new.”
Of course he still has the canon to contend with, but there’s something inspired about starting from the drawing board. In the rest of the interview, he lays out how Lucas has stepped to the side to let J.J. Abrams and others come to the forefront with their visions. In a way, that’s what happened when Lucas hired Kasdan to write what would become the final draft of Empire Strikes Back with Irvin Kershner at the helm, and the result was an amazing sequel that’s surpassed its predecessor in popularity.
There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic, and Kasdan is certainly one of them. However, even he recognizes who the movies are made for:
“[My] kids are looking forward to it. It’s a movie that my grandson, who’s not even 3, is already excited about. There are not many movies like that.”
Leaving aside that most 3 year olds are excited about a set of car keys being dangled in front of them, there’s a tonal reality that many fans who have been with the franchise since 1977 are going to have to face. The prequels are big with younger audiences for a reason. The challenge for Abrams, Kasdan and everyone else involved will be to make something that 3 year olds and 53 year olds can both get excited about.
And there’s a fun thought, right? “Take your grandchildren to see the movies you fell in love with at 17” isn’t such an insane selling point to use for a franchise that’s old enough to be halfway through a mortgage and still squarely aimed at youth.
As for the fresh start, sloughing off the baggage is probably a good call, but just in case he’s listening, keep sending Kasdan all that detailed fan mail with your own vision for what goes on after the Ewoks enslave all of mankind.