Imagination Connoisseur, Ivan Maras, thinks it’s unfair to say Disney and LucasFilms didn’t have a plan for the sequel trilogy of Star Wars movies. He thinks they had a plan, fate just intervened.
Hi Rob and entire PGS.
I watched you on THE JOHN CAMPEA SHOW today while you two talked about newly announced Star Wars High Republic phase (or whatever that is). And you two mentioned something that got me thinking.
“Disney/Lucasfilm didn’t have a plan for Star Wars movies”
I’m always amazed how we often have a really bad and very short-term memory (not intended to sound negative, just stating a fact that we all have sometimes). While I agree that sequel trilogy ended up on a low note (I really didn’t like STAR WARS: EPISODE IX – THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (SW:TROS)), I don’t think the problem was in “not having the plan”.
I’ll try to break it into several points/facts:
Point/Fact No. 1 — Disney/Lucasfilm DID have a plan.
This was obvious as soon as STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII – THE LAST JEDI (SW:TLJ) came out. In STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS (ST:TFA), we had a blatant copy of a STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE (SW:ANH), something I found very jarring and I didn’t like very much. But as we had prequels as “the last films before SW:TFA,” it was necessary to make the film like that to recapture that “magic” original trilogy had, unlike sour taste that prequels left behind. And judging by the reaction (AND box office) – they succeeded.
For the same reason, SW:TLJ needed to be something completely new and different. Otherwise it would be just a shameless copy-paste from original trilogy and what would be the point of that? We already had original trilogy, we don’t need another one. Now, you can love or hate SW:TLJ. The fact is, they did what they intended to do – bring something new, fresh and different to the franchise.
Another indicator that Disney had a plan with sequel trilogy lies in the fact that SW:TFA was clearly Han Solo-centric (of course, in addition to the new cast), and SW:TLJ was clearly Luke-centric.
Yes, I understand all the complaints that “we didn’t get the trio together once again”, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a plan. As a result, I have a strong belief that originally SW:TROS was supposed to be heavyily Leia-centric.
Which brings me to…
Point/Fact No. 2 — Carrie Fisher’s passing shattered their plans.
Everyone keeps saying that Trevorrow left because he didn’t like SW:TLJ, or he got into a fight with Disney over some agendas or whatever.
Carrie Fisher passed away in December 2016. Several days later, Disney gave announcement that they will not be recasting for the role of Leia nor they will be using CGI to “bring Carrie back to life”. Which basically meant either extremely limited Leia time in SW:TROS or no Leia at all.
News about Trevorrow leaving Star Wars broke in September 2017, 9 months after Carrie’s passing.
If SW:TROS was going to be Leia-centric (which, again, I strongly believe it was going to be), my bet is that he was given some time to try to come up with a solution to the Leia “problem”. Now, we don’t know what happened, and it is unlikely that we’ll ever know – but there are many possibilities of what went wrong. Maybe he wanted to keep the film Leia-centric, using CGI or recasting, which Disney refused? Or, probably, he was given time to write a new screenplay for the film, one which Disney didn’t like.
Now that doesn’t mean Disney didn’t like Colin. They probably liked his first draft/treatment/whatever, They liked where he wanted to go with the film. It’s just they didn’t like his solution to the Leia issue.
Which is FINE.
Production companies are allowed to dislike a script. The problem here was that a) it’s Star Wars, and b) it was uncommon situation where one of the stars passed away before production started. You can’t blame Disney for that.
What you can blame Disney for is…
Point/Fact No. 3 — They became reactionary, opting for a “course-correction”.
After the SW:TLJ backlash, I was afraid that Disney will do what they ultimately ended up doing – trying to fix things by force and try to please as many people as possible. And that was NOT possible at that point. Not anymore.
Fandom was divided into two large camps, and there was no way they could do anything to please both parties. Actually, they ended up not pleasing anyone.
SW:TLJ haters still didn’t enjoy the film as much (even though they were happy to see some things “corrected”, and SW:TLJ couldn’t like the film that basically stabbed the film they liked in the back. In addition to that, they focused so much on “getting things right” they forgot to make a good film.
To summarize: While Disney could take the blame on some accounts (as they could have prevented some issues with the sequel trilogy), holding them accountable for “not having the plan” seems ridiculous to me. You can’t plan your star dying of heart attack. And you can’t blame them that consequences of that death were stronger than it usually would have been.
When Paul Walker died, he already shot majority of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 7 (FAST7) and was NOT in the middle of trilogy that is about to begin shooting its last chapter within following 12 months. And even if it was, the Fast and the Furious franchise didn’t have a continuous story like Star Wars does, it is a series of films, each of which can stand on their own.
I repeat, this situation was something very unusual and something we will probably not see again in a very long time. Disney was basically in no-win situation and they cannot be held accountable.
For that, at least.
– Ivan M.