I don’t think there’s been this much rumor mongering about Star Wars since 1996, but here we go: Another day/another day of Star Wars Rumor Control.
First up, one Lawrence Kasdan. Already in the Jedi Knight Hall of Fame for penning the screenplays to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Kasdan is now writing the scripts with Simon Kinberg for the proposed spin-off films that will compliment the new sequel trilogy directed by J.J. Abrams. Over the weekend, the L.A. Times (via /Film) caught up with Kasdan at the Final Draft Hall of Fame ceremony and asked him about what might be in the cooker for the new films.
And while, of course, Kasdan offered no specific details, he did signal some broad strokes he and Kinberg maybe considering for their end of Star Wars Universe’s future. Basically, Kasdan says that he’s not “focusing on his previous scripts or on the extended Star Wars universe” in writing the new films.
“I’m trying to start fresh,” he says. “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.”
There’s a couple of ways to take that: are they going to create entire new characters to base their stories around as opposed to telling the adventures of Yoda, young Han Solo, or Boba Fett as previously reported? Are they going for a completely new style of storytelling? Less pulpy and maybe more Merchant-Ivory, for example? Still, Kasdan, like everybody, has his own ideas about where Star Wars went off the tracks since the last time he worked on the films.
“The ones I worked on were a long time ago, and they had a slightly different feeling than the ones that followed,” he explains. “The first three, ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Empire’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ are all sort of more about people than the ones that followed.”
He has a point. So what will the next Wars look like without George Lucas‘ input? “George sort of brought me into this part of it, and he’s stepping back from the company,” Kasdan says. “He’s sort of given his blessing to everybody, and he’ll be there if you need him. I think everyone’s interested to see where this can go. It’s been some very different places over 30 years …. I think with J.J., we’ll get something entirely new.”
Meanwhile, if your looking towards the future of Star Wars gaming there’s some news on that front too. Obsidian Entertainment, the producers behind Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, have in the works plans for an entirely new Star Wars game they swear will be epic – if only they can get the green light from Disney.
Welcome to the legal fog bank that a lot of Star Wars licenses now find themselves in. Disney now owns Star Wars, so any deals that Lucasfilm made independently prior to the purchase with either run out their contracts or have to negotiate again from scratch with Disney.
“There’s a lot of different eras in Star Wars, and that’s what we would focus on. We pitched a between-Episode III and Episode IV game [to LucasArts]. Because we think that timeframe is super interesting. It’s the fall of the Republic, the extermination of the Jedi, it’s Obi-Wan going off and making sure Luke is OK. You have the Sith, but you have the extermination of all Force users except for very, very few.
So it was an interesting time to set a game, and you know, Chris Avellone came up with a really cool story. We also latched onto it because it has elements people remember, but not the stories. It can just completely not involve [the movies]. It can tease them, but nothing else.”
LucasArts was hooked at the time, but in the here and now, Urquhart says that he’ll have to go back and pitch Disney on the project, if they can get their foot in the door…
“It’s something we’re still hoping for, even with the Disney/Lucas stuff going on. It changes things a lot, but you know, we’re gonna push on it. I would say it’s within the top three pitches we’ve ever come up with. We really worked on it hard and distilled it down to these eight or ten pages that really sold the story and characters. Then we sold it off to LucasArts and got a call back later that day. They were like, ‘This seems really cool. We want to talk to you guys, like, tomorrow about it.’”
“We haven’t [talked with Disney yet]. We’re kind of waiting for the smoke to clear. But that’s one of my next big things to do. To kind of go over there and [get the ball rolling again].”
It sounds like they’re really excited about it, so I hope that at least get the meeting. Time will tell, I guess, just how far those old relationships will extend between Lucasfilm and its former partners with Disney now in charge.
More news as it develops.