|Going somewhere, Solo?|
I came across this quote from George Lucas which simply serves to show the ideas and scope of what he thought Star Wars could be – and note this was in 1975, 2 years before A New Hope was released:
“I want to have Luke kiss the Princess in the second book. In the third book, I want the story just about the soap opera of the Skywalker family, which ends with the destruction of the Empire. Then someday I want to do the back story of Kenobi as a young man – a story of the Jedi and how the Emperor eventually takes over and turns the whole thing from a Republic into an Empire, and tricks all the Jedi and kills them. The whole battle where Luke’s father gets killed. That would be impossible to do, but it’s great to dream about.”
Lucas made this statement on December 29, 1975, in a conversation with Alan Dean Foster where they were plotting the novelization of Star Wars. Keen Star Wars fans know that Lucas charged Foster with writing the next Star Wars story and this became Splinter of the Mind’s Eye – a story in itself which you can read here.
History shows that Lucas got half his wish – he was able eventually make a prequel trilogy that while it featured the rise of Darth Vader, it really was about how Kenobi became one of the greatest Jedi Knights the galaxy had ever witnessed. Luke also did kiss Leia in the second film but not in the manner in which Lucas may have been originally thinking!
Now that JJ Abrams is making the first film of the new trilogy, we have enough information to work out that the film will be a transition of sorts from the ‘classic’ characters to a new generation of heroes and villains. This quote from Mark Hamill recalls the things Lucas had in mind on for a strong finish to the saga:
“You know, when I first did this, it was four trilogies,” Mark Hamill recalled in 2004, speaking of their conversation in 1976. “Twelve movies! Out on the desert, any time between setups… lots of free time. And George was talking about this whole thing… ‘Um, how’d you like to be in Episode IX?’ ‘When is that going to be?’ ‘2011.’ […] I said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do?’ He said, ‘You’ll just be like a cameo. You’ll be like Obi-Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next new hope.'”
While Lucas has been chided in the past for claiming to have every thing mapped out, the reality is that he had germs of ideas and character journeys in mind – these were eventually mapped out by himself as basic treatments and became a condition of the sale of Lucas Film to Disney that they be included in the sale.
So while The Force Awakenswill largely be an amalgam of the vision of writers Ardnt, Kasdan and Abrams, George’s long held ideals helped form the genesis of the story. As far as I’m aware, no other film maker has had such an influence on story telling in this manner.
One can only wonder about the spin off films and what story influence Lucas contributed…