Let’s face it. Star Wars survives despite itself, or more accurately, despite George Lucas. George was a visionary in his time, and lucky for everyone, he was limited by technology and created a franchise that all of us love. Now that he has become a billionaire and sold to Disney, maybe we can hope that they don’t use whatever nonsense he wrote and use the masterpiece that Timothy Zahn wrote.
Let’s take us through the emotions of Star Wars ..
- Star Wars (1977) – AWESOME.
- The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – AWESOME x2. AWESOMER.
- Return of the Jedi (1983) – Umm, ok. Ewoks. Still good.
- Phantom Menace (1999) – Ruined. Jar Jar Binks. Enough said.
- Attack of the Clones (2002) – Ruining. +1 for dropping Jar Jar. -∞ for Hayden Christensen.
- Revenge of the Sith (2005) – Happy that its over. -1 for Hayden Christensen, +1 for putting a mask over him and changing his voice, thus preventing us from experiencing his “acting”.
Now imagine using whatever nonsense George Lucas had lying around, or even allowing him decision making privileges (they should be revoked). We might find out Han Solo is an android constructed by Lei’s twin sister, who in turn was manifested by intelligent bacteria from Yoda’s ear. Oh, and the main characters are not people anymore, but computer generated rabbits. Rabbits are more likely to sell to kids when the toys are made. More important than good story telling is the merchandise created afterwards, right George?
Timothy Zahn’s first trilogy had it all. It was basically a fast-paced action-packed tour de force, taking the original characters and putting them in an epic unraveling of a mystery and conflict. I am not expert in adopting novels to film, but I believe you could get at least 3 movies out of it, maybe as high as 6 if you were adding content (for example, expanding the battle scenes).
There have been a number of posts about this very subject, and the main argument against it seems to be that “the actors that play the characters are too old.” I am not sure I understand this statement, as we have had different actors playing the same characters in many franchises before. One of the latest “reboots” was Star Trek, where we got an entirely new cast. That did not seem to anger fans because it was a strong movie. As long as the new movies are not bad, as in they tell a good story without getting bogged down in effects or merchandising, then fans should be fine with an entirely new cast that can take the helm. You should not jump to an unfamiliar time period (like 30+ years in the future) just because then you could easily include some of the old cast. Seeing Harrison Ford on screen in Star Wars again is a fleeting experience, and will not make or break a movie. The story and the polish will make or break the movie.
Maybe I am wrong and what Lucas had written for 7, 8, and 9 was really good stuff. It is more likely that it is a very rough draft of a story, and was waiting for the details to be fleshed out. It is also hard to imagine that 7, 8, and 9 are set 30+ years in the future either. There is conflicting information, and it is likely because there weren’t many details to go on. It would be a shame to ignore the expanded universe, created by actual storytellers, just to adopt old script.