Star Wars fans rejoiced this week with the news that Lawrence Kasdan would be writing the all-new Episode VII. And for good reason - this was the man behind 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back'. With yet another announcement that he would also be writing the planned spin-off movies, it's definitely cause for celebration. Lawrence Kasdan is no stranger to the Star Wars universe and has written some of George Lucas' greatest films, including 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' and even the first Indiana Jones film, 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'.
A New Hope?
Of course, it's great news that such an accomplished writer is on board for Disney's all-new Star Wars projects, but in an interview with the LA Times, he revealed that he's looking to take the Star Wars franchise in a completely new direction.
"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."
It's a bold move by Kasdan and one that's bound to be met with controversy. One of the main failings of Lucas' prequel trilogy was the attempt to do something new, often with disastrous consequences… such as the creation of Jar Jar Binks. But could Kasdan's new vision for Star Wars bring back some of the old magic that's been missing in recent instalments?
Out with the old…or is it?
"The ones I worked on were a long time ago, and they had a slightly different feeling than the ones that followed," he explained. "The first three, 'Star Wars,' 'Empire' and 'Return of the Jedi' are all sort of more about people than the ones that followed. 'Empire' appeals to people, I think, because it's the second act of a three-act play, and everything sort-of goes to hell during the movie. And when you leave, everyone is in trouble, and that's the best part of the story to write. And people responded to it. The movie's much darker than the first 'Star Wars.' It's more edgy."
Could this be an indication that Kasdan will be going back to basics with the new Star Wars films? I have to admit, I certainly hope so. With J.J. Abrams at the helm and some of the best writers the Star Wars universe has ever seen, it looks like a 'fresh start' is exactly what the franchise needs. But what will it mean for the Star Wars universe on the whole?
For one thing, a completely fresh start is likely to upset fans of the extended universe. If Kasdan takes the Star Wars spin-off films into new, uncharted waters, he runs the risk of deviating from well-established character backstories. But more importantly, it could reduce the writings of Timothy Zahn (and other Star Wars writers) to the subject of mere whimsy… a non-canon look at what could have happened rather than what actually, definitely did. I know we're talking about fictionalizing a fictional universe here, but it's the sort of thing that really matters to the fans - a fresh start for the Star Wars universe could debunk the spin-off writings and fan-fiction that has dominated Star Wars fandom for the past thirty years.
On the other hand, it's great to see Star Wars taking risks again. The original trilogy was ground-breaking - something fresh and new which pushed the boundaries of traditional science-fiction. "I think everyone's interested to see where this can go," explained Kasdan. "It's been some very different places over 30 years… I think with J.J. we'll get something entirely new."
What do you think of Kasdan's 'fresh start'? Do you welcome the change or think it's a huge mistake?