Star Wars has gone through its fair share of directors so far since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012. First up was Rogue One which had a lot of production issues and some it was actually reshot by writer Tony Gilroy after Gareth Edwards who is credited as director on the movie left. Then we had Solo, which was originally to be helmed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and then Ron Howard was brought in to reshoot an estimated 70% of that final movie after Lord and Miller were removed. We also had Star Wars: Episode 9 due to be helmed by Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow before he was then replaced by The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. Then, most recently we had David Benioff and Dan Weiss all set to make a trilogy of Star Wars movies, only to find out they were off the project, leaving the future of Star Wars in theaters somewhat in flux.
Speaking with Rolling Stone recently, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy seems to have some sort of answer as to why Star Wars has gone through so many creatives in such a short space of time. Kennedy says that Star Wars, in general, is a “tough nut to crack” and it’s one of the reasons they went back to director J.J Abrams for December’s The Rise of Skywalker, check it out.
“Every one of these movies is a particularly hard nut to crack. There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels. We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be. We go through a really normal development process that everybody else does. You start by talking to filmmakers who you think exhibit the sensibilities that you’re looking for. And I would argue that the list is very small — people who really do have the sensibilities about these kind of movies, and then the experience and the ability to handle how enormous a job these movies are. So we try to be as thoughtful as we possibly can about making those choices. I would also argue that sometimes people get involved in the normal development process, and then they realize, “Oh, my God, this is so much more than I ever imagined.” So it’s pretty common that when you’re working on movies, you’re not making choices and decisions that necessarily work out exactly the way you want from the get-go. It’s been an evolving process with lots of people and lots of opinions, and then you try to shape something into what it eventually becomes. So I feel really fortunate that I’ve worked with so many great people that have been absolutely committed, J.J. being one of them. He’s a huge fan, incredibly passionate about Star Wars, and has been from the moment he and I sat down and started talking about this. And the more he got involved, the more excited he became. So I think if you asked him today, he probably wishes he’d been in a situation where he could have done all three — but as I said, these are huge projects. So it’s very difficult unless there’s three or four years in between. It’s not really physically possible.”
I understand making any movie cannot be easy, but I can’t believe there are not a lot of creative people who would jump at the chance to make a Star Wars movie. As for no source material, well that might be because they erased the previous EU and that they keep de-canonizing things as something comes along to replace it. The source material is the Original Trilogy first and foremost for me, and always will be.
Perhaps the difficult nature of Star Wars is something echoed earlier this year by Abrams himself, when he revealed in an interview with FastCompany.com, that he almost said no when asked to come back.
“I wasn’t supposed to be there. I wasn’t the guy, ya’ know? I was working on some other things, and I had something else that I was assuming would be the next project, if we’d be so lucky. And then Kathy Kennedy called and said, ‘Would you really, seriously, consider coming aboard?’ And once that started, it all happened pretty quickly. The whole thing was a crazy leap of faith. And there was an actual moment when I nearly said, ‘No, I’m not going to do this.’”
I guess we will find out just how right Kennedy was to go back to Abrams when we see The Rise of Skywalker in around a month’s time. We also know that whatever Abrams decided to do, he must have used at least some of the work already started by Colin Trevorrow, as both he and Derek Connolly do get writing credits on the latest Star Wars film, check out our related story below for more details on that one.
I still have serious doubts that Abrams was the right person to make any Star Wars movie as I find him somewhat unoriginal in a sense. I feel like there are several movies of his, which simply feel like he is trying to recapture another movie from his youth. Star Trek: Into Darkness was too much like Wrath of Khan for me. The Force Awakens, too much like A New Hope, and Super 8 felt a little too much like he was going for an E.T. vibe. The problem is I can see things aesthetically which makes me think of The Rise of Skywalker being very much like Return of the Jedi, though of course, we need to see the movie to judge that, not just trailers.
I am prepared, and hope to be wrong, but I have a bad feeling about this one, am I off my head and Abrams is the cinematic genius Kennedy and others think he is? What do you make of Kennedy’s comments on Star Wars movies? Share your thoughts in the usual hang out below, as always.
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