– by David Kozlowski

Everyone has a particular Star Wars memory. We all remember the first time we saw the films and how we connected with its characters, settings, or concepts. I saw the original Star Wars: Episode IV in an actual theater during its initial 1977 run; I was barely old enough to appreciate what I was seeing, but bits of it — like Darth Vader snapping the neck of that rebel Soldier — remains a central image of my youth (for better or worse). 

Star Wars is deeply etched into the collective memories of multiple generations. Your individual recollections probably depend on not only what film you first watched, but when or where you watched it (and to a lesser extent your interactions with the books, games, comics, cartoons). The cultural power of Star Wars is unlike anything else in popular entertainment. 

I actually worked at LucasArts back in 2008, on an ill-fated videogame project called Star Wars Battlefront III. The facilities, located on the old Presidio Army base, were also home to LucasFilm and ILM. It was (and still is) a truly stunning place: the hallways were adorned with incredible concept art, a life-sized Boba Fett stood beside a life-sized Darth Vader, the massive Yoda fountain outside the lobby, and tons of movie memorabilia everywhere you looked — there was a legit aura of magic in those buildings, and at any moment you were sure George Lucas would turn a corner or step into your elevator. 

Obviously, a lot has changed since 1977 and LucasFilm is now a Disney-owned property. When Disney CEO Bob Iger recently mentioned plans for up to 15 more Star Wars films, fans worldwide let out various gasps, squeals, and shudders. With George Lucas fully out of the picture, there remained concerns about quality control and innovation; what was once the vision of one individual was now part of a giant, corporate machine. 

Fortunately, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One provided clear indications that the future of this beloved franchise was in safe, deliberate hands. However, there’s also a clear transition occurring; Luke, Han, and Leia are giving way to Rey, Finn, and Poe. So, while fans feel good about the current state of Star Wars, there’s still many open questions about its future.

The highly-dedicated folks at Star Wars News Net (SWNN), working with inside sources at LucasFilm, provided a window into the current creative process, and also shared some details about the future. It’s important to note, there’s no detailed slate of Star Wars films meticulously planned out (as in the case of Marvel Studios’ MCU, also owned by Disney); instead, every Star Wars movie is created with a much narrower and focused approach, which starts small and builds incrementally:

“Usually, a bit of concept art and a rough outline of a concept is made prior to the actual pitch or outline. Lucasfilm’s President, Kathleen Kennedy, hears the pitch, which she subsequently discusses with the story group. If the idea is liked enough, then it makes the rounds with the people in Lucasfilm and The Walt Disney Company alike, and if everyone agrees on a good idea, then thatís when development on a project officially begins.”

Sometimes, however, an idea might lose momentum or the concept simply does not proceed beyond a particular development phase: 

“If the pitch is unsuccessful, or the project is cancelled or relegated to another medium, then the work that’s already been put into the concepts behind those works do not go to waste. Instead, they’re sent off to the other divisions of Lucasfilm for the purposes of redevelopment.”

The important takeaway here is that Star Wars is being developed organically. A given idea might gain traction and move forward rapidly, like Rogue One, while other ideas may rise and fall, like the much-rumored Obi-Wan or Yoda anthology films. 

Anthologies, in particular, seem to grab a lot of attention these days. Good news, the Boba Fett movie seems to be moving ahead:

“Rest assured, the Boba Fett movie is not dead. As far as I can tell, the movie will most likely not be an origin story. It’s not strictly a Boba Fett movie, but a film about an ensemble of bounty hunters on an adventure.”

Additionally, some revelations were shared regarding the proposed young-adult-themed Star Wars film:

“This Star Wars project is going to target the young-adult audience and have slight romantic themes to it. Said story is a tragedy… the ‘love story’ angle has more in common with Han & Leia’s romance in The Empire Strikes Back than anything else.”

Finally, there’s a small mention about the forthcoming Han Solo film:

“We’re going to get information about Han Solo a lot earlier than we have for any other recently-produced Star Wars movie. The movie is said to have something of a comic book/pulp feel as well.”

When I worked at LucasFilm, I had the opportunity to interact with their licensing folks; this small team of LucasFilm lifers listened to pitches, coordinated feedback to external teams, and managed the development of a wide array of games, toys, and other ancillary products. It was astounding to see just how many people came through their doors on a daily basis offering ideas from new book ideas to lunchboxes to videogames. The organization is staffed with such dedicated folks, from top to bottom.

Star Wars is a thoroughly cultivated property, cared for and fed by people who live it every single day. None of us can say with any real certainty where the franchise is going, but all indications are that its future is bright. 

What excites you most about the future of Star Wars? Do you have a favorite early memory to share? Let us know in the comments down below!

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SOURCE: Star Wars News Net

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.