Yesterday, there was an uproar on Twitter after Cinemablend released an article that featured the following quote from the Maker himself, George Lucas, about his story treatments for Star Wars Episode VII:
“The ones that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn’t really want to do those. So they made up their own. So it’s not the ones that I originally wrote.”
I say there was an “uproar;” in actuality, I can only infer this from the amount of tweets from my friends and followers on Twitter, commenting on this subject and the rage that other fans were expressing. I was not online when the whole kerfluffle began, because yesterday was my first day back to college after the winter break. So by the time I got on Twitter that morning after some doing some schoolwork, I got only the tail end of the ire and face-palming. I consider myself fortunate that I missed the main conflict, because I have a tendency to get involved in such things and then lose my cool. This time, however, I was able to take a back seat and take the time to ponder George’s revelation, and what it means for the vision of the future for Star Wars in Disney’s hands.
My conclusion, after some consideration, was that this revelation of Disney’s seemingly flippant regard of George’s story treatment for Episode VII doesn’t bother me. There are a few reasons why I take this view.
Reason #1: George doesn’t always mean what we think he means.
We know from past experience that George cannot always be relied upon for accurate information. Sometimes, he will even make a statement that he will then contradict later on. For example, this week it was revealed that George has indeed seen the first trailer for The Force Awakens, even after saying several weeks ago that he would not be watching the trailer at all. Humans beings, even legendary directors and storytellers, are subject to change. Not only that, but George Lucas really doesn’t seem to give a wamprat’s butt for what other people think. All he appears cares about is making movies, telling stories, and being with his family. With that in mind, I don’t think he really cares that much that Disney isn’t using his story treatment. Keeping that in mind, also…
Reason #2: If George had really, really wanted to tell the story of Episode VII his way, he wouldn’t have sold the franchise!
Honestly, when you sell a franchise that’s worth billions of dollars to another company, along with all of the storytelling rights, you naturally and necessarily deprive yourself of the right to have all of your ideas and all of your plans (which you also sold) used and put on the big screen. If George had really, really wanted to tell the story of Episode VII his way, he wouldn’t have sold it to Disney; or if he had, he would have made a stipulation demanding that he be the one to direct the first installment of the sequel trilogy. Instead, he made no such condition and sold everything, including his story treatments for Episode VII. It was his choice to make, and he made it. Disney has no obligation, other than that which demands honor and respect to the maker of the ingenious blockbuster success that is Star Wars, to use George’s personal vision for The Force Awakens in any way shape or form.
Reason #3: In this new era of Star Wars, it makes sense that the stories would need to come from new storytellers, who have new ideas and perspectives.
Part of the purpose of selling Star Wars, I assume, was so that the franchise could thrive far beyond the interest or lifespan of George Lucas. The great thing about putting Star Wars into new hands is that we will get so many new and amazing stories, likely many that George has never even thought of before. It’s a chance for fans and fresh perspectives to get their minds and hands into the Star Wars sandbox, and bring their own visions of exciting adventures in Star Wars to life using whatever that galaxy far, far away has to offer. George can’t tell that many stories in his lifetime. If he did, he’d be making Star Wars for the rest of his life, which is clearly not his intention. And who can blame him? He’s a creator, a writer, a trailblazer in the cinematic world. For someone like that, ideas are a likely cheap commodity. But to have to stick to one idea, one story, one franchise for the rest of your life? For George, I think that would staunch his desire to keep Star Wars alive. In Disney’s hands, however, hundreds of other creative minds will not only be able to keep Star Wars alive, they will cause it to endure. And that, I think, is the greatest compliment to any person who creates anything: the world wants to remember it for many years to come, hopefully forever. And Disney, JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Rian Johnson, Gareth Edwards, Gary Whitta, Josh Trank, and many, many more will see it done.
Finally, Reason #4: George Lucas created Star Wars; Disney and the directors and writers behind future Star Wars content will not be ignoring him.
This, to me, is common sense reasoning. No matter how much you may dislike the prequels or wish that Greedo hadn’t shot first, we wouldn’t have Star Wars if it weren’t for George Lucas. Those who are and will be fortunate enough to get to play in his world would be fools not to make contact with him and keep him a part of the creative process in some way. In fact, JJ is doing just that with The Force Awakens, keeping George on hand as a creative consultant. Ultimately, though, I think he’s glad to have Star Wars off his hands. He can be a consultant and offer advice to directors and writers about the universe he created while being free to pursue his other ideas. There’s no longer any pressure, no need to worry about the loud complaints of fans about things they thought he did wrong (because, even though he might say he doesn’t care about any of that, I’m sure it has effected him in some way; you can’t just have somebody bash your pride and joy like that and then let the insults slide off without them digging at you). And he gets to see his creation survive, thrive, explore new territory that he might not have thought of exploring before. He gets to see Star Wars live on for new generations.
In the end, George Lucas sold Star Wars for a reason. And that reason was not so that Disney could produce an exact copy of his original story for Star Wars Episode VII. Saying that Disney didn’t like his story treatments and therefore decided not to use them could mean many things. For example, it could simply mean that they didn’t use the plot, or the character focus, or the themes that George had outlined. To say that they took absolutely nothing, no inspiration whatsoever from the creator of Star Wars’ Episode VII story treatments might be pushing the boundaries of reason a little bit.
And if they took nothing, so what? George sold Star Wars. The sequel trilogy is not his, and he knows that. It belongs to the next generation. Episodes I-VI, on the other hand, will always be his. And I think he’s okay with that.
And if he’s okay with it, I’m okay with it. I’m just happy we’re getting new movies. I mean, whoever thought that would happen?
Trust me. With or without George Lucas, this fun begins here, for the seventh time. And there are many more times to come.