Recently, Matthew Graham, co-creator of such shows as Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, sat down with Den of Geek where they brought up his involvement in the live-action Star Wars show that George Lucas began developing nearly ten years ago. In addition to reconfirming the involvement of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore, he also brought up the magic “50 scripts” number that has been floating around forever.
His new strategy, that was very bold, was let’s get fifty scripts that are really good, and let’s start making a show. We’ll know where the show’s going, we’ll be able to tell any actor or director that this is what’s going to happen in twenty weeks’ time… He wanted fifty scripts, and we got to the point where there were fifty scripts. Some of them were at first draft, some at third draft. Some needed a lot more work, some were in a really good shape. We had a good sense of the overview of the world, and where it was going.
It’s really interesting to me that somewhere at Lucasfilm, there are all of these untold Star Wars stories sitting around, waiting to be developed further, and I’m really curious how much of what is in them informs other projects that are set in the post-Revenge of the Sith/pre-A New Hope timeline, like Saw Gerrara being developed for this project and then showing up in The Clone Wars and Rogue One (there’s also a slight part of me that imagines these scripts carted into a Raiders of the Lost Ark-styled warehouse along with the seemingly abandoned Star Wars Detours animated series, but like Johnny Grasso, I digress). When asked on whether or not he’s heard if Disney would revive the project, Graham had more to offer:
I went up and saw Lucasfilm in their new offices at Disney while they were still in prep on Episode VII. I know that they’ve got the scripts, and that the scripts have been read. But what they plan to do with it, there’s a big long term strategy for Star Wars that’s being formulated, and only a few people are actually privy to what that entails!
Graham also discusses at length what it was like working with George Lucas, including particularly George’s strengths as a storyteller.
Now, in the light of The Force Awakens—a terrifically entertaining film—people can see how much risk George takes with his films. Rightly or wrongly, because we all know he has weaknesses as a writer.
But what he’s really, really good at is being brave and bold, and saying let’s try new things. His new strategy, that was very bold, was let’s get fifty scripts that are really good, and let’s start making a show
Regardless of your opinion on George Lucas’ storytelling, there’s no doubt that his version of Episode VII would have been different than J.J. Abrams’ take, at least in the design and look of the film (which is commonly criticized for being “too faithful” to the original Star Wars trilogy). Graham actually has a lot more to say on what it was like working with George, including his first meeting with him and how Graham got the job, all of which can be read in the original article. It’s an interesting peek behind the scenes at something that fans have been wondering about for years, and for this fan, it only serves to make me want to know more. Hopefully someday Lucasfilm and Disney pull back the curtain on this series and our questions will be answered.