Lawrence Kasdan promises the next Star Wars films will take us somewhere "entirely new"
Lawrence Kasdan is the man who gave us STAR WARS. Okay, technically it was George Lucas, but for those of us who hold THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in the highest esteem in the franchise, that thanks is owed to screenwriter Kasdan. He was working within the confines of Lucas' world, but Kasdan gave us the depth that was lacking in A NEW HOPE. He turned the space opera of the first film into the world where not everything has a happy ending. That edge has been missing ever since.
Kasdan is back now working as a consultant on STAR WARS: EPISODE VII and as well as screenwriter on a secret project many assume will be one of the standalone films that were unofficially announced last week. He did not confirm in any way which project he was working on, but did say that it was not based on a previous film or the extended universe novels, comics, and video games.
“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.”
I have no problem with the films maintaining a separate universe from the non-movie STAR WARS world. Sure, combining them would be cool, but going off in another direction works as well, as long as they don't contradict each other. But, how does Kasdan feel about J.J. Abrams taking the reins from his friend Lucas?
“George sort of brought me into this part of it, and he’s stepping back from the company,” he said. “He’s sort of given his blessing to everybody, and he’ll be there if you need him. I think everyone’s interested to see where this can go. It’s been some very different places over 30 years …. I think with J.J., we’ll get something entirely new.”
Technically he has to say Abrams will do a good job, but I respect Kasdan enough that I trust his judgement. He also shared why he thinks the films work as well as they do and have lasted the test of time.
“The ones I worked on were a long time ago, and they had a slightly different feeling than the ones that followed,” he said. “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 is the best part of the story to write. And people responded to it. Irvin Kershner was a completely different kind of director than George, so the movie’s much darker than the first ‘Star Wars.’ It’s more edgy.”
Kasdan is the ideal choice to be an advisor on STAR WARS: EPISODE VII and wherever else Disney and Lucasfilm plan to go. He knows the universe and what makes it work. I just hope that every film maintains that edgy vibe he created so well in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VII will arrive sometime in 2015 or 2016.