George Lucas,  The Rise of Skywalker

J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio met with George Lucas before writing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker writers J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio met with Star Wars creator George Lucas before writing the script, according to Abrams himself in this interview with IGN.

 

21 Comments

  • Carlos

    watch out the headlines saying “episode 9 is actually what George Lucas planned” the title of the video itself is clickbait

  • Cryogenic

    Yeah, it’s kinda cool and slightly raises hope, and yet…

    One gets the sense they felt their backs were against the wall after the intense blowback to “The Last Jedi”. Prior to the release of that film, and after “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” opened to strong box office and rave reviews, everyone seemed to be acting like Disney had the whole thing in the bag, like the biggest cinematic slam-dunk in history. And Disney grew confident in their power and magnificence.

    “His abilities have made him, well… arrogant.”

    But then fate threw them for a loop (or a looper).

    After the Rian Johnson film, despite their (failed) attempts to curb negativity and sow misinformation, lashing out at fans and blaming the considerable discontent on the bogeyman of the Alt-Right and Russian trolls, they were forced to swallow a measure of humble pie, and go pleading with the saga’s creator — the very person they earlier banished after throwing his treatments in the trash — to get them out of a bind which they themselves created (by shunning the creator and his treatments to begin with).

    “It’s Ironic.”

    But let’s be clear here: It also makes a good measure of sense, both artistically and commercially, to attempt to tie all the films and all three trilogies together with the final installment. This meta-construct called “Star Wars” is somehow gathering itself together and wending its way to a particular sort of completion; as if it could never have been any other way. As I said a few years ago, this is really George Lucas’ Star War. We’ve all just been along for the ride.

  • Simon Maxwell

    Oh good grief. They’re bringing back Palpatine? So they are effectively negating Anakin’s redemption and sacrifice in Return of the Jedi when he saved his son’s life by “killing” Palpatine (who we now know did not actually die plummeting down that shaft on the second Death Star). And since Palpatine never died, the Sith were never destroyed and Abrams has essentially discarded the concept of the chosen one who restored balance to the Force.

    I have never seen any of the sequel films, but I’ve certainly read enough about them, and from what I’ve learned of episode 9, I have no desire to see that film either. The sequel trilogy seems to have gone out of its way to invalidate as much as possible from both the prequels and the original trilogy. The whole balance of the Force thing has been thrown out, and now the whole original trilogy storyline has been made pointless. You thought the Empire was defeated in Return of the Jedi and the Emperor was killed? Wrong. The Emperor never died and nor was the Empire defeated – it just became the First Order.

    As far as I’m concerned, there are only six genuine Star Wars films: episodes 1 to 6. The films that were Lucas’s vision and the ones he made before Disney bought Lucasfilm. To me, the Disney Star Wars films are nothing more than multi-million dollar fan fiction.

  • Alexrd

    Abrams also met with George Lucas before making The Farce Awakens. Meeting George Lucas in and on itself is nothing extraordinary. But even if the news was that they were working with Lucas, it would be pointless and meaningless. It’s like adding an essential ingredient of a recipe to a completely different one. Not just that, it would be adding that ingredient too little, too late.

  • Cryogenic

    If you think about it, the old-man/old-fossil villainy has been nicely escalating across the sequels:

    – Han, the grumpy old smuggler, who went back to his old ways after his family broke apart, essentially running away from himself, from his new life with Leia, and his parental responsibilities.

    – Luke, the grumpy old hermit, who retreated to an island, cut himself off from the Force, and refused to face up to his own failures, leaving the galaxy at the mercy of the First Order.

    And now — potentially:

    – Palpatine, the batty arch tyrant, rancid puller of many strings, supposedly destroyed by the fart of his dying Death Star, but possibly back, more twisted and corrupted than ever.

    And before them, let’s not forget Palpatine’s lab assistant, Dooku, whose always-looks-the-same grooming and fancy spaceship screamed “Mark Zuckerberg levels-of-evil” all along. Or Anakin, prophecised saviour, who begins as a kind boy, enslaved to a blue budgie, and ends the saga a broken icon of evil and likely dies of pancake makeup poisoning (a parable about vanity, the dangers of cosmetic products, and the foolishness of emulating the appearance of Elizabethan royals in oil paintings).

    Or Obi-Wan: Half-villain himself, who told Anakin to forget about his mommy dearest (“Dreams pass in time”), demanded that he get on with the “job” of being an obedient, unquestioning, attachment-free Jedi, and make sure to always bring back a six-pack of beer; preferably three six-packs, if ever deciding to rescue him from Geonosis again.

    We should probably add Kylo into that mix, too. He may be young, but he reveres his grandfather-as-Victorian-era-cyborg, or the old-fashioned football helmet he found of his on eBay. Wrecker of computer consoles, indulgent antique collector, and pouty assassin who kills his father because his lip gloss was probably bothering him that day.

    Finally, Snoke. Not a villain that needs a great deal of explanation, but a villain nonetheless. Hugh Hefner meets Gollum.

    The Force *must* be female if this is what XY chromsomes and aging do to some of the more gifted and influential water-based flightless bipedals of the galaxy.

    • archdukeofnaboo

      It’s interesting to note how frequent Abrams is saying things like “Nine films”, “Skywalker saga” and “We talked to George Lucas” at Celebration. It betrays a lack of confidence in the Sequel Trilogy standing on its own feet and, in my opinion, is a veiled admittance that his ignorance of the PT during the making of TFA was wrong.

      Palpatine and indeed McDiarmid himself only became truly iconic after Lucas’s second trilogy. I would estimate for every time Emperor is said today in fan speech, Palpatine is said 3 time more. And now the ST wants him. What does this mean? The prequels are having their revenge!

      • Cryogenic

        @ Arch Duke:

        “The Nine have left Minas Morgul.”
        “The Nine.”

        And then a “fellowship” of nine to resist the evil of the One Ring and the Ringwraiths.

        But anyway, yeah…

        The term “Skywalker Saga” kinda cracks me up. It’s a valid descriptor, but it also feels very reductive — more like a filename.

        I think you raise a very good point. They cut their own trilogy off at the knees with their Procrustean insistence on fan pandering and making it seem more like the “quintessential” Star Wars of the original trilogy — to minimise risk and maximise monetary gain.

        I’ll remind everyone of Abram’s exact words just after TFA had come out and had already received some small but significant backlash:

        “This movie [The Force Awakens] was a bridge and a kind of reminder; the audience needed to be reminded what Star Wars is . . . The weird thing about that movie [A New Hope] is that it had been so long since the last one. Obviously the prequels had existed in between and we wanted to, sort of, reclaim the story.”

        https://uk.ign.com/articles/2016/04/16/why-mark-hamill-didnt-want-to-return-as-luke

        Note: I added the second set of square brackets above. It is quite obvious in-context that Abrams is referring to the original movie in the second part of that quote (which I have combined from two separate quotes as they appear in the article). I stopped short of clarifying “the last one”, but that curious turn-of-phrase presumably refers to ROTJ (and TFA, after all, was meant to be a continuation of the story from there). And not in a nice way: Abrams implicitly suggests the last real Star Wars film was Episode VI; that the prequels don’t count.

        Extremely tendentious remarks from Abrams; not the least of which is his insistence that “the audience needed to be reminded what Star Wars is”; followed by him both transiently invoking the prequels, or the basic fact of their existence, and then seeming to chop them down like weeds in a flower bed in the very next breath (“reclaim the story”). At the same time, he avoids using the term “originals”, or something similar like “classic trilogy”, as if those movies are as natural as oxygen, while the prequels might as well be plutonium.

        Or put another way: Abrams embraces the prequels in the above quote only as a rhetorical fig-leaf device, so that he can then pretend to not be snubbing them; even as he blatantly does exactly that. The “sort of” suggests a moment’s hesitation on his part, concerning the exact way to attempt to justify, in words, their vicious money-grab. And he only needs a second. He finds a term that has a touch of legalese about it. Disney are the copyright owners by default; so Abrams neatly avoids saying anything *too* outrageous, but the point is still made.

        Which now makes his ecumenical talk of running back to Santa Claus/George Lucas and getting his input/approval all the more tragic, hilarious, and pathetic. They didn’t want to acknowledge the prequels, except as a cinematic disease, a few years ago, when they were standing on the hill of victory and planting their flag and basking in success, but after things went a bit “Luke drinking from some space boobs” up, they now talk of bringing the saga full circle and honouring “all three trilogies”, and having a kid “watch Episodes One through Nine and see that one story” (quoting Abrams directly from the video clip).

        Of course, not to be too cynical about it, because it’s at least… I’m not sure I want to say reassuring. Perhaps pleasing. Pleasing to hear them acknowledging the fact that this is meant to be one integrated block of nine films, not just the [three] originals plus the [three] sequels. It’s a crooked progress, seemingly mandated by basic commercial and logistical realities (remember: they threw out Lucas’ treatments, fired Arndt, and later clobbered Trevorrow, in addition to the blowback surrounding the Rian Johnson film), but this helping of humble pie, even as they continue to manipulate fans in the process, does maybe mean the sequel trilogy can go out on a bit of a high note, with more of a rounded, restorative end.

        I like what your final remark, too, so I think I’ll close with:

        “At last we will reveal ourselves to Disney. At last we will have revenge.”

      • Cryogenic

        @ Joe:

        @ Joe:

        LOL! You need to write anti-Disney Christmas cracker jokes.

        He is, really…

        He knows how to play the PR game, and he plays it well.

  • maychild

    I’ll put it more somewhat more pithily if less elegantly than Cryogenic: Disney tossed out Lucas’s treatments, all but bragged about it, and were handsomely rewarded (financially and otherwise) for “saving SW from Lucas,” who was openly demoted in the press to being “a contributor to the SW saga,” never mind that he frickin’ CREATED IT. But now that Disney’s overconfidence is their weakness (ten points deducted if you don’t get the reference) they’ve come crawling back to none other than Lucas to bail them out.

    • Cryogenic

      @ maychild:

      Great addition — and thanks.

      Despite them running back to Daddy Lucas, like a lowly Battle Droid humbly imploring a slick and iridescent Destroyer Droid, or Jar Jar sheepishly greeting Captain Tarpals on his return to Otoh Gunga, “Heyo-dalee, Cap’n Tarpals, Mesa back!” (I like my TPM references — okay? 🙂 ), it can be seen that they’re still trying to downplay Lucas’ involvement; or their own self-generated need to consult with him, the Master Architect of the saga, for guidance and help. And after they had thrown his own story treatments in the trash compactor and distanced themselves from the saga’s creator in a way that was almost gleeful.

      Lucas, too, remains quite the shadowy and elusive figure here; the prime “Law Giver”, like the God of the Old Testament, who has performed miracles, made his will known, and now retreated from the world. Note that Lucas hasn’t commented directly on a Star Wars film since the release of TFA; the one he essentially called a fan film and bashed for being a safe, paint-by-numbers, risk-free Happy Meal (though Happy Meals are anything but safe and risk-free, to one’s bodily health, at least, in the longer term).

      Before anyone tries to point out a discrepancy: We learned of Lucas’ thoughts concerning “Rogue One” and “The Last Jedi” in a calculated, third-hand manner. TFA has been the only one of the four extant Disney-dominated Star Wars films which Lucas spoke of on-camera, in multiple locations, in a relatively matter-of-fact, uninhibited tone. But then came a pseudo backtrack from Lucas immediately after the airing of his fuller interview with Charlie Rose: an unusual/unprecedented “mea culpa” moment (or tactical Jar Jar surrender: “My give up”), in which Lucas recanted his “white slavers” remark (though not, tellingly, anything else he said).

      Perhaps, following that legal retraction, there was some mutual, behind-the-curtain agreement that Lucas shouldn’t air his thoughts directly anymore; as it was awkward for all concerned and potentially damaging to the success of the finished products (and Disney’s on-going handling of the property as a whole). They would keep out of each other’s way: Lucas and Disney/Kennedy/Iger. Yet, of course, Lucas has continued to put in “guest” appearances on-set, and even appeared at Celebration 2017, right alongside Kathleen Kennedy, as well as appearing at this year’s event in a video recording. And he continues to throw them shade: “[The Phantom Menace] is one of my favourite movies, and, of course, Jar Jar is my favourite character.”

      The whole situation just makes it more absurd and comical that they would lean on Lucas for help to get them over the finish line. Kind of like the prodigal son returning. On the other hand, this also smacks of more manipulation: Throwing out a breadcrumb in a tactically off-hand manner to get those fanboy juices flowing. And we know there hasn’t been a single step in the entire PR/film-crafting process in which they haven’t been above doing that. Come one, come all, to the greatest fan-milking event of all.

      • Moose

        Cryo:

        Well said.

        I will go what is on the other hand seeing as I have a hard time believing this crowd any more: “consulting” with uncle George seems like a photo-op without the photo, “Palpatine being in the blueprint all along” is more likely Kennedy picking a villain from the old catalog (or a new focus group) after realizing that Rian Johnson killed-off Snoke, and finally I do not believe one single frame of the new trailer.

        And the idea of Eps 7,8 & 9 being part of the “Skywalker Saga” is presumptuous in the least. It reminds me of when Martin Short hosted Saturday Night Live with Paul McCartney as the musical guest: at the end of his monologue Short boasted that between them, he and Sir Paul had sold about 200 million albums.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Moose:

        Thanks, Moose. Also: Check *you* out!!! Great analogies!!!!!

        “A photo-op without the photo.”

        BOOM! I love it.

        And the Kennedy boast about Palpatine, well, yeah…

        I would like to believe them, I really would, but they’ve lied and distorted the truth so many times already, sooooo….

        All I’ll say in their defence here is that Death Star ruins may have featured in Lucas’ treatment for Episode Seven. So, what they have made done, much as they did with Episodes Seven and Eight regarding Luke and “the island”, is take an early idea, delay/quarantine it for bit, and plug it back in at a later point — much later than intended (it it were intended at all), and perhaps weirdly placed, but maybe it can still work.

        Also, bringing back Ian McDiarmid, to me, is waaaaaaay cooler, in many ways, than bringing back Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. Those other actors are tied exclusively to the OT, while seeing Ian on stage at Celebration, and growling down the mic after the new teaser just played, “ROLL IT AGAIN” (brilliant moment), immediately gave me prequel-y goosebumps.

        Ian, unlike the other “elder white men” that were used as carrots to entice fans for the preceding installments — and Carrie, too, of course, to complete the “Big Three” — has the benefit of playing an iconic villain from *both* trilogies; appearing only as “himself” in the PT. So, in that regard, TROS has an aura that TFA and TLJ lacked at this same time: It feels more organically “integrationist”. At least, superficially speaking.

        But that, of course, still says very little about the finished article; which is more than likely to be another lame-o patchwork/retread/strip-mining (nothing more than a lavish striptease: titillation without the sex). And Abrams has already proven to be the master at lazily rehashing/rebranding bottles of wine, while filling the insides with sugar water. Or as the Salon critic Andrew O’Heir put it in his TFA review: “J.J. Abrams is like a one-man industry of cultural recycling and repurposing”. The ultimate “remix” artist; perhaps both intellectually and commercially incapable of doing anything truly new.

        Great SNL reference, too. Exactly!!! Let’s just associate with this rich/genius-level person, or thing that they created, and pretend to have a share in that thing and equal access to the spoils and glory. It’s kind of like pretending you’re a particle physicist because you once visited CERN. They’re using these trinkets and talismans when they have little connection to, and remote/diminished/insincere affection for, a fantastic, high-level work of art that someone else or something else, arduously assembled.

        Another way in which the term and whole concept of a “Skywalker Saga” feels presumptuous — even outright fake and dishonest — is Disney’s careful culling of Lucas’ masterpiece by a thousand cuts. It was announced the other day, for instance, that Disney have now removed the episode numbers from the titles of the Lucas movies. Yes: Go and check it out. So this convenient term, “Skywalker Saga”, is a loose/crooked descriptor that now encloses a ghostly entity; a compass that points in no particular direction.

        When is a saga not a saga? When Disney take ownership of it. How many Disney executives does it take to change a light bulb? Zero. Because light bulbs are now called glow sockets.

      • Moose

        Cryo:

        I’m with you on liking Palpatine, but I do not want to see him in this next one. For my money, it would be just one more diminishment of an old victory.

  • maychild

    Just wanted to put in something with regards to Andrew O’Hehir’s assessment of Abrams: O’Hehir cannot be accused of “being a prequel fan who is butthurt that TFA was so successful and acclaimed,” as many PT-haters-turned-Disney-era-fans claimed when clutching their pearls about the supposed “excessive bashing” of TFA (somehow forgetting their decade and a half of spewing the most extreme hatred toward the prequels all over creation) when it had recently come out. O’Hehir HATES the prequels, and likewise hates Lucas, sharing the smug-faced, baseless belief of the PT-bashers, that with the prequels, Lucas surrounded himself with butt-kissers who are afraid to stand up to him, whereas Gary Kurtz, Marcia Lucas, Harrison Ford, and the men’s room attendant at 20th Century Fox babysat him during the filming of the OT and forced him to care about quality.

    If Lucas “listened to the naysayers,” as the PT-bashers claim he should, he would never have made SW in the first place. It was because of the strong SUPPORT of the REAL unsung hero (a title that bashers claim belongs to the self-serving, conveniently amnesiac Gary Kurtz; I know the man died last year, but really, I don’t think that precludes me poking holes in his opportunistic claims) of the SW saga, Alan Ladd “Laddie” Jr., that SW got made at all — and I might point out that he is a very sung hero in the eyes of Lucas, who we’re supposed to think is egotistical and selfish and does not give credit to anyone but himself.

    But that’s a whole other issue. Back to the point: no one wanted anything to do with that upstart Lucas’s weird sci-fi movie, even after the success of “American Graffiti.” (People often forget that the original SW movie was not his first hit.) But Laddie knew a good thing when he saw one, and convinced 20th Century Fox to take a chance. He’d done that previously with “The Omen,” which was 20th Century Fox’s first big hit in over a decade; the infusion of cash from its grosses enabled the original SW movie to finish being filmed. Like politics, the movie industry makes for strange bedfellows, no?

      • maychild

        Kurtz himself gave that impression, opportunistically hopping on the backlash bandwagon, proclaiming that TPM had “no depth,” and spewing all kinds of slanted information, which the bashers just ate up, never doubting any of it, even the stuff that was fairly obviously false (i.e., Kurtz’s claims that Lucas “surrounded himself with yes-men when he made the prequels” — how would he know? He wasn’t there!), and proclaiming Kurtz their messiah. Some even said HE was the real talent and genius behind “the only good SW films,” ANH and ESB. Quotes from observers during the time that Kurtz was the producer of SW, as well as from Kurtz himself, handily disprove Kurtz’s self-presentation as a gutsy naysayer who “stood up to Lucas,” but that got ignored in the ecstatic high the bashers were on because they had an “insider” telling them exactly what they wanted to hear. Their “proof” of his words being pure truth was: “He’s never been caught in a lie like Lucas has.” Actually, he’s been caught in several lies, but never mind. One particularly odious basher said that Kurtz was the secret director for ANH, and helped the actors when Lucas wouldn’t. I asked him where he got that info. He said, “From the horse’s mouth: Kurtz himself.” I would think that “the horse’s mouth” would belong to the actors in question, and none of them have ever said anything like that, not even Harrison Ford, who never had any qualms about talking about Lucas’s deficiencies as a director and writer.

        To be fair, I think Kurtz was basically a kind person, and I said so when he was still alive, so that’s not me being magnanimous because the man died. I pointed out a couple of times that McKenzie Phillips wrote of his kindness to her during the filming of “American Graffiti,” where he’d been made her temporary guardian because she was underage. But I do think he was awfully opportunistic and had a rather flexible relationship with honesty, especially for a supposedly humble, moral Quaker. Lucas invited him to the ceremony when he was given an AFI award, which somewhat contradicts the bashers’ cherished line that he’s a bitter, hateful tyrant. Bashers tend to project their own unpleasant traits onto Lucas and use that as “justification” for bashing him.

        One of the most commonly quoted Kurtz interviews was with Chris Gore, who was almost a professional basher — but who has since altered his stance. What changed? He became a father, and gave the prequels another chance when his offspring watched them, seeing them anew through said offspring’s eyes. I don’t think he’s a prequel-lover now, but he’s no longer exactly a basher either.

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