Despite its immense popularity, #StarWars hit a speed bump in the early 2000s following the prequel trilogy. Fortunately, Disney and Lucasfilm got the ball rolling again in the right direction ten years later with the release of The Force Awakens, which went on to become a huge hit.
After that came Rogue One, which helped to further cement the franchise as the most influential saga in movie history. With those impressive achievements, you may be surprised to hear initially neither Lucasfilm nor #Disney had a set idea of where their new take on the galaxy far, far away would go.
#TheLastJedi director Rian Johnson started an impromptu conversation with fans this past weekend on Twitter. One person asked him whether at least some of the story for TLJ had been set before he came on board. The director replied there was no story prior to his involvement, and so the fan showed him an excerpt from an interview the president of #Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, gave to Slash Film:
Kennedy was asked whether J.J. Abrams had worked on a treatment for two more films. She stated he didn't, but there was already a structure for future movies:
"No, because at that point we were sitting down and talking about where this might go, even as early on as with Michael Arndt. We were sort of plotting out, because obviously if you know up front that you’re building the pacing inside a trilogy structure, we needed to have some sense of where this saga was going without locking in on things and leaving room for creative development. But we had to have some sense of where we were going."
#RianJohnson responded to that excerpt by revealing that––while Lucasfilm surely had a rough outline for the franchise moving forward––when he got hired to helm The Last Jedi, there were no concrete plans for the franchise beyond The Force Awakens:
That's a surprising statement for a company we always saw as fully planning ten steps ahead, so you may be wondering...
What Does This Mean For The Franchise?
Does that mean Disney has no idea what it's doing with the property and it's just going with the flow? Not at all. As Johnson and #KathleenKennedy stressed, there being initially no concrete plan past TFA doesn't mean there wasn't a rough idea of where the characters and the story could go.
Rey's parents' mystery is the prime example of that. We've been told numerous times there are clues to Rey's origin in The Force Awakens. That simply wouldn't be possible without at least a notion of where the saga's future was headed.
Later on in his Twitter conversation, Johnson clarified that, while Disney didn't have a set trilogy for the franchise, the movies are still carefully planned. They're simply taken as single steps in tall staircase:
"We're not improvising it all on set. It is very carefully planned, but one piece at a time, each building off the previous movie."
Judging by the fact #StarWarsEpisodeIX is expected to start filming soon, it's clear the studio is now fully aware of where the trilogy is going. Disney not setting a specific story for three future films is simply careful planning––and that's a smart move. The blockbuster environment is very shifty in nature. The studio clearly has a notion of where to take Star Wars, but it's simply leaving the door open in case things need to be adjusted.
As we've seen with their new set of films, #TheForceAwakens and #RogueOne, Disney and Lucasfilm have a great grasp on the franchise, so there's no doubt in my mind we'll keep getting incredible films with the open-story structure the studios are using.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi flies into theaters on December 15, 2017.
What did you think about Rian Johnson's birthday? Let me know in he comments!
(Source: Slash Film)