Wednesday, May 26, 2010

George Lucas Is Missing A Golden Opportunity Here

Just came across this awesome interview with Mark Hamill at the Cannes Film Festival, where he announced plans to direct the film version of his comic book, The Black Pearl. You can read the interview by clicking here.

Anyway, the real joy I got out of reading this is two-fold:

1) Seeing Mark's obvious dedication to providing the voice for the Joker in the sequel to last year's blockbuster video game hit, Batman: Arkham Asylum; and

2) Realizing in the photo provided within the article that Mark Hamill can very easily appear in the Star Wars sequels as an aged, wizened Jedi Master like Ben Kenobi appeared to Luke halfway through A New Hope.

Which got me to thinking: Why the fuck isn't Lucas working on this? If the trainwreck that was the Star Wars prequels--not to mention the latest Indy installment--has proven anything, it's that George Lucas is in love with making money. Now, granted, Episodes I through III did not turn out the way fans had expected, but here's why I think Episodes VII, VIII, and IX won't suffer the same problems. Or, at least, why they shouldn't.

  • Presumably Lucas and the other producers over at FOX have learned a lesson in humble pie after the last outing, and are now willing to go to great lengths to take the property more seriously. After all, the sequels have always been of far greater potential financial payback than the prequels ever were. Fans have been clamoring to see what happens NEXT since 1983!

  • Let me reiterate -- fans want this more than they want life! Nothing could erase the foul aftertaste of Jar-Jar Binx and Han shooting first better than a truly awesome and kickass sendoff in the final three installments of this blockbuster franchise. If done correctly, Lucas could redeem himself ten times over and regain the almost complete and unfettered adoration of millions of his (former) adoring fans.

  • The key actors from the original trilogy are NOT too old to reprise their roles in the sequels. In fact, their presence can only make the films that much better. Luke could be the wizened Jedi master as mentioned above -- something akin to his role in the Jedi Academy books, although set a bit later than those tomes. Leia could be the seasoned Senator or equivalent political leader who has served the Republic tirelessly in its rebuilding efforts decades after the fall of the Empire. And Han? Well, maybe he's been married with kids to Leia and running a nice, respectable shipping business all these years. Point is, these familiar faces would not be the key factors, but a nice backdrop upon which to paint the new threat or tragedy facing the galaxy now.

  • Since Lucas' ego has taken a sizable knocking down after the last 3 movies plus Indy IV, maybe now he'd finally relent to the reality that there are people out there who can probably write and direct his movies better than he can. Hey, he's done it before and all we got of it as a result was The Empire Strikes Back -- the best damn sci-fi space opera movie OF ALL FUCKING TIME!

  • To that end, why not pool from the already existing talent of class-A writers that have been doing Lucas' Star Wars universe better than he ever could for the greater part of two decades now? Seriously: Timothy Zahn, Keven J. Anderson, Alan Dean Foster, Steven Barnes -- these guys and many more like them have really done some outstanding work with the property. I'm not saying Lucas has to hire any one of them to write his next screenplay, but it would be nice. Foster in particular knows a thing or two about screenwriting, if not just because he's already the master of movie tie-in novels.

  • Going forward is far more interesting and challenging than delving into the past. The prequels were a worthy cause on paper, but they can all boil down to simply connecting the dots so that all the important details match up with the original trilogy anyway. No sweat. The sequels, otoh, are uncharted territory. Anything can go. Who even knows what happens after Endor anyway? No one but George Lucas, that's who! Which is why I think this is just the project he should have been working on all this time. It's challenging and appeals to his ego. Plus, there is no longer any pressure to live up to some grand expectation since he pretty much busted that piggy bank of fan euphoria when he pulled Midichlorians out of his ass and slapped us all in the face with his dirty, dirty hands.

So, what do you folks think? Would you be willing to give ole Georgie another go at the franchise, this time for keeps?

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