Thursday, December 4, 2014

Time to answer one of life's mysteries:

What happened to Star Wars? Why did the franchise suddenly decline?  This 2010 L.A. Times interview with former Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz provides some answers:

“We had no idea what we were starting,” said Kurtz, who was the producer of the first two “Star Wars” films and also a second-unit director. “That simple concept changed Hollywood in a way….”

There was a bittersweet tinge to Kurtz’s voice, and it’s no surprise. This year is the 30th anniversary of “The Empire Strikes Back,” the “Star Wars” sequel that many fans consider the pinnacle moment in a franchise that has pulled in $16 billion in box office and merchandising. But 1980 was also the year that Kurtz and Lucas realized the Jedi universe wasn’t big enough for the both of them.

“I could see where things were headed,” Kurtz said. “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.

He added: “The first film and ‘Empire’ were about story and character, but I could see that George’s priorities were changing.”....

“I don’t like the idea of prequels, they make the filmmakers back in to material they’ve already covered and it boxes in the story,” Kurtz said. “I think they did a pretty good job with them although I have to admit I never liked Hayden Christensen in the role of Anakin Skywalker. I just wished the stories had been stronger and that the dialogue had been stronger. It gets meek. I’m not sure the characters ever felt real like they did in ‘Empire.’”

After the release of “Empire” (which was shaped by material left over from that first Lucas treatment), talk turned to a third film and after a decade and a half the partners could no longer find a middle ground.

“We had an outline and George changed everything in it,” Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”

The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.

Kurtz said that ending would have been a more emotionally nuanced finale to an epic adventure than the forest celebration of the Ewoks that essentially ended the trilogy with a teddy bear luau.

He was especially disdainful of the Lucas idea of a second Death Star, which he felt would be too derivative of the 1977 film. “So we agreed that I should probably leave.”
Rest of article 


Some 50+ yr old SW geek said...

I might be wrong about this, but the whole way SW evolved was screwy. I saw the movie when it came out. For whatever reason, I thought the events happened about 70 years following the clone wars. Obiwon was very old and there was no way that Daeth Vader was his father.

If others remember the same, or differently, please reply because it bugs me.

Anonymous said...

Obiwon was never darth faders father, I don't think. It was only after young Vader escaped that dessert planet and came back to look for his mother when he discovered that his mother had been hawked off to someone - obiwon.

The innuendo is that young Vader ( anakin) is a sci- if version of the 'miracle birth'.

Anonymous said...

Glad they let the Ewoks get their freak on at the end.

thusbloggedanderson said...

"Glad they let the Ewoks get their freak on at the end."

Especially since the exploded Death Star destroyed their world. Google "Endor Holocaust." Hated the little furballs anyway.

Anonymous said...

It appears this thread is littered with sci fi geeks whose last time to see a vagina was at their birth.

Anonymous said...

@4:56 = person who regularly sees the vagina they were birthed from.

To what end? I ask.

thusbloggedanderson said...

4:56- equally ignorant about SF and vaginas. Tho probably wants to regulate only the latter.

Anonymous said...

One would never know there was any decline in Star Wars popularity from the internet buzz over the just released trailer for the next film - or is that all studio created hype? I can never tell anymore.

Anonymous said...

8:50 - it's wishful thinking mostly. Will Abrams be able to take the traditional elements & give them a good script & good actors?

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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