Star Wars is Poetry – George Lucas’ Script Discussion with Lawrence Kasdan

Today’s Star Wars is Poetry post is about the early ideas for the script for Return of the Jedi and a discussion that Lucas had with screenwriter extraordinaire Lawrence Kasdan:

KASDAN: I think you should kill Luke and have Leia take over. LUCAS: You don’t want to kill Luke. KASDAN: Okay, then kill Yoda. LUCAS: I don’t want to kill Yoda. You don’t have to kill people. You’re a product of the 1980s. You don’t go around killing people. It’s not nice. KASDAN: No, I’m not. I’m trying to give the story some kind of an edge to it. . . . LUCAS: By killing somebody, I think you alienate the audience. KASDAN: I’m saying that the movie has more emotional weight if someone you love is lost along the way; the journey has more impact. LUCAS: I don’t like that and I don’t believe that. KASDAN: Well, that’s all right. LUCAS: I have always hated that in movies, when you go along and one of the main characters gets killed. This is a fairy tale. You want everybody to live happily ever after and nothing bad happens to anybody. . . . The whole point of the film, the whole emotion that I am trying to get at the end of this film, is for you to be real uplifted, emotionally and spiritually, and feel absolutely good about life. That is the greatest thing that we could possibly ever do.

Via Cass R. Sunstein. The World According to Star Wars HarperCollins

Why is this discussion important? Well, for starters, it shows us that Lucas had a very set way of doing things with his movies, and he knew exactly where he wanted the hero journey of Luke Skywalker to go – to a good place by not killing him off as Kasdan suggested.

While this discussion happened years ago, it still makes me think of Lucas and his vision for Star Wars and how he wouldn’t have killed Luke if he wrote the sequels.

If you’re interested in further reading on George Lucas’ vision for the sequels, this article covers it pretty well. But the TLDR version is that Darth Maul and his apprentice Darth Talon (who would have been the first female Sith Lord from the expanded universe) would have ruled over the galaxy’s criminals. At the same time, Leia and Luke were busy rebuilding the Republic from the ground up. Luke would have rebuilt the New Jedi Order, and Leia would have become the Republic’s official ruler.

It makes you wonder how differently the fandom might be if his script ideas were considered for the sequels. From what I have read, this is where Lucas resented Disney for completely omitting his ideas in favour of new ideas from other writers. I agree with Lucas because a creative person always wants to see their ideas realised. But I don’t resent Disney either for going in a different direction. They had bought the franchise fair and square, made George even richer than he was, and that is kind of how it was. But at the same time, I think it would have been nice if they had considered what Lucas had written rather than just brushing it off. We don’t know what their contractual agreement stated with Lucas, so this is total speculation on my part. Nobody but Lucas and Disney will know who signed what on the dotted lines.

What do you think of George Lucas’s idea for the sequel trilogy? Do you think it’s better or worse than what we got as fans? Let me know in the comments, friends, and I’ll catch you in tomorrow’s post!

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4 thoughts on “Star Wars is Poetry – George Lucas’ Script Discussion with Lawrence Kasdan

  1. It sounds like Lucas’ ideas for the trilogy are similar to what happened in the Legends books that came after ROTJ. I think it might have made a lot fans happy, especially those who are invested in the Legends books.But I feel like it would have been a it dull and forgettable, lol. Or maybe “predictable” is the word I’m looking for. I can understand Lucas’ point of view in the above conversation for Return of the Jedi–Luke was the hero in that movie, and no, in Star Wars you want the hero to win and not die. But in the sequel trilogy, Luke (and all of the “legacy” characters) were not the main heroes–Rey, Poe and Finn were. The legacy characters were mentors in the sequel trilogy. And you know what happens to mentors in the Hero’s Journey–they die, and the hero(s) have to go on without them and find their own strength. Qui Gon in the TPM and Obi-Wan in ANH were taken away from the heroes. And so to me, it makes sense (although it’s painful) that Han, Luke, and Leia died in the sequels. I wish they hadn’t ALL died. I raged at Han’s death in particular for a long time, lol. But I get it. I also completely understand why some people aren’t okay with Luke’s death, or any of them. It hurts, dammit, lol. That female Sith Lord is awesome, by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing I’ve learned along the way as I try to work on being a writer is that formulas work. Tropes also work (for the most part). Most (in fact almost all) big blockbuster movies today follow the same hero-journey formula which is the hero doesn’t die at the end and saves the day. I think that is what Lucas was trying to tell Lawrence Kasdan because it is a tried and proven formula that countless books and movies follow. Which to me is actually kind of boring and predictable. I actually support the Lawrence Kasdan approach myself because it hardly ever happens in films or books. It’s not wrong to kill the hero if the hero has served their purpose. I think Han was less necessary in the storyline to die than Luke. I understand why Luke had to die I just don’t agree that he did LOL I guess I never will because it’s just my thing a personal thing I have with the fate of my hero. And yeah, the sequels did pave the way for other characters in the story but I just don’t think any of them really are heroes in the same way. I guess that is just my stuck in the mud feeling about the original trilogy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, sometimes I wish they had never made the sequels and Luke, Han and Leia lived happily ever after, like I thought they would after ROTJ, lol. Just kidding, sort of. I love the sequels, despite their flaws.

        Liked by 1 person

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