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!