No one believes for an instant that George Lucas had all the episodes of Star Wars planned out from the very beginning. In the same way that no one believes the Wachowski brothers when they try to convince people that the original Matrix movie was intentionally an exploration of Buddhist and Taoist philosophy, mixed with a variety of western existentialist’s thoughts. Do they? Come on, seriously. The Wachowski’s came up with a great story and were then happy to agree to all the nerds that analysed it after it was made. Shame they shafted it up the exhaust pipe with two awful sequels, but there you go.
In the same way, George Lucas made a great movie in Star Wars, borrowing heavily from Akira Kurosawa’s movies and drawing extensively on his unversity knowledge of hero mythology. He made a ground-breaking film that was life changing for millions, myself included. On the success of it he slowly became the sequel and merchandising king of the universe.
Ewoks aside, he made two pretty brilliant sequels, with some people even suggesting that The Empire Strikes Back is a better film than Star Wars. (I will not call it A New Hope, so don’t even start – yes, I’m old school.)
Subsequently his life changed dramatically, he became obsessed with the idea of symbiosis and by the time he came to making the prequels, he was a different man. A much worse man. A really annoying man, with hints of the racist about him and a way of making entire movies based on a video game that he has yet to release. A really bad game, therefore a bloody awful movie.
But I digress.
The point is, if you can remember back that far and have even bothered to stick around this long, no one believes that he had all the films planned out in advance. But it seems that Lucas is incapable of uttering the words, “I’ve changed my mind.” Back in the early eighties there was talk of there actually being nine films in the series, with the original Star Wars being the first of these nine. And this isn’t idle schoolyard gossip. My family was personal friends with one of the primary cast members of the Star Wars movies and it came from him. (No, I won’t drop names.) Even so, Lucas has recently said that there was only ever going to be six films and he has now made the very films he planned to make all along. Bollocks has he. He changed his mind numerous times along the way. Which is fine, if he could only admit it.
I mean, seriously, midichlorians? Where the hell did they pop up from and then disappear to if he had them planned all along? They absolutely should have disappeared. They should never have even occurred to Lucas, if he had any desire to see the credibility of his myths maintained, but there you go.
Anyway, wonder no more. With thanks to The Word reader and good friend of mine, James Frost, who passed on the news from slashdot, all can now be unofficially revealed. You can read all about this whole subject in a free e-book. From slashdot:
“How exactly did George Lucas develop the script for the first Star Wars? Why were the prequels so uneven when the originals were so good? Did he really have a masterplan for six, nine, or even twelve episodes, and why did the official Lucasfilm position keep changing? And just how big an influence were the films of Akira Kurosawa on the whole saga? Michael Kaminski’s The Secret History of Star Wars, Third Edition is a free, thoroughly unauthorized, e-book that brings together a huge amount of literary detective work to sort fact from legend and reveal how the story really evolved. Download it or have your nerd credentials revoked.”
Bloody marvellous. You can download the free e-book in question here. I’m off to get my copy now.