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CT Is Lawrence Kasdan contribution to Episode 5 (& 6) overrated ?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by fastcooljosh, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. DrDre

    DrDre Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 6, 2015
    Sorry, but I disagree. Heck, even Lucas disagrees:

    "Dialogue has never been my strong point, and so I talked to Willard and Gloria and asked them to do a quick dialogue polish....They did about thirty percent of the dialogue"

    So, for his masterpiece, the original Star Wars, Lucas felt the dialogue was important enough, and recognized that it needed polishing.

    Secondly, the OT is probably the most quoted film series in the history of cinema. So, while you and your friends may laugh out loud, although the OT might not feature the greatest dialogue put to the screen, it is a fact, that it is certainly features some of the most memorable dialogue in movie history.

    While you are of course entitled to believe the PT features superior dialogue, I think most would disagree. I know I do, and I think the fact, that the PT is rarely quoted speaks volumes.
    AndyLGR, Krueger, KaleeshEyes and 4 others like this.
  2. fastcooljosh

    fastcooljosh Jedi Knight star 1

    Mar 15, 2017
    If I remeber it correctly George "hired"Carrie Fischer as script doctor, because he knew of his weaknesses.

    Also Episode 2 was co-written by Jonathan Hales.
    DrDre likes this.
  3. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013

    Lucas used various writers to retool the dialogue in script form. Some credited, some not. This is usual.

    What is odd is this insistence that LK did something extraordinary. Give him his due but let's not overstate it.

    TESB is still TESB without Kasdan.
  4. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 6, 2016
    You can't simply make that final statement on the basis that uncredited writers of some esteem have contributed to other Star Wars movies.
    Krueger, TX-20, DrDre and 1 other person like this.
  5. Strongbow

    Strongbow Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 6, 2014

    It might have been more or less the same story, but it would NOT have been the same movie. Same for Kersh. If Lucas has directed TESB, it would not have been the same movie. These artists made significant contributions to the film. So did Lucas, of course, since he wrote the story.
    Krueger, TX-20, DrDre and 3 others like this.
  6. Ord-Mantell70

    Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 9, 2009
    "On its own" meant that those scenes didn't appear in the previous drafts by G.Lucas, and were written by L.Kasdan. I Know it's R.Marquand who came up wih the idea of bringing back Yoda and Dagobah (Yoda's death), during the story conferences between Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and Kazanjian before the 2nd draft by Kasdan.

    Of course, everything is eventually approved and stamped by the big chief...

    Anyway, the only way to figure out Kasdan's exact contribution to the screenplay (apart from dialogues) is to make a close comparison between the first (revised rough) and all following drafts.
    But it's even more complicated as Annotated Screenplays also mentions some Lucas' revisions dated January 1982, just before shooting...

    But in the end, yeah, L.Kasdan's contribution (especially for Empire) is probably somewhat overrated.

    C.Fisher's involvment as a script doctor for the prequels is more of a rumour...If she did make some contributions, it's really really tiny.

    J.Hales's contribution for Episode II is more consistent, but he entered the picture very late, probably just a month before shooting began...So his input can only be minimal (dialogues polishing).

    So those collaborations can't be compared with the amount of work Kasdan did for ESB and ROTJ.
    Qui-Riv-Brid likes this.
  7. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    But that's not enough -as you say, the script was re-structured between Lucas' drafts and Kasdan's drafts during the story conferences. The changes that first appear in Kasdan's script were decided DURING those meetings -yes, Kasdan wrote those scenes for the first time, but he didn't "create" them.
    (Keep in mind that, while the script was being re-thought, pre-production was in full swing, they were only a few months away from shooting.)

    And of course, Lucas re-wrote many parts of the Kasdan draft himself, before giving it back to Kasdan -and back to Lucas.

    Alfred Hitchcock, for example, never actually wrote any script by himself, but he worked closely with hisscreenwriters, virtually dictating the scripts. Lucas' case is probably not too far away from this example.
    Qui-Riv-Brid likes this.
  8. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013
    Sure can because it was already before LK came on.

    If it wasn't him then it would be someone else.

    Not the same of course but so minimal that it would be irrelevant.

    We are not talking about IK's part as such here.

    This is the point though. Lucas wrote the script and rewrote it over and again with LK.

    Give him all the credit he deserves but not more than that is my point.
  9. DrDre

    DrDre Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 6, 2015
    In my view this argument is a piece of fiction. You are delibirately ignoring Lucas' own words that he's a weak writer of dialogue. Hence, the dialogue in the OT, and consequently it's iconic characters would probably have been much weaker and far less impactful than they were in reality.

    Secondly, you're saying give LK the credit he deserves, but in reality you don't give him any credit at all, or any of his collaborators for that matter. Your fantasy is, that Lucas could have done it all by himself, if he wanted to, and the films would have ended up pretty much the same. Everyone involved was expendable. You literally state the contributions of the collaborators amount to virtually nothing, as they are in your words so minimal, they would be irrelevant.

    Yet, none of the works Lucas made without these collaborators are held in such high regard as the OT, and the last two entries in the franchise, for which his active involvement was minimal or non-existent.
  10. DrDre

    DrDre Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 6, 2015
    Just to be clear, I'm not arguing the OT would have been better without Lucas. Lucas created this world, and his imagination and stories are what has driven, and will continue to inspire the franchise going forward. My argument is simply, that Lucas working with talent, such as Kasdan, and Kershner, that are complementary to his own talents produces better films, than Lucas without them.
  11. Strongbow

    Strongbow Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 6, 2014
    I don't see how in the world you can say that. See the quote in my post. Apparently George thought he would do ESB quite differently. I know you love George's work. Good for you. But I don't understand being so dismissive of the fantastic work of the other artists who made that movie what it is.
  12. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013
    I'm glad it's not mine!

    Actually I don't which I have gone over again and again many times.

    For one Lucas loves ripping his own dialogue in interviews. At the same time he also gives credit to others that is not undeserved but also overdone. Does he talk about all the reworking his does of the dialogue? Not much.

    For whatever reason people love to separate Lucas' own pronouncements of his "weak dialogue" which none the less so many people love.

    The other thing going on is ignoring the reality of the movies that Lucas does talk about. The dialogue is not where his movies exist. They exist in the graphics and music (let us add sound effects in there as well).

    It's those that are the prime building blocks of the movies. The dialogue is there for support. Important support to be sure. Far more important in the prequels I'd say.

    It's these that give the dialogue the impact not the other way around. To pretend that anyone was praising the dialogue of ANH when it came out or TESB or ROTJ is simply ignoring reality.

    STAR WARS IS ALL-TIME SUCCESS DUE TO DIALOGUE! is simply not in touch with the audience.

    I certainly do. My point is that Lucas modestly gives them too much and downplays what he does which has been used against him by those who despise him, the SE's and the PT. They seem to narrate to themselves this idea that Star Wars is made by dialogue and totally in the script.

    Not at all. I clearly state that Lucas could have brought in other collaborators and get pretty much the same result. So replace IK and LK with others and it's still TESB. Tell IK and LK to create a sequel to ANH without Lucas and you get who knows what? Certainly not TESB.

    They are all expendable yes. If not them then Lucas would have chosen others. The point though is that he did chose them. So therefore even those who despise Lucas would have to admit to themselves his ability to choose people is amazing for casting and production as well as stories, characters and situations as well as his sense of the art of movie-making on every level of visual, music and sound effects.


    It is by me and all those who feel the same way I do. The objective facts of the success with the audience of the prequels is undeniable. Of course there are those who try to deny and are fooling themselves. They can't admit that success with the audience means something unless of course they agree with the audience.

    Never mind the facts of the actual release of the movies at the time, over time and actual reactions that happen.

    As has been done over so many, many times that particular loud fraction of the audience is annoyed when things are the way they want them and this applies to the new movies. There are those who have waited since 1980 for a Star Wars movie they liked and still were after TFA and some still are after R1.

    Which I agree with as per the brilliance of the PT as well as the OT. Lucas knew how to surround himself with incredible talent to help him achieve his startling visions.

    Now why exactly LK (and IK) get this disproportionate credit from some people as opposed to anyone else who is just as deserving I don't know. Gary Kurtz gets a ridiculous amount of credit for a guy who failed his assignments on both ANH and TESB while McCallum who came through over and again with the SE's and the PT doesn't.

    The PT cast and crew chosen by Lucas did just as great as the OT one did. They executed Lucas' vision. The only "problem' was that his vision was not to make the same movies he had already done.

    Why would he want to make them that way again? It makes no sense for him as an artist and would be utterly ludicrous for the story.

    Imagine if he had done a TFA style version of TPM in 1999. I very much doubt people would be heaping praise on him for overtly and in the audiences face for tracing himself.
  13. Samuel Vimes

    Samuel Vimes Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    I don't think you give them any credit.
    You say that they are expendable, that their only job was to follow Lucas orders.
    That they did not add anything of substance to these films.

    You essentially paint them as assembly line workers, their only role is to follow Lucas commands as closely as they can, that's it. And if they don't do it, someone else would.
    That whatever creative input they might have had, it is so small it is totally unimportant.

    Tell me, do you feel the same about John Williams? That he is given too much credit?
    That he could be replaced and the films would be largely unchanged?
    What about Han Solo, Kurt Russell was up for the part, would the films be identical if he played the role?

    I don't agree with this.
    I know there were instances where people did things that Lucas did not tell them to and he was actually against at first. But changed his mind later.
    Thus, another person might not have done this thing and instead just done what Lucas wanted and Lucas himself might not have thought of it and it would never have been a part of the film.

    Lucas had pretty much final say on what would be kept in the films yes. And the basic foundation is his.
    But not every thing was his idea, some of them came from people he worked with.
    So if you replace them, some of these ideas might never happen and not been a part of the films.
    That Lucas can see a good idea, find a way to use it and make it a part of the films, that is a credit to him. That does not mean that he will have thought of the idea himself.
    And so with other people, some of these ideas might never be in the films.

    Someone described a director as a funnel for all the creative talent of the people working on the film.
    The director can choose to keep or reject an idea, or alter it.
    That does not mean that the director is the only one who comes up with ideas.

    Bye for now.
    Blackboard Monitor
  14. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013
    I can say you are 100% wrong on that because I am the one who is giving it.

    Sorry but I can't agree with that at all (and I would know) and I didn't write that either.

    Sorry again.

    Actually incredibly important. Lucas chose them to do so and they proved it. If they didn't then he either wouldn't have hired them in the first place or got rid of them (like Kurtz).

    That he could have been not used in the first place and someone else brought in instead? Sure. If Lucas had used someone else then the movie would still have the musical sensibility that it did just with another composer.

    Would it be the exactly the same? Of course not but we wouldn't know it to be any different. Lucas collaboration with JW is possibly the most overlooked thing in SW.

    Replaced? As in he did the first one and someone else comes in as opposed to someone else in the first place?

    That would be different of course because then something is so distinct as opposed to just about anything else. The graphics and music is where the movies live.

    Essentially the same is what I said not identical. That is obvious. Either way Han would be Han because that is the way Lucas would have had it.

    No reason to think the same wouldn't have happened either way.

    Which was my whole point. He created environments where people were asked to come up with material that he may or may not use. I don't see why anyone is tied down to what happened as opposed to anything else.

    Then other things would have been by him or others who he brought in.

    This also plays into my point. For those who are so insistent on this person or that person's ideas idea that may or may not be from them anyway (since these people are so against the idea that Lucas actually thought of seemingly anything at all and it was everyone but him :rolleyes:) they seem to think that no one else besides the people who actually worked on it could do that in the first place.

    The idea that they might actually do so seems to confound them.
    {Quantum/MIDI} likes this.
  15. DrDre

    DrDre Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 6, 2015
    Nobody here is arguing Lucas isn't the most important contributor, and the main creative driving force behind these films. However, you go to the other extreme. The film TESB and Lucas' original vision for that film in 1978 are not the same. The writers, producers, director(s), actors, designers, composers all add their own unique contribution, to make a film what it is. Replace any of these contributors, and you will have a different film, replace all of them, and it will be a vastly different visual and auditory experience. Film making is a team effort. You change the team, you change the film. So, unless Lucas can do all the writing, producing, directing, acting, designing, composing, etc by himself, nobody can claim they are witnessing Lucas' pure undiluted vision. There is no such thing.

    Nobody knows what would have happened had Lucas chosen other collaborators to create the first Star Wars. You seem eager to dismiss Gary Kurtz. Yet, it is very possible, that without his contribution to the original film, it might never have become the success that it did. The same is true for the contributions of Ralph McQuarrie, John Williams, the actors, and many others. The success of a football team cannot just be attributed to the coach. The individual players are equally important.
  16. xezene

    xezene Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 6, 2016
    Kasdan played an important role, but it was a collaborative process. In the Making of books for ESB and ROTJ, you can see them talking, hashing out ideas, going back and forth, tweaking things. GL always had the final say and sometimes Kasdan's ideas were rejected. But most of the time Lucas listened to him and brought in some of his ideas, or found something they both agreed on -- contrary to popular belief, Lucas tends to take in feedback and suggestions pretty well from his team as long as it doesn't cut directly across what he is trying to do. Kasdan's contribution should not be forgotten or ignored, nor downplayed -- he played an important part of the symphony of ESB and ROTJ. But he was not the symphony. He was a part. Lucas steered the ship, and you can bet Lucas would veto anything he didn't think would work out right. But Kasdan did bring in things that were unique to him. Without Kasdan, I don't know if they would have been as good -- perhaps not, perhaps the same quality, perhaps better. But either way, without Kasdan, they would not be the same films they are today. And so since so many of us enjoy ESB and ROTJ for the films that they are, we should be thankful for his contribution.
    Darth__Lobot and DrDre like this.
  17. ezekiel22x

    ezekiel22x Chosen One star 5

    Aug 9, 2002
    I think his credit is fully deserved. But in terms of my personal taste, he is "overrated" in the sense that ESB is the only Kasdan entry I think stands out in a great way, and even then the Han/Leia dynamic that shapes much of that movie is not my favorite.
    {Quantum/MIDI} likes this.
  18. Kuro

    Kuro Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 17, 2015
    I will say this for George Lucas- he has a damn-near perfect eye for talent. He’s not a very good director of actors nor is he a very good screenwriter, but he’s excellent at picking the right actor for the right role, whether it’s in AMERICAN GRAFFITI or STAR WARS. Mark Hamill may not be the world’s greatest actor, but he was absolutely perfect for the role of Luke Skywalker. Even in the prequels, I’d actually argue that, with the exception of Natalie Portman, most of the casting choices were spot-on (I actually think Keira Knightley might’ve been a better casting choice). Even Hayden Christensen was actually a pretty good casting choice, I think. The problems with his performance have more to do with writing and direction than with miscasting.

    In fact, I can only name one serious casting blunder that Lucas has ever made in his entire career- his opposition to casting Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Ford was always Spielberg’s first choice for the role, but Lucas initially fought against him.
    DarthCricketer likes this.
  19. {Quantum/MIDI}

    {Quantum/MIDI} Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2015
    As much as I love Harrison as Jones, why is that? Perhaps I can see why but I always wondered what Lucas's opposing thoughts were on the matter.
  20. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    Lucas didn't want to use the same actor in all his movies. He prefers unkown actors because the audience will see them as the characters they portray, as opposed to "hey! here's Harrison Ford playing a Harrison Ford-like character yet again!"
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  21. Kuro

    Kuro Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 17, 2015
    Well, as it turns out, Spielberg was right and Lucas was wrong (even Lucas would probably concede this in retrospect). Ford is absolutely perfect in the role, and it’s impossible to imagine any other actor doing a better job. He’s the ideal mix of heroism and self-interest; machismo and practicality; roughness and culture. He can be James Bond or Han Solo or Sam Spade.

    But maybe the success of Ford as Indy changed Lucas’s mind on that issue. The prequels certainly had plenty of recognizable actors- Liam Neeson, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee. Jackson, especially, I think brought a certain set of expectations to the role. Frankly, I would’ve much rather heard Jackson quote his PULP FICTION Bible verse upon cornering the Emperor than whatever boring technobabble he uttered about the oppression of the Sith or something's like that.
    Again, I point to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
  22. Samuel Vimes

    Samuel Vimes Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    Sorry but you are not giving them any credit.
    If you say that they could be replaced and whoever replaced them would do just as good a job as they did and the film would be largely unchanged.
    That is NOT giving credit, it is instead saying "Your job could be done just as well by just about anyone else."

    Ex, take Brando in the first Godfather film. A very praised and celebrated performance.
    Your argument is that you could replace Brando with just about any other actor and the film would be largely unchanged and the performance would be about as good.
    In essence, Brando didn't make a great performance, the director/script did.
    That is was good had nothing to do with Brando. Others could have done just as well.

    I meant that if Williams was busy or Lucas choose someone else to score ANH.
    And I don't think the music would have been as good.
    Williams is very talented, maybe uniquely so. And I don't think anyone else could have done what he did.

    I think we can say that it would be different and I know that the music is one of the things that exceeded Lucas expectations in ANH.
    Put a different composer there and it would be different and I would think it would be less good.
    Here you again show why you give no credit to anyone but Lucas.
    You say that Harrison didn't do anything that other actors could not have done just as well as he did.
    He added nothing to Han the character. Lucas did all the work and Harrison just did what he was told.
    As long as Lucas is doing it, anyone else is expendable, replaceable and the quality will not change.
    Mark, Carrie, Harrison, Alec, Ewan, Liam, all of them are expendable and could be replaced with other actors and the quality of the film and the performances will not change.

    Nope, because ideas come from individuals and we are all different.
    Thus an idea is unique to the person that came up with it and if you replace that person with someone else, this idea might never come up.
    Or they might not fight as hard for their idea.
    End result, different creative team = different end product.

    In fact your argument is essentially that if Lucas didn't think of SW in the 70's, someone else would have and made a film that would be about as good as his.

    Ex. a TV-series, even if you have the same showrunner in place over four season, that does NOT mean that the quality of each season or each episode will be identical.
    You have different writers, directors, actors.
    All of which will give rise to variation in quality.

    Or as DrDRe said, a sports team. Your argument is that every player is expandable as long as the same coach is in place.
    That players like Ronaldo, Pele, Maradona, etc, they are all expandable and replaceable.


    As DrDRe said, no one here is saying that Lucas isn't the main creative force behind SW.
    Remove him before the first film and you would not have SW at all.

    If he made the first film but decided that he wouldn't do more and sold the rights to Fox.
    Would there be more films? Sure. Different? Almost certainly.
    But I do think people other than Lucas can be given some credit as well.
    That their absence would have an effect of the films.

    Lucas creation of SW was his unique achievement and I don't think anyone else would have thought of it or in quite that manner.
    But I also think that others added to his creation in their unique way and made it what it is now.
    And if you replace those people I think the end result would be different.
    It is no insult to Lucas so say that some of the people he worked with might have come up with ideas that he might not have thought of and those ideas added to the whole that is SW.
    Giving them some credit does not diminish what Lucas did.

    Arguing that Lucas did nothing is wrong but I think arguing that Lucas did everything is also wrong.

    Bye for now.
    Blackboard Monitor
  23. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013
    I'm unaware of them being in prior Lucas films which was the point.

    If you think that was techno babble then you must have really not enjoyed much of any of the movies.
  24. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013
    Of course but I don't see why you are so seemingly so tied to the final realized result as being the ONLY thing that could be done.

    It's about the process to get to the results. That is what matters. Every single one of those "writers, producers, director(s), actors, designers, composers" could be replaced and Lucas would get new people and still make a movie called TESB that was in essence the same movie. Another version of the same film.

    Would it be exactly the same? Of course not. Would it be as good, not as good or better? No way to know.

    Vastly different and the same as well. Both at the same time.

    I don't follow this thought process. I've have already said the same thing already. I agree with you but for whatever reason you don't seem to agree with me.

    Which is not what we are talking about here. This is about TESB.

    Like Kasdan he should be seen in his proper place not the ridiculous position others have tried to put him in (including himself).

    It is also very possible that it would have been even more successful and a better producer would have been able to get even more of what Lucas wanted as opposed to what ANH actually turned out to be in his eyes at the time.

    If Lucas had been more traditional and worried about things like dialogue and actors "acting" then MH, CF and HF would not have been cast in the first place.

    If he had the more typical directors ego then everyone else would not have the reputations they enjoyed.

    Yes he probably would have to some degree but the point that for whatever reason gets missed over and again is that he chose IK for the reason that he knew what he would do and Lucas discussed that approach with him.

    When he says differently I think people take it to mean the story which is not the case as it's his story and script. What he means is the actual shooting, sets-ups, graphic composition etc etc. That of course would be the Lucas way of I-IV and style that was in VI as opposed to the V way.

    I don't know how to say this or make it anymore clear that I am not dismissive of it.
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  25. DrDre

    DrDre Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 6, 2015
    I think we reached a point of agreement. We just put an emphasis on different aspects.
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