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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. Jester J Binks

    Jester J Binks Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 19, 2016
    GregMcP that has me worried (even more) about the Han Solo movie. Character without much plot is just as bad as plot without much character. Did Kasdan at least recognize his shortcomings (as Lucas did) and find his Chewbacca to co-pilot this script?

    And it is interesting that you bring up the attack on SKB as I felt nothing for the character of the pilots. The Poe/Finn escape showed how quickly you could develop a character inside a cockpit. The SKB and Maz castle pilot dialogue was flat and uninspired.

    The best SW moments seem to come from collaboration.
  2. AndyLGR

    AndyLGR Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 1, 2014
    Totally agree on the characterisation in Empire and Raiders, many of the copycat films and also the modern day popular blockbusters neglect this aspect of a film. Characters are their strength, make the audience like them and become invested and they are likely to be pulled in to the film. TFA was a perfect example of this. I like to think this was something Kasdan added to the pot.

    I'm mid 40s so I know all about the time period when the OT was out, but I think you're missing the point that a film doesnt have to be constantly having something released relating to it in order for it to remain high in the ranks of cinema history.

    SW only had lean times in terms of the releases relating to it, no different to many other franchises that finish their run, like Indy or Back to the Future or The Godfather etc. So it was natural that the films had run their course and we didn't expect anything new either. Does that lessen their poularity or the impact they had? Of course not and its no different to other popular films that come and go, but the one thing SW did that many films fail to do is it affected popular culture, cinema history and arguably set the bar and the template for sequels and franchises. If anything it made the previously nerdy sci-fi genre cool as it crossed over audiences. If SW was so uncool in the 90s amongst your circle of friends then you were not looking around at was still bubbling away. It has always been a series of films that could be broadcast around Christmas prime times, the video releases were still an event, the EU was gaining momentum, its 20th anniversary warranted a re-release and a makeover and in all those regards it makes it far from being 'niche' series of films.

    You reiterate what we were discussing previously, cinema reboots and remakes have become very popular and IMO at some point SW would probably have been ideal to be revisted anyway even if nothing had been made since Jedi came out. Its too iconic, too rich a universe and too popular not to have been exploited again by the studios who seem to have run out of ideas. Look at how popular the latest 2 films have been, that says to me that its appeal and popularity are still as strong now as they were back in the OT era, granted the universe building since the Special Editions have come out have helped a lot, but theres no denying the appetite so far for OT based stories. Overall its proving to be much more popular than many of the remakes and reboots of films that we've seen over recent times.
  3. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013
    Obviously all those major characters in TESB were already made alive in ANH by Lucas without him. Lucas didn't need him to make the prequels characters come alive.

    So again I give him credit for what he added but the idea that no one else Lucas would have hired wouldn't also be able to add the same kinds of things he did just doesn't work.

    I find the Force Awakens characters weaker overall in comparison to either trilogy. Many of them are drawn directly from Lucas himself just as the story and script is as well as the characters he created that were used again.

    I find it hard to think that Lucas would be so backwards in resetting characters to where they were previously.

    For TFA the characters and their backgrounds don't mesh. Why is Finn the character he is? It'd be like if Luke was raised as we know he was suddenly pulling out a gun then shooting Owen and Beru and burning the homestead down. Makes no sense. Finn makes no sense as a character considering his background.

    Lucas was looking for that in the first place especially after he merged Anakin and Vader in his first draft.

    I think that was very much JJ. He was obsessed with people liking the movie and the characters and less concerned with the story. He took full advantage of it being the first movie and constantly referencing ANH as Well you didn't know about this or that and that was what I was going for.

    Apparently people liked Luke, Leia and Han in ANH in 1977 but they were not nearly as likeable as Rey, Finn and Poe are. Luke was whiny, Leia was bossy and Han was cocky.
    {Quantum/MIDI} and Darthman92 like this.
  4. Darth__Lobot

    Darth__Lobot Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 29, 2015

    That's a complete straw man. Your claim was that the OT would be novelty/niche franchise.... which IMO never came close to happening.

    No one creats tons of (expensive to create) video games for novelty films/franchises (along with other EU material)

    Some of the most popular PC games of their Era... the x-wing series... had 4 releases between 1993 and 1999
  5. Samuel Vimes

    Samuel Vimes Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    To add to what AndyLGR said, I too am over 40 so I lived through that time.
    I saw all three OT films in cinema, I followed what little rumors we could get through normal media.
    So I and most of my friends had heard about three films set before the OT and three set after.

    Yes, SW waned a bit after RotJ but why was this?
    Was it because people stopped liking it?
    Or was it because we didn't get much SW after 1983?

    Consider, what did we get?
    Two made for TV Ewok films. The first got a theatrical release in my country in 1985 I think.
    I saw trailers for it but didn't watch it as the Ewoks wasn't really my favorite part of RotJ.
    We got the Droids cartoon series and the Ewoks cartoon series.
    One lasted one season, the other two. Neither was shown on national TV in my country as far as I know and VHS tapes of them were hard to find.

    There were books and comics and some games and the role play game came in the late 80's I think.

    No big movies, no big blockbusters.
    So that it had moved a bit out of the public awareness is not that strange.

    Also, if Lucas sold SW in 1983, say to Fox for say 700 M$.
    Do you really think that they would sit on the property and not even try to make any films?
    They just paid lots of money for something that they then don't do anything with.

    I don't think so.
    If they got the rights in 1983, I think we would have gotten some announcement in the next year about more SW. Either ep I-III or ep VII-IX.
    Those films might come out in 1986-87.

    What would have happened with all of this is pretty impossible to say.
    The films would be very different to the ones we now have.
    That there would have been NO films at all, that is very unlikely.

    Look at how many old properties that are brought back now and over the last few decades.
    Transformers, Smurfs, GI Joe, The Addams Family, The Flintstones and so on.
    Why would Hollywood refuse to bring back such a popular series?

    Take Star Trek, the original series was cancelled in 1969 and aside from a one season animated series, that was pretty much it.
    Yes it was shown a lot in reruns etc but no new material was created.
    And yet in 1979 we got a film and that did quite well at the BO but less well with critics.

    SW may have faded but it was by no means forgotten.
    The THX tapes sold well when they were released in the early 90's. The huge BO of the SE showed that SW was far from disliked.

    Because you do downplay their contribution.
    You give them no credit.
    The only person that you give credit is Lucas, the rest are replaceable and the end result would be just as good if not better.

    Like I said before, if your boss at your job comes in and says "The job you are doing, it could be done just as well if not better by loads of other people."
    Would you really take that as the boss giving you credit?

    If you told John Williams "The job you do as film composer, there are other composers that can do that just as well if not better than you."
    Do you think he would take that as a compliment?
    I rather doubt it.

    If John Barry had composed the music for SW. If Kurt Russel had played Han Solo. If William Katt had played Luke. The one thing I can say for sure is that SW would be different from what it is now.
    And I strongly suspect it would not be as good.

    Lucas deserves lots of credit, he added some unique qualities to these films.
    But he isn't the only one that did. John Williams, Alec Guiness, James Earl Jones, Ralph McQuarrie and others. They also added something unique to these films and while you could replace them and you would most likely have SW films, to me what they added can't be replicated.
    Not even by Lucas.

    You say that you give them credit, but you also basically say that Lucas could have fired all of them and it wouldn't have mattered one bit. That the films would have been just as good if not better because nothing they did could not have been done better by others.
    You don't seem to understand that saying this is not giving them credit.
    It is reducing them to replaceable people that added nothing unique or distinct to these films.

    It is no slight to Lucas to say that John Williams made great SW music or that Alec Guiness gave a great performance. Or that the work of a lot of talented people made SW into something really great.
    Lucas deserves credit yes but so does other people.

    We have six films with Lucas strongly involved and we have two without him.
    To some, the quality of these new films is on par and maybe even better than some of the films under Lucas. To others the new films are very poor.
    Opinions differ.

    What we can say for sure that without Lucas, the first film would not have been made and thus no SW.
    What would have happened if he departed earlier than he did is unknown.
    I do think that more SW films would have been made.
    They would have been different as Lucas added unique qualities to the films he made.

    Again, take Star Trek, without Gene, there would be no Star Trek.
    Some feel that the Trek under Gene is overall superior to what was done without him.
    Others disagree.
    To me, Gene would not have made ST II or ST VI. Or "Chain of Command." or "In the Pale Moonlight" and to me, Star Trek would have been diminished.

    Bye for now.
    Old Stoneface
  6. AndyLGR

    AndyLGR Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 1, 2014
    Samuel Vimes credit to you for the second half of the above reply because it's akin to banging your head against a wall.
    DarthCricketer and Nate787 like this.
  7. Darth__Lobot

    Darth__Lobot Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 29, 2015
    Don't feed the troll
  8. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2013

    If anybody is making a strawman around here its you. First by intentional misinterpting what I said then using a reverse strawman at me. From the mid 80s to the mid 90s Star Wars was on the decline. If not for the intervention of Lucas and the news of him starting on the PT being released in 93, Star Wars very well could have faded to what BTTF currently is. Yes there were PC games, but video gaming was not as mainstream back then as it is now, again targeting a niche market of PC gamers as video games were still regarded as mainly a nerdy thing. Also video games were cheaper to develop back then than now. 93 was when things started to improve again as that was when Galoob started to make Star Wars micromachines, the first mainstream SW toys in nearly a decade! Remember, Kenner discontinued Star Wars toys by 85 due to declining popularity and sales. Many fans were amazed when Kenner started making figures again in 95, it was a huge deal back then. The SE in 97 fully put SW back into the mainstream limelight, then TPM in 99 anchored SW into the next century. SW has been growing ever since. However, such a future did not seem possible back in the dark times of late 80s and early 90s, especially to the scale the franchise is at now.

    Also, many companies specialize in niche markets as they can still be profitable. But as I said, SW was becoming a niche market during that time.
  9. Jester J Binks

    Jester J Binks Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 19, 2016
    MOD Edit. Aside from being snarky, this is not at all relevant.
  10. Darth__Lobot

    Darth__Lobot Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 29, 2015

    Sigh - you are constructing a straw man argument AGAIN. My entire point is that Star Wars was never going to be become a novelty/niche franchise. Would it be as popular as it is now without new movies? No, of course not. I never claimed otherwise.

    I have no idea why you keep bringing up back to the future... back to the future has never been remotely close to the popularity level of Star Wars. The comparison is silly.

    In any case what in the world does this have to do with Lawrence Kasdan and Episodes 5 and 6?
    DarthCricketer likes this.
  11. Ancient Whills

    Ancient Whills Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 12, 2011
    If people meant that Kasdan's writing is what "saved" ESB and RotJ and that without him they would have flopped then yes, it is over inflating his importance but I'm willing to give credit where credit is due because it was a collaborative work with GL as the major creative force behind it without who we would never have the stories to begin with.
    oierem likes this.

    JEDI-RISING Chosen One star 6

    Apr 15, 2005
    i think Kasdan might be overrated because if you think about some of the things in Empire, like "i love you", "i know". He didn't write that. It was improvised on set. Same thing with Han punching the Falcon's control panel. Kasden also wrote Jedi which is considered less than Empire. So i think the credit should go more to Kershner.
  13. Darth__Lobot

    Darth__Lobot Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 29, 2015
    I don't know how much credit Kasdan should get, but he did write what I think are generally considered the 2 best Lucasfilm movies (Raiders and Empire)... or maybe 2 of the 3 best if you include Star Wars. So he's got that in his column.

    Personally I tend to think that Kershner (and his relationship with Lucas) was probably the key ingredient that puts Empire on that next level
  14. DartJackson

    DartJackson Jedi Youngling star 1

    Aug 26, 2020
    I believe that Kasdan's contribution overrated. And peoples are trying to overshadow their contribution to Lucas. But this certainly does not cancel his work on these films. But the narrative of these films is not his merit. LK was not the "creative author" of these films.

    Lucas could have hired another writer (e.g. American Graffiti co-writers) or continued to write TESB himself and this would not have affected the final result so much. LK work on TESB was similar to that of Willard and Gloria it American Graffiti. I rather tend to give credit for TESB to Kershner's direction.

    On ROTJ Lawrence had a little more involvement, but again the final draft was written with Lucas.

    In ROTLA had more of LK personal and creative input.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
    antitoxicgamer likes this.
  15. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

    May 19, 2020
    IMHO the reason that the OT scripts were so good is because it was a collaboration. Many of Lucas's friends gave their input on the screenplay for STAR WARS and Lucas obviously had official hired help for TESB and ROTJ. To downplay any involvement in the writing process is like trying to remove ingredients from a recipe.
    christophero30 and BlackRanger like this.
  16. DartJackson

    DartJackson Jedi Youngling star 1

    Aug 26, 2020
    But there is a difference when the writer comes up with everything himself and when he works with the already existing drafts of the previous writer. Not every screenwriter is a autor film.

    Kasdan's position on TESB and ROTJ was not at all like Lucas's on ANH. But the problem is that a lot of people give TESB and ROTLA as completely the merit of one Kasdan, trying by this to exalt him over "bad Lucas".

    Kasdan has certainly contributed, but not as fundamental.

    The prequels also had co-authors and script doctors, which is often silent. And Lucas originally wanted to hire others to direct and Kasdan to write. But they all refused.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  17. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

    May 18, 2017
    Everyone here has acknowledged Lucas's contributions so I'm not sure who you are debating with.
    FightoftheForgotten likes this.
  18. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

    May 19, 2020
    Yes. You are correct. But if you research all of the Star Wars films you will find that tons of people helped Lucas with his drafts. Brian DePalma, Francis Ford Coppola, William Hyuck, Gloria Katz, etc... all helped Lucas with the original Star Wars screenplay before production. Kurtz helped Lucas during production. Ford rewrote a lot of his own lines. Various parts were essentially rewritten during editing to change scenes around and create the Death Star sequence where it was getting ready to fire on Yavin IV.

    Obviously we have credited screenwriters for the two immediate sequels, plus Lucas got help from Kurtz, Kazanjian, Marcia, etc...

    Writing from square one has its challenges. Writing off of someone's pre-existing drafts has its own set of challenges as well. There is no quantifiable way to figure out if one is harder than the other so I'm not sure where your trail of thought is getting at.

    You would need to take that up with the people who are actually making that claim then.

    You're going to need to clarify this statement if you expect an informed rebuttal.

    Johnathan Hales helped with AOTC and was credited. Carrie Fisher helped with ROTS and was not credited. And as far as people refusing to work on Lucas' films... It seems that Lucas wanted his old friends to come and help on the cheap and they all said no. I'm sure there were plenty of people who would have helped George Lucas write a Star Wars movie in the mid-nineties. It's not like Lucas asked EVERY SINGLE WRITER and they all turned them down. He asked his friends and they said no.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  19. antitoxicgamer

    antitoxicgamer Jedi Padawan star 2

    Sep 9, 2020
    I kinda believe it is.

    Since he ended up working on Episode 7 which imo wasn't a very original star wars story and relied more on nostalgic than actually telling a good story.
  20. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

    May 19, 2020
    Was Kasdan the one who had final say on the plot? No. I would say that all of the characters in TFA are enjoyable even though the movie itself is lackluster. To me that just shows how talented Kasdan is, he spun straw into... I'm not gonna say gold. TFA doesn't deserve that much praise, but... Kasdan helped write TESB, ROTJ, and ROTLA. His greatest talent is understanding characters and writing phenomenal dialogue that, even when it's just exposition, still gives you insight into who those characters are as people. Kasdan has the ability to turn words into fully fleshed out characters. That is a gift. To just handwave all of that away because Disney hired him to write some trash soft-reboot seems a little harsh.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  21. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    Kasdan's contribution is overrated by those who want to believe that Lucas is a talentless fraud and Kasdan's contribution is underrated by those who want to believe that Lucas is THE creator and mastermind of all Star Wars. As a wise man once said, "your focus determines your reality".

    The one thing that did surprise me, when I found out, is that Kasdan contributed significantly more to Return of the Jedi than to Empire Strikes Back.
    By the time he started working on Empire, the structure of the film was already decided, and nothing substantial changed. He didn't contribute much to the actual story of the film (he worked mainly on the dialogue).
    On Return of the Jedi, Lucas had story conferences with him and Marquand, and those conferences led to a substantial revision of the whole film. So Kasdan contributed more to the STORY of the film, at least by discussing it with Lucas.
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  22. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

    May 18, 2017
    Raiders is a great screenplay. No, it's not The Godfather, but it is very funny and the dialogue perfectly suits the action and adventure elements.
    FightoftheForgotten likes this.
  23. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

    May 19, 2020
    Lucas is amazing at STRUCTURE in screenplays. He knows exactly what types of scene's he needs from star to finish. His only issue is dialogue. This is why Lucas and Kasdan were great collaborators.

    Reading the MAKING OF book for ROTJ, it's pretty obvious that everyone was in agreement about 75% of the story. The remaining 25% (the Ewoks) was where they differed and Lucas put his foot down. And I will make my claim, here and now, that had the introductory scene of the Ewoks not been Wicket sharing a cookie with Leia, the Ewoks would have been better received. The Jawa's (similar creatures) are introduced with these weird HILLS HAVE EYES POV shots and even though they're pretty comical afterward, first impressions last the longest. Had the first scene of Ewoks been more focused on their warrior nature, they would have been better received.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
    christophero30 likes this.
  24. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

    May 18, 2017
    like Ewoks BBQing stormtroopers.
  25. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 4

    May 19, 2020
    Instead of Wicket, have a scout trooper come wake Leia up at gun point.
    Have the scout trooper signal to the second scout to radio it in that they've captured her.
    Suddenly the second scout gets mysteriously pulled down into the brush.
    First scout sees this. Leia uses the opportunity to attempt to take his gun.
    In the midst of them fighting for the gun, the scout trooper gets shot in the back.
    Scout crumples over and Leia sees Ewoks, one of which is holding an Imperial blaster.
    She looks out to where the second scout had disappear and sees two more Ewoks stabbing down at him with spears.
    Leia jokingly says, "I'm not with them."
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