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Discussion The Cohesion/Direction/Structure Of The ST & It's Pros & Cons

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Sequel Trilogy (Released Films)' started by Tyrian, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. Tyrian

    Tyrian Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Feb 5, 2000
    TLDR Summary: The biggest problem with the Sequel Trilogy right now is a lack of cohesion, stemming from the 'blank slate' attitude and design each film is being created with, with respect to its predecessor. Alarmingly, this trend looks set to continue with Episode 9.

    Firstly, i'd like to draw your attention to the "Lucasfilm Story Group" and what its intended role is:

    Sounds like a great concept, right? Keeping cohesive continuity with Star Wars material. It also seems like this would be an obvious no-brainer concept to replicate when planning a trilogy of films.

    ST... stands for sequel trilogy, ie; a trilogy of films - interconnected and intimately related. Intended, designed (and planned) to form a cohesive narrative which unfolds and progresses through the trilogy.

    But thats not how these films, apparently, are being made! And we know this as fact straight from the horses' mouth. Heres Rian Johnson talking about the 'blank slate' he inherited after TFA:

    But how can Episode 8 be a 'blank canvas' you know nothing about... when the films are meant to form a cohesive trilogy? And just recently Rian Johnson is again confirming that he doesnt want to pre-empt anything about Episode 9, because thats for JJ Abrams to 'figure out'.

    James Cameron is making 4 avatar films, has 4 scripts... and even if other directors came in - there is a meta-narrative planned out which would presumably mean the films are on track to work towards a common goal.

    Why, then... is this Star Wars trilogy essentially an exercise in 'throwing the keys away' after each film, letting your successor come in with a 'blank slate' and do whatever the hell he/she wants? Sounds like a receipe for a mess to me. Each film could indeed be great on its own, but I expect a trilogy to work together as a whole.... not piss on the setup and narrative of the ones that came before it.

    What they're doing / done makes no sense whatsoever, especially given the Lucasfilm Story Group exists as a concept being used already elsewhere - and theres no reason they (kathleen?) couldnt have created a similar unit for these Star Wars films (chaired by the films writers / directors / creative directors etc) to foreplan meta-arcs out in advance.

    Astute readers might say, 'But George Lucas himself didnt have all of the OT planned out. He made parts of it up as he want along!'. Indeed, but it was uncharted ground back then and nobody had any idea whether the film would be a success, enough to warrant any sequels. The difference here is we knew this trilogy of films was going to be a success and will make loads of $$$. We were always going to get these 3 films the day they announced a trilogy was to be made. So theres even less of an excuse to pretend one film will be made to test the water to see if the others will be made too. They were all, always, going to be made... so they should have been planned out better accordingly.

    Why on earth didnt they / arent they planning a trilogy of films out in advance?

    I can't really blame Rian Johnson. He was hired to make a film. He made a film. JJ Abrams was hired to make a film. He made his film too. But surely before JJ, and before Rian, surely it was somebodys job to realise / say , 'Hey - we better make sure what these directors are going to be doing works together towards a cohesive whole'...

    ... and shouldnt that person have been Kathleen Kennedy? Which is bizarre, because she herself helped create the Lucasfilm Story group, but decided not to a similar concept here even when 500 million+ will be made to create 3 films? It makes no sense.

    In conclusion: TLJ could be a good film, on its own, when considered in a vacuum... but its not the film that should have come after TFA. This is the direct result of everything discussed above.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    AusStig, Benoda, Dukeleto69 and 34 others like this.
  2. Strongbow

    Strongbow Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 6, 2014
    I think they have a start point and an end point in mind. But creativity is rarely served by rigid planning. I personally think the ST so far is very cohesive, but then I never committed much to a particular outcome. I was nearly certain Rey was Random, but would have been okay with Rey Related if told well. I thought there was a good chance Kylo killed Snoke and took his place. That happened, so good for me I guess. For me, everything that happened followed pretty well from TFA, even if I didn't necessarily agree 100%.
  3. Tyrian

    Tyrian Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Feb 5, 2000
    While I want to believe this, the quote goes explicitly against what the directors have gone on the record by saying. And even if JJ had his own personal end point in mind, he kept it to himself, because Rian had his own reset/blank slate to work from (as quoted).
    Glitterstimm, w4tkn, wobbits and 9 others like this.
  4. Thrawn082

    Thrawn082 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 11, 2014
    Yeah and TFA and TLJ don't feel like they line up much at all. Which isn't surprising since apparently Rian was already writing TLJ before TFA came out and LF basically just let him do whatever he wanted (as he himself has stated). So it led to a bunch of things that didn't line up or felt like retcons.
    AusStig, Glitterstimm, w4tkn and 18 others like this.
  5. guittarjedi

    guittarjedi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 21, 2002
    It makes perfect sense when you realize Disney is exploiting a beloved property for quick cash. It took three years to make each classic trilogy movie. Disney is cranking them out in two years. The end result is bound to suffer.
  6. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    But what was the point of Snoke at all?

    Given the story we saw in TLJ, Ben didn't need an additional reason to turn to the Dark Side. Nor did Snoke serve any purpose to the story going forward. So we have a wholly unexplained character dropped in the story who adds nothing unique to the narrative but creates a bunch of questions that thus far have went entirely unanswered and would likely distract from the present narrative if they tried to do so. Why have him in the first place? A coherent vision of the broad arc of the narrative across three films might have highlighted this sort of issue.
  7. gezvader28

    gezvader28 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Mar 22, 2003
    I think the main problem is storylines that just go nowhere , from the mysteries set up around Rey and Snoke to the Canto Bites cul-de-sac.
  8. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    The entirety of Finn's character seems the same way. They introduced the character with no real idea of what to do, and as a result just keep doing exactly the same thing every film: comic relief while he struggles with whether to commit himself to a larger cause or flee and look out for himself. Even though every single time he goes through this, he's presented as coming to some final conclusion about it.
  9. speckledroman

    speckledroman Jedi Youngling

    Aug 4, 2017
    What's really sad is that you could say the exact same thing about Luke in TLJ. Luke didn't really train Rey, nor apparently did she need any training. His final hurrah as a projection had relatively low stakes (stalling so 15 people can escape?). I mean, what exactly did he accomplish, what significant impact did he have? It feels like even if he had been cut out of the film entirely, none of the outcomes would have been different
  10. Game3525

    Game3525 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2008
    Yeah, Finn is a pretty good representation of the sequel trilogy.

    The concept of the character is actually really good and original (Finn's background is much more interesting then Rey's or Kylo's IMO). Yet, the execution was poor. Instead of getting a more serious character, we got a stereotypical millennial with no real direction.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  11. MoffJacob

    MoffJacob Jedi Knight star 2

    Dec 25, 2015
    Freaky Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy
  12. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    More disturbingly still, we get a stereo-typically negative image of a black person who: A)is incompetent B)used to be a janitor C)is mostly used for pratfalls and physical comedy D)always wants to run away and E)never has much deep thought, but is usually given to superficial, obvious impressions that others have to correct for him.

  13. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett Host, PT Interview Thread star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Feb 18, 2014
    Even though I like the ST I still think if it had one director that would be better
  14. SWITS

    SWITS Jedi Knight star 2

    Jan 7, 2015
    Once Disney bought Star Wars, Lucasfilm intially had a feel-good share-the-wealth mind-state of "Every new up-and-coming Writer/Director will get a chance to make a Star Wars film."
    And that turned out to be a horrible idea. From the firings of Josh Trank(Boba Fett movie), to the firings of Lord & Miller(Han Solo movie), to the firing of Colin Trevoro(Episode 9), to the re-shoots of Garreth Edwards' Rogue One. And now, Rian Johnson's movie completely went a whole different direction that a lot of fans aren't happy with. It's a whole mess over at Lucasfilm. Lucasfilm completely underestimated how hard it is to make quality Star Wars films.
    So far, a veteran like JJ Abrams seems to know what works. And hopefully the other veteran Ron Howard also understands what works.
    JorakUln, Rhyoth, Vib3s and 7 others like this.
  15. Azpiri

    Azpiri Jedi Knight star 1

    Dec 20, 2015
    I don't think they needed one director, but they needed a story that stems across an entire trilogy. PT - The rise and fall of Anakin to Vader. OT - The rise of Luke, so that redemption can occur. ST - ... er... to forget about the PT and OT and keep SW fresh? The ST is very disjointed with no clear direction, and not really sure what story is being told.
    Jo Lucas, AusStig, wobbits and 10 others like this.
  16. Shadao

    Shadao Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 31, 2017
    They of all people should have looked at Lucasfilm's history regarding this business method. It was said that Lucas initially wanted the Star Wars series to be director-driven, give each film its own distinct flair for each film. But he quickly scrapped that idea during the production TESB, and began to take direct control of the production starting with ROTJ. Maybe it has something to do with the Star Wars Holiday Special, which Lucas had little control over.

    Regardless, Lucas' iron grip on the Star Wars franchise didn't came out of nowhere and without reason...
    Jo Lucas, wobbits, Revan51 and 10 others like this.
  17. Darth_Accipiter

    Darth_Accipiter Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2015
    Can't it be contributed to the fact that we're only through the second of three films? Not everything is going to make sense as to how everything connects at the end of the second film. Also, I don't think the story group has as much power in establishing the canon and where you can take the continuity as much as the directors do. The main job of the story group is to make sense out of everything and advise authors and directors if something completely contradicts something.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    Gemlake, Jcuk and Yora like this.
  18. vong333

    vong333 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 18, 2003
    You guys all are missing the point. I covered this before when the merger occurred. I told everyone that Disney was going to be the master and that they were going to re-shape star wars in a way that was different in almost everything from philosophy of filming to story and special effects, etc. I even went as far as saying that the Expanded Universe would be cancelled completely (which at the time wasn't). And what happened? Yep

    Now GL went from being the bad guy to the super duper, defend the true star wars good guy. The new movies don't connect. The new movies are cash cows with no soul. Heck, I even started to hear some people say that the most loather star wars movie (TPM), is better than the Disney movies. Now, that is a stretch, but, not an entirely wrong one per say.

    The big problem and the only problem is.........what is star wars? Who is Luke Skywalker, Leia, the scenery, stories? Is it J.J's? Is it KK or RJ, or CW, Phil Lord, or Ron Howard? Is it Iger at Disney? Nope, true star wars has been and will always be George Lucas. Whether you like him, or hate him, he is star wars. Only he knows that true stories because he created the sucker in the first place. Disney bought the everything, but should have kept him as the consultant and gone with his stories because, he is star wars. But, nooooooo, people were glad and scared that they did not because they did not agree with his vision, or better yet, were worried that if they followed his vision, it would mean less cash and more negative pt style feedback, hence the going back to basic filmmaking getting away from digital and using practical special effects and film stock crap. When Disney stopped using GL and his scripts and decided to re-write things, you get what you have...TFA and TLJ. The only movie that is closer to true star wars was actually Rogue One. The others, went off on a deep tangent, and once Episode 9 gets finished the tangent will continue.

    GL showed have never been cut from the process until Episode 9 is done. Back to the PT movies.....yep I mocked them, but I can sit down and watch those 3 movies and say that it is true GL with all its faults. When I watch this new sequel trilogy, yep they made a ton of cash and broke records and is now .....the official star wars, but a GL star wars? Never.
    Jo Lucas, Corcan, rpeugh and 17 others like this.
  19. oldtimefan 2

    oldtimefan 2 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Dec 27, 2017
    The funny thing I totally agree with everything you say and I don't want to bash I just think it's a little sad that Disney got their hands on this franchise.

    As regards Rogue One I think it really adds to the Saga and helps with the transition from the Prequel Trilogy to the Original Trilogy.

    I always hated the Prequel Trilogy bashing not saying they were perfect either I hated Jar Jar Binks but they were a visual feast.
  20. Jamtia

    Jamtia Jedi Knight star 3

    Apr 5, 2016
    They probably looked at how Lucas had too much control on the prequels, no one to tell him otherwise about an idea or shot, and LF went the opposite way or having everyone get their feet into this.

    I do they they had a start and end game to this no doubt. Getting there was whoever wanted it to get there and however they wanted to. So far it really hasn’t worked out. While the TFA was kind of a retread with the OT, TLJ was a retread of the character arcs, the new ones in TFA. Didn’t feel like they grew as much. But I also think the no time jump kind of hurts them in this case. It’s less believable if the characters do a 180 growth in less than a day, than let’s say Empire Strikes Back, where there was a sense that time passed since ANH, and the characters knew each other more.
  21. Darth-Seldon

    Darth-Seldon Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 17, 2003
    Snoke serves a purpose but its in relation to Kylo Ren's arc. It is about Ren's decision to no longer play obedient apprentice and rather seize power for himself--another step in his development. His backstory is unnecessary. All we need to know is that he led the First Order and advanced Ren's journey into the dark side. He was really just a generic Palapatine imitator anyway. Killing him off and focusing on Ren makes for a more interesting story.

    I share the concern that the ST was not properly mapped out. As Tyrian pointed out--George Lucas never plotted too far in advance and often changed his mind. But George was the ultimate arbiter of the story for both previous trilogies and he had some idea of where things were going. Having new creative teams come in for each movie could be problematic. Maybe not. We'll see. Without knowing the end, I do think TLJ builds nicely on TFA.

    We really won't know until Episode 9.
    Jo Lucas, burg2774, connor413 and 3 others like this.
  22. vong333

    vong333 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 18, 2003
    GL man is the source with the force. That's why I didn't discount my old expanded universe, and why GL star wars is true star wars. The other stuff (minue RO) is expanded universe 2.0 for me.
    Malachi108, Corcan and Pensivia like this.
  23. Game3525

    Game3525 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2008
    Which was an overreaction on their part.

    George was offering what was the OT setup in which he writes the story, while someone else writes the screenplay/directs it.
    DBPirate, Pensivia , AusStig and 5 others like this.
  24. Seeker Of The Whills

    Seeker Of The Whills Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 20, 2015
    It's the fault of Kathleen Kennedy and Bob Iger for ditching GL's treatments and wanting none of his input.
    Jo Lucas, wobbits, Revan51 and 11 others like this.
  25. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013
    True but I never thought otherwise.

    I keep saying this but I am very much detached from whatever Disney-Lucasfilm does and only look on these now for entertainment. On that score they do quite well. I think R1 and TLJ are excellent and TFA was very good.

    Do I think they are great like Episodes I-VI? Not even close. That doesn't reflect badly on them though. I mean true greatness like Lucas' (one of the best storytellers in human history) isn't going to come from KK, JJ, RJ or anyone there. I never expected them to do that and so can't be surprised when they don't do it. They can make movies based on Star Wars while Lucas created Star Wars. It's that simple.

    To be clear I like the movies they've made but do they really fit with Lucas' movies?

    No, not really but there are close enough in many ways that I can reconcile them. I selfishly wish Lucas had done the ST or at least VII himself, set the ST up then sold to Disney. Then they would be "stuck" with Lucas' story to a great degree.

    Would I take it more to heart if it was Lucas' story at the base despite all the changes we know would be made? Sure.

    As it is it's the old "It is what it is." So I look at it that way. As MH said that isn't his or Lucas' Luke Skywalker but that is the story they wanted to tell and in that context they did it very well.