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TFA TLJ The Development of the Sequel Trilogy

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Sequel Trilogy (Released Films)' started by Artoo-Dion , Sep 14, 2017.

  1. Artoo-Dion

    Artoo-Dion Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2009
    This thread is intended to clear up some major misconceptions regarding the development of TFA. Anything that adds to the overall picture goes in this thread.

    The biggest piece of information we have is that Lucas turned over his treatment for VII to the art department in January 2013, but he continued to rework the story with Michael Arndt, Kathleen Kennedy and Kiri Hart (et al) until it no longer resembled the treatment. This all occurred prior to J.J. Abrams fully coming on board in May 2013.

    This group (Lucas, Arndt, Kennedy, Hart, et al) developed the following key story ideas (among others) during this time:
    • Luke in hiding, on an island or in a forest, dealing with emotional issues
    • a tech-savvy scavenger girl, living in an AT-AT on a desert and/or junkyard planet, who finds a map to Luke and ends up fighting the "Jedi Killer" on a snow planet
    • a "Neo-Empire" with a superweapon
    • Han as an ageing smuggler and Leia in a position of power
    Early concepts for Maz, Snoke, Takodana and D'Qar were also developed. Darth Talon appeared at one point as a version of the Jedi Killer.

    Furthermore, according to Pablo Hidalgo, Lucas' conception of the ST included no new Jedi Order.

    So, in short, Lucas was an active part of the development team that came up with the core concepts of The Force Awakens, including the overall state of the galaxy, the post-ROTJ fates of our OT heroes and the specific details of the new hero.

    What happened to Lucas' treatment? Lucas himself was involved in developing the story to where it evolved beyond his own treatment.

    Any more insights are appreciated...
     
  2. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2005
    REALLY?!!

    That's... exciting news!

    (To me, at least)


    So GL was involved in the development of the First Order, then? And pretty much everything else?
     
  3. Flyboy240

    Flyboy240 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Sep 6, 2017
    The art book goes into a lot of detail about the early stages of development. I highly recommend giving it a read.

    No new Jedi order being George's idea is really interesting, perhaps he likes the Jedi better as wandering solitary warrior monks.
     
  4. ewoksimon

    ewoksimon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Hugely instructive. I sincerely hope we get a comprehensive and honest book on the development and making of the entire trilogy after the release of Episode IX.
     
  5. Satipo

    Satipo Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Remember when JJ said the things that really hooked him were the idea of a girl becoming a Jedi, and "who is Luke Skywalker"? It would be interesting if George posed that question. Also interesting that the two Solo kids seemed initially separate from the lone scavenger. So unless she was a lost Skywalker, or the character got merged with a Solo like the Jedi Killer did with Ben, then it seems like Rey being a Solo was never part of the plan.
     
  6. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2016
    The circle is now complete.
     
  7. redxavier

    redxavier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 23, 2003
    This is fantastic and extremely interesting to know.

    On another note, I've noticed lately that people will say that Poe was supposed to die and usually this will be said as if it was a last minute change. Using the commentary track I'd like to clear that up and provide more of the context and the timing. According to JJ, Poe Dameron was originally intended to survive the crash and come back later, until he and LK changed it for the script. When he spoke to Oscar Isaac about taking on the role, Oscar said he had already played characters who died early and asked if he could live. Michelle Rejwan reminded JJ that Poe used to live and so JJ reverted back to the original idea. Note that this was done before Oscar's casting, so it was still early (months before any filming took place).
     
  8. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2005
    The sad part about it is that TFA ended up a very, shall we say, modest version of what George & co had arrived at.
    The uplifting part is that the story we're presented with is definitely in line with George's ideas.
     
  9. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Finally some detailed insight into the story development of TFA. Particularly revealing GL's input. If only we had this info 18 months ago. A group of us spent many weeks debating this issue. My hunch was always that more of the early Lucas-Arndt story ideas were retained than people were assuming. Glad to finally get some confirmation.

    A shout-out to the old gang who participated in those discussions: Mr. Forest SW Saga Fan Slicer87 darkspine10 Jarren_Lee-Saber Alexrd Pensivia Prisic Duskleap L110 PiettsHat (would've tagged more but ten's the limit).

    Hope you're all well.
     
  10. ewoksimon

    ewoksimon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 26, 2009
    One thing I'm still unclear on is when the shift was made to make the "Jedi Killer" the fallen son of Han and Leia, and who suggested that. Was this always Lucas' intention or was it developed as such after he left the project? Lucas always implied that the sequel trilogy was about Darth Vader's grandchildren, but there's no indication of it from his early involvement, unless it was intended for the "Jedi Killer" to be a major reveal as it ended up being in TFA. Any additional insight into this?
     
    Jo Lucas and DarthTalonx like this.
  11. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Of course, even though GL was involved, he may still have been unhappy with the way things were going. He knew that he no longer had the final say, so it's not like he was the captain of the crew. KK was - and she had Bob Iger to answer to.
    The fact remains that GL's treatment was allegedly deemed too "Phantom Menace"-y (my own wording), which seems to have disappointed him.
    So, even if he stayed on board for a while to alter the story, he may still have vastly preferred its previous incarnation.
     
  12. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Agreed. For one thing they aged the main characters a few years & put more of an OT veneer on the design & aesthetics. Even so, it's amazing how many themes, characters & factions existed in close to their final form while he was still around. Alot of people were pushing the idea that they threw his ideas in the bin & started from scratch.
     
    Jo Lucas, jaqen, Darkslayer and 3 others like this.
  13. SaintKenobi1322

    SaintKenobi1322 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Thanks for starting this thread. This is important information that so many seem to be unaware of.
     
  14. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Thanks for shout-out, Darth Downunder :) I am well and hope things are good with you, too!

    I haven't been following all this for some time now, but just reading the OP above is interesting. Unfortunately, it still doesn't make me like the final TFA product any more than I do (which isn't very much*...):p Hey, at least I enjoyed RO and have some hope for TLJ (though not much hope at all for IX now since I heard about JJ being named the director...[face_plain] oh well!)

    *Edit: A lot of my disappointment with TFA was more due to the overall "tone" and visual elements (which I felt were all wrong for SW in too many places) than to some of the core story elements mentioned above (though I didn't really like the story that much either:p ).
     
  15. Pro Scoundrel

    Pro Scoundrel New Films Lawgiver & Casual Flyer star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Well remember, all of this info is from official sources, so if they are trying to keep that part a secret they wouldn't put it in the "Art Of TFA" book. It's possible Rey/Kira has always been intended as a descendant of Anakin. We'll see.
     
  16. {Quantum/MIDI}

    {Quantum/MIDI} Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2015
    If anything, this circle is half-assed still. The only knowledge that I didn't know was that Lucas stayed to rework it and that his idea was to leave out the new Jedi Order. None of this is a game changer in my perspective, and he was still within the story group so I don't know how much was done specifically. Good to know and I thank the OP for gathering some misconceptions, but this doesn't have a major impact on the matter. Although it does save some arguments in future...Possibly. So that's a bit of a plus in my book.
     
  17. Satipo

    Satipo Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 29, 2014
    My feeling is that early on you had the Solo kids, the scavenger and the Jedi Killer.

    I think it's possible that the Kenobi granddaughter rumour may have been rooted in the scavenger character.

    Either way, Skylar became Ben Solo aka Kylo the Jedi Killer. Did the Solo daughter get scrapped altogether or was she merged into the scavenger character?
     
  18. Pro Scoundrel

    Pro Scoundrel New Films Lawgiver & Casual Flyer star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Not sure. I still wonder if there was a link between that idea and Ania Solo from the Legacy comic. The same way that Talon was an influence on The Jedi Killer.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Artoo-Dion

    Artoo-Dion Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2009
    I could definitely see Lucas grabbing the "scavenger girl" concept from a comic. I used to think it was a coincidence, but Talon appearing in that same phase does make it more likely.

    I don't think it's fair to assume that Lucas was unhappy with the concepts being developed, or even to give the notion much consideration without strong evidence. His main complaints seem to be the design aspects that hew closely to the OT aesthetic. The real "game-changer" here is the realisation that the story we got would have always included things that people like/dislike whether Lucas stayed in charge or not. The development process is very similar to what happened on the OT.

    I really am curious about when Kylo Ren appeared as well. We know Kasdan came up with the idea of Rey's companion being an ex-Stormtrooper, but I suspect the Jedi Killer being a Solo predates that. Who can forget Abrams retort to George that he "made all this **** up" regarding the fate of "Darth Vader's grandchildren"?
     
  20. Satipo

    Satipo Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Yes, it's not like any of his ideas since ESB have met with universal love (regardless of their merit).
     
  21. JW Fan

    JW Fan Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2015
    Great to finally have a collection of this info. The best part is that this poster seems to have truly done their research - I've researched the topic extensively, and what this guy says seems to match up with what I've found.

    I also like it because it seems to indicate that Lucas had a fairly major influence on TFA. The Reddit post revealed several Hidalgo tweets that I was surprised to have not seen before, and the most fascinating one was the one that said that Lucas and others evolved the story away from the treatment.

    I think the poster definitely provides a plausible theory, namely, that the story is essentially Lucas' but the aesthetics are retro.

    I have owned and loved the art of book ever since it first came out, and I can say I 100% agree with what the Reddit poster said about the early designs being way cooler than what we got. Abrams was definitely right to not use certain designs that were way too un-Star Wars-y (e.g. the red Star Destroyer), but other designs absolutely should have been used (e.g. Exotic City).

    Hopefully some unused ideas from the treatment get used in TLJ. We'll see! :)
     
  22. Krueger

    Krueger Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2004
    I've got and read the Art of book, but I must say, all this info never really stuck with me. I guess I was just too engrossed in the pictures. This guy is clearly smarter than I am. Some really interesting stuff.
     
    JW Fan likes this.
  23. Mr. Forest

    Mr. Forest Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2012
    This is all fascinating. Finally, the pieces are starting to come together. It seems like Lucasfilm and co. really tried to keep true to Lucas's vision while also trying to do their own thing, at least on TFA. I have a lot of faith in Johnson's vision for TLJ, I just hope Abrams is able to finally tell a story that answers his own mystery boxes with Epi. IX.
     
  24. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2005
    I wouldn't worry about that, since it seems like the story being told is basically the story that the Kennedy/Lucas group came up with.
    ...although what RJ has said might contradict that.
    Either way, as executive producer, JJ has probably kept tabs on the progress and will undoubtedly stay on the target that LFL have set their sights on.
     
    Darkslayer likes this.
  25. Tristan the Trilobite

    Tristan the Trilobite Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Sep 8, 2017
    I never doubted that some of Lucas' (new) input remained in TFA albeit watered down considerably.

    In the end this is what he stated: "They looked at the [new] stories, and they [Disney] said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" "They decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing." ..."They wanted to do a retro movie. I don't like that. Every movie, I worked very hard to make them different," "I made them completely different – different planets, different spaceships to make it new."

    This is strong evidence that, while some elements in TFA would probably have still been there with Lucas, his overall vision was very different from the final product. It seems unfathomable that "under" Lucas TFA would have turned out a plot-beat by plot-beat story repetition of Star Wars and it's characters (with some greatest hits elements from Empire/Jedi and former EU). Or that the designs essentially consist of repainted vehicles and worlds.

    For good or for worse, it would have been a very different, more original and imaginative film. That is what the man stands for.
     
    jedi-soon, KSennia, Jo Lucas and 13 others like this.