George Chrysostomou on whether the Lucasfilm Story Group is really producing the best stories that Star Wars can offer…
There is no doubt that the Lucasfilm Story Group, created by Kathleen Kennedy in 2012 and headed by Kiri Hart, has done some good for the Star Wars franchise. Although controversial in its attempts to rewrite canon, throwing out the Star Wars Extended Universe and starting afresh, it has paid off in its quality of storytelling moving forward.
Indeed, both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have paid off, becoming financial and critical successes and bringing the franchise to a new generation of audiences across the globe. Their work within the world of novels, TV and video games, has crafted an interconnected continuity; no plot point gets past this group of experts, holding knowledge the size of Wookiepedia. Their attention to detail is uncanny, often allowing for fan service to be featured in their work, a feature that their Disney counterparts Marvel Studios, sometimes fail at. You are more likely to see Star Wars Rebels’ Chopper cruising around the currently untitled Han Solo movie than you are to see Daredevil swing into the latest Avengers flick.
This Story group has a lot of projects on the horizon, with continuous work plotting the original story featured in Star Wars Battlefront 2 and their dedication to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a unique interactive adventure centred in Disney Parks. But it appears on the film side the group has faltered. The trust fans have put in this group may not be as well founded as some may think.
The development of a feature-length film is different to that of any other property in Lucasfilm. It involves directors, producers, artists, writers, cinematographers, set dressers, wardrobe… the list is endless. The Story Group’s role in development has been documented as being quite sizeable however. It is clear that Disney and Lucasfilm are willing to listen to all potential movie ideas, Rogue One being a product of ILM’s John Knoll’s imagination – a man who now takes creative lead in the company. So why are the only ideas coming out of the Mouse House centred around prequels?
We all know that Star Wars has a mixed track record with prequels. Indeed, our own
Whilst this may be true for Obi-Wan (especially with Ewan McGregor’s involvment) and Rogue One (after we had seen the final results) this is not true for every character that Lucasfilm possesses. The galaxy they have to work with is incredibly large, with years worth of content to draw upon. Every planet has its own story to tell, unique factions and malicious mercenaries soaring across the skies, and Old Republics stand waiting to be featured on the big screen.
The opportunities for new and unique characters really is endless. Look to the popularity of a character such as Cad Bane, featured in Star Wars: The Clone Wars – surely there is potential to involve him in some capacity. How about that previously mentioned Old Republic and the countless hours of story that could be developed? The Story Group should be pitching wider afield. When they have the knowledge of Wookiepedia, they should be able to form something more unique that what they are.
Of course, this all may be a harsh overview of their roles. Perhaps the Story Group is being instructed by Disney and Lucasfilm to develop these specific properties. But, what’s the point of having the group at all? Yes, they are there to serve the continuity but they are also the gate keepers of some of the galaxy’s most beloved stories. To let them go to waste in favour of a mainstream character earning them some extra money is a true disappointment. Audiences will flock for Star Wars and they will flock for something new and different. A well known character might attract casual viewers, but creating something audiences have never seen before will live true to the Star Wars of old.
What are your thoughts on the Story Group’s approach to prequels? What would you like to see from future Anthology movies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…