The Empire Strikes Back Writer Kasdan Talks Star Wars Episode VII

Filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan, the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer who recently took [...]

Star Wars

Filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan, the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer who recently took a gig as one of Lucasfilm's "consultants" on the Star Wars sequels and spinoff films, spoke with the LA Times's Hero Complex blog this weekend about the pressures and privileges of working on the next generation of the films. Some highlights from their conversation:

  • "I'm trying to start fresh. There are certain pleasures that we think the saga can bring to people that they've been missing, and we're hoping to bring them that, and at the same time, have them feel that it's all new."
  • "George sort of brought me into this part of it, and he's stepping back from the company. He's sort of given his blessing to everybody, and he'll be there if you need him. I think everyone's interested to see where this can go. It's been some very different places over 30 years."
  • "I think with J.J. [Abrams], we'll get something entirely new."
  • "The ones I worked on were a long time ago, and they had a slightly different feeling than the ones that followed. The first three, Star Wars, Empire and Return of the Jedi are all sort of more about people than the ones that followed. Empire appeals to people, I think, because it's the second act of a three-act play, and everything sort of goes to hell during the movie. And when you leave, everyone is in trouble, and that is the best part of the story to write. And people responded to it. Irvin Kershner was a completely different kind of director than George, so the movie's much darker than the first Star Wars. It's more edgy."

In addition to taking these observations at face value, it seems worth noting that his perception that the original trilogy were "more about people" than the more recent installments echoes an indictment of George Lucas as a filmmaker recently voiced by Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace star Terence Stamp. "I didn't rate him that much as a director, really," Stamp said. "I didn't feel like he was a director of actors; he was more interested in stuff and effects. He didn't interest me and I wouldn't think I interested him." Disney CEO Robert Iger recently confirmed that in addition to acting as consultants to J.J. Abrams, Kasdan and his fellow writer Simon Kinberg are working busily on spinoff films, not assigned with an episode number but starring characters from the Star Wars universe.