The $4 billion transaction that transferred #Lucasfilm from founder George to the Walt #Disney Company sparked excitement in the heart of every #StarWars fan everywhere. A film every year. Another chapter in the greatest saga of all time, as well as standalone features exploring new worlds and characters.
But it seems the Mouse House is having some trouble keeping their cards in check. While #TheForceAwakens and #RogueOne were massive successes, and Rian Johnson's upcoming #TheLastJedi is drawing the same magnitude of fan anticipation, waves of skepticisim and concern have flown over fans throughout production of just about every new film.
In retrospect, our question is simple - what the hell is going on, Lucasfilm? The dedication to this well-established franchise is wonderful, but why are there so many behind-the-scenes struggles?
Let's take a look at all the major issues that have strucken Star Wars fans with fear since Mickey's stood at the helm of the franchise.
1. The Force Awakens Rewrites
Shortly after their acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney announced the official production of Star Wars Episode VII: #TheForceAwakens, to be released in December of 2015. Before #JJAbrams ever signed a deal to direct, writing duties were bestowed upon Michael Arndt, the scribe behind the Oscar-nominated Little Miss Sunshine, and Disney's #ToyStory 3.
Those of you who pay attention at the end of the credits would know that Arndt does retain writing credit for Episode VII. What you wouldn't neccessarily know is how his screenplay differed from the final shooting script, and what sort of creative differences led to Arndt's departure from the blockbuster.
Well, an Entertainment Weekly interview with Arndt from December 2015 suggested that the biggest change from draft to script to screen was that of #LukeSkywalker's significance to the plot, whose role in Arndt's script seems to more closely resemble that of Han Solo's in the final film.
"Every time Luke came in and entered the movie, he just took over," Arndt told the magazine. "Suddenly you didn't care about your main character anymore." When Abrams was hired to direct, he organized the return of #TheEmpireStrikesBack and #ReturnoftheJedi scribe Lawrence Kasdan to the franchise, and they made the well-known decision to make Skywalker the film's MacGuffin as opposed to a starring role.
Rogue One Reshoots
The production of #RogueOne: A Star Wars Story, the saga's first live-action, standalone theatrical release, drew skepticism from the get-go. It was the first film not to follow the ongoing Skywalker journey, it featured an almost-entirely unrecognized cast, and it was created for the purpose of bestowing new revelations upon a long-established and appreciated canonical event.
But in spite of all the criticism, #Godzilla director Gareth Edwards was up for the task, and while audiences anticipated the original Star Wars trio's return to the big screen in Episode VII, the tale of the team that gave them those Death Star plans 40 years ago was being produced under his watch.
While Disney executives stated the film was "virtually completed" in February 2016, fans were worried upon the public scheduling of extensive reshoots that June, a mere six months before the film's release. While reshoots are not uncommon, (especially on films of this caliber) even more anxiety arose from the news that #Bourne writer/director Tony Gilroy was taking control of the reshoots, and that over half of the film was being recomposed.
Rogue One managed to defy all expectations when it hit theaters, meeting commercial success and critical acclaim. According to Edwards , the reasoning for the reshoots was the "Disney ending" that was originally shot, in which protagonists Jynn and Cassian (and presumably, some of their allies) escaped from Scarif before the #DeathStar could destroy it. While we know Gilroy assisted in the composition of the unexpected, yet well-received ending audiences saw in theaters, it is unknown just how much of the film was left on the cutting room floor; though it is worth noting that almost all of the footage from the first trailer was absent from the movie.
Josh Trank Dips Out
Before Rogue One even finished production, Lucasfilm had released its "film-a-year" timeline that included the release of Episode VIII in 2017, the untitled #HanSolo film in 2018, Episode IX in 2019, and an unknown third anthology in 2020. While the subject of that film had not yet been determined, it is known that director #JoshTrank had signed on to helm the project.
To this day, we still are not quite sure what led to Trank's departure from the production, but it has been heavily implied that Disney cut the filmmaker loose after his backlash against 20th Century Fox for the commercial and critical failure of his #FantasticFour film. It is unlikely that the facts behind his leaving the film will ever be revealed, and we may never know what film he was slated to make. While the third Star Wars Story has recently been announced to center on #ObiWanKenobi, rumors at the time also circled the possibilities of origin stories for Yoda and Boba Fett, and even a potential sequel to the Han Solo film.
Han Solo Firings
In July 2015, Lucasfilm president #KathleenKennedy announced that #21JumpStreet and #TheLegoMovie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller would be leading the Han Solo origin story, as written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jon. In June of 2017, with principal photography almost 80% underway, the duo announced that they had parted ways with Lucasfilm, citing "creative differences" as their motive.
Lucasfilm executives addressed the firings of Lord and Miller in press releases following the announcement that #RonHoward had been chosen to take over filming. The duo was said to have been "directing a comedy" and "encouraging improv" when they were hired to simply "add comedic touch" to Kasdan's script.
The directors became much less comfortable with their Star Wars gig when Kasdan was sent to the set to supervise production, or as they called it, "shadow direct." It was also stated that the directors were shooting scenes faster and with less angles than expected, providing less assets for editors to work with.
Nonetheless, Howard has stated his intention to "honor the great work already done and deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film." By this time next year, we will know whether he accomplished his goal.
Episode IX Swaps Directors
Recently, the media was shaken by yet another Star Wars director-departure less than six months after the last one. For reasons unknown, #JurassicWorld director #ColinTrevorrow departed the production of Star Wars: Episode IX, and within a week, The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams announced his return to the director's chair in a galaxy far, far away.
While the news was rather shocking, it wasn't as negatively received as our previously mentioned production changes. Moviegoers were split on whether the director's filmography established a reputation worthy of taking on Star Wars, especially after the critical panning and commercial failure of the director's latest film, #TheBookofHenry.
Abrams's return to the series is viewed in a more optimistic light. While some still criticize the Force Awakens director for drawing a bit too much from the Lucas's original films, J.J. still received a warm welcome back from fans and colleagues alike, and with the release of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi coming closer and closer, fans are truly excited for the galaxy's biggest franchise once again.
Before you go, we've got some questions for you!
Now that you've gotten a quick update on all the offscreen mishaps regarding the #Sequel Trilogy and the #Anthology films, we'd like your opinions on all the major decisions that have made Star Wars what it is today.