Now that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm and Star Wars: Episode VII looms on the horizon, all manner of previously lost or forgotten material surrounding the franchise has found a way to the surface. Earlier we saw a trailer for Revenge of the Jedi—the original title of the third movie in the original trilogy, before it was changed to the kinder, gentler Return of the Jedi—there was that 30 minute collection of rough, behind the scenes footage, and now this short interview with the mastermind, George Lucas himself.
This video may only last a minute and a half, but there’s quite a bit here for fans to chew on. If nothing else, it’s cool to see vintage Lucas talking about how those characters, and that story, that you so dearly love, came into being.
His original concept revolved around the idea of a father and son and twins—twins are all over the place in the Star Wars universe—and he says that always formed the core of the story, or at least the story as he envisioned it. As with most projects this size, things changed and evolved a great deal over time as the process unfolded. Lucas talks about how the work changed over the years that he worked on it, growing from that first concept into a sprawling network of themes and ideas. It wasn’t until the saga started to resemble what we know today that he went back to make sure that what the idea had morphed into still jived with the story that he wanted to tell all along.
You also hear Lucas echo a sentiment you hear often from writers, that at a certain point, the characters began to take over and tell their own story. That’s one of the fun, rewarding parts of storytelling, when you know that your creations are so complete and whole that they take on a life of their own. When you come to this, the choices you make are hardly choices at all because the options are so clearly right or wrong for the characters. When you try to go against this natural path, the writing suffers. How many times has a book or movie lost you because a character does something that they normally wouldn’t, something that goes completely against the very essence of their personality? It is one thing if they are compelled by outside factors to act in a certain way, but sometimes writers try to force the issue and it completely pulls you out of the narrative.
Let’s hope that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan keep this simple lesson in mind when they’re working on the Star Wars: Episode VII script, so when the movie hits theaters December 18, 2015, we’re talking about characters we love, not questionable storytelling.