Star Wars mania is in full swing as J.J. Abrams and company prepare to get serious about not only Episode VII, but several new stand-alone movies set in George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away. Disney’s lining up a stable of A-list talent for these films, but it’s the return of Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan that has Internet fanboys most excited. The man who gave us one of the greatest reveals in movie history in Empire was inducted into Final Draft’s Screenwriting Hall of Fame on Thursday night and instead of discussing his past accomplishments, Kasdan spent most of the evening talking about what lies ahead.
Naturally, the writer didn’t reveal any major bombshells about the plans for Episode VII or the new spin-off movies (which have been rumored to involve Han Solo, Boba Fett and Yoda), but he did talk about the general direction he wants to see the series travel, why he’s come back for more, and what it’s like to collaborate with guys like Michael Arndt, J.J. Abrams and Simon Kinberg. We’ve collected some of the best quotes for you below.
While Kasdan wouldn’t confirm or deny that the new spin-off films (set to come after Episode VII) would feature Yoda, Han or Boba Fett, he did reveal that he isn’t focusing on the previous films or the much-discussed extended universe as he works on his new script.
“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.”
Of course, “trying to start fresh” doesn’t mean Kasdan might not look to the extended universe for inspiration at some point in the process; he’s still in the “spitballing” phase at the present moment. Kasdan then explained how much he’s enjoying working with his collaborators.
“J.J. (Abrams)’s a great director for the first sequel. Perfect. We’re very happy to have him. The writers I’ve been working with -- Michael Arndt, who’s going to write the sequel, and Simon Kinberg, who has, like me, been sort of consulting -- they’re great. I’ve never really collaborated a lot, and I’ve never been a room with a bunch of writers thinking, ‘Well, what should this thing be?’ It’s fun. It’s really fun. And J.J.’s a writer. Yeah, lovely guy. I’d met him but didn’t know him. But now I’m totally enamored by him. He’s really funny and so enthusiastic.”
Working so closely with Abrams and the other writers drives home that these are the first Star Wars projects where George Lucas isn’t right in there with the team getting his hands dirty. When asked how he felt about working without Lucas, Kasdan had this to say:
“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.” He then adds “I think with J.J. we’ll get something entirely new.”
Kasdan then talks a bit about why the first three films are so enduring – he thinks it’s because they’re primarily people stories – and reveals that Empire isn’t his favorite film of the series.
“I must say, I think that the great, great film is the first Star Wars. I do. It’s hilarious, and it changed movies forever.”
We think Mr. Kasdan is just being modest – and we can’t wait to see what his return to the Lucas universe brings us. Based on his history, we suspect it will be epic.
For more of Kasdan’s thoughts on all things Force related, check out his interviews at IGN and The L.A. Times.
Follow along on Twitter @Horrorgeek and @Moviesdotcom.