— by VICTOR RODRIGUEZ —
I recently saw a rumor that Lucasfilms is planning sequels to the Star Wars movies. Someone claimed that an “ultra top-secret Lucasfilm insider” has revealed that an entire new trilogy is currently being developed. George Lucas, in a Wired magazine article, has since denied the allegations. However, that doesn’t stop people from fantasizing and wondering if George is hiding something from the public to try to surprise them later with a new addition to the saga. Speculations like these have been around since “Star Wars” first hit the theaters. And they aren’t bound to go away any time soon as long as the saga has dedicated fans. However, could George have secret plans to continue the saga? Let’s find out.
There are people who have dedicated their entire lives in the pursuit of knowing every single detail about “Star Wars.” There has never been such a phenomenon in the history of film. Can you think of anything that has even come close to it? “Star Trek” (possibly) and Lord of the Rings (perhaps), but do their followers even come close to the following of “Star Wars”? I don’t think so.
There are a lot of cult followings out there — from movies to music to comic books to politicians (I’ll never understand the politician followings, but that’s another story). However, of all of the cult followings out there, none have been as great and as persistent as those who worship the “Star Wars” saga. And who can blame them? It is a wonderful story. Nothing like it since has emerged from Hollywood. “Star Wars” is in a class by itself. It’s in a genre by itself. Plus, it is a fun and thought-provoking movie franchise. That is rare in film.
The saga has given rise to cartoons, comic books, novels, and endless debates between nerds and geeks alike. However, you don’t have to be a nerd or a geek to enjoy these movies. That is what so amazing about them and perhaps what separates these movies from others. They are able to connect with just about anyone and everyone. There is no doubt that the “Star Wars” films are the most successful films of all time.
When “Star Wars” was first conceived, the movie’s crew had no clue that one day the film would become the mammoth it is today. In fact, most didn’t even believe in the project. Some predicted it would flop and most didn’t even take their job very seriously. I often think back to this and can’t help but smile.
After the movie was made, the next challenge was to see if the public would accept it … (spoiler alert) they did! “Star Wars” was an instant hit and George Lucas was thrilled. Guess who else was happy? Hollywood. They even allowed George to make more films. And George was thrilled because, in his mind, the movie wasn’t over, the story had only just begun and he wanted to give his story the proper ending.
When George wrote “Star Wars,” it was meant to be one movie. However, just like when Quentin Tarantino wrote “Kill Bill,” the story proved to be too long to be told in one feature-length movie. Quentin eventually ended up splitting the movie into two films. George did something similar. He had such an incredible idea, such a humongous and vast story, that one movie would never tell the whole story. However, he needed more than just two movies to tell it, he decided to tell the story with three different movies.
Of course, George knew that the studios would never agree to commit to three films when the first film hadn’t even been made yet. This was new territory for Hollywood and it was a gamble. George was lucky that Hollywood even let him make this movie in the first place (and even then, it only happened because of tremendous success of “American Graffiti”). The solution was to start with one movie, see how it went and then make the rest. As a result, the first film was written in such a way that technically it could stand on its own. That is the genius of the film. However, because the movie did so well, it didn’t have to stand on its own.
“Star Wars” was a huge success — to put it mildly — and George was given the okay to make the next two films. Once again, the films made so much money that the studios were content, George was happy, but most importantly the people were ecstatic and they wanted more.
However, the story was over … but George still had a story up his sleeve. To write the saga, George had conceived a back story in his mind. He never intended to film this back story. It was only intended for his use to draw from when writing the story for the original three films. But since people wanted more, eventually George decided that the time and, most importantly, that the film technology was just right to film it. These films were dubbed the prequels. These were the movies that set the story for the original three.
When he made the announcement, the public went crazy. Speculation rose and people talked about what will these movies be like. From those speculations and discussions and rumors sparked a very persistent idea; that George Lucas had announced that he would make six more movies; three prequels and three sequels. I don’t know who started this rumor or how it started, but it worked because everyone believed it. It’s been several years since “Revenge of the Sith” was released and this nine-movie rumor is still in the limelight and people still expect those three sequels.
And with the advent of blogging and other social media, news spreads even faster these days. Plus, you know what they say: if it’s on the web, it must be true. Never mind that George has repeatedly gone on the record saying that there has never and will never be any plans to continue the saga. Why? Because the story is over.
That’s right. The story IS over, the saga ended with “The Return of the Jedi.” Sadly, people always have a difficult time letting go of a good thing. Bear with me for a moment and I’ll explain to you why the story is definitely over and why there is no need for the sequels.
Whether you accept it or not, “Star Wars” isn’t the story of the Empire, it isn’t the story of the Force, it isn’t the story of the Jedis. If it were, it wouldn’t be a movie; it would be a TV show. This is not to say that those elements are not important. They are and they all support and advance the main story. But the question is, “What is that main story?”
It’s interesting to me that most people miss this simple concept. They watch these movies and miss the plot of the saga. If the saga isn’t about the Empire, the Force or Jedis, then what is it about? We certainly see a lot of that in the films. That is the brilliance of the saga, because George took an old concept — as old as the Bible itself — and made it seem fresh and new. He did this so well that most people didn’t see it. The real story of Star Wars is all about one man. It is about how a good man can be corrupted to become evil and then be saved. All six movies are about the rise and fall and the reckoning of Anakin Skywalker. Plain and simple, “Star Wars” is the story of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Since Darth Vader died in “The Return of the Jedi,” the story is over. “Titanic” was a great movie, but are you still waiting for its sequel? Why not? That’s right, the ship sank! It’s over!
I know there are some of you who would love to see how the saga ends. If you are of that mind set, I will tell you that the saga has ended. There are no more stories to tell. Go home and forget about any “Star War” sequels.
I know that the idea of a sequel to “Star Wars” sounds really cool, but I can almost guarantee it will never happen. George Lucas has been pretty clear that there won’t be any sequels made on his watch. It’s his story and he calls the shots. And his story is done.
. . .
Follow Victor Rodriguez on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ReviewIt2009.