This piece of information is somewhat alarming in regards to Lucasfilm. Since early last year, we’ve been praising the studio, under the direction of Kathleen Kennedy, for how its handled the future of Star Wars. They brought back Lawrence Kasdan to help re-write the story for The Force Awakens, and also write the Han Solo spin-off film. They also announced a new Star Wars film being released every year for the next four years, with directors attached. The marketing for The Force Awakens was one of the best ones I’ve ever seen for a blockbuster. Then the year was capped off with TFA breaking box office records, and is now on its way to becoming the #2 highest grossing film of all-time. Its clear that Star Wars is back and is in good hands. However, this latest piece of information forces me to pause my excitement… for just a little bit.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been filming for a couple months now. Gareth Edwards is directing, with a cast that features names like Felicity Jones, Forest Whittaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and more. The film will be a standalone story (prior to A New Hope) about a group of Rebels pulling off a heist to steal the Death Star plans. I’ve had absolutely zero worries about this film, after seeing the colossal success of The Force Awakens. However, its been revealed that Lucasfilm was quietly unsatisfied with the script for Rogue One. Gary Whitta the first to write up a draft of the script, but departed later for another project. Chris Weitz later joined and wrote a second draft, but it still wasn’t winning over the studio. The source (Birth.Movies.Death) says that Hollywood script doctor, Christopher McQuarie, was brought in to “save” the script. This piece of information comes after an earlier report last October that mentions McQuarrie’s involvement on the project for about two weeks.
Well, that’s great news for Rogue One, right? Yes, of course it is. McQuarie is a fantastic writer/director, and is previously known for helping with the infamous re-writes on World War Z. I have no doubt he made the script for Rogue One even better. The pause and concern I have is about Lucasfilm.
This now marks the second time in the second straight Star Wars film where the studio brought in someone to re-write the script after their hand-selected writers couldn’t fully deliver. Earlier, I mentioned Lawrence Kasdan coming back to help write The Force Awakens. Kasdan originally agreed to only write the Han Solo spin-film, but after some talks with Kathleen Kennedy decided to help with The Force Awakens. That’s because Lucasfilm wasn’t happy with Oscar winning writer Michael Arndt’s draft of the script. In the end, The Force Awakens turned out great, and I’m sure Rogue One will be too. Lucasfilm is doing the right thing, by turning to these incredible writers to help tell their stories. However, the fact that Lucasfilm has now done this twice after their hand selected writers couldn’t crack a good enough story is worth mentioning. I don’t want this studio to be known as one who constantly has to bring in script doctors to fix their stories. Luckily, the next two films after Rogue One are in the hands of some great writers/directors in Rian Johnson and Phil Lord & Chris Miller (w/ Lawrence Kasdan). Once again, this is great news that Christopher McQuarrie was brought in to help tighten the story. And I have continuously praised Lucasfilm for everything they’ve done right, but I have to call them out on this one. For me, the word “saved” is both a relief and a concern.
Does anyone else share my concern, or should it be brushed off because of the studio name?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16, 2016.