Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Han Solo and the creative crisis


I'm not surprised by Why Lucasfilm Fired Han Solo Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller by Peter Sciretta. Not exactly. I don't really have emotions about it either.

Despite the overwhelming enthusiasm that exists in the world, including by many people I like and respect, I have never been able to raise the tiniest spark of interest for the work of Mr. Lord and Mr. Miller. I don't hate them or their work. And, in theory, I'll be trapped in a room somewhere and watch something they made. I might even enjoy it. I don't know. Until then, there's always something I'm more interested in doing, like watching something I was already interested in or clipping my toenails or something.

Not to mention, while I love Han Solo in the original movies and I'll go to this, no matter what, because I'm still seeing Star Wars movies, I'm not really interested in a Han Solo flashback movie. Oddly, most of the other elements interested me more than Han Solo, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Donald Glover in a Star Wars movie makes me happy in some way. The idea of a young Han Solo movie bores the fuck out of me. I'm hoping the movie eventually wins me over anyway.

All that said, I would love someone to pull together a real timeline for this crisis. The timing itself is curious.

I assume when these guys, Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank were brought in, the idea was to give the anthology "Star Wars Story" movies would have unique textures outside the Lucasfilm "house style". Obviously Trank burned out somehow pretty early in the process.

I suspect the success of The Force Awakens and the specifics of Edwards peculiarities led to the much discussed reshoots and a Rogue One that generally resembled "house style" fairly closely. I'm really quite fond of Rogue One. I'm glad it exists, but I'm not sure, for that reason, Edwards or his story were the strongest lead for this.

Honestly, none of this group seem like they were strong choices to lead a series with that as the goal to my view. I can't help wondering what other options they had on the table to work with but ultimately moved away from to favor these choices.

One of the things that's been plaguing me recently for reasons irrelevant to any of this is that one the biggest problems of making a project with multiple stylistically independent projects work isn't necessarily making them all the same within a range, which is the first and obvious concern, it's making sure they're all different enough to ensure that it's always clear that they're stylistically independent. People are naturally inclined to follow the leader or build on an existing pattern, especially a successful one.

Once Rogue One went to "house style", it was going to be harder to explain the future stories falling away from that. I don't think they had a contingency for that.

This, I think, comes pretty close to explaining to me how they got past the initial planning of this project without it breaking down on the basis of what, at this point, was clearly an impasse. Rogue One was being placed as a "hit" and canonized as what they wanted as the anthology style to be just at the time that this started filming. It got past that window in which it should have broken down without a big crisis.

That said, I still can't help wondering, like most others, exactly how it got this far and, having done so, how it finally broke down this late in the process. It seems like there's still an interesting story right there.

That said, I love this anthology story idea. There was a time that I fantasized about Star Trek doing a series of TV movies that did something similar. It might have been a better idea with TV movies having so much less at stake for each individual movie. It would have allowed them to take more interesting risks with them and not have to make too many about characters with the top name recognition and explore deeper. If they had considered such a thing.

Interestingly, as I understand Star Trek: Discovery will be the beginning of a similar concept in the form of limited series of different concepts. I like it, but it does take it back to putting pressure on each one again, doesn't it?

So far, the freedom to play around the edges, as a movie, still comes at the cost of having the succeed at the same level as the main story. More is the shame, I think. Most people will ultimately be happier with this, or at least leap to understand what it is and why they should like it, and they're smarter to make them happy than me.

And what do I even know about that? So far, they've completed one anthology movie, and I really liked it a lot. I might be the dumbest one of all.

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