In ‘Solo,’ a battle for the soul, and tone, of ‘Star Wars’

Entertainment

CANNES, France (AP) — When J.J. Abrams was a “Star Wars” novice, Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi,” had some advice for him: “Star Wars” is not important.

“But what is important is the way people feel about it,” said Kasdan. “And they are very committed to it. What they’re committed to is a certain kind of film.”

The question of what constitutes a “Star Wars” film — how it should feel and what it should sound like — was at the center of the battle over the Han Solo spinoff “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and the dispute that resulted in directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord being replaced in mid-production with Ron Howard. Though the pace and improvisational manner of Lord and Miller’s direction was part of the clash, the main issue was, simply, tone.

Lord and Miller, the filmmaking duo of irreverent, highly meta comedies like “21 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie,” wanted to push “Solo” into “Guardians of the Galaxy” territory. Kasdan did not.

“You can have fun with the tone but you never make fun of the tone, in my world,” Kasdan said in an interview alongside his son and co-writer John Kasdan, the morning after the “Solo” premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. “We live in a very meta culture and there’s a tendency to make fun of these things before they’re even anything.”

The pains of finding the balance between recapturing the feel of Lucas’ original trilogy and allowing a new generation of filmmakers to put their own stamp on “Star Wars” may be the most pressing creative issue before Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Beneath the billions of dollars in box office and merchandise, there are hints of a growing existential crisis in the far, far away galaxy as it gets further and further removed from George Lucas’ original vision.

The first spinoff, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” saw Gareth Edwards booted for Tony Gilroy. Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) was to helm 2019’s Episode IX before “Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams was brought back in the fold. And even Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi,” which according to critics succeeded the most in freshening up “Star Wars” with a distinct filmmaking sensibility, was very divisive among fans.

Some applauded Johnson’s changes and some reviled them — and the split hurt business. “The Last Jedi” grossed $1.3 billion worldwide, but ticket …read more

Source:: Wtop – Entertainment

      

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