July 26, 2019

The One Lesson George Lucas Wants to Teach 'Star Wars' Storytellers

No, it's not about Jar Jar Binks. Or Midi-chlorians. 

If you're like me you grew up pretending to tell stories in the Star Wars universe with those original Kenner action figures in your backyard. 

Now a select number of filmmakers are being handed the reigns of that galaxy far, far away and telling new stories themselves. The investment by Disney in the Star Wars IP will continue to create new shots at expanding the story. 

Like The Mandalorian TV series coming to Disney+ in November. 

George Lucas Has One Core Lesson For Star Wars Storytellers
George Lucas and Jon Favreau

Which brings us to Slashfilm's story about when George Lucas visited Jon Favreau's Mandalorian set and imparted some sage advice: 

"Remember, Jon, the real audience for all stories and all myths is the kids that are coming of age"

It's an interesting look into what has motivated Lucas in the past (the prequels) and what he thinks made the whole thing work in the first place. There was all sorts of backlash over The Last Jedi, and of course a somewhat disappointing return on Solo: A Star Wars Story, which led Disney to pump the breaks a bit on their releases and reconsider the approach. 

Does it make sense to focus on the kids? 

One of the big gripes against the prequels was that Lucas went a little too kid-friendly. Jar Jar was despised, focusing on a child Anakin in The Phantom Menace was also unpopular. Sure, the prequels made plenty of money, but the fans that were playing with Kenner's first line of action figures in 1983 were grown up by 1999. They wanted stuff like The Matrix that spoke to their current state. 

Jar Jar Binks

Favreau identified rather quickly that Lucas' advice comes from his deep belief in Joseph Campbell. Myths are meant to help us process how we move through time. How we grow and change. 

Star Wars was a movie about a boy who leaves home and grows up. The deeper storytellers mine the corners of the original mythology, in some ways, the farther they get from its initial massive appeal. 

Of course, Star Wars isn't hurting. Fans of all ages will continue to show up in legions. What Lucas' advice speaks to is the idea of connecting with younger fans on a very primal level. Provide them with a mythology that will help them grow. Because anything branded Star Wars will get eye-balls in this era where we have a million places to look at once, so the opportunity to connect deeply and tell a truly impactful story is there. 

As a fan of the franchise, but also of storytelling and Campbell in general, I'll be excited to see what Favreau does with this advice. 

Cut to: A scene full of Jar Jar Binks aliens talking about Midi-chlorians.      

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July 27, 2019 at 7:28AM

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Aly Shah
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