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When someone says “Star Wars” to you, what does that conjure in your mind? Memories of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher fighting the Galactic Empire, probably — or perhaps the animated goodness that was Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. According to one Lucasfilm executive, however, we may be thinking too small.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the studiio’s VP of Development Kiri Hart is quoted as saying “I think there are boundaries [to what defines Star Wars], but we don’t want to rigidly define them,” adding, “it’s obviously not slapstick comedy, but there’s room for many different stories and genres that still feel like Star Wars.”
Hart’s words have more weight when you realize that she’s one of the people in charge of the direction of the franchise following Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm back in 2012. Working directly under Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, she has not only been responsible for development of the new movie trilogy and standalone spin-offs — a process she describes as “sitting down with filmmakers and writers, talking with them about what they love about Star Wars, and playing matchmaker” — but also works with licensors on the creation of spinoff material in other media.
“We say, ‘Let us give you some narrative space to play around in,’” she said of the process to create new material with outside parties that nonetheless fits within the newly-established Star Wars canon. “Comics from Marvel, for instance, will take place right after the original film and before its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.”
Although the job may be a childhood dream come true — she admits to “reading the novelization of Return of the Jedi multiple times” as a kid — Hart said that “there is pressure because it’s Star Wars and all Star Wars needs to be fantastic.” Consider this a challenge to all filmmakers: it’s time for someone to come up with a pitch for a fantastic Star Wars slapstick comedy.
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