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This story first appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When Disney announced Oct. 30 that its $4 billion deal to acquire Lucasfilm would lead to new Star Wars films, I had a little chat with my ultimate source on these matters, my 15-year-old son, Nick. A lifelong series geek, Nick expressed strong and immediate opinions on what the future of Star Wars should and should not be, and together we worked out the following unsolicited advice for Disney and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, which they will ignore at their peril:
1) Any new adventures should be set in the Old Republic, where plenty of plot lines and conflicts involving Jedi and Siths could be developed.
2) The approach and tone should be dead serious, not jokey or nostalgic. Strong filmmakers should be engaged who are not afraid to push into darker and more adventurous areas. PG-13 ratings should be sought, not avoided.
3) The films should look as vibrant and realistic as possible, more like the original trio that began in 1977, while the CGI-heavy look of the 1999-2005 trilogy should be minimized. Certainly, ever-increasing FX wizardry (enhanced, no doubt, by 3D) will greatly expand the visual possibilities for the franchise.
4) The scripts should not be based on the many quickie Star Wars books that have been published.
5) The stories should be less overtly political than the second group of films to keep a better balance between sci-fi and the mythical origins and inspirations of the series. In other words, look at what worked best in the older films and what led the later ones dramatically astray.
6) Hire very good actors for the important parts, a strategy that has rewarded any and every series that has tried it, from Batman to Bond.
7) Finally, always remember that Star Wars is for millions of people one of the hallowed titles and franchises in the history of movies. Don’t mess it up!
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