Toy Story

Why did Star Wars go off the rails? The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the producers’ internecine squabbles — and how the toy industry shaped the movies’ trajectory:

After the release of “Empire” (which was shaped by material left over from that first Lucas treatment), talk turned to a third film and after a decade and a half the partners could no longer find a middle ground.

“We had an outline and George changed everything in it,” Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”

The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.

The team of Lucas and Kurtz would not hold together during their own journey through the jungles of collaborative filmmaking. Kurtz chooses his words carefully on the topic of their split.

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2 thoughts on “Toy Story

  1. Wait!!! The last three SW movies both sucked and blew???? I thought that was just because Lucas was far, far, far overrated and only had, at best, a couple good movies in him. The only way to survive the last trilogy was watching them with Rifftrax.

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  2. I’ve never really understood all the hate for ROTJ. I’ve seen people rank it below several of the prequels, which is completely indefensible. Sure it’s no Empire, but it’s not the Christmas Special, people.

    That said, more generally I don’t understand why folks seem to think that everything would be better if only it were bleaker, darker, and/or grittier. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll take the Man with No Name over John Wayne any day of the week, I loved The Wire, most of my iTunes library is probably in minor keys. But can’t we have a little whimsy now and then? A little fun? Maybe a happy ending? Does absolutely every alien have to be fearsome?

    I’ve given Lucas a lot of grief over the years for the prequels and for the changes he’s made to the original series after the fact, never mind apparently throwing out the original masters after making the “Special” editions. But on this one, he made the right call.

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