Mystery Man on Film blogs about the early drafts of STAR WARS
Let it be said, my friends, that the early drafts of Star Wars should be a rich source of encouragement to every aspiring screenwriter the world over - because they royally sucked. They are of the same low, amateurish quality that may be found in many first screenplays written by newbies on TriggerStreet. (Thus, many scripts and new writers have the potential to reach Star Wars heights.) Had Star Wars never happened, had Lucas uploaded his first draft onto TriggerStreet, and had he theoretically asked me to review his script for him, I’m not sure I could’ve even finished reading the darn thing.
I read that first draft. It is shockingly bad. Huge hunks of steaming unsayable dialog. Crappy space opera plot. Incoherent narrative.
But if you're willing to throw out your darlings and rework, you too can come up with something shootable, and good.
The post has links to the drafts, btw.
Meanwhile, CHUD has an interesting analysis of what went wrong in the TERMINATOR: SALVATION rewrites
after Christian Bale came on board.
the link to chud doesn't work
Even the final version of the Star Wars script had some incredibly bad dialogue. Lucas has never had a good ear for dialogue and really only wrote one movie where it wasn't painfully obvious, American Graffiti.
I had only vaguely been following the preproduction of Terminator Salvation, so wasn't aware of a lot of things. WHile I thought the film was enjoyable, I had more than a few problems with it and the article explains where many of those problems came from.
One major problem I had with the movie was that Marcus meeting up and befriending Kyle Reese was too coincidental, and couldn't have been orchestrated. When it ends up being part of the big plan, it didn't make sense. And Reese surviving everything only to be captured also being part of the plan is also bothersome, but something I've seen before. There are just too many times Reese could have easily been killed but wasn't. It now makes sense that the secret master plan to bring both Reese and Connor to Skynet city wasn't there the whole time. It's obvious evidence of the piecemeal rewriting work that was going on.
Some might say the same about the later Star Wars scripts too (Phantom Menace, etc.)
Upon reading the review of the script, I was reminded very much of the latter trilogy. The same convoluted, yet incredibly mundane details that Lucas seems to confuse with actual story.
Well, obviously the Star Wars prequels were terrible. But I thought there were potentially compelling aspects of the story: the fall of a once-great republic from within, a war started with both sides taking orders from the same person. Of course, the execution killed whatever ideas Lucas' story had to offer. I always thought it was a shame Lucas hadn't hired a real screenwriter and director to make those films.
I also read somewhere that Lucas was unhappy with the Empire Strikes Back, which many consider the best film in the series. So that should tell you something.
Also, I think Lucas aimed I-III at kids, which was a big mistake. I think the audience most interested in the films, at least initially, were the adults who were kids when the original films came out.
Bah, Lucas is a living example of how success can bloat and ruin whatever talent one has.
hey alex : thanks for pointing out that the link to the chud article; it was a great read.
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