Why great writing has seen the Star Wars force re-awaken

Star WarsIn this guest post Chris Taylor credits great writing as the key to Star Wars’ record-breaking return to cinemas.

If you’ll indulge me for a few paragraphs, I just want to have a bit of a spoiler-free chat about why, in my opinion, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is so bloody fantastic.

I’m not talking about the lack of Jar Jars, or the strong, diverse characters. For me, it comes down to one important thing that seems to have slipped under the radar a bit.

JJ Abrams should be taking bucket loads of credit for how Episode 7 has turned out, and rightly so. He’s listened to great advice, he’s brought a vision to the story, and, like a great Executive Creative Director, he’s put the right people on the job.

Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor

Now, most people know that George Lucas wrote the original ‘Star Wars: A New Hope” screenplay on his own. He came up with the universe, the characters, the force; all of it. He also wrote the three prequels on his own. On ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘The Return of the Jedi’ he had help in the writers’ room from two others, most notably Lawrence Kasdan.

For Episode VII: The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams brought Mr Kasdan back into the room, and, for me at least, it shows. Cast your mind back to ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. What holds the only movie in the original trilogy to not blow up a Death Star together? Character development, plot, and great dialogue. These are the tools of the scriptwriter, and you can’t hide your script behind a blue screen.

So, I’m chalking Episode VII up as a win for writers. You can have your pretty pictures and your CGI. What makes a movie, TV show, or even a piece of branded content work has and always will rely massively on what is written into the characters and for the characters.

It’s not just what they say, but what they don’t say. It’s developing the story with subtlety and finesse. It’s knowing when to hold back and when to let go. And it’s on all of these levels that ‘The Force Awakens’ smashes the prequels out of the park.

With other writing credits like ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘The Big Chill’ and ‘The Accidental Tourist’, it’s clearly not a coincidence, it’s craft.

  • Chris Taylor is creative director of Shabbadu

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