I admit to being a little behind, but I just watched Agents of Shield last night. I was already impressed with the interwoven plots of the Avengers movies, but this, timed with the aftermath of The Winter Soldier, was amazing. I can’t wait to see what they do next, and I am getting more and more excited about what they might try with their resources, Lucas’ mind, and … Star Wars – I shudder to think.
Which got me to thinking. When Lucas first threw Star Wars onto the silver screen (he later renamed it) the concept of a sequel was not a popular one. Every once in a while a wildly popular movie had invited a sequel, but they had almost always been dismal. Because of that, scripts just weren’t written with a sequel in mind and as a result, the sequels that did get made were either repeats of the original plot or pathetic attempts to go somewhere new. Instead, studios relied on their bankable stars. Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Paul Newman, and a handful of big names made movie after movie. They always had the same basic character traits (it seemed) but they were put opposite different co-stars and in different settings. That was the way Hollywood made money. And it worked. Though you can’t really identify any of the old stars with one particular movie (well maybe, but they don’t spring).
Lucas changed that. By writing a story and dividing it into three acts he had a ready-made sequel before his first one hit the theaters. Consistency was there, the plots were in no way forced. The original Star Wars trilogy amazed from episodes 4-6. After him, sequels were sometimes planned in advance, but more often room was made for them when writing a first movie. Sure, one shot wonders were still made with a follow-up sequel later. Indiana Jones can be watched 1-2-3 as easily as 3-2-1, but can you imagine the Matrix trilogy working like that? Or how about the new trend in Young Adult movies – Harry Potter/Divergent/Hunger Games/Maze Runner?
Then we get to the latest improvement in the cinematic experience; a series of four franchises all working in concert with the Avengers movies. They are adding in one T.V. series and at least one new franchise (Ant-Man) that I know of, and who can be certain of how Guardians of the Galaxy will fit into all this in the future. What Disney has done over the last few years has been something I would have thought to be an impossible task of contracting egos, manipulating scripts, and avoiding problems. Yet they have in producing at least two worthwhile movies each year for awhile now. Considering where we were for the nearly hundred years before Lucas, what movies have accomplished in the last forty years is amazing, and in the last ten absolutely miraculous. I hope the Star Wars Franchise again leads the way beginning in December of 2015.