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FTN FEATURE: Kasdan and Kinberg: Has the Empire finally struck Gold?

November 26th, 2012 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

With the confirmed report that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg will be writing and producing Star Wars episodes 8 and 9, this is probably the best news since a new trilogy was confirmed.

As a mega-fan of the original (and STILL the best) Star Wars Trilogy, Lawrence Kasdan confirming he is writing/ producing has set my interest into hyperdrive. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with his previous works, let me enlighten you.

Lawrence wrote the screenplay for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. This is still widely regarded as the best Star Wars film ever due to the expansion of characters and situations created by George Lucas.

With so much hype and fan expectation, not to say the hopes for similar box office receipts for 20th Century Fox, Lawrence exceeded all of these and provided us with a script that was both full of punchy dialogue and an unbelievable cliff hanger.

Ok, so it may be fair to say that this was George Lucas’s story but don’t detract from what Lawrence wrote on the pages before it was passed to Irwin Kershner to direct. His skill in writing was once again well used in The Return of the Jedi. Whilst fans are still divided by the inclusion of the Ewoks, they are all agreed that the final exchange of dialogue and the fight between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker is one of the greatest scenes out of all of the films.

Putting Star Wars aside, Lawrence also wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark; Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ brilliant homage to the adventure serials of the 1940s and 1950s. There are so many quotable lines from this film alone that it’s nearly impossible to attend any movie convention without someone imitating Indy.

If you are worried that he only does great work in collaboration with George Lucas, think again. The Bodyguard aside (yes, he sadly wrote that one, but everyone is allowed one blot on their career), he wrote and directed one of the best modern westerns. Silverado blazed a trail across the screen that, while paying homage to many western themes, is a superb story of hope and corruption in a small town. The cast alone is simply incredible with Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, John Cleese (in a brilliantly acted non-comedic role) and a very young Kevin Costner.

As for Simon Kinberg, well the box office receipts alone from his ventures implies that he is most certainly in-tune with a younger generation. Sherlock Holmes, Jumper, Mr and Mrs Smith and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter have all struck a chord with younger and older audiences alike.

Whilst it is too soon to see if any of his films will be mentioned as classics in decades to come, he certainly has the skill to take literary characters and transpose them to a modern audience. And he excels in the kind of humour Star Wars needs – think how much better the prequels would have been with a Han Solo type character…

Personally, I feel that this a great partnership as you have a very skilled hand with a wealth of experience and knowledge partnered with an up and coming talented individual with his finger on the pulse and the audience in the palms of his hands.

The great news is that no matter what they write and produce, fans and non-fans will be queing round the block to see their skills on opening night and beyond.

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.