Thursday, July 15

Okay, okay, here's your Ep III fix

Somebody asked, a few days ago, how I'm liking working on Ep III, and what I thought of the first two PT movies, and how I think the Ep III film will be. Since I know that a great deal of traffic around here is generated by people looking for Ep III tidbits, I'll undertake to answer those questions.


Writing this adaptation is the hardest work I've ever done. It's also extremely interesting: an entirely new challenge for me as a writer.

One of my talents (that is, one of the things I seem to just be good at, as opposed to the skills I've had to struggle to develop) has always been my control of incident. If what's happening in the book isn't working, I'm really goddamn good at coming up with something else that might (or should) happen that will lead the story in the direction it needs to go.

In Ep III, of course, I can't do any of that. Everything that happens in the script has to happen in the novel. I don't have the liberty to alter the incidents, or the chain of causality that carries the story. Instead, what I have to do is look at each individual scene as a simple historical fact -- it's almost like writing a history, in fact, instead of a novel. What I have to do is take What Really Happened (GL's script) and retell that exact story in a way that makes for an entertaining (and, one hopes, affecting) novel.

It ain't easy. A script is a script, and a novel is a novel; they are very different animals, and for good reason. So if a scene isn't working for me, I have to find a way -- a change in point of view, or an altered tone, or a shift in esthetic distance -- that MAKES it work. Because I am entirely incapable of writing anything I'm not excited about. My brain just won't do it.

So, to answer the unspoken question: yeah, I think the book is going to be really, really good. I am pulling out all the stops on this one, because I think it'll be a great film, and it's the culmination of the most important pop-cultural phenomenon of the past hundred years. It's the last of the movies, and I want my novel version of it to not only do justice to the film itself, but to the whole universe that GL (and so many collaborators) has given us.


I didn't like the first two Pequel movies when I first saw them. I suppose, like many other fans, I was really hoping for something that would be the Original Trilogy Bigger, Faster, and Louder.

But --

After reading the script for Ep III, I went back and watched I and II again, and they were MUCH more enjoyable to me when I looked at them as parts of an organic whole. There is a real emotional arc to the whole story, and it works for me. I think it's gonna work for nearly all of you, too.

This is what I truly believe: when Ep III comes out, there will be a radical re-evaluation of the first two films, not unlike what I went through.

I really think it's gonna be that good.


I recently received the latest disk of screen shots and concept art.

I can't speak to the pacing, or the acting, or the editing, since I haven't seen the actual footage.

What I can tell you is that it's going to be a goddamn masterpiece of visual imagination.

There. That's your Ep III fix for the week. Now I have to go get back to work on it.


Anonymous said...

Nice to hear some Ep3 tidbits. I regret it's keeping the other books (Caine et. al) on hold but hopeful that more NY TIMES bestseller status will draw even more fans to your work.
My fear with Ep3, is that so far all the first two movies have done is undercut the true drama of the first cycle. When Luke refused to turn to the dark side in Jedi, I cheered. "I'm a Jed, like my father was before me.."
But what the first two movies have shown is an Anakin who is weak in everything but the force. He seems to have no moral sense, save his own desires. He has no respect for anyone, save himself. And far from a seduction to the dark side, Anakin seems to be sprinting to go bad. When he massacres the sand people, rather than a response to his mother's death, it seemes the inevitable consequence of his impulsive selfishness.
The truth is, Darth Vader was a far more noble character than Anakin ever was.
Andy Lawler
(Too lazy to register)

Anonymous said...

By the By Matt, while I was at work today my manager came up carrying Exile by Salvatore. Now this may just be me being the dork that I've been being lately, but I noticed your introduction. :) I liked it. I find it rather amusing how well you express what is yourself in words. Meaning that your personality jumps off the page at a person and it is you. At least the you that I've met :)

short? It was good.


MWS said...

Hey, thanks, Jenn.

I try to tell the truth, y'know? When I'm writing in my own voice -- about my own opinion, which is what that intro is -- I try to write the way I talk . . . just with a bit less coarse language.

Adam said...

"When he massacres the sand people, rather than a response to his mother's death, it seemes the inevitable consequence of his impulsive selfishness.
The truth is, Darth Vader was a far more noble character than Anakin ever was."

Is this not the point? A noble character doesn't make the decision to become Darth Vader. A selfish kid does. Anakin Skywalker never comes of age until the throne room of Death Star II.

Anonymous said...

Matt. Thanks for answering my question about the PT movies. I realize, given the entire "must hush" approach to EP3, that details cannot be given.

However, is there truth in the rumour that there is a villain by the name of "General Grievous"? And if so, is it hard to write his scenes without cracking a smile?

Thanks again.

MWS said...

I can neither confirm nor deny the presence or absence of any character, technology or feature of design in any product of LucasFilm or its licensed properties.

Mastadge said...

Yes, there is a character named Grievous. Whether he'll be in the film, I can't say, because I haven't been keeping up with spoilers at all and don't know a thing about it. He has, apparently, been in the cartoon series, one of Liz Hand's Boba Fett books, maybe will be in some of the comics, and is on the cover of Labyrinth of Evil, so he's there.

I don't find Grievous any worse than, say, Sidious or Tyranus.

Speaking of writing with a snicker, I still think Cestus Deception should have been called FISTO'S FIST O' DOOM or some such.