So You Could Write A Better Episode VIII

Hey there, kid. I’d like to welcome you to Lucasfilm.

You’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime here! I couldn’t help but overhear you on social media; that’s what happens when you type in all caps and hashtag everything. Lucasfilm’s lawyers are always listening; we have to be. More on that in a moment.

It’s come to our attention that you’ve been telling everybody and their dog that Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi was “incompetently written by people who have no idea how to make a decent movie.”

We’ve heard the critics’ reports all over Twitter, and so, we’ve taken your criticisms to heart. If Deadpool can go back and stop Ryan Reynolds from making Green Lantern, we’ve decided to give you a chance to put your money where your mouth is.

“I could write a better Star Wars movie than that,” you assured us. Here’s your chance.

On the basis of your criticism, and the criticism of a large number of hateful incels who nevertheless constitute a sizable portion of our box office draw, we’ve decided to scrap all of Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, and let you do what you say is so easy, and write us a better film.

Oh, but this is going to employ 5,000 people for a year, so we’d better set down some terms for you. We trust you won’t find them too restrictive, if you’re half the writer you say you are:

(1)For starters, you have 120 pages. Anything over that gets cut.

(2)For another thing, the fan fiction community has taken almost every good idea there is. Lucasfilm has an entire legal department whose only job is to go out there and read every single piece of it, to avoid costly litigation by making sure your screenplay inadvertently has nothing in it that has appeared on the Net between 1983 and today. That Mara Jade plot? Somebody’s done it. The lawyers will take your script and rip it up. The whole arc of Han & Leia’s kids? Same thing. Rey is Kenobi’s grandson? Rip rip rip; it’s been done 30 times in 30 fanfics and that’s how many copyright lawsuits Disney will have to fight if you write what you think is best. They might win most of them, but that doubles the cost of the movie, so execs say no.

(3)Now let’s remember who’s paying Mark Hamill’s salary. It’s Kenner, the toy company. Remember that their $20 million investment is contingent on having X new ship designs in the film, and Y new aliens to make one-off action figures of. If you want to cut Canto Bight, fine; but you need another way to give 30-35 new interesting-looking aliens a few seconds of screen time each. That’s another demand on your screenplay. And whatever you do, keep it under 120 pages because 5-year old kids are going to see this, and they have tiny bladders.

(4)Oh, and that new better idea you had? We lost Carrie at the end of production. No reshoots, none of her lines redubbed in ADR. That goofy sequence you were going to replace? That’s all the footage of her you have, so that’s what goes in the movie, period, because otherwise you don’t meet the minimum screen-time stipulated in her contract for her to be a “principal,” and her estate will cut the movie profits in half.

(5)Oh, and get it done in three weeks because principal photography is starting.

(6)Speaking of shooting, Pinewood Studios is where we’ve built all the Bad Guy Starship sets. We have the studios booked for 6 weeks, but Daisy Ridley’s concurrently filming Murder on the Orient Express. Her availability only overlaps with our studio time by 3 days, so at the outside maximum, don’t give her more than 3-4 pages on board the enemy ship. Look, I know you say you can write a great epic movie, but if you can’t work with us it’ll never be more than fanfic. 4 minutes, max. That’s one good fight and maybe a talking scene.

(7)Oh, and there has to be a talking scene because Andy Serkis is under contract and needs enough lines to make him a feature role, but definitely not enough lines to be a principal.

(8)Oh, and while we’re on the subject of ships, we need three new “worlds,” because the people at EA who make Star Wars: Battlefront say we do: we need an undeveloped world, a city world, and then maybe a giant ship or something to run around and shoot people on. You can try to say “no” to them, try to tell them you’re making serious art and the video game people can go to hell, but technically Battlefront II‘s first-week sales, while quite weak for a video game, were more than DOUBLE what Episode VII‘s first-week box office was. That money means they are the ones calling the shots, not you. So you’ll keep your head down and do what you’re told, or you’re fired and we’ll get Larry Kasdan to come in and finish your script for you.

(8)Oh, and it needs to be funnier, without sex or bad language.

(9)Also there needs to be a love story, because the love story tests well with women 18-35, but again, there can’t be anything remotely sexual, because remember, 5-year-olds.

(10)Oh, and that love story it has to be with a brand new character, because every possible pairing/shipping has been done by the fanfic writers, and Legal won’t OK any pairing that’s been done. So make a brand new character and make one of the principals fall in love, but not Rey because she’s the sex object for a not-small demographic of white men 18-50. We can’t take her off the dating market in the film until the 2nd act of Episode IX.

There you go, kid. We’ll come by in three weeks to pick up the much better screenplay you told us you could easily write. We want six copies of it delivered to Kathleen; two brass brads in five of them, but three brads in Rian’s copy because he’s kind of a freak that way. And if you don’t know what two- or three-brads refers to, trust me, you’re not ready to work in this business.

Best of luck, kid, and may the Force be with you! Because God knows the fans won’t.

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