Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss are teaming up to create a trilogy of Star Wars movies. The duo successfully adapted George R.R. Martin’s sprawling fantasy epic to the screen, so many are eager to see what they do with another George’s epic saga. However, will the style of Game of Thrones mesh with Star Wars?
To answer this question, we need to understand what both sagas are really about. Star Wars is a swash-buckling space opera about battles, sci-fi wizards, and the cycle of heroism throughout generations. Game of Thrones is a deconstruction of the idealized historical and fantasy epics of yesteryear, presenting a gritty, cruel world without mercy or heroism.
Both are fantastic.
But are the compatible?
Rian Johnson’s recent entry in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, left a lot of people bitter-sweet. While some fans adored its deconstructive approach to lore, others found it a little off-putting. It presented a world where the legendary heroes of the original trilogy were flawed. Mistakes were common, and led to terrible consequences. Fans did not care for many of Johnson’s creative choices, even though, in many respects, it was inevitable.
Most creative genres go through cycles. The early stages present a genre in its infancy. Later writers develop the ideas and expand upon them, until the tropes become stale. Then, deconstruction kicks in, where writers analyze and break down an otherwise stale genre. After awhile, the deconstructed tropes become stale themselves, leading to even newer writers returning to the early stages, and what made the genre so fascinating in the first place.
A good demonstration of this is with fantasy itself. The father of modern-day fantasy is J.R.R. Tolkein (there are older writers who wrote in the genre, and, if you stretch it, you can argue that the Grimm Brothers or John Milton wrote fantasy before him, but go with this). After he codified the high fantasy genre, you got writers to continue in his vein, such as Terry Brooks (Shannara), Ursula K Le Guin (Earthsea), and Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders of Pern). However, after awhile, the cliches became too predictable (I blame R.A. Salvatore personally, even though I really, REALLY have a soft spot for Drizzt). This led to a dark revision of the fantasy genre, as seen with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
Star Wars has reached the same point in its lifespan the fantasy genre reached when George R.R. Martin started his epic saga.
The time is right for deconstruction.
But do we need a Game of Thrones-esque deconstruction of the genre? Is this the right direction for the series to take? Do we need a saga with multiple characters scheming plots within plots, with epic fights, with grey morality, and all that lot?
Yes. Yes, we really, really do.
For awhile now, the Galaxy Far, Far Away has been home to epic battles of good and evil, but it can be so much more. The galaxy is full of potential stories to tell, and, if the series is to survive past the end of this trilogy, the conflicts and stories need to diversify. We can’t be stuck with the stories surrounding one family. There is a universe of stories worth telling with centuries of events worth discussing. We have a thousand generations where the Jedi Order maintained peace, but we also have untold generations before that where chaos reigned. All that time is ripe for story mining.
If Star Wars does not evolve, it will die from stagnation.