Maybe to a degree Lorcan. It’s quite unique in that one writer had so much say but equally there was never any plan that it was last exactly that long, they winged it, maybe less than than most but they did. If someone had commissioned another two seasons because ratings were huge they’d have worked to that.
The main point of winging it for B5 was when the show was cancelled at the end of series 4 and then unexpectedly renewed, so JMS wound up accelerating the Earth Civil War plot and filling in the gap in the first half of series 5.
At various points he spoke of how he’d written a few exit points for each character to use when and if an actor quit or otherwise left the show.
…and I admire JMS for his plan but to me all that does is emphasise that there can be no great plan in network TV, it’s another case of being on the hoof as the demands change.
Were it not for a few of TFA’s moves, I wouldn’t be so critical but when your opening shot culminates in killing Han Solo, by his son, is it really expecting too much that they have some idea of where they’re going with that? Or hinting at Luke for the entire movie, showing him at the end then run credits or that you say there were new Jedi but they all got killed?
If it was more restrained, then yeah, of course making it up as you go could work, I’m just far more sceptical due to the above.
It is possible the end result will be exactly the same.
To be continued in Eps 10-12?
Those were coming anyway. Are you in a different universe that is more pure an money has no influence?
I think the truth is that the situation probably falls somewhere in the middle of meticulously planned and completely unplanned. I’m sure that JJ had ideas for where his story could go, but at the same time I gather from previous interviews that Lucasfilm made clear to Rian Johnson that he had some latitude to take things in a different direction if he chose to.
Equally it sounds like Trevorrow will make some adjustments to the expected trajectory of the overall story, not least due to Carrie Fisher’s passing.
I’m happy to not worry about it and see how the story turns out in the final film, regardless of how the sausage was made.
I’m just in a slightly less cynical strata of reality.
Well, I almost said the exception that proves the rule, because B5 is quite unique in that regard. Babylon 5 went through a lot of changes from the original plan - but most of that took place before the pilot was filmed. Compare what was in the original B5 treatment documents to what wound up on TV - they’re very different.
To date though, B5 is literally lightning in a bottle. Even JMS failed to replicate his storytelling success with Crusade, even leaving aside its cancellation, interference from TNT derailed what little was made of the show. What’s interesting is that even though B5 isn’t a household name, the fact that JMS had a plan means that a lot of serialised TV shows are expected to have one, even when the writers repeatedly admit they don’t - see Galactica, Battlestar.
Yeah, it’s success saw everyone and their brother claiming their show was planned, but not picking up on what they were signing up to nor what the claim tends to do to expectations.
In contrast, Stargate is I think the best example of winging it, but they just built each piece atop the previous really well.
One of the best things the Stargate writers did was they never forgot about the mcguffins they used or encountered in the past, and they’d use them again where appropriate, sometimes successfully - even across shows.
Or Farscape. It always seemed to be a case of what crazy s**t they could do to the characters each episode. They were never afraid to play with little sci-fi tropes, but to really commit to them (e.g. instead of doing an episode where John Crichton was duplicated and putting everything back to normal at the end of the episode, the show then became about two John Crichtons).
Farscape really pushed it, the penultimate ep 2-parter of S3 was never bettered.
The A-Team always seemed to have a pretty good plan.
One problem with long-term planning in TV/movies is actors leaving/dying.
Just this week Supergirl ended their season on two of the characters getting engaged, only for one of the actors to decide days later that she’s leaving the show. If they’d known that a few months ago, they wouldn’t have set up an engagement. Lost apparently had big plans for Mr. Eko, but the actor wanted to leave. David Chase planned out a whole season of Sopranos about Tony versus his mother, and had to completely scrap it when Nancy Marchand died.
Star Wars obviously had plans for Leia going forward, but they’ve had to adjust after Carrie Fisher’s death. Back in the prequel trilogy, Terence Stamp was supposed to play a major role, but hated doing the first movie and was scrapped.
I was not aware of that. I had thought it was just a glorified cameo in the first movie. I remember him not speaking very favourably about it though.
Er… Yeah, he wasn’t impressed by Lucas at all.