Lucasfilm to Make 2-3 Movies a Year; Could Lucasarts Adventure Games be Adapted?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated February 27th, 2013 at 2:07 pm,

Grim Fandango Movie Lucasfilm to Make 2 3 Movies a Year; Could Lucasarts Adventure Games be Adapted?

Unless you’ve been hiding inside a Tauntaun (get it? get it?) these past few weeks, you’ve probably heard that Disney purchased Lucasfilm – and therefore Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and other properties – for the small one-time fee of $4 billion. Star Wars: Episode 7 will be hitting theaters in 2015, with episodes 8 and 9 following suit in two-to-three year intervals.

According to newly-appointed Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, that’s only the beginning – Lucasfilm will be making two or three films every year from here on out, a slight uptick from the five movies they made between the years of 1999 and 2012.

From the most recent edition of Entertainment Weekly, here’s the relevant section:

“Lucasfilm’s co-chairman and soon-to-be president, Kathleen Kennedy, has told employees she wants the company to produce two or three films a year (it’s averaged fewer than four per decade), and first up is ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ for 2015, which will pick up sometime after Darth Vader gave his life to overthrow (figuratively and literally) the Emperor and save Luke in 1983’s ‘Episode 6’ – ‘Return of the Jedi.’ Yes, the plan is to return to the characters in the first trilogy (1977–83). Whether the original actors will have significant roles or merely be on hand to pass the baton to a new generation of actors—something Lucasfilm tried with mixed success with ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ and Disney with ‘TRON: Legacy’ – is unclear.”

It goes without saying that some of those “two or three films a year” will be Star Wars or Indiana Jones films (more of the former, less of the latter), but that leaves a lot of room for projects unrelated to those blockbuster properties. The question is, what kind of projects can we expect?

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Willow 2

Willow was Lucasfilm’s fantasy follow-up to Return of the Jedi. Directed by Ron Howard and produced by George Lucas – who also provided the story – the film starred Warwick Davis (Wicket in Return of the Jedi and the Leprechaun in Leprechaun) as an amateur wizard and Val Kilmer as a swashbuckling rogue. The two unlikely heroes reluctantly teamed up to save an infant girl from certain destruction by a crazy old witch lady.

Willow Movie Poster Lucasfilm to Make 2 3 Movies a Year; Could Lucasarts Adventure Games be Adapted?

The film wasn’t a “bomb,” per se, but it also wasn’t the massive hit that industry insiders expected. Still, Val Kilmer was fantastic and hilarious as Madmartigan, and both Lucas and Davis have talked about the possibility of a second installment – either in film or television – as recently as 2008. There was even a sequel trilogy of books written by Chris Claremont (of X-Men comic book fame) and George Lucas between 1995 and 2000.

Would a Willow sequel be something worth pursuing? There’s very little brand appeal at this point, which would probably be a strike against it. Then again, fantasy stories are far more lucrative now than they were in the 1980s, as The Lord of the RingsHarry PotterThe Chronicles of Narnia, and The Hobbit can attest.

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Lucasarts Adventure Games

Okay, so outside of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Lucasfilm’s catalog of cinematic properties (Tucker: The Man and His DreamThe Radioland MurdersRed Tails, et cetera) probably wasn’t worth the $4 billion that Disney shelled out last month. However, the videogame branch of Lucasfilm – A.K.A. Lucasarts – is practically brimming with interesting, original, and creative properties that could be highly marketable if adapted correctly.

From Monkey Island to Day of the Tentacle to Full Throttle to the crème de le crème of graphic adventure games, Grim Fandango – all of which legendary videogame designer Tim Schafer had a hand in crafting – each of these properties are perfectly suited for cinematic adaptation as is. Some, in fact, could be prime candidates for Disney animation (either traditional animation, CG animation, or stop-motion animation).

Grim Fandango Movie Adaptation Lucasfilm to Make 2 3 Movies a Year; Could Lucasarts Adventure Games be Adapted?

Monkey Island Movie Adaptation Lucasfilm to Make 2 3 Movies a Year; Could Lucasarts Adventure Games be Adapted?

Full Trottle Movie Lucasfilm to Make 2 3 Movies a Year; Could Lucasarts Adventure Games be Adapted?

The primary reason for why these games are so well-regarded to this day? Their stories. They’re all very original, relatively simple, and have incredibly charming characters to boot, which brings to mind the work of a little company called Pixar.

Hell, Steve Purcell – co-writer and co-director of Pixar’s latest film, Brave – was heavily involved with Lucasarts videogames back in the day, including the Monkey Island series and the videogame adaptation of his own comic book, Sam and Max Hit the Road. (He even did concept work for a proposed Monkey Island animated movie that unfortunately went nowhere.)

Could we eventually see these two beloved worlds collide? Boy, I sure hope so.

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More Star Wars Movies!

Just because Lucasfilm is going to be incredibly busy making a new trilogy of Star Wars movies doesn’t mean they can’t make even more Star Wars movies. There are plenty of options for cinematic Star Wars projects that don’t have to infringe on the canon of the main series. Indeed, it’s entirely possible we could see animated movies that focus on, for example, the Old Republic (speaking of Lucasarts games) or even the period of galactic war that set the stage for the Original Trilogy.

Star Wars The Old Republic Lucasfilm to Make 2 3 Movies a Year; Could Lucasarts Adventure Games be Adapted?

The Expanded Universe has proven, if nothing else, that there are limitless characters, corners, eras, and stories that can be explored within that galaxy far, far away. Why shouldn’t Lucasfilm take full advantage of that?

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Totally Original Properties

And then, of course, there’s the 100% original route. Hard as it might be to recall – particularly for those of us who weren’t alive at the time – there was a period in history when Lucasfilm created naught but original material. After all, in 1977, Star Wars was an original movie. In 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark was an original movie. If you were alive in the mid-1980s, you probably would’ve assumed that Lucasfilm would go on making incredibly original movies a la Star Wars and Indiana Jones in perpetuity.

Alas, they did not, and we got mostly sequels (and prequels) instead, save for the few unsuccessful dramas here and there. Perhaps that’ll change with Kathleen Kennedy at the helm.

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We’ll have to wait to know exactly what sort of films we can expect from Lucasfilm in the coming decade. What, besides Star Wars and Indiana Jones, would you like to see from the studio now that they’ve got Disney’s backing? Are there any Lucasarts games that you’d like to see adapted for the big screen? Or would you prefer that Lucasarts goes the “100% original” route? Let us know in the comments.

Star Wars: Episode 7 is expected to hit theaters in 2015.

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Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Source: Entertainment Weekly [via Kotaku]

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TAGS: Indiana Jones, indiana jones 5, star wars

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  1. Grim Fandango was an awesome game! A film needs to be made!

  2. Disney better start liscensing LucasArts franchises. If they just do ‘mobile development’ like Iger said, then that’s a travesty. LucasArts has sat on some of the best gaming franchises in history for the past decade and I’m still waiting for KOTOR 3, Jedi Knight 3, Battlefront 3, the list goes on. Give Naughty Dog liscensing for an Indy game, and maybe there will finally be a good Indy game too.

    • Sounds like you never played fate of atlantis.

    • battlefront III, battlefront III, battlefront III!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. It’s “Tauntaun”… really, Screenrant…

    • You beat me to it…

  4. Overkill. Total overkill. But quality doesn’t matter in concern to properties like this anymore and it’s going to sell anyways, so who can blame them.

  5. I’d bet on more Star Wars movies to go along with the new trilogy. Maybe (big maybe) a James Bond-esque recasting for an Indiana Jones reboot. Other than that I wouldn’t count on anything else aside from original properties. Very exciting to see what’s planned!

    • Zac Efron IS Indiana Jones! *shudder*

  6. I would love to see…

    THE OLD REPUBLIC. Whether an on-going TV series or new series of movies, there is SO much content from that era now that it needs to be brought to a screen; big or small.

    YOUNG INDIANA JONES. One of the MOST under-rated TV series ever. Disney owns ABC. Disney owns Indy. Match made in Heaven. And there is a WHOLE new generation of kids that NEED to see some of the world history the way Young Indy did. Oh, Indy is too far back and you need more modern? How about…

    THE ADVENTURES OF MUTT WILLIAMS. Indy gets to pass the torch? Mutt needs to run with it. He’s 18 – 20 in the late 50′s/early 60′s. There is a whole lotta history for Mutt to experience in the 50′s and 60′s and 70′s. Maybe bounce stories between Young Indy and Mutt and just give us some decent TV again that not only entertains but informs and piques the curiosity of the younger fans.

    MONKEY ISLAND. Yes, please! TV, Big Screen, cartoon on Disney Channel, whatever. This game needs to be brought back someway, somehow, somewhere.

    TUCKER 2: A Man and his Submarine. Totally kidding.

    FORCE UNLEASHED, REPUBLIC COMMANDO, The X-WING Books…: Yeah, there is a ton of Star Wars content to mine and if done right, it could be awesome. ABC owns Marvel Comics, ABC and their own channels; there are plenty of venues to bring more of LucasFilm and LucasArts creations to the public. If done right and carefully, it could be awesome.

    P.S.

    LABYRINTH: How about THAT sequel?

  7. Monkey Island….and….

    DAY OF THE TENACLE!!!!!!
    Doctor Fred Edison is an eccentric scientist who lives with his bizarre family in his centuries old home, somewhere in New England. One day, his pets, genetically engineered tentacles by the names of Green and Purple, come across waste being dumped into a creek. While Green stays away from it, Purple takes a taste of some of it and is mutated, giving him limbs as well as superhuman intelligence. Driven mad by the sudden power rush, Purple sets off to conquer the planet and replace the human race with tentacles. However, Fred captures them, and thinking Green may have been exposed as well, regretfully decides he must euthanize them. Fearing for his life Green sneaks out a telegram to his old friend, nerdish college student Bernard Bernouli. Bernard, bent on rescuing Green, sneaks himself, his med student girlfriend Laverne, and roomate, Hoagie, off campus and drives to the mansion, where Purple and Green are both set free and Purple escapes to go on a rampage…

    • Maniac Mansion and tentacle were FRICKING AMAZINGG period

  8. What about Maniac Mansion? I know there was a lousy television show, but a movie would be great!

  9. I would love to see Grim Fandango as an animated film from Disney. I still play that game in its entirety every year since I got it for a christmas gift in 1998. The story is solid and the writing is witty. I definitely would like to see it in the fashion of The Goon trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zr_Ta6NS3-g If a movie can’t be figured out, can we at least get another Grim Fandango game?

    I also am a huge fan of the Monkey Island series. But I think Disney would have a harder time translating that to a film. It could be done, but most likely not.

  10. Willow was great! I wouldn’t mind another movie like that at all.

  11. A trilogy based on the old republic would be epic, the expanded universe also has so much material to offer as well.

  12. Rescue on Fractalus
    Maniac Mansion
    The Eidolon
    Koronis Rift

  13. I’m wondering, with Disney acquiring Lucas Films, if they are still planning to continue releasing the previous trilogies in 3D?

    • they probably will no doubt

  14. I bet in order to reach 2 to 3 movies per year. They do one off stories like a movie about Luke skywalker, a movie about smugglers/ bounty hunters, then they culminate in one large meet up movie. Like the iron Man,Cap, thor then Avengers. I bet they do something like that. All under the star wars banner.. I could be totally wrong lol Just throwing it out there. Whatever they do I can’t wait and I hope Brad Bird directs something.

  15. Was American grafiti made under Lucas films or did George Lucas direct that under a studio? Cuz I don’t wanna see a remake.

    • ‘American Graffiti’ was produced by Lucasfilm but it was financed and distributed by Universal.

  16. I don’t think they would re do that. they have their hands full with Star wars and jones. And I bet they do a willow re boot. Maybe Howard the Duck HAHAHA

    • Now that Disney has both Marvel and Lucasfilm, how could they NOT remake Howard the Duck!? …kidding.

      • Maybe now a Howard the Duck trilogy?…(it’s not below them, nothing will be at one point or another)

  17. I think a movie marketed as “Willow 2″ would but utterly pointless.

    But the character Willow (with Warrick Davis) could easily be revisted in a stand-alone movie with loose ties to the original. That would look a lot less like a cash grab type movie.

    Willow is a wizzard. It makes perfect sense to revisit him as an older, more expreienced character. I’d go see that if they did it right!

    • Agreed. Just call it Willow again or Willow: xyz. I’d see it either way honestly.

    • Well, of course. “Willow 2″ is shorthand for saying “a follow-up to Willow.”

  18. I want to see a Star Wars: The Force Unleashed film with Sam Witwer.

    Take all the best ideas from the games and ditch everything else.

  19. Remake howard the duck? Donald must be very upset by now LOL.

  20. This is how I see hope this entire situation plays out; Finally make Lucas’ promised live action Star Wars Series set between Eps III and IV, some kind of cartoon movie follow up to Clone Wars( I know most true die hards shudder but my nephew loved them and isn’t that what Star Wars is about?), a TV cartoon type show focusing on Rogue Squadron(the story outline is there with Stackpole and Allstons wonderfull work, just needs some fleshing out for 4-5 seasons),Then some type of adaption of the original Thrawn trilogy more tham likely cartoon due to age of actors and cost of production, a few Old Republic movie series focusing on the early Sith and possibly one on Yoda, an Indy cartoon series of course(cause Disney owns like 8 billion cartoon channels), fifth and possibly sixth Indy movies, Grim Fandango cartoon movie(s), and several original ideas that I am sure have been floating around Lucasfilm for years. I see this happening beacuse of all the tie-in possibilities such as merchandising and park expansion. My nephews are just younglings and love the new Clone Wars and prequil trilogies as much as I do the originals. Frankly Disney spent 4 Billion for more than 3 or 6 more Star Wars Movies. I just hope for less Gungans and Ewoks.

  21. Disney LucasArts franchises more licensing. Iger said as they just ‘Mobile Development’, when it’s funny. LucasArts is sitting on some of the best game franchises in the history of the past 10 years and still go Kotor, Jedi Knight 3, at the forefront of the list, I’ll be waiting

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