The Elder Scrolls Online lead writer Bill Slavicsek recently took some shots at and criticized the Lucasfilm and Star Wars executives behind the sequel trilogy.
Slavicsek is no stranger to storytelling and specifically storytelling in Star Wars as he’s worked on a number of Star Wars roleplaying games and sourcebooks when he was at West End Games.
Specifically Slavicsek worked on the Star Wars Source Sourcebook, Tatooine Manhunt, Otherspace, Death Star Technical Companion, Graveyard of Alderaan, Heir to the Empire Sourcebook, Dark Force Rising Sourcebook, the Star Wars Roleplaying Game and more.
Needless to say he knows his Star Wars.
He recently discussed modern Star Wars storytelling with Salon, where they talked about not only The Mandalorian, but the Disney sequel trilogy as well.
Slavicsek had high praise for The Mandalorian and specifically Executive Producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni.
He explained why die hard Star Wars fans as well as casual fans are able to enjoy the show, “It is a level of attention to detail. The writers of The Mandalorian know how to use the tools in the Star Wars toolbox, and they are doing it with great skill.”
He continued, “It is not unlike the way we created the original West End Games Star Wars roleplaying modules. We looked at what was left over from the sketches from the original films — things that were not used on the screen — and asked ourselves, what can we turn that into?”
Slavicsek then added, “The Mandalorian is doing the same thing. It makes me want to watch the TV show just to see what is going to happen next.”
As for how they are maintaining the high level of storytelling in the show, Slavicsek expounded, “I am not totally on the inside of how the Star Wars TV shows and movies are being made right now. But as I can see from the outside looking in, Dave Filoni worked with George Lucas on the Clone Wars animated TV show. He was also the principal person behind the Rebels animated TV show as well. The Mandalorian is the next step for him with live action. They have a great deal of trust in him.”
He then turned his attention to Favreau, “They also have a great deal of trust in Jon Favreau, who is writing almost all the episodes himself. I can also see Dave’s hand in each of the episodes as well, and to my eyes they are really a good team.”
“They are both working with the story group at Lucasfilm to make sure that everything matches with the Star Wars continuity, but Filoni and Favreau both know their stuff when it comes to Star Wars. In my opinion, both of them are Star Wars fans who are getting to play,” he concluded.
In contrast to his high praise for The Mandalorian, Slavicsek was not so kind towards the sequel trilogy.
He explained, “The last three Star Wars films surprised me, at least from the outside looking in, especially given the Lucasfilm story group. I am not sure how or why they came to the decisions to do the last three Star Wars movies the way they did.”
Slavicsek then pointed out how the sequel trilogy lacks cohesiveness, “By comparison, The Mandalorian is being done the way The Clone Wars and Rebels animated shows were. There is a clear vision, a clear arc, and the show is building towards something. As we did with the Star Wars roleplaying game, which I believe that Dave and Jon are fans of, that is how you apply the lessons of storytelling. That is not necessarily true of the people who did the last Star Wars trilogy.”
As for what he believes the problem was with the sequel trilogy films, Slavicsek points to the films trying to serve too many masters.
He elaborated, “As far as I understand it, everyone who worked on the three newer Star Wars trilogy movies were fans. But sometimes things do not work out. When you try to serve too many masters, you can’t please everybody.”
Interestingly enough, he does believe the sequel trilogy films are better than George Lucas’ prequel films, “There are elements of the new trilogy that I like and enjoy. I do not agree with everything they did with the new trilogy, but I do not think that the films are as bad as the prequels, in my estimation.”
He does give credit to Rogue One describing it as a “good Star Wars movie.”
As for any advice he might give to Favreau, Filoni, and other Star Wars creators he stated, “Keep telling good stories. That’s the key. Don’t try to hit everything all at once.”
“There is room in these series, so use it, take your time and build the world up, whichever world or part of the universe you are dealing with at any given time,” Slavicsek added.
He then suggested they emulate the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which Favreau helped launch with Iron Man, “I would continue, just the way Kevin Feige has taken over and become the person behind the Marvel universe, I would like to see Jon Favreau and David Filoni become the linchpins to the Star Wars universe, because they’re certainly hitting the mark with The Mandalorian.”
What do you make of Slavicsek’s comments? Do you think the prequels are worse than the sequel trilogy? Do you think he was being too kind about the sequel trilogy? What about his high praise for The Mandalorian? Does the show deserve it or do you think he is overhyping the show?