An Alternate Rise of the Blockbuster

Nice update!

An idea I had - why not create a version of the Expendables in TTL? You mentioned that the action genre had been somewhat sidelined by the superhero films - a movie that featured Arnie, Willis, Stallone, Norris, and the like in thier prime could well be the attempt to break into the mainstream.

Thoughts?
Hmm, it's worth considering... especially since team-based movies (e.g. Fantastic Four, X-Men) are becoming a thing in the late '80s/early '90s... it wouldn't be a straight-up equivalent of The Expendables, though, but something a bit different... *ponders*

It wouldn't have Bruce Willis in it, though. Remember that Arnie stars in Die Hard: Commando Part II in TTL. Willis has a somewhat different career path ahead of him.
 
Julien Rousseau is obviously Jean-Luc Picard, George Lagrange is Geordi La Forge, Luisa Hernandez is Tasha Yar, there is a "stoic" security officer named Torres that could be a mix between Tuvok and B'Elanna Torres, Leslie Crusher is Wesley Crusher, William Lester is a calm individual played by Tim "Tuvok" Russ, Drak is Worf, Arcadia is an utopia... I can see how Strange New World is definitely Roddenberry's creature. Will it be considered a spiritual successor to Star Trek, and have a similar impact on pop/nerd culture as Star Trek has had in OTL?

As for *The Expendables, I am all for it. Action movies (Gunsploitation) still exist in ATL and have a following, having a bunch of action heroes in their prime shooting people around would do good to the genre, that in ATL is second to super hero movies. Maybe Chuck Norris could shoot less and roundhouse kick more... ;)
 
Julien Rousseau is obviously Jean-Luc Picard, George Lagrange is Geordi La Forge, Luisa Hernandez is Tasha Yar, there is a "stoic" security officer named Torres that could be a mix between Tuvok and B'Elanna Torres, Leslie Crusher is Wesley Crusher, William Lester is a calm individual played by Tim "Tuvok" Russ, Drak is Worf, Arcadia is an utopia... I can see how Strange New World is definitely Roddenberry's creature. Will it be considered a spiritual successor to Star Trek, and have a similar impact on pop/nerd culture as Star Trek has had in OTL?

As for *The Expendables, I am all for it. Action movies (Gunsploitation) still exist in ATL and have a following, having a bunch of action heroes in their prime shooting people around would do good to the genre, that in ATL is second to super hero movies. Maybe Chuck Norris could shoot less and roundhouse kick more... ;)
George Lagrange actually isn't like Geordi La Forge at all: only the names are similar. George is a manic genius type. If anyone's Geordi-like, it'd be William. And Frank isn't like B'Elanna either.
 
I thought I'd flesh out the characters of PAX a little more explicitly -- just a sentence or so for each. Where they're like a TNG character I'll note it.

Dylan is, basically, Riker. Maybe a little more humorous, though.

Luisa is a lot like Yar in terms of backstory but in personality terms she's probably more like K'Ehlyr.

George is a manic scientist type person -- comparable to Dr Soong, or maybe to Spiner's character in Independence Day (except without the hair).

Frank is a stoic, serious character, and an expert in armed and unarmed combat. Think of him like a cross between Malcolm Reed and Teal'c from Stargate SG-1.

Rousseau is Picard. It's that simple, really.

Leslie Hernandez, likewise, is a female Wesley Crusher. I can even picture her saying "I'm from PAX -- we don't lie" in exactly the same tone Wesley says it about Starfleet in that episode with the half-nude blondes who want to execute him. But even though her personality is exactly the same her character is much more popular because she's hot.

William is shy, introverted, very knowledgeable. Sort of a mix between Geordi La Forge and Reg Barclay.

Drak is quite Worf-like, and has a Worf sort of dynamic with the rest, but he's different in that he's a warrior tribesman born and raised (in contrast to Worf, who was adopted by humans). I guess that means he doesn't sort of aspire to a higher ideal of his tribe like the way Worf views Klingons, but has a more nuanced view.
 
I do like that idea. Include some of the later action stars we know IOTL as supporting cast as well you could use some pro-wrestlers and other athletes much the same as OTL Expendables.
Hows this for a possible cast list:

Sylvester Stallone
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bruce Willis
Sean Connery
George Lazenby
Chow Yun Fat
Jackie Chan
Carl Weathers
Wesley Snipes
Danny Glover
Harrison Ford
Dolph Judgren
Kurt Russell
Mel Gibson
Jean Claude Van Damme
Chuck Norris
Brandon Lee

Pick any five and just go from there :D
 
Hows this for a possible cast list:

Sylvester Stallone
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bruce Willis
Sean Connery
George Lazenby
Chow Yun Fat
Jackie Chan
Carl Weathers
Wesley Snipes
Danny Glover
Harrison Ford
Dolph Judgren
Kurt Russell
Mel Gibson
Jean Claude Van Damme
Chuck Norris
Brandon Lee

Pick any five and just go from there :D
................ ................ (btw that's my head exploding) lol
 
Update #18 -- the fifth and sixth films of The Star Wars

---

Imagine being a fan of The Star Wars, going into the cinema in June 1988 to watch the sixth film in the series.

There’s been a high standard set by the previous film two years before. The Star Wars – Chapter V: Ghosts of the Past was everything you ever wanted out of a Star Wars film. It was fun and exciting. It had a gripping story that perfectly balanced the conflicts of Rebellion vs. Empire and Jedi vs. Sith. The various literal and figurative ghosts of the past – the planet of cloned warriors in hiding since the end of the Clone Wars, the history of Zara Starkiller and the true origin of her relationship with Prince Valorum, the actual ghost of her father Deak Skywalker conjured by her in a Sith ritual – gave the universe of The Star Wars so much more depth than the series had ever possessed. Zara’s breaking from the Sith Order and defection to the Rebellion was masterful, and Luke’s engagement to Leia was possibly the most emotionally honest thing the series had ever done. Practically everyone agrees that Ghosts of the Past was the best one yet – it was director Jonathan Demme’s first blockbuster hit, and another success for returning screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. And yet, it still didn’t break $200 million in worldwide gross profit. This could be a sign that The Star Wars is winding down. In fact, even though nothing’s been confirmed, there’s a rumour circulating that this very film will be the last one. And judging by the title (The Star Wars – Chapter VI: The Jedi Victory) there may be some truth to it.

So you sit down in the cinema, wait through the trailers and ads, until finally the movie starts. The Fox logo thunders, the Lucasfilm logo flashes, the THX logo shines. The same familiar text that starts each movie comes onto the screen: “In the thirty-third century...” You wait. “THE STAR WARS” fills the screen with a blast of fanfare, followed by the familiar pale blue opening scroll of text. And then the rug is pulled out from under you.

Right from the beginning, everything you know about The Star Wars has been turned upside-down. Prince Valorum and the Sith Order have launched a coup d’etat against the Empire: they’ve blockaded the capital world of Abbadon, cutting off the Emperor and the Imperial Council from the rest of the galaxy, while Valorum has declared himself absolute ruler. The Rebellion, figuring that they’d rather keep the devil they know, form a temporary alliance with Imperial forces still loyal to the Emperor in order to bring down the Sith. And it turns out that the Emperor – previously implied to be merely an opportunistic politician, wholly at the mercy of the Sith, the military and the bureaucrats – may in fact be a devious tactical genius and master manipulator who has rather amazingly managed to deflect his opposition’s attentions almost entirely.

Leia is heavily pregnant with Luke’s child, and hardly appears in the film at all – it is Luke and Zara who have the task of hunting down Valorum personally. Just like in the last film, Han Solo has an integral role in the story as the leader of the strike on the Sith blockade around Abbadon together with the Imperial forces. Marjoe Gortner as Prince Valorum is as good as ever – he’s absolutely chilling when he uses Zara’s reversion to drawing on the Bogan Force in their duel scene to hurt her – and when Luke kills Valorum at the end, you’re sad to see him go. But still, he’s been massively upstaged by whoever it is who plays the Emperor in those three brief scenes – someone you don’t seem to recognise even though you feel that you ought to.

You cheer when the Sith Order’s forces are destroyed and scattered. You’re not surprised when the Imperial forces immediately turn on the Rebels, but you do feel a rush of relief when it turns out the Rebels anticipated this and make their escape. You’re intrigued by the indications of attraction between Han and Zara in their scenes together, if a little disappointed it doesn’t go further. And it warms your heart to see Leia reappear at the end with her newborn baby boy – who she and Luke name Kane.

The end credits roll. You don’t recognise the names of the director, Russell Mulcahy, or the writer, Rockne S O’Bannon; you found the writing to be great fun if a little strange, and the direction to be oddly MTV-esque but to have its own charm. The cast credits come up – last time Jamie Lee Curtis was added to the list of leads’ named directly below “Starring”; this time Carrie Fisher has been removed, leaving Bill Mumy first, LeVar Burton second and Jamie Lee Curtis third. Fisher gets a separate credit later, under “Featuring”. Oh, and the Emperor is played by some guy you’ve never heard of called Anthony Hopkins.

You feel like you’ve had a great ride. So much about everything you know in this series has changed forever. So much of it feels like the end of an era. And yet – so much was still left unresolved. So many things were left hanging, or only just introduced as if they’d have significance in the future. There’s so much left to see.

For all you know, The Star Wars – Chapter VI: The Jedi Victory may indeed be the final film. But you don’t want it to be. You want more.

*******

While it may have seemed as though George Lucas was steadily winding The Star Wars down for a well-timed graceful finish, the truth was that he was desperately trying to keep it going.

After Terror of the Death Star had been a surprise success in 1979, Lucas had started dreaming big – he’d imagined a saga of twelve films (just as the old cinema serials of his youth had twelve chapters each) set over twenty or thirty years, discovering and fostering new creative talent with himself as the executive producer in charge of it all. But it couldn’t last, and in a way it was the series’ very success that would kill it: The Star Wars had come to be strongly identified with the main characters of Luke, Leia and Han, and was expected to regularly pull in profits to rival James Bond. And so when Ghosts of the Past had earned only slightly more than the original film’s first run despite its rave reviews, it had become clear that public interest in The Star Wars was starting to wane. Not only that, but there were pressures from the series’ stars: LeVar Burton remained a good friend of Lucas’s but with his breakout fame had adopted a “use-me-or-lose-me” approach to The Star Wars and Han’s role in it, Bill Mumy was getting restless and wanting to pursue some of his own projects in music and film, and Carrie Fisher was experiencing serious problems relating to her drug addiction and bipolar disorder; the latter had been part of the reason behind making Zara Skywalker (formerly Starkiller) defect to the Rebels one film earlier than initially planned.

And so, this all meant that Chapter VI of the series had to do what Chapter III had done, only on a greater scale: provide a potential ending point for the series if necessary, or enough momentum to initiate a whole new phase of Star Wars movies if possible. The ideas of the Sith being destroyed, Valorum killed and the Emperor introduced as a new major villain were ones that Lucas had been saving until a hypothetical ninth chapter in the series, but these were desperate times. Lucas had also wanted to introduce the Imperial capital as a planetwide city for some time, and now he was finally able to show it on screen (although mostly seen from space, with only a few scenes on the ground in the Imperial Palace).

Marjoe Gortner took the news that his character was to be killed off well, even though he was deeply saddened to have to leave – as he would state publicly after the movie’s release, playing Prince Valorum had been the happiest time of his life and he was glad to have had the experience even if it was now over. Meanwhile, as Lucas had suspected would happen, Carrie Fisher was unable to commit to playing a lead role – writing her out was a straightforward matter.

Perhaps because The Jedi Victory may have ended up being the last Star Wars film, for the first time in the series Lucas hired two different talented unknowns to write and direct. At the time, O’Bannon was only known for television writing but had come to Lucas’s attention via a spec script; Mulcahy had made a name for himself directing music videos (including “Video Killed the Radio Star” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart”) but his film credits were limited to low-budget horror movies.

The Star Wars – Chapter VI: The Jedi Victory unintentionally attracted some political controversy in the lead-up to its release. In May 1988, during an interview on Late Night with David Letterman, Marjoe Gortner revealed that he’d partly based the character of Valorum on various different Christian evangelists he’d known during his time as a Pentecostal preacher – including Pat Robertson, who at the time was a candidate in the Republican Party’s presidential primary elections. When pressed on the point, Gortner went on to say several disparaging things about Robertson – including a reference to his documentary Marjoe (which had been released on VHS) implying that Robertson had regularly conned old ladies out of their emergency ten-dollar bills.

Of course Gortner’s comments made the news the next day, and Robertson did not take it well. First he attacked Gortner’s character as an atheist and an admitted liar, before going on to attack The Star Wars as a whole and call for a boycott. Not only did Robertson denounce the series for depicting such un-Christian elements as “magic” and “Eastern mysticism” in a positive light, but also for displaying “sexual immorality” – referencing a rumoured sex scene in The Jedi Victory between LeVar Burton and Jamie Lee Curtis’s characters (an unfounded rumour, incidentally – sexual tension was introduced between Han and Zara but remained unconsummated – although conspiracy theories that it had been cut out at the last minute due to the controversy would dog the film for years). Former Democratic primary candidate Jesse Jackson was quick to jump on Robertson’s statement as evidence of racism, and the whole thing devolved from there into a spectacularly ugly political fight. Robertson, incidentally, officially lost the primary not long afterwards – it remains a matter of debate whether The Jedi Victory was the cause of this or merely a symptom of his campaign as a whole.

It is also a matter of debate whether the boycott and associated controversy helped the movie or hurt it. In the end, its gross box office takings were $145 million: still high, but lower than all the others except for The Sith Strike Back. Still, critical reaction was very positive overall (although the directing style was rather polarising) and fans of the series were very vocal in demanding another sequel. It seemed as though of the two possible outcomes, The Jedi Victory had arrived right in the middle: there was enough momentum for another film... but probably only one.

The tail end of the 1988 Writers’ Strike put everything on hold, but once a settlement was reached it became clear that Carrie Fisher would not return. To Lucas’s surprise, Bill Mumy decided to bow out as well – he was very happy with how Luke’s story had ended in The Jedi Victory, and additionally had received the green light for his own dream movie project.

And so, in late 1988, George Lucas sat down to write the treatment for the final installment of The Star Wars – with LeVar Burton, playing Han Solo, as the star.

---

Notes: I decided to bring The Star Wars up to the (ill-defined) "present" rather than jumping into the "future" in this update. And so it contains information on Chapters V and VI -- an update about Chapter VII will be some time away.

The Star Wars being set in the far future rather than the past is something that comes from the original film's first draft. I'm fairly sure that the opening scroll was originally meant to be blue too.

Force ghosts aren't a thing in TTL's version of The Star Wars -- people "become one with the Force" when they die, and Zara is doing some weird black-magic shit to draw out her father's spirit. By the way, I haven't picked an actor who could play Deak Skywalker -- any suggestions?

If Leia being engaged to Luke and pregnant with his baby weirds you out, I'd like to remind you that they're not related in TTL. The name Kane is of course after Kane Dainoga, real name Akira Dainoga, who is TTL's equivalent of Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi.

In case it wasn't clear, Luke kills Valorum in the course of duelling and not as straight-up bloody murder or anything like that.

If you don't recognise the names Russell Mulcahy and Rockne S O'Bannon: Mulcahy directed Highlander in OTL (and Highlander II), while O'Bannon created Farscape and also wrote the original Alien Nation movie (not made in TTL, although the spec script may be its equivalent).

It's shocking to me that Anthony Hopkins was not well-known at all before the nineties, but it's true. Originally I was thinking of someone else to play the Emperor, but when it turned out the timing didn't quite work I decided to switch him with Hopkins.

"Terror of the Death Star", if you remember, is the new sub-title for Chapter I in the series (i.e. the original film), much like "A New Hope" in OTL.

I'm finally getting around to introducing some definite political differences in TTL compared to OTL -- I've briefly talked about some things that cause political issues before, but this is the first time the political situation has been noticeably different from the start. Serious divergences will start to appear from here, but this timeline will remain focused on movies and occasionally TV (though I may include some political interludes where appropriate).

There's a point in Marjoe where he talks about how one preacher he knows will say on his nationally-syndicated radio program, "There's a little old lady out there listening who has ten dollars hidden away in a cookie jar, and God spoke to me and told me that if you take that money and send it to me then He will bless you" -- and earn at least $2000 every time as multiple old ladies would send him ten-dollar bills they had hidden in cookie jars. Now, Marjoe doesn't explicitly say it's Robertson but he puts on a very Robertson-esque voice as he imitates the preacher -- so I'm assuming he actually was referring to Robertson.

Bill Mumy's dream movie project is one that he never got to make in OTL. It will be covered in a later update. But for now, the next update will be... I don't know. Either more about superheroes or possibly some in-depth stuff about Highlander Part II.
 
I somehow missed this thread and I have to say, this is some awesome stuff. LOVE the idea of Burton as Han Solo. :) Subscribing to this thread to make up for lost time!

Also, I have to ask about one of my favorite movies, what becomes of Ghostbusters?
 
Could be easy.....Christopher Lee?
Possibly, especially as it's only a cameo... But the thing is, Deak Skywalker would've been about the same age as Akira Dainoga and would've died when Luke and Zara were babies. So I'm looking for someone who's about 40 years old (i.e. born around 1948, ideally).
 
Possibly, especially as it's only a cameo... But the thing is, Deak Skywalker would've been about the same age as Akira Dainoga and would've died when Luke and Zara were babies. So I'm looking for someone who's about 40 years old (i.e. born around 1948, ideally).
He's 58, not 40, but given that we're only 2 years removed from Highlander, I'd think Hollywood's first choice for "badass dad" would be Sean Connery.
 
He's 58, not 40, but given that we're only 2 years removed from Highlander, I'd think Hollywood's first choice for "badass dad" would be Sean Connery.
All Deak's ghost does is appear, talk for a bit and then disappear. He's only in it about as much as Sebastian Shaw was in OTL's Return of the Jedi.
 
All Deak's ghost does is appear, talk for a bit and then disappear. He's only in it about as much as Sebastian Shaw was in OTL's Return of the Jedi.
Shortlist for this cameo (Yes, some of These would Be rather unknown in the 80s)

-Kevin Kline
-Tommy Lee Jones
-Liam Neeson
-Pete Postlethwaite
-James Cromwell
-Ed Harris
 
ColeMercury said:
Alien Nation movie (not made in TTL).
:(:(:( This is one of my fave OTL SF films. And James Caan & Mandy Patinkin are a delight together. ("What's that you're eating?" "Beaver.")

I do like LeVar as Solo...tho I've always seen LeVar as nicer. Billy Dee Williams' Lando strikes me closer to mark. However...
 
Top