Last Updated: 11/26/02
The Virtual Sequels
Frequently Asked Questions 2.0
Are you guys REALLY putting together three complete STAR WARS movies?
Short answer: no.
Long answer: think of this as "Shadows Of The Empire" on steroids, minus the merchandising. Our goal is a "stripped-down" version of making a real Star Wars movie: leaving everything else in the process (a script, conceptual art, music, etc.), but without actually filming actors before a camera.
Where did the idea of the Virtual Sequels come from?
Developing a post-Episode VI trilogy of sequels to the STAR WARS saga over the Internet was greatly inspired by the success of Millennium: The Virtual Fourth Season and other "virtual seasons" of television series. Additionally, Roderick Vonhögen's popular Virtual Edition had already established a precedent for using the Internet to put together a STAR WARS story with text and images.
The Virtual Sequels are a synthesis of the two: a venture to create a story that pays homage to the original STAR WARS films, while going above and beyond the limitations of straight-text storytelling.
What form will Episode VII and the rest be in then?
A script, with serious multimedia enhancements: images made specficially for the Virtual Sequels, animations, MIDIs and MP3s, perhaps some fan-films, anything and everything that a bunch of fans can conceive of to propel a STAR WARS story along, via a website.
What's the gameplan exactly?
We write a script from the base story (and perhaps change that story somewhat). We create concept art of the characters, planets, vehicles, droids, and everything else that goes into a STAR WARS movie. We also start making music and sound effects for it. We do everything short of filming (and if someone wants to take up THAT task, they're welcome to it). We then publish the entire smorgasbord on TheForce.net... and move on into production of the next episode, until IX is in the bag.
Who is this "we"?
Everyone! Although the basic outline of the trilogy and key characters are already in their finalized roles, we'll still take suggestions on anything...From dialogue, to minor characters, to themes, plot twists and everything in between that's used to flesh out a realistic universe. In addition, we'll be looking for plenty of artwork. We'll occasionally give a basic description of something we'd like to see, and you guys can send in your submissions. Perhaps you'll get them in the story somewhere, or posted here on the Virtual Sequels page.
Will there be a "core staff" for writing, artwork, music etc.?
To best coordinate this effort, there has to be. But everyone will be able to contribute to this effort.
How? And how are you going to keep all this straight? What's in place to make sure someone is credited?
Let's suppose a bit of dialogue is needed between two characters... say, something along the lines of romance. When we need that, we'll post a minimum of information about the scene on the Virtual Sequels page, and then take submissions for how the scene plays out. If something gets used, its creator(s) will be credited on our "roll credits" for each episode.
Will you have planning meetings to hash out ideas and plans?
A lot of the correspondence will be via regular e-mail. But for the occasion when we need to brainstorm or otherwise come together, the Core Team has its own admin-only forum at The Jedi Council Forums. For everyone else, there's a public discussion thread to talk about the Virtual Sequels, located here.
Is knowledge of the Expanded Universe material a prerequisite to work on the Virtual Sequels? I've never paid any attention to the novels, comics or anything like that... I just LOVE the movies.
No knowledge of the saga outside the films is needed. If you have a love for STAR WARS, you can work on the Virtual Sequels.
Who created the story arc of the Virtual Sequels?
The genesis of the project was started by Chris Knight during the autumn of 2000. Chris took the idea to Joshua Griffin, TFN's editor. The two have been discussing ideas for how the project could be carried out since December 2000. After a year of study, research and planning, it was decided that it was time to unveil the project. The Virtual Sequels went public on January 8, 2002.
What happened then?
Very little. 2002 was an exciting year for Star Wars fans with the release of Attack of the Clones. But by the time of spring and summer, many fans were burned out or had to take a breather for real-life responsibilities. Chris Knight took a break from TFN indefinitely, and the project was left up in the air. Around August of 2002, JC moderator Sturm Antilles asked around and discovered that no one was currently heading the project. After making some inquiries, he was made project leader, and gathered together much of the original team, as well as remaining faithful to many of Chris's themes and ideas for the Virtual Sequels.
Is there a script at this point?
Not just yet. The script for Episode VII is the first "big task" we'll set out to do. Parts of the Virtual Sequels have been written, however. As of November of 2002, we're just now starting to hammer out the small stuff and character roles, as well as the descriptions of the people, places and technology.
Any specific parts?
A rough version, with dialogue, of the last scene in Episode IX has been written. Other than that, we just have everything in a detailed outline, as well as the other bits and pieces that we need to fit in during the latter stages.
Who is the main writer for the script?
Sturm Antilles, with additional help from the Core Team staff and other fans who's suggestions he likes. Once it's in the basic finished form, he'll have the Core Team look over it, as well as other people via e-mail, for any possible changes and rewrites.
Could the story change? Will it change?
Yes, and it almost certainly will change. While the basic plot originated with TFN, this isn't "our" story alone to tell. We wanted this to be a true fan collaboration. As such, if anyone has a nifty idea that they've always dreamed of seeing in a STAR WARS movie, it'll definitely be given serious consideration. There's enough empty gaps in place - on purpose - that are just begging to be filled by someone. George Lucas loves to "tweak" his stories... and we're looking forward to it too!
What happens after the script is complete?
Then we'll likely post it here. Some artists currently working on the project have already submitted their work, and this will be done concurrently with the detailed script-writing.
Will we get to see EVERYTHING happen as it develops on TFN?
We're aiming to keep as much of the Virtual Sequels a surprise as possible. So there'll have to be some secrecy.
What kind of security will there be to keep this secret?
If you're a conceptual artist, or a writer, or working on a MIDI or MP3, it will be routine to get an assignment, without even knowing what it's completely for.
Let's say you're tapped to draw us some weaponry. And we need a gnarly-looking lightsaber for Episode VIII (hypothetically speaking of course). We send out the assignment to our crew of artists, and from that pool of talent we'll find an appropriate lightsaber… which then goes on to be incorporated into all the artwork. You may not even see that design or know who it was for, until Episode VIII comes out!
Will there be "leaks"? Will TFN also have "spy reports" about the Virtual Sequels?
This is TFN... what do you think? :-)
Those who choose to accept the great responsibilities of helping to flesh out this story, will be asked to keep much of their work "close to vest". We trust that someone who is working on conceptual art of, say, our primary villain, would be considerate enough to not spill the beans on his/her/its appearance before Episode VII is ready.
So if a leak happens (and there will be... we'll see to that), we'll make a Spy Report of it, and post a sketch of the main baddy. We figure that's part of the fun that brings you to TFN to begin with, and we're going to continue with it... even reporting against ourselves!
How long is this going to take?
It's taken 3-5 years for the production of an individual film in the prequel trilogy. Because we won't be doing any physical filming (unless someone REALLY wants to), we can concentrate primarily on the story, it's look and feel, etc.
As with real STAR WARS films, the Virtual Sequels won't be released until they're "just right" either. Let's figure around a year for each one, with Episode IX complete in either '05 or '06.
Why are you doing this now? Shouldn't you wait until 2005 when Episode III premieres before starting?
Because this is such a long-term project, we chose to begin now, and hopefully have Episode IX finished either shortly after Episode III debuts, or the year after.
How long after the events of "Return Of The Jedi" will it be at the time of Episode VII?
Chris Knight's original outline for the Virtual Sequels had Episode VII roughly taking place 35 years after Return of the Jedi, although the current outline for our version (VS 2.0,) as we like to call it ) is at about 33 years after ROTJ. The trilogy itself may in fact span several years, just as in the Prequels. Right now we're looking at a 10-12 year gap between VII and IX.
Could Padme be revealed to actually be alive?
However it happened, it will be accepted that Padme died sometime prior to Episode IV. But there may be some surprises...
Will Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio be in Virtual Episodes VII-IX?
Absolutely! It would be blasphemy to NOT have them.
Will it follow the Expanded Universe and New Jedi Order timeline?
Yes. To a degree. Although we will use ideas and characters from the EU, we won't let them specifically guide the story. This is how George Lucas himself approaches the new movies, so we're following his example. As of now, there's two major EU characters that have a role, and that is all. Others may possibly have small cameos, but nothing likely to be substantial to the storyline itself.
Don't you think that you are stamping out the Expanded Universe already
sanctioned by Mr. Lucas himself?
The Virtual Sequels Project isn't a judgment against the Expanded Universe, any more so than other fan fiction would be. The problem with the Expanded Universe so far as this project goes is that as a body of literature, it wouldn't lend itself very well toward being adapted to film. It would be impossible to fit the Thrawn trilogy, the Black Fleet Crisis, the Jedi Academy storyline, and everything else into a three-"movie" arc. Even the New Jedi Order, as great an arc as it is, would be unwieldy: we need "Star Wars", not "Star Wars And Remembrance." So an original storyline was needed, and for more than a year we've worked to outline one that would most "feel" like a true STAR WARS trilogy. But to fans of the Expanded Universe, be of good cheer: there's more than one subtle nod back to the EU for you to enjoy. In addition, many seeds for the Virtual Sequels themes, storyline, characters and governments exist in the post-ROTJ novels. No, not direct references. Seeds.
Will Episode IX be the end, or will it be left open for another trilogy?
Never say never.
Is there a theme to the Virtual Sequels?
Yes. And one that ties into the themes of the Prequel Trilogy and the Classic Trilogy. We'll see it as the story unfolds.
Will there be any filming, at all?
If someone wants to make fan-films based on parts of the story, that would be extremely awesome, as well as bold. And they would be hosted by TFN as part of the Virtual Sequels.
Could scenes be played out in animated sequences?
What about "radio drama" style segments?
This would be great for some of the more dialogue-driven scenes.
Will there be a soundtrack?
A soundrack is DEFINITELY in order! Which'll be weird 'cuz again, there won't be a "movie" per see. But if they could do a soundtrack for the "Shadows Of The Empire" novel, we can certainly pull one of for this project.
What form the sountracks take is something we'll be looking into later. Ideally, we would love to have MP3s for download.
Can sound effects be a part of this?
Somewhere in this world are some Ben Burtt-wannabes eager to strut their stuff. Let's find them, and give them the keys to unleash the sound and the fury.
So are you guys nuts or what?
Will this be better than the Holiday Special?
See last question.
Is there an address to write directly to the Virtual Sequels Project?
Yes. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.