A while ago, Pablo Hidalgo made some headlines for a (now deleted) tweet about one of the proposals for Coruscant in The Force Awakens – namely, that it would be destroyed. He said that basically some folks at Bad Robot (J.J. Abrams’s production company) wanted Coruscant to be blown up by the First Order, but that some folks at Lucasfilm did not. So they came up with Hosnian Prime as “the unsatisfying middle ground.”
And much like any time Hidalgo, a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, tweets something, people turn it into articles. Just like I’m doing here. But my point here isn’t to pile on or make it into a bigger deal than it needs to be, for Hidalgo is just sharing some interesting and fun tidbits about the filmmaking process, and the way certain Star Wars fans react (or a certain segment of Star Wars “fans,” I should say) can sometimes turn a guy like Hidalgo off from sharing. I don’t want to do that. Nor do I want to make this into some huge deal.
In fact, I think it’s an encouraging tidbit about a good and appropriate process for filmmakers to go through! It’s an example of how the Lucasfilm Story Group actually does work well. It sounds like J.J. Abrams and company approached The Force Awakens recognizing the need to establish the threat of the First Order, and given the understandable parallels to A New Hope, a way to do that would be to give the First Order planet-killing capabilities (something that makes even more sense now considering Palpatine’s connections to it all). But rather than destroying a planet like Alderaan, why not destroy the capitol of the Republic? And wouldn’t the capitol be Coruscant? So it seems like that was the big gut-punch that Abrams and company were going for.
But some folks at Lucasfilm didn’t think it was such a great idea; after all, I’d imagine destroying one of the central Star Wars planets, created by George Lucas for the prequels and receiving considerable attention, after not even really returning to it in the film would be a bit much. Besides, if Coruscant wasn’t going to be a big focus in this story, why decide its fate now and limit what future storytellers might decide to do?
So in this situation, you’ve got a director and his team coming with a bold idea and wanting to make it work, while some people at Lucasfilm thought it better to not have this particular planet be involved like that. Instead, they together came up with the idea of a new planet, Hosnian Prime, and had the First Order destroy that one instead. And though that lessened the emotional stakes for the audience, it didn’t go so far as the radical step of destroying Coruscant itself. From there, guys like Hidalgo could further establish the context surrounding it, explaining that the Republic Senate rotated worlds – itself an understandable move to send a far different message than the one Palpatine sent ruling from Coruscant.
My point, in other words, is that the process worked here. Whether or not it worked every time could be debated, but this is how things should play out. Rather than turning it into some controversy, or using it to bash Abrams or whatever, why don’t we use it as an example of how director and studio worked together to come up with a more reasonable idea!