“Star Wars” is about an entire galaxy of events and essentially 39 years of productions. So who keeps the story straight? Who makes sure it all adds up?
His name is Pablo Hidalgo, Lucasfilm creative executive. For the past 17 years, Hidalgo has been working to keep track of all the details.
“Keeping track of the connectivity and the continuity of ‘Star Wars’ storytelling is part of it,” Hidalgo said of his job.
“All of us in story development are there to help in the creative and business needs of ‘Star Wars’ and make sure they align with all the storytelling,” he pointed out. “‘Star Wars’ fans are fond of background information and obscure characters. Seeing names in the credits makes me happy.”
Hidalgo’s role is interacting with all creative people, anyone who has a specific or general question about “Star Wars,” so it feels “authentic” to the “Star Wars” story.
“It’s the little things. Naming things is a big fun part of my job,” he said.
It’s up to Hidalgo to protect “Star Wars’” history and legacy, so he does everything from “fact-checking” lines of dialogue (would Han Solo really say that? Would that line actually make sense in the “Star Wars” context?) to where a planet should be (and naming other nameless planets).
The Lucasfilm Story Group—which Hidalgo is, of course, part of—maintains a database called the Holocron to keep any bit of information or minutiae about the “Star Wars” saga straight.
Hidalgo began writing about “Star Wars” on his own in 1995, before signing up with Lucasfilm in 2000, right before production began on “Attack of the Clones.” He’s since then authored various “Star Wars” reference books. So, yes, it’s a fantastic job with its own perks.
He actually had a walk-on role as an operagoer in “Revenge of the Sith,” which he remembered as “a fun day.”
Now that “Star Wars” is looking to 2017’s “Episode VIII” and beyond, what does its team try to remember when expanding the story?
“A lot of it comes from our years of working with George [Lucas] and seeing the way he develops the story,” Hidalgo said. “It’s almost like you should be able to strip away all the SW of it and find a central core of a story in it that’s interesting. It doesn’t have to be a ‘Star Wars’ story. You can add the ‘Star Wars’ later. That’s what will resonate with people.”
Additionally, Lucasfilm now has the “anthology” stories such this December’s “Rogue One” and 2018’s Han Solo movie that will occur between the episode films.
“We have the luxury of hopping around everywhere,” Hidalgo admitted. “One of the key strengths of ‘Star Wars’ is that it doesn’t hang on any one character. That differentiates us from different franchises and that will keep us from having to do a reboot. For us, we’re lucky because ‘Star Wars’ is not just a story, it’s a setting. But we also have the benefit of characters people identify with. So we have the best of both worlds.”
As proof, Hidalgo pointed to the success of last year’s “The Force Awakens” when he answered: “People were happy to see Luke again, but Rey, Finn and Poe were so well-received.”
Follow the author on Twitter @RuelSDeVera