I recently read an article on iO9 that talked about Luc Besson's newest passion project, a movie he has waited his whole life to make, and it's scheduled to come out next summer: Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets.
One of the reasons he has waited so long to make this film, is because the technology he needed to bring the movie to life, wasn't ready. He said it wasn't until the movie Avatar was released, that he realize he could begin working on Valerian. He also mentioned that James Cameron was very open about the making of Avatar and invited Luc to the set during production, which I think is pretty cool. But that's beside the point. The point I'm trying to make is this-- when Luc Besson watched Avatar his reaction wasn't what you'd expect.
Here's a quote from the article:
“When I [Luc Besson] saw Avatar for the first time, I took the script for Valerian and I threw it into the garbage and I started again,” he said. “Literally, I was depressed. I was happy for the film and him, because I like [Cameron] a lot, but totally depressed. Threw it away. Wait for a month. And then say, ‘Okay, start again.’ So I start again. And I’m happy because it’s better. I was right to throw it away."
This is an important reminder that no matter how attached we are to our stories, successful writers know when it's time to let it go and they're not afraid to start over. No matter how painful or depressing, Luc Besson didn't give up. He had a dream. He was patient. He was inspired. Then he rewrote the whole damn thing. And from what fans have said after seeing the first footage from this movie at the San Diego Comic-Con, Valerian sounds very promising. But what's more important is that Luc himself is happier with the new script.
As writers, we sometimes need that same courage, that same drive to do what's necessary to produce the very best. And sometimes that means throwing it all out and starting over.