After the Star Wars prequels, George Lucas became persona non grata among the very fans he had created. The failure of those movies coupled with his desire to constantly tinker with the originals had erased the goodwill fans felt towards him to the point where they felt they now owned those movies and he needed to move on. Han shooting second and Jar Jar Binks were unforgivable sins, and in an interview with Vanity Fair from earlier this week, Lucas cited fan criticism as well as creative restraints as reasons for not returning to direct Episode VII.
However, CBS This Morning posted a new interview today with the director where he says something very different and yet still smacks of sour grapes. When asked why he handed over the reigns of the franchise, he replied [via The Playlist]:
“The issue was ultimately that they looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,'” Lucas said. “People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems – it’s not about spaceships. So they decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing so I decided, ‘fine…. I’ll go my way and I let them go their way.'”
These are the kind of comments that get under people’s skin because you can see Lucas still pushing the blame onto the fans for not properly receiving his movies. If it weren’t “about the spaceships” then why do the prequels fill the screen with spaceships and throw an ungodly amount of other visual effects wizardry at the screen? It’s disingenuous to say it’s about family problems and then give your actors wooden dialogue and hollow relationships. I don’t mind that Lucas wants to stand by his movies rather than admit defeat, but he makes it sound like he had some deep family drama waiting for us if only those pesky fans didn’t misunderstand Star Wars.
I would still love to know specifically what Lucas had in mind. There was a brief period where he was a consultant on the movie, but it sounds like once Disney decided to discard his treatments, he was done trying to be a part of the Star Wars universe going forward, which is probably for the best. If the films were a success, his credit would be marginalized and if they were a failure, he would probably get an unfair portion of the blame.
Lucas also admits that not only was Disney not that keen to have him around, but also “If I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble because they’re not going to do what I want them to do, and I don’t have the control to do that any more, and all it would do is just muck everything up.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18th. For more on Star Wars, peruse our recent links below:
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