December 31, 2015

"They weren't that keen to have me involved anyway, but 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 anymore, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, 'OK, I will go my way and let them go their way."

They = Disney. Me = George Lucas.

"They wanted to do a retro movie. I don't like that. Every movie, I worked very hard to make them different... I made them completely different – different planets, different spaceships to make it new."

Disney is like the government (like the left-winger's idea of the government). It's better at knowing what you want (what you should want) than you are.

29 comments:

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Not a Star Wars fan myself, but the prequels that Lucas had total creative control over are dreadful.

Compare the opening scrolls:

Original Star Wars:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKRIUiyF0N4

Phantom Menace:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRBmvzzzeCk

Bringing freedom to the Galaxy and fighting the Evil Empire vs "The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute"

Gahrie said...

Lucas lost all right to bitch and moan when he sold out. Spare me the artistic angst Daddy Warbucks......

Lem said...

The problem with Lucas is Disney knows he's not a good director, but, they also have market analysis telling them anything involving George Lucas will make money no matter what.

There are no more incentives for shotgun weddings?

Mark said...

Lucas claims to know how to make a good Star Wars movie, but the last 3 he made were universally panned.

Sour grapes from the guy who sold Star Wars for 4 billion. I for one am not crying about Luucas' regrets. Those prequels were terrible (my kid liked them, but readily admits the new film is better)

sydney said...

I don't know about that whole government analogy, but Disney made a better Star Wars movie than George Lucas made. Except for the dogfight spaceship scenes. Lucas was better at those in his first movie.

tim maguire said...

Bye Goerge. Thanks for turning your franchise over to soneone who cares about it not sucking.

john said...

Should the pot have been sweetened by, say, another $billion to ease Georges sense of loss?

Getting the bums rush is always a bummer.

Phil 3:14 said...

His silence would have cost another billion.

Ambrose said...


I think your point is exactly reversed. Lucas is the progressive attacking the market success of the movie. Over a billion in sales, but he knows better what those movie-goers need.

Christy said...

Abrams has more draw among today's target audience, don't you think?

Michael McClain said...

George, your lack of gratitude disturbs me.

Michael K said...

Maybe they should have gotten Marcia involved. She was the brains behind the first three movies that worked so well. The "Prequels" were after their divorce.

Apparently, their divorce deal, which made her a multimillionaire, included a no-talk provision.

So, why is Marcia such a relative unknown when everything in the STAR WARS universe is so excessively discussed and dissected?

Marcia Lucas was an editor on STAR WARS, EMPIRE, and JEDI. She’s a woman who played an integral part in helping shape the SF trilogy that redefined modern day cinema.

Editing is often the unsung hero of filmmaking. It’s an extremely important component. The wrong editor can ruin great footage and the right one can breathe new life into a mediocre project. Everything can change dramatically depending upon the choices an editor makes. (Check out this recut trailer of THE SHINING as an example.)

Martin Scorsese asked Marcia Lucas to work as editor on three of his films—one of which was TAXI DRIVER. Obviously, this woman really knew her craft.

In 1978, the Academy recognized Marcia’s work at the 50th Academy Awards. She was one of the few who took home an Oscar® for STAR WARS. George didn't, despite being nominated.

These are impressive credentials, more than Walrus Man (aka “Ponda Baba”) can claim. So where’s Marcia’s action figure?


I haven't seen the new movie and negative comments are starting to seep out. No story, etc.

Scott M said...

Lucas was better at those in his first movie.

I disagree. Lucas was certainly first, but the new scene are a lot more fun :)

damikesc said...

Not a Star Wars fan myself, but the prequels that Lucas had total creative control over are dreadful.

It's not luck that the best Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back, was the one he had the least direct involvement with. Force Awakens is a close second and he had nothing to do with it. Seems to be a pattern.

The problem with Lucas is Disney knows he's not a good director, but, they also have market analysis telling them anything involving George Lucas will make money no matter what.

Dunno. Spielberg is a more canny guy. He made about 2.5% on all proceeds from the first Star Wars in exchange for giving Lucas 2.5% of all proceeds from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Spielberg made about $40M in total from a movie he had nothing to do with.

Except for the dogfight spaceship scenes. Lucas was better at those in his first movie.

Lucas just re-created old dogfight movie scenes, shot-for-shot, with those. He wasn't better at it. He just copied better material.

richlb said...

"Marcia Lucas was an editor on STAR WARS, EMPIRE, and JEDI. She’s a woman who played an integral part in helping shape the SF trilogy that redefined modern day cinema."

Marcia was also the one responsible for the Holiday Special, if memory serves me.

Wayne Martin said...

Despite Lucas' angst, Disney is *not* like the government - it cannot force you to buy what it thinks you want.

holdfast said...

Disney isn't the government. Disney lives in the free market where its success is predicated on keeping consumers happy (and happy to open their wallets). While Disney has had some clunkers over the years, they've made a lot of movies that are both commercial and critical successes.

TFA is effectively a bridge between the original movies and the New movies that will come from Disney and the new cast, and as such it has a lot of ground to cover and sometimes feels a bit rushed. It's chock full of great stuff, but could stand to take a breath now and then. But that's like saying a whiskey is only a 95 and you were hoping for a 98. It's still great.

Ann Althouse said...

"Despite Lucas' angst, Disney is *not* like the government - it cannot force you to buy what it thinks you want."

It sure can and does it to the tune of $19 trillion.

Birches said...

I think Ambrose nailed it.

Lucas learned the wrong lessons from the success of the first three Star Wars films. I laughed when I read that he said he tried to make each film different. Riiiight. The three prequels featured a whiny teenager ala Luke Skywalker, a sort of slapstick creature ala Yoda, cheap dialogue, and all three movies end with a musical score, not dialogue. He thought that's what made his films magic. It wasn't. I'm sure he watched The Force Awakens and thought he'd essentially done the same thing with the prequels and can't understand how one is acclaimed and the others are universally panned.

JJ Abrams understood the magic better than Lucas because he was a fan first. He basically gave us Star Wars: Retread, updated for the 21st Century with a female lead, right down to the Mentor is killed by the villain denouement. And I didn't mind a bit.

damikesc said...

It sure can and does it to the tune of $19 trillion.

But there is no coercion or threat of violence. There is that with the government.

Lucas learned the wrong lessons from the success of the first three Star Wars films. I laughed when I read that he said he tried to make each film different. Riiiight. The three prequels featured a whiny teenager ala Luke Skywalker, a sort of slapstick creature ala Yoda, cheap dialogue, and all three movies end with a musical score, not dialogue. He thought that's what made his films magic. It wasn't. I'm sure he watched The Force Awakens and thought he'd essentially done the same thing with the prequels and can't understand how one is acclaimed and the others are universally panned.

I'd recommend Lucas watch that LONG dissection of every single problem in the Phantom Menace. In between the weird "abduction" schtick with the character, he points out every single reason why TPM is not in the same class as the original movie. Why character development in TPM was abysmal.

It's about as long and far more entertaining.

mikee said...

What is there stopping Mr. Lucas from making his own films about something completely different, if he wants to have control over making a film?

I, for one, look forward to the George Lucas movie about transgender artists in the 1920s. The space battle scenes alone will make it at least as good, I am sure, as The Life of Brian.

mccullough said...

The fight scenes in the prequels were excellent. The fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan was the best action scene in any of the 7 movies. Obi-Wan's character was the most interesting of the sequels. Lucas had a tough time with dialogue and plotting in the prequels and had too many characters. That said, the new movie has some of the same problems. Too many characters and some lame dialogue. And The First Order and the Nazi imagery are stale beyond belief.

Bay Area Guy said...

After the smashing success of Star Wars, the studios trotted out Lucas' earlier film, American Graffiti for another movie run, to capitalize on Lucas' meteoric rise to fame. As a teenager in California, I really enjoyed that flick as well.

But, for the life of me, I saw absolutely no connection between these two Lucas films. They seemed like two completely different movies.

But years later, I learned that Lucas grew up in Modesto (like the kids in American Graffiti) and spent a lot of time cruising and drag racing -- the ultimate car culture of the 60s. So, American Graffiti was purely autobiographical -- like many first time movie makers.

But, if you compare the endings of both American Graffiti (the drag race with Harrison Ford) and Star Wars (the space chase to destroy the Death Star, again with Harrison Ford), you do see the similarities.

Bottom line: Lucas lived the amateur race car culture in the 60s and translated that into the futuristic setting of Star Wars -- with mind-boggling success. That's why the first 3 flicks were so good.

But, as for empire, rebellions, factions, alliances and war, Lucas was simply a garden variety liberal, without any particular insight. That's why the prequels mostly sucked, and why Disney thought they needed a new director (Abrams) to take this huge movie franchise to a different place.

Just my opinion as a movie-goer, I could be totally wrong about all this.

Shawn Levasseur said...

I think the "retro" influences in The Force Awakens was chosen as a way of communicating to the audience that it wasn't like the oft derided prequels, and more faithful to the spirit and quality of the original trilogy.

The very first line of dialog: "This will begin to make things right", could be also meant as a comment as to the intent of the film to make up for any disappointment in the prequels. Some have even jokingly re-titled the film, "Star Wars: The Apology"

I suspect future films won't be echoing as much of the plot and style of the previous films as this one did. But, serving as a new launchpad for the franchise, it had to make sure it's connections to the original trilogy were strong.

So, I understand Lucas' lament, but think that the future of the Star Wars films will be more creative. Some fans also felt the plot beats echoed the original too much. At least it's a complaint that asks for more originality, and not one to make the same film over and over.

Balfegor said...

The prequels suffered from a lot of things, but I think the biggest problem was that George Lucas wanted to make a story that turned on the intricacies of space politics, when his own grasp of politics is roughly that of a thirteen year old boy.

For example, there's potentially an interesting story to be told where the backdrop is a dispute over tariffs. That was what kicked off the British Raj, after all -- all they wanted from the Emperor at the start was a firman exempting them from paying huge tariffs levied by the local Nawabs, and the stories of the wars that built the British Empire are full of romance and villainy, heroes on both sides, blah blah blah. But the tariffs dispute in The Phantom Menace is not set up in a way that make any sense. Same with all the rest of the space politics.

I also find the climatic lightsaber duel in Revenge of the Sith underwhelming, since it boils down to two equally matched swordsmen fencing around. I think it would have been better to make Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker into something overwhelmingly powerful thanks to his turn to the dark side (why do the villains keep talking about the awesome power of the dark side if it doesn't actually give them more power than they had as normal jedi?), and then have him defeated by guile, with his magic force powers crippled down to the levels we see in the original trilogy as a result of his being maimed and set on fire.

There was a time when I really liked Star Wars, so I've daydreamed about this a bit.

The Force Awakens was fine, but kind of stretched-thin. A lot of the plot just moves a little bit too quickly, like they were cramming 1.5 movies worth of plot into 1 movie. It's like a compilation movie you might put together based on a mini-series -- they cut out a lot of the filler, but the pacing is just a little too fast. For my taste.

Birches said...

I also find the climatic lightsaber duel in Revenge of the Sith underwhelming, since it boils down to two equally matched swordsmen fencing around.

Agreed. Revenge of the Sith was obviously the best of the three, but I didn't find a lot of drama in the final fight. The Green screen and CGI was also distracting; it would have been better to just focus on the people instead of the fire planet surroundings. Ahhhh, that's another problem with Modern George Lucas---he never met a green screen he didn't like.

damikesc said...

He also completely went against what he wanted for light saber duels in the original film. He wanted them to be like serious swords and not something one can flip around while using. It is why the Vader/Kenobi battle was --- let's be honest --- plodding.

Jose_K said...

Sour grapes? and those lambasting Lucas ? Just envy.
"my kid liked the.." er.. that is the point of the the movies. They were not made for adults making " analysis" of them at the same places were they make fun of the Universities doing that kind of "research"
And the New Hope was the best. Not the incomplete Empire. Like the Godfather with Brando was better than the second but common places are " cool" and make you look "cultured".

Anthony said...

In the Disney is like the government analogy, Lucas is the Bernie Sanders voter. The government really does know better than him.