Star Wars creator George Lucas stumbled on something in 1977 made great by others hands, not his own. The man who made $4B selling the galaxy far, far away to Disney thinks anyone cares what he has to say about the only film in the franchise that doesn’t bare his fingerprints. And he couldn’t be more wrong.
They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that… These are my kids, all the Star Wars films. I loved them. I created them. I sold them to the white slavers that takes these things, and…
In this Charlie Rose interview, Lucas whines that Disney made The Force Awakens “for the fans.” And after Lucas’ treatment of fans with Greedo shooting first, cluttered CGI additions, and the lazy writing of the prequels, fans should be relieved George was relieved of his role in Episode VII.
After Disney raised a generation of girls to believe they needed a prince to save them, I can’t believe I’m siding with The Mouse House on its decision to tell Lucas it didn’t care for his “stories.”
The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, “We want to make something for the fans.” So, I said all I wanted to do was tell a story about what happened.
It’s called space opera, but 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.”
Fans of the Star Wars universe know the 1977 release of Star Wars begins with “Episode 4” because when he took his massive script to Hollywood, they hated it. The exposition in the first three chapters of the War & Peace-sized book-like screenplay was dreadfully boring and he was ordered to start the movie with the fourth chapter. And they were still so unconvinced the script was any good despite paring it down from 6 chapters to 1, that they didn’t bother to lock-up the merchandising rights.
By the end of the Lawrence Kasdan written and directed Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas had made so much money from Star Wars action figures produced by Kenner, he didn’t need anybody’s money to make Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Jedi is widely considered the weakest of the three films. Also: Ewoks.
But let’s do an apples-to-apples comparison. Both Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode VII: The Force Awakens hit theatres 16 and 10 years after the previous respective theatrical release.
By 1999, there wasn’t anyone around to tell Lucas his “stories” were terrible. Since its release in 1999, Phantom has made $730M in North America in 2016 dollars. The Force Awakens surpassed that in less than two weeks. The only film Lucas hasn’t had any involvement in whatsoever is expected to become the biggest film of all time, easily surpassing the current top two: Gone with the Wind ($1.3B in ticket sales) and Star Wars ($1.2B) by double.
The prequels, with their focus on trade negotiations and politics Lucas felt were important “stories” to tell were described by my daughter as “the Business News Network of Star Wars. Boring stuff.”
George: I don’t know where you get your delusions, laser brain, but you don’t know how to tell stories and you don’t know when to leave well enough alone with the stories you tell, you overweight glob of grease. Now retire with your billions and don’t come back.