George Lucas is the Father of Star Wars. No one will ever deny that the man came up with a franchise that will last generations (it already has). Films will be designed, built and bred from his imagination. However, like many great thinkers, inventors, and visionaries, one can get lost in those ideas.
While Lucas’ prequel films were commercially successful, they were not the quality audiences expected. A large amount of the issues falls square on his shoulders, thanks in part to him making nearly every executive decision (designs, direction, writing, etc).
Disney decided to buy up the franchise and pursue a different course for the franchise. One that Mr. Lucas fondly disagrees with. His comments, some of the first heard from the man, need a rebuttal because majority of it, is either false or completely immature. So, let’s start!
Lucas on why he didn’t direct a seventh film:
“It’s not much fun when you go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized.”
Rebuttal: Lucas did receive a large amount of flak for the prequel films. That being said, the entire operation was done by him. In the original trilogy, he received help, even from the beginning, with famous sci-fi writer Alan Dean Foster writing the screenplay because Lucas couldn’t stand the process. Lawrence Kasdan wrote the (tremendous) screenplay for Empire Strikes Back with (fantastic) direction from Irvin Kershner. Return of the Jedi was Directed by Richard Marquad, with Lucas receiving screenplay help from Kershner. The greatness from these films was usually when his idea was taken and built upon by other creative minds, not his alone. So, for him to get all of the criticism for a project he primarily did, seems fair.
Lucas on Disney’s different direction:
“The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,'”
Rebuttal: Lucas’ comment come off naive. Why else would you resurrect a nearly incapacitated film franchise? Obviously you do it for the fans, not only because it’s what they want but it’s what sells. Lucas’ statement here comes off more as the jealous kid who didn’t get picked, rather than carrying about the legacy being told.
Lucas on Star Wars’ meaning:
“People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems”
Rebuttal: The ironic thing is, I think Lucas is the one that deterred the ideology, thanks in part to the special effects extravaganza he turned it into. Are these well choreographed, dance like fight sequences are somehow a soap opera? The final light-saber sequence in Phantom Menace, was that family related? No. The final 45 minutes of Attack of the Clones, that all out action sequence? Is that somehow, someway, directly relating to family problems or a soap opera? Not even close.
More on the franchise meaning:
“it’s not about spaceships.”
Rebuttal: Yet, majority of the conflict is created with spaceships, majority of that conflict is solved with spaceships. Half of your openings, feature spaceships and half of the endings…feature spaceships. I understand he is saying the franchise is not Star Trek, with a heavily reliance on spaceship framework but the man had a nearly 20 minute opening for Revenge of the Sith, focused on ship-to-ship combat. His opinion is only built up by what a few minutes trailers/teasers have shown, as he has not actually seen a version of the film.
Lucas on not being involved:
“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.”
Rebuttal: From interviews with Kathleen Kennedy(President of LucasFilm), half of this seems truth and the other half, not so much. Kennedy allowed Lucas to have some oversight but Lucas either overstepped that oversight, or did not like the direction they went in. They did receive his story treatments for a trilogy but scrapped those ideas. Some sources say that Lucas originally wanted to continue after Return of the Jedi, with some similar concepts to The Force Awakens but ultimately was not happy with the direction they went with.
As previously stated, George Lucas should not be dismissed for what he did. I genuinely hope he receives credit in the upcoming Star Wars film (so far, he hasn’t) but that being said, the man seems a tad too grumpy old man here. Lucas’ best success came when his ideas met other’s, and together, built something bigger than just one man. Disney clearly understands that and to this day, it’s obvious, Lucas does not.