It must be tough being George Lucas. On one hand, he basically created the modern studio system, summer blockbusters, CGI, and revolutionized storytelling. On the other, he became exactly what he hates – a wealthy, profits-driven businessman – and his name is often uttered with caution within fan communities and wider movie-loving groups, perhaps unnecessarily. You’d have thought that people would have moved on by now, but the sale to Disney was three years ago, and we still haven’t.
Surprisingly, Lucas himself doesn’t seem to have moved on, at least not completely. He’s been chatting a little about The Force Awakens recently, as well as the sell-off itself. During a recent profile at The Washington Post, he referred to it as like a “divorce.”
“You’re either the dictator or you’re not. And to do that would never work, so I said ‘I’m going to get divorced.’ . . . I knew that I couldn’t be involved. All I’d do is make them miserable. I’d make myself miserable. It would probably ruin a vision — J.J. has a vision, and it’s his vision.”
That’s fair enough. However, things seem a little different in a similar profile at Vanity Fair.
“The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans.’ 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.’
They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway. But at the same time, I said 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. All I would do is muck everything up. So I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”
My reading of this is that he still holds some bitter feelings towards Disney for not moving forward with his treatments, which were part of the original deal. I don’t fault them for not wanting Lucas creatively involved after the Prequel Trilogy (and I’m quite glad for it) however it’s pretty shitty to turn your back on that when it was an agreement of the deal.
It certainly sounds as if he was making a dig at both Disney and the fans by saying that it’s “not about spaceships.” Of course it’s not. Star Wars is about family problems, yeah, but everything we’ve seen from The Force Awakens suggests that it upholds that, and our perspectives are equally valid. Well, they were. George Lucas has now seen the movie and gave his long-awaited verdict to Vulture…
“I think the fans are going to love it. It’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”
He didn’t say that he liked it – just that we would, which is very telling. Lucas has always been a little bitter towards the fanbase for the reaction to the Prequels (I don’t like ’em, but I’d probably be the same if I were him) and it sounds as if he either thinks all we want is cool lightsaber fights and space explosions – if that were true we would have loved Episodes I-III – or that it is in the vein of the Original Trilogy, a style which he wasn’t interested in recreating back in 1999, but one which worked better than what he came up with instead.
Basically, Lucas thinks The Force Awakens will please the fans, but it’s not the kind of movie he would have made. I think.
We should hopefully get a little more clarification on these comments when it hits theaters next Friday.