You’ve probably seen the news going around regarding George Lucas badmouthing the new Star Wars film. In an interview with famed interviewer Charlie Rose, Lucas seemed to appear very apathetic about many things in his life. When it came to the part where Rose asked him about how he felt about The Force Awakens, that apathy wore away to find a bitter Lucas who took it a step further and said the now infamous lines:
Lucas: These are my kids.
Rose: All those Star Wars films.
Lucas: All the Star Wars films.
Rose: They were your kids?
Lucas: Well, they are. I loved them, I created them. I’m very intimately involved in them. And, obviously, to sell them off—
Rose: And you sold them.
Lucas: I sold them off to the white slavers who take these things and…[laughs]
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While I personally think the analogy was more offensive than insightful, to which he later apologized, it’s helpful to note that his disdain towards the new film should have been anticipated.
In an wonderfully written piece from i09/Gizmodo, they retrace George Lucas’ comments regarding the new film since the purchase of Lucasfilm back in 2013.
They began subtly with him refusing to show Disney his treatments (aka concepts) for Episodes 7, 8, and 9:
Ultimately you have to say, “Look, I know what I’m doing. Buying my stories is part of what the deal is.” I’ve worked at this for 40 years, and I’ve been pretty successful. I mean, I could have said, “Fine, well, I’ll just sell the company to somebody else.”
– Bloomberg, 3.7.2013
Later, Lucas said he did show the treatments to Disney, but the Mouse House didn’t seem to like it and walked away entirely from the creative process. While Lucas earlier did approve the sale of his company, he also recognized that Disney would indeed be buying his stories. Perhaps it hadn’t sunk in until then.
Nevertheless, the public hadn’t known about the secret downward spiral of Lucas’ love for his own creation. January 2015 was when we heard Lucas’ first comment on seeing the first teaser trailer for the film:
I haven’t seen anything; I mean I saw the trailer, it looks great, it looks interesting. But as I’ve said before: one thing I regret about Star Wars is that I never got to see it, you know? I never got to be blown away by the big ship coming over the thing, or anything. But this time I’m going to be, because I have no idea what they’re doing.
– ScreenRant, 1.16.2015
He really had no idea what J.J. Abrams and Disney were doing, but that didn’t truly reveal his feelings toward the looming release of Episode 7. We finally got a hint at Lucas’ harbored feelings when multiple interviews published back in late 2015 when he said:
“You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized. And it’s not much fun. You can’t experiment. Star Wars [is more] than just spaceships.”
– Vanity Fair, 11.18.2015
“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.”
– CBS This Morning, 11.19.2015
The negativity continued to be indirectly pointed in other directions apart from Disney’s retelling of Star Wars. He then brought on the analogies. Before the Charlie Rose interview, Lucas called his separation from Star Wars a “divorce”:
“Now I’m faced with this awkward reality, which is fine,” Lucas says. Extending the metaphor, he says it’s like when a grown child gets married. “I gotta go to the wedding. My ex will be there, my new wife will be there, but I’m going to have to take a very deep breath and be a good person and sit through it and just enjoy the moment, because it is what it is and it’s a conscious decision that I made.”
– The Washington Post, 12.5.2015
Clearly, Lucas felt really bad about the decision to sell off his company, but it very much was a decision that he now has to face, whether he likes it or not.
After seeing The Force Awakens and even attending the film’s world premiere, he said in an interview with Vulture that “he liked it” and continued saying that it was a movie that “the fans are going to love. It’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”
He wasn’t lying. Fans of the film have sounded off praise for the film, but fans like myself agree with Lucas to an extent. It wasn’t a film that was filled with a fresh story. Instead, it was a film made for “fan-service”, retooling a previous story, which in my opinion is not a bad thing. People love Star Wars for a reason and after having not seeing characters like Han, Luke, and Leia for a long time, it felt good to revisit the galaxy far, far away we’ve come to love.
Lucas isn’t interested in the fans or what he calls like a “retro, Hollywood story”, though. He’s calls himself a storyteller.
Earlier in the Charlie Rose interview, he said that he just wanted to do was “tell a story of what happened (to his characters).” When asked about the creative awards he has received including most recently the Kennedy Center Honor, he went back to his somewhat apathetic mood saying that there are tons of award shows every year where “people give awards to each other all the time.”
I do believe that beyond all this negativity that is now being circulated about him, I do believe George Lucas to be a normal man who now has to deal with a relatively normal problem. One can understand what it feels like when you lose your favorite toy when you were a child or losing a spouse that you’ve been with for a long time. That feeling of loss eats you and I do believe that is what Lucas is feeling now.
Yes, he could have worded his responses to his situations a little more sensitively (especially after Disney paid great sums of money and was at the very least gracious towards him). But when we feel hurt, we’ll say stupid things. He’s in a period of hurt and is mourning.
At the same time, I think there’s so much for him to celebrate. And be less apathetic about!
But he’ll always love his Star Wars. As he put it, he’s going through a process of “putting it behind, and it’s a very, very hard thing to do.”
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I highly encourage everyone to watch the full interview with Charlie Rose by clicking HERE.
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