After roughly 38 years, George Lucas is hanging up his lightsaber to move on to other film work. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he simply described it as “not much fun” since the adoring fans have adopted the colossal franchise for their own.
“You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized,” expressed the director. “People try to make decisions about what you’re going to do before you do it. It’s not much fun. You can’t experiment. You have to do it a certain way.”
In fact, Lucas had very little to do with the upcoming seventh episode, “The Force Awakens,” and he may have never even wanted it to happen in the first place.
“The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,'” explained Lucas, presumably referring to Disney, which purchased Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise in 2012. “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.'”
Struggling with the fans perception has always been difficult for the series. So many people hold the films so dearly that any small change made by Lucas have the potential to incite countless bouts of rage in the Star Wars fandom. When A New Hope saw a re-release for the franchise’s 20th anniversary, Lucas made several minor tweaks, one of which was changing the famous catina scene so that Greedo, not Han Solo, was the one who shot first. This sparked immense fan backlash and usage of the phrase “Han shot first!” in the Star Wars community.
Recently, the director made an appearance on CBS’ This Morning, where he compared the decision to a break up.
“When you break up with somebody, the first rule is no phone calls. The second rule, you don’t go over to their house and drive by to see what they’re doing,” he laughed. “The third one is you don’t show up at their coffee shop and say you are going to burn it… You just say ‘Nope, gone, history, I’m moving forward.'”
Lucas hopes to return to making experimental films instead, much like his first film “THX 1138,” a dystopian sci-fi love story that tackles the concept of dehumanization in a rapidly advancing society. However, he believes that no one wants to see experimental films these days, saying that he does have plans to direct movies but they will “not be movies that will be shown anywhere.”
Interestingly enough, when asked by Vanity Fair which Star Wars character he would prefer to be, the director quickly stated that he likes all the characters before choosing Jar Jar Binks, who is arguably the most hated character by fans of the series. After hearing about the Darth Jar Jar theory, I have to wonder if this was a final way of illustrating the intrusive nature of his fans and the hypothetical changes to the Star Wars story they may have brought, or just a random coincidence. If the theory has any truth to it, the reception of the prequels may have been the last straw for Lucas in terms of maintaining creative freedom.
Nevertheless, I’m glad that George Lucas is finally moving on to some other things, and I’m excited to see what kind of movies he comes up with next.