What Does George Lucas’ ‘Creative Consultant’ Job Mean for ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′?

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George Lucas Star Wars Episode 7 Role What Does George Lucas Creative Consultant Job Mean for Star Wars: Episode 7?

Following the announcement that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm, and intended to make a new batch of Star Wars movies, one question immediately came to the forefront of the discussion: what role would creator George Lucas play in the series going forward? In the original acquisition announcement, it was asserted that Lucas would serve as a “creative consultant” on future Star Wars movies (but not direct) with Amblin Entertainment co-founder, Kathleen Kennedy taking the role of Lucasfilm president (and unofficial franchise overseer).

As a result, when it was revealed that Star Trek series director J.J. Abrams was making the jump to a galaxy far, far way, fans began to wonder exactly how much influence Lucas would actually have as a “creative consultant.” Now, thanks to a brief interview with the Star Wars creator, we have a somewhat clearer idea. So, how involved will Lucas be in the development of Star Wars: Episode 7? Probably not very involved.

Access Hollywood caught up with the “retired” filmmaker after he accepted two Daytime Emmy awards for Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Outstanding Special Class Animated Program and Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program (David Tennant as droid Huyang). Despite a now-standard shy interview demeanor, Lucas politely answers questions about Star Wars: The Clone Wars and even jokes about the lack of awards he’s won over the years – in spite of his mega-box office success. However, when asked about the upcoming saga of Disney-backed Star Wars films, the director offered a surprising response – asserting that he has yet to discuss Star Wars: Episode 7 with Abrams.

Check out the interview with George Lucas below:

While Lucas offers a well-mannered excuse for the lack of communication (specifically, that Abrams has been busy promoting Star Trek Into Darkness), he goes on to assert that he’ll make himself available, when the Episode 7 filmmaker has “got some questions.

Here’s the full quote:

“I have not spoken to J.J. He’s been busy with Star Trek, and I’m sure that he’ll let me know when he’s got some questions. So, you know, that’s all going well. Kathy tells me it’s working out great.”

While brief, the quote confirm prior reports that Lucas would not be regularly involved in the production – painting the picture that Lucas is not even in the core Episode 7 loop. No doubt, Abrams has been keeping busy with Star Trek interviews and promotion but he has been preparing his Star Wars: Episode 7 production – meaning that the gears are turning on this project and considering the script is already complete, it’s interesting to hear that the director has yet to sit down for further conversations with the franchise creator. Lucas’ comment about (Kathy) Kennedy “telling” him pre-production is going “great,” definitely implies that the Lucasfilm founder is an outsider on this one – on stand-by for questions from Abrams and receiving his updates from producers.

jj abrams star wars1 What Does George Lucas Creative Consultant Job Mean for Star Wars: Episode 7?

Plenty of fans expected that, despite his “creative consultant” role, the heavy-handed approach Lucas has taken with his prior Star Wars films (writing/directing the prequels and retooling the original trilogy ad nauseam), would mean that his position could be more hands-on than the title implies. It was easy enough to imagine that screenwriter Michael Arndt was hired to write a script based on early Lucas ideas and that J.J. Abrams was brought-on to bring that original vision to the big screen (especially since he implied that certain Star Wars: Episode 7 elements were “pre-arranged” before his recruitment). After all, it’s possible that Abrams hasn’t needed to sit down with Lucas – because Lucas could have already sat down with Arndt on numerous occasions.

However, it now sounds as if both the screenwriter and director have been given significantly more creative freedom – even if the story they intend to tell is based on ideas and characters that Lucas thought-up long ago (it could also be based on an existing Expanded Universe story or an entirely new direction). For Lucas, a major point of restructuring Lucasfilm and handing the property over to Disney was to ensure the long term viability of his fan-favorite characters and universe. So, it’s more likely that Lucas has used the deal as an opportunity to let go and really is just a consultant this time – an outside resource that J.J. Abrams will turn to when determining how to link Episode 7 to the first six entries (in terms of tone and bridging story material) or even in deciding how previously established characters might act in certain situations.

That should come as a relief to fans who feel that, despite creating one of the richest science fiction universes in movie history, Lucas was blinded by his vision and ultimately sullied the integrity of his Star Wars brand. The love/hate relationship is well-documented in the terrific 2010 film, The People vs. George Lucas (streaming free on Netflix) – with one of the biggest complaints being that the writer/director/producer refused to hand-off control of the Star Wars universe to other filmmakers.

The People Versus George Lucas What Does George Lucas Creative Consultant Job Mean for Star Wars: Episode 7?

Still, certain fans remain skeptical that J.J. Abrams was the right man for the job. However, hopefully, the director can present the best of both worlds: a fresh set of franchise eyes aided by Lucas’ immense knowledge of the universe to deliver a worthy Star Wars sequel – capable of pleasing longtime fans as well as a whole new generation of Jedi and Sith-lovers.

___

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Star Wars as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Star Wars: Episode 7 is set for release in 2015.

Source: Access Hollywood [via /Film]

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TAGS: star wars

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  1. Probably means Lucas gets a check for looking at the green screen dailies and nodding his approval before they go off for massive GCI post production….

  2. It means he gets to add an “iconic” dumb-ass near-racist type character into the film.

    • But seriously, sounds like Lucas has very little to do with the franchise now, which is GREAT! The further away he is from it all, the better.

      (In all my [early] years as a Star Wars fan, never did I ever think I would say that about GL)

      • ”The further away he is from it all, the better.” I must (strongly) disagree. Lucas isn’t very good with the script, and should leave it to others, but he is certainly the best man for the grand vision.

        • I would suggest that he has already provided the grand vision, and the last couple of decades suggest strongly to me that the storytelling is much better off in the hands of others now.

          • +1

      • Agree Doug. Many artists/musicians/writers have a purple patch of creativity that they’re forever trying to recapture (but more often than not can’t). Lucas’s movies have inspired millions but his time has passed. Letting new people with new ideas pick up where he left off (and keeping his input to a minimum) can only be a good thing. In my opinion, letting go of the reins like he has will only enhance his legacy.

    • Actually I’d say it means he gets a useless title so he won’t get too upset about the direction their taking the films in.

  3. Lucas says J.J. has been busy with Star Trek.
    Presumably international promotions and such.
    Maybe J.J. himself has not really got in gear yet?

    A lot of supportive work is being done and
    Kathy has been handling most of that.
    Maybe his role is minimal. Maybe not.

  4. J.J.’s 1st question to Lucas: “So how will I bring back Darth Vader in the future with a lot of lens flare?”

    Lucas: “No.”

    • Vader: “Luke, I am your father.”
      Luke: “Where are you? I can’t see you.”

      • Haha. Maybe JJ was helping Zack Snyder with MOS too with the amount of almost distracting lens flare in that flick?

      • @Kels
        LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • You mean: NooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOoooooo!

  5. I think everyone has been too overblown and harsh on the man. Without Lucas there wouldn’t be any Star Wars. As much as I dislike the prequels you still have to give rsepect to the very same man who established a now life long franchise to us and now the newer generation. As much as he lost is touch going into the newer generation of Star Wars he was the very same who decadated his life building it from the ground up. I can’t honestly believe you people. Your no better than him himself.

    • I personally love the prequels, and I agree that people are being overly harsh with Lucas. It seems that, after being dispointed by the prequels, some people tried to strip him from all his credit for creating Star Wars, which is unfair. Thanks for defending him, it’s nice to see some people here are clear minded.

      • As much as I love the original concept that Lucas created, and as much as I dislike most of the prequel films, my biggest gripe with George is is shameful, bizarre treatment of the original trilogy films. Based on that issue alone (although there are other issues, for sure), I would argue that he deserves the flak he gets. It’s absolutely been his decision to handle things the way that he has, but the same public that has bought billions of dollars worth of Star Wars content…does not entirely approve.

    • I agree with you, some people took it like it was personal. He “ruined” my childhood, what an overstatement. The man had an idea for the prequels in his head, it didnt turned out to be what most people were hoping it´d be, thats all, the man is a human.

      • Thank you, other people who agree with me. Although I’m not crazy about the prequels, they weren’t too horrendous. Seriously, people are wayy to harsh. I bet giving up the franchise must have been one of the hardest things he’s ever done. Without Lucas, not only would not have Star Wars but maybe not be as far advanced in movie making as we are right now. When A New Hope came out in the 70′s it was like nothing else before. And as for him not being involved, it’s a bitter sweet emotion for me. I’m happy because I’m worried he might mess these up but at the same time sad because like they said, he’s basically an outsider. They’ve outed him on HIS own franchise, something he started and also he won’t get a chance at redemption (I’m a pretty firm believer in second chances)

    • Thank you. I’m also writing a series and I’m struggling with ideas on the earlier couple because they simply can’t be as good as later ones. I feel this is likely part of way the prequels weren’t as good. They couldn’t be. There wasn’t any shock factor with Anakin “turning”.

      • I liked the third movie in the prequel trilogy. I just hated the first two for being extremely boring (and hell, I don’t even understand the hate that Jar Jar Binks got either).

        • The Jar Jar Binks hate might have just been people projecting their displeasure for the film and that character made for an easy target. Jar Jar epitomizes what many did not like about the first prequel, too much comic relief and CGI. as time passed the bewilderment trickled down to this love/hate thing many fans of movie have with Lucas now. The updates to original movies just may have pushed some people over the edge and may seem over indulgent on Lucas’ part at this point.

          I have come to the conclusion that Lucas’ need to tinker with all the movies too much just made him loss sight of things, and the end result is the polarizing opinions people have about the series. There is a funny picture floating around showing Lucas surrounded by all of the models and costumes from the original movie and him sitting in front of a Green Screen monitor shooting the new films. That joking reminder of how different the process was in making the two sets of movies shows how impersonal the whole movie making process as a whole has gotten, and is telling in how different the two trilogies play on screen.

        • The first two were definitely the worst, Dazz.
          The third was much tighter with a better
          narrative — it was good, not great.

      • The prequels could have been good. Much more good than they were.

        For me, Anakin turning was one of the best parts. Uncertainty + inevitability can be a very tense combination. Actually, Palpatine being exposed was the really dramatic part for me.

        • You touched on their biggest letdown, Jerry.
          What they could have been and should have been.

    • I don’t hate him for the prequels, I hate him for acting as though he was solely responsible for the original films even though there was a lot of other people who were involved in making Star Wars such a great film. The problem with the Prequels wasn’t so much Lucas losing he’s touch as much as it was him assuming he didn’t need anyone else to make the films as good as the original trilogy, that nearly everyone else involved in Star Wars was expandable and could easily be replaced.

      • Well put. GL suffered in a major way from what many successful creators end up suffering from: blinding ego.

  6. It means: “If JJ ask me something, I´ll answer it. If not, I´ll keep my mouth shut and stay away from the production of the film”

  7. I’m thrilled for fans that Lucas has stepped back, but I’m also thrilled for Lucas. I can’t imagine how conflicted he must be about Star Wars. Retirement, and passing the property on to someone else, is probably the best thing that ever happened to him, ironically.

  8. Lucas and David Goyer should get together and write a script.

    Result?

    Dialog so wooden that it turns the movie audience to solid oak…… Easier to pick our pockets if we can’t move!

  9. Revenge of the Sith is still my favorite Star Wars. He didn’t totally ruin anything.

  10. I am not the biggest JJ fan, but one way or another, I am glad that Lucas has stepped away. All due gratitude to him for being the creator, but he clearly lost touch with a lot of what made Star Wars attractive in the first place. JJ seems to have a better grasp of that than George.

  11. Lucas’ problems with the prequels was he waited to long to do them.
    By the time he started he was in a very different creative space.
    Much like Godfather III where Coppola similarly waited too long.
    You simply do not have the same feel for the material and
    consequently the work does not feel the same either.

    • When you say creative space, do you mean the space up his ass where he keeps his head.

      • Did you think your reply was creative?
        You might check where your head is.

    • Good point. Exactly like the Hobbit. Great movie but not the same feel that LOTR has (despite the tone of the movie)

      • Another good example, Martin.

    • @ Robert

      That and the whole CGI overload, everything felt so airless and fake and the actors we’re clearly struggling with having nothing but blue or green boxes and curtains to act against.

      George, just because you help pioneer effects technology and created the pre-emenent effects house, there’s no need to keep bunging them work, i’m sure they’re busy enough…..

      lol

      • George did say at one point he waited for computer
        power and digital photography to catch up with what he
        wanted to do and he seemed to be more more enamored
        with his new toolbox and its development than characters.

  12. It was clear from the beginning that Lucas wasn’t really going to be involved in the creative process of these films beyond maybe asking for his opinion on things. Ultimately it will all come from JJ: vision, script, movie. Lucas is just around in a ceremonial capacity to lend some credibility to the project in the eyes of fans and shill it for marketing.

    • Well, the script was already complete prior to Abrams coming on board – so it can’t all come from JJ. I linked to that article in this post but here it is again: http://screenrant.com/star-wars-episode-7-story-michael-arndt/ That piece was written 3 full months before Abrams was brought-on.

      Sounds like Lucasfilm already had the script done (and direction for future installments mapped-out). Abrams could definitely make tweaks but I doubt he’ll have as much flexibility here as he did with Star Trek.

      He also mentioned that certain elements of the production were pre-arranged prior to his hiring: http://screenrant.com/jj-abrams-star-wars-7-interview-london/

  13. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. Lucas sold off Lucasfilm and made billions and he still runs the show. He’s in leap with Lucifer! LOL!

  14. F##k of lucas, no one wants you.

  15. For all the hate Lucas gets, someone likes his stuff. In fact, a LOT of people like his stuff…and they keep coming back.

    Who’s the fool? The fool, or the fool who follows him?

  16. George Lucas is awesome. He created Star Wars. Pours his money into film and education. He’s one of the great lights in this world. George Lucas enhanced my childhood!!!!!! I wish him nothing but the best with his new wife, his life and his family. The man is a hero and a world treasure!!

  17. George Lucas is one of the greatest and most brilliant creative forces of all time. JJ Abrams lacks Lucas’ vision. I mean, what the hell is up with the new Enterprise engineering deck?! It looks like some old manufacturing plant. Scary.

  18. People will never be satisfied because the sequels/prequels/spin-offs will never live up to the originals, no matter who the director is. The original three Star Wars were iconic and breathtakingly far advanced for it’s time.
    People who bash Lucus for not living up to his that early legacy are just silver-spooned fanboys. I loved the prequels. They were good, decent for what it was. I loved the conclusion he gave us, and I wasn’t expecting Lucus to surprise us.

  19. In that pic of jar jar, he’s definetly giving a f @ck you to the obsever. I mean who ever makes gestures like that? F@cking Hack!!!

  20. And the prequel trilogy might have turned out better if Kadsen would have written the screenplay like Lucus asked, but now he’s writing it fir jar jar, Hack.

  21. Please don’t let Lucas have anything to do with this.he needs to Hang it up and go have a bowl of prunes and a bottle of insure,but I’m sure he ll sell that out to.

  22. Seriously, pick some new pictures, I’ve seen that image of JJ so many times on this sight, it’s annoying.

  23. Just retire with your vast fortune, please!! Lucas has not made a decent move since the 3rd Indiana Jones, (Revenge of the Sith aside)

  24. Lucas has been kicked upstairs. Same thing happened to Gene Roddenberry before Star Trek II, and that film is still considered the best of the bunch. I am looking forward to Ep. 7.

  25. Im surprised by all the hate for Lucas for a franchise he started.

    • the prequal trilogy and the constant CGI mucking about with the originals (and special releases = cashcow) with apparent disregard to the fans has left a lot of disgruntled Jedi out there.

      On the one hand it’s his universe so George can do what he likes.

      On the other when you put a peice of work (be it book, film, painting) out for (paid) public consumption it becomes theirs as well and the creators should respect that connection.

      Me for one I thank George for giving us this universe to play in but in my StarWars galaxy Jar Jar, Hayden Christensen and Midichlorians don’t exist

      • This is not new, just more well known. Anyone familiar with Laurel K. Hamilton will know she gets similar heat for “ruining” her series. The creator is god of their worlds and can do what they please, but I agree that the fans do “own” it too. A smart creator would put their ego aside and listen to their fans. Especially when they get this vociferous.

  26. The original trilogy was great, right up until the Battle of Endor with the ridiculous Ewoks. Should have been the Battle of Kashyyyk (Wookie home world) like Lucas originally planned.

    The prequel trilogy was just meh. There were parts that were very good and then there were parts that were very WTF? I think someone could slice together all of the best parts of that trilogy into one great 3-hour movie. Of course Jar Jar wouldn’t make that cut.

  27. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Lucas still has his hands all over this thing. An egomaniac like Lucas doesn’t just sell his entire production company for cash. He’s got his hands on the puppet strings to this day. He doesn’t need to “talk to J.J.” because J.J. has already been told EXACTLY WHAT TO DO.

  28. J.J. Abrams may not be the most suitable director to helm the first episode in the Star Wars franchise continuation, but he does represent the tight inner-circle of filmmakers allowed to orbit that exclusive universe where “Golden Boys” are given their chance to grab for that brass ring.

    George Lucas, on the other hand, is a shill for Disney; not a “consultant” but a “pitchman” for the project as it moves through production — and later as a talking-head for the media when the show goes on the road.

    Abrams (anoited by Steven Spielberg) is a very busy director, whereas Lucas has retired into that niche of “elder statesman”.

  29. He effin’ sucks as a Director, the best Star Wars to ever hit the big screen was The Empire Strikes Back, R.I.P. Irvin Kerschner, 1,2,3,5 and 6, are all garbage!!!!

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