As Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to be a box-office smash hit, many of its creators, actors, etc. are probably resting, relieved to be away from a long press tour and pre-release anxiety. But one creator who doesn't seem too happy is George Lucas, the visionary behind the entire saga. Lucas sold his idea for Episode VII to Disney with the rest of Lucasfilm in 2012, and it appears that his ideas were not what Disney was interested in making. It has been heard before that Lucas considered the sale to Disney as a "breakup" with Lucasfilm.
Despite a general feeling of separation between Lucas and Disney, earlier reports stated that Lucas "really liked" The Force Awakens. But now we're learning that Lucas' apparent praise for the film may have been premature.
George Lucas recently had a 54-minute interview with Charlie Rose. You can watch the full video below. For those who want the highlights: keep reading.
George expressed some discomfort with the way that Disney has handled the Star Wars franchise, which he refers to as his "kids." He even went so far as to say, "I sold them to the white slavers that takes these things, and..." he laughed, probably realizing that it was best not to continue the metaphor. Elsewhere in the interview he discussed the different approach that Disney wanted to take.
"They looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans’….They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing….They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway — but 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, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.'"
“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new,”
It's true that The Force Awakens was definitely a retro approach, trying to remind fans about what they loved in the original films. In many ways, The Force Awakens is like a cover for a song you really love. And in all fairness, that may be exactly what we need right now, a return to the old before we venture into something new. But in the past, Star Wars has always taken chances, for better or worse, and The Force Awakens played it safe. Lucas seemed to see this as a flaw in the movie:
"Of course, the only way you could really [make money] is not take chances. Only do something that’s proven. You gotta remember, Star Wars came from nowhere. American Graffiti came from nowhere. There was nothing like it. Now, if you do anything that’s not a sequel or not a TV series or doesn’t look like one, they won’t do it!"
This is true with big businesses like Disney. It makes more sense to do something that has proven to be successful than to take risks. George took a risk with the original Star Wars and look how that paid off. He took a risk with the prequel films as well, and while they didn't prove as critically successful as the originals, they did pave new paths in the industry, and ran with ideas that had never been done before.
It's unfortunate that Lucas feels this way about a film that many critics and fans praise. But the retro approach Disney took may have been the right call, at least for now. However, if every upcoming Star Wars film were to take a similarly retro approach, that might get old after a while. Star Wars has always been about pushing boundaries and expectations. The original trilogy did it; the prequel trilogy did it, and we can hope that future films will soon shape the film industry instead of follow it. Thankfully, the upcoming Star Wars spinoff films, such as next year's Rogue One, appear to be trying new things.
For more, check out the full interview below:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now playing in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: The Playlist