George Lucas is no monster. Though his reputation has hit some considerable hurdles following the Star Wars prequels, this is still the man who gave the galaxy far, far away in the first place — not to mention other classics like Indiana Jones, American Graffiti, Willow, and Labyrinth (producer credits count). So, did he create a perfect product with the prequels? No. But all things considered, the good outweighs the bad.
Except when it doesn’t.
When it comes to Star Wars — the series for which this man will always be remembered — those aforementioned hurdles weren’t just unique to Episodes I-III. Even his “untouchable” original trilogy hit a few snags along the way, only to be more or less forgiven. However, assuming you’re willing to take a closer look, the chinks in the chain are all the more noticeable. Call it sacrilege or blasphemy, but assuming Lucas was given the Bar Gullet treatment from Rogue One, even he wouldn’t be able to deny that some of his ideas that have proven to stand the tests of time weren’t exactly his best.
So, whether you stand in the support or opposition corners of Lucas’ legacy, keep reading to check out 15 Star Wars Storylines George Lucas Wants You To Forget.
15. The Trade Federation
The prequels can be summed up in two words: overly complicated. Even though Lucas was clearly trying to add some weight to the lore of his fictional universe, he made the indefensible decision to center his prequels around… a shipping and trade corporation. Lucas himself has stated that this universe is for children (even though its most devoted fans would insist otherwise), but that didn’t stop him from creating the Trade Federation, a subplot so far removed from anything a child could possibly be interested in that defending it, let alone creating it in the first place, is borderline insane.
He wanted to create political strife in order to set up the “wars” in Star Wars. Sure. That’s fine. But dedicating so much of The Phantom Menace’s plot to the woes of disgruntled corporate leaders, intergalactic trade disputes, and faulty tariff agreements just doesn’t belong in a universe predicated on space battles, lightsabers, and the power of the Force.
14. Padme And Anakin’s Love Story
There are two prominent love stories in the Star Wars saga, and only one of them works.
In the original trilogy, Han and Leia start off despising each other. He’s cocky and she’s stubborn, so pitting them together was no different than pressing the ends of two batteries together. They just don’t jibe. That said, the two are forced into adventure together, face certain death, and by the end of a tumultuous journey, they realize that they have feelings for each other after all. It’s not particularly romantic in the process, but it feels authentic.
In the prequels, however, there is the love story between Padme and Anakin. Audiences are well aware that these two will end up together (Luke and Leia wouldn’t exist if they didn’t), but therein lies the problem. It almost seems as if Lucas didn’t bother making their journey towards romance a difficult one because he knew that the outcome was inevitable. So, instead of allowing their relationship to inhabit a sense of realistic pacing, it’s shoehorned. And dry. And coarse/rough/irritating. And… let’s just move on, shall we?
13. Fett’s Fate
Star Wars is filled with memorable characters. Some of them are memorable for their power and fighting skills, some of them are memorable for their charm, and some of them are memorable for their aptitude for badassery — a status dedicated to the stone cold bounty hunter that is Boba Fett.
He’s a man of few words, but Boba Fett is still considered to be a favorite among fans. Existing in the plot only as a bridge between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt, Fett still managed to stand out as more than just a man in a mask. That said, however, when it came to Fett finally meeting his fate (which is typically inevitable for “villains”), Lucas gave him the shaft. Literally.
Instead of going out in a blaze of glory, Fett gets (accidentally) hit by (a blind) Han Solo in the back, knocking him into the Sarlacc Pit, where he is ultimately swallowed whole and killed. Had the character simply flipped off the audience before disappearing out of thin air, it would have had the same effect.
12. The Clone Army
In A New Hope, Obi-Wan is telling Luke Skywalker (and the audience) about the Clone Wars, so it’s no wonder that they would show up in the prequels. Which they do. The only problem, however, is that they run into a snag all too common in anything given nearly three decades to build up.
They don’t live up to the hype.
The actual Clone Wars turned out to be some convoluted political mess of CGI, and not nearly as satisfying as Obi-Wan’s dramatic retelling of it suggested. The clones are just throwaway copies of some one-dimensional soldier (who Lucas had the nerve to make Boba Fett’s father for literally no other reason than forcing some pointless connective tissue into the series), and they turn out to be nothing more than a waste of plot and space.
Their eventual betrayal of the Jedi isn’t a disaster, but it hardly makes up for the train wreck that came before.
11. Darth Vader Is C-3PO’s Father
Tying up loose ends makes for neat and concise storytelling. But only when it makes sense, matters, or is at all necessary. Revealing that Anakin Skywalker (who would of course become Darth Vader later on in life) created C-3PO is a perfect example of when tying up loose ends is completely unnecessary.
Not only did this subplot make little sense (why doesn’t Vader recognize 3PO? Why isn’t 3PO loyal to his master?), it feels shoehorned in just for the sake of shoehorning. Which, by definition, makes it awkwardly forced.
The only rationalization for this storyline is the fact that A) it had a “gee whiz” factor for the trailer or B) Lucas had such little faith in his original trilogy that he felt arbitrarily connecting random characters would make up for any blemishes in the plot. Obviously, neither of these points hold any weight, which proves that rationalizing this subplot is pointless and impossible.
10. Leia Remembers Her Mom
In Return of the Jedi, siblings Luke and Leia sit down for a chat. Luke asks her whether or not she remembers her mother, and Leia answers, “Just a little bit,” before explaining to Luke what little bits of her mother she remembers. However, considering the fact that their mother died during childbirth, Leia’s memory doesn’t really hold any weight. Either Leia is a bold-faced liar or George Lucas doesn’t consider this scene canon in his own series, and either way you spin it, this storyline earns itself a disappointed sigh among Star Wars fans everywhere.
Had Lucas simply allowed Padme to survive the childbirth and spend some time with her children before dying, none of this would have been an issue. Alas, seeing as he went right ahead and ignored it completely, perhaps assuming that audiences wouldn’t catch on, it’s impossible to defend.
9. The Ewoks
By the time Return of the Jedi came around, Lucas could have pretty much gone in any direction he wanted with Star Wars. And for the most part, the directions he went were positive. The Battle of Endor, Lando piloting the Millennium Falcon, the Emperor getting more screen time… The movie isn’t perfect, but it’s satisfying.
That is, aside from the Ewoks.
Now, in their defense, these creatures aren’t completely abysmal. They’re good guys, they’re fighters, and they’re relatively fearless. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re also oversized stuffed animals that were only created to sell toys and help market the film to a younger audience.
Podracing in and of itself is relatively entertaining to watch. Whether or not you enjoy races in general, there’s a certain satisfaction in floating pods smashing into one another at roughly 600 miles per hour. But that’s not the problem here. The race itself is fine. The problem is the entire plot surrounding The Phantom Menace‘s podracing.
Instead of dedicating this entry in the Star Wars saga to the inevitable destruction of Anakin Skywalker, it spends most of its time fixing a podracer and racing a podracer. Comedian Patton Oswalt once mentioned in a famous rant on the prequels that including Anakin’s younger self could probably work if he was presented as sort of Jedi spin on Damien in The Omen. Whether or not that would have worked, it’s fair to say that his interpretation would have been significantly more interesting than the solid of chunk of time this entire subplot wastes in Anakin’s backstory (assuming a backstory was necessary to begin with).
7. The Luke And Leia Kiss
Thanks to Game of Thrones, modern audiences are no stranger to incest. That doesn’t mean they necessarily enjoy it (one would hope), but it’s definitely out in the open, whether they like it or not. That said, though, the incest in Thrones isn’t an oversight. Jaime and Cersei’s relationship has consequences that put their entire family line at risk. It’s a character-influencing choice by author George R. R. Martin. But in Star Wars, it’s a George Lucas goof.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke and Leia kiss. Not necessarily because Leia is at all attracted to Luke, but because she wants to make Han jealous. In the following film, it’s revealed that Luke and Leia are siblings… and the whole kiss gets pretty much brushed aside.
6. “The Chosen One”
The Twelve Stage Hero’s Journey by Christopher Vogler is a formula that Star Wars follows to a T, including stages that are adhered to in other pieces of popular fiction like The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, and Harry Potter, for example.
However, there is another running thread between these stories that is not specified in the Hero’s Journey, and yet is still treated with just as much importance. That thread refers to “The Chosen One.”
Now, while George Lucas is not the only writer guilty of using this trope, that doesn’t excuse him. Not only is the “Chosen One” angle tired and overused, it doesn’t fit in the whole Star Wars mythology. This is a series predicated on science, not magic. It’s a series that dedicated so much of its setup to practicality, and yet, once Lucas decided to make his ill-fated return in the form of the prequels, he turned the Star Wars plot into just another slice of garden-variety fiction.
Oh, George, what have you done?
In A New Hope, Obi-Wan tries explaining to Luke what the Force actually is, saying, “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.” But in The Phantom Menace, it turns out that George Lucas wasn’t entirely satisfied with this explanation, so he took it a step further. Much to the chagrin of pretty all of his fans.
This “step further” comes in the form of Midi-chlorians, the description of which is probably best left to Lucas himself:
The way you interact and interface with this larger energy field [the Force] is through the midi-chlorians, which are sensitive to the energy. They are at the core of your life, which is the cell, the living cell. They are in a symbiotic relationship with the cell. And then, because they’re all interconnected as one, they can communicate with the larger Force field. That’s how you deal with the Force.
4. The Two Ewok Movies
After the success of Star Wars, Lucas got a bit carried away with himself. Now, when given the chance to make some extra dough, it’s difficult to blame anyone for doing whatever it takes — but there ought to be limits. (There need to be limits.)
Sadly, though, he clearly couldn’t help himself when it came to Star Wars spinoffs, which was made all too clear in the two Ewok movies he produced post-Return of the Jedi, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.
The argument for why Lucas might regret the existence of these storylines shouldn’t really need much justification, so let’s just mention it for the sake of mentioning it, move on, and just be happy that these terrible Star Wars spinoffs were isolated incidences…
3. The Star Wars Holiday Special
In 1978, George Lucas had an idea, and as far as he was concerned, it was a great idea. Instead of devoting all of his time to overseeing the production of A New Hope’s follow-up, The Empire Strikes Back, the man clearly knocked back one too many eggnogs, fueling him with an unhealthy chunk of Christmas spirit that inspired him to create the made-for-TV Star Wars Holiday Special (even though his writing credit is nonexistent).
In this TV special, the Wookies are front and center, Boba Fett is given his first introduction (yes, even before Empire), and Princess Leia sings to the tune of John Williams’ masterful Star Wars theme. To call it a travesty would be an understatement, but if there was any consolation, Lucas is at least very open about his hatred towards this “slimy piece of worm-ridden filth.”
2. Jar Jar Binks
You know who loves Jar Jar Binks? George Lucas. And you know who doesn’t like Jar Jar Binks? Literally anyone who isn’t George Lucas.
While the Jar Jar character could have actually served to be an interesting addition to the Star Wars universe, it turned out to be a catastrophic mess. On one hand, having this outcast who wants nothing more than to earn acceptance inadvertently help turn the tides of war in favor of the enemy makes for captivating storytelling. Sadly, the translation from concept to creation didn’t pan out with much success. In fact, it didn’t pan out with any success.
This character just turned out to be an annoying, poorly animated amphibious clown who fit in with the Star Wars universe as well as O.J. Simpson’s hand fit into that famous courtroom glove. Lucas could have done so much better with this character. But he didn’t. And the Star Wars universe has never really healed since.
1. Anakin’s Backstory
When the Star Wars prequels were announced, fans around the world could hardly contain their excitement. Lightsabers, the Force, space travel, the Skywalkers! A long-awaited return was imminent, and fans were drugged up with galactic glee.
But those were pre-prequel feelings. Post-prequel feelings were quite different. And while there are plenty of offenders to point fingers at, the most serious offense belongs to the entire backstory of one Anakin Skywalker — the boy who would become Darth Vader.
Lucas had potential to spare with this storyline, but it seems as though the Force just wasn’t strong with him. And while some of the plot points might have at least worked slightly better on paper, they crashed and burned in the final product. Darth Vader is just too beloved a character to toy with (and ultimately get wrong), which is precisely why, instead of cheers and applause for his younger self’s depiction, there was “a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror.”
Do you agree with these missteps within the Star Wars universe, or are you a Lucas loyalist to the very end? Let us know in the comments!
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