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Your thoughts on George Lucas

Discuss all Star Wars films here - the original trilogy, prequel trilogy and the new Disney films.
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Crumm
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Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Crumm » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:00 pm

So.

The guy who started it all, I am interested to see what you guys on here think of him.

From watching quite a few documentaries and reading a lot of books I get the impression that GL sometimes has mixed feelings about Star Wars. It appears that some days he loves it, some days he is indifferent, and some days he wishes the whole thing would just go away. He will always obviously have a passion for it, but I think on occasion he looks at it like a monster he has created.

I think directing A New Hope took a massive toll on him, due to the fact that it was so difficult to get made. The studio execs were breathing down his neck the whole time, constantly threatening to pull the plug. Nothing worked at first, and everything technical they tried seemed to fail or not produce the expected results. They were bleeding budget money left right and centre with very little to show for it. It must have been hell on earth for him at the time.

Personally I think it left a strong impression on him. He did not want to direct Empire or Jedi (mainly because of his increasing responsibilities with Lucasfilm and ILM etc) but I think the horrible time he had on ANH did not help.

I know many out there seem to not really like him very much for whatever reason.

Personally I think he put forth great professional risk to create something for young people at a time in history when young people were largely ignored and the sci-fi genre was considered a non-starter. He created something that brought fun and hope and friendship to an entire generation and far beyond (their kids, their grandkids etc etc).

Thanks George, because without you, we would have none of this!
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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Bonsai_Tree_Ent » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:30 pm

Lucas was indeed by all accounts reduced to a nervous breakdown making Star Wars, and that undoubtedly left a scar on him. He'd probably have directed a load more movies if he'd had a smoother ride.

And then when he was ready to return with The Phantom Menace, much the same happened again. Awful production woes and storms destroying the location, and then a really toxic reaction (obviously the fandom was now closer than ever thanks to the internet, no buffer). I believe that George put a lot of himself into The Phantom Menace. His big love in life has always been cars and racing and the Podrace is the meat of the movie, so I think it is a personal film for him.

For me, he kind of gave up after that. He phoned in Attack of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith. ROTS was the first Star Wars film to not feature any location shooting at all. The whole movie was filmed in the studio using greenscreen. Lucas was an extremely comfortable billionaire, the hunger was gone, he had stopped caring and it was good that he sold up.

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby theforceuk » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:14 pm

The guys a legend full stop.
'But I was going to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.'

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Crumm » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:50 pm

Bonsai_Tree_Ent wrote:Lucas was indeed by all accounts reduced to a nervous breakdown making Star Wars, and that undoubtedly left a scar on him. He'd probably have directed a load more movies if he'd had a smoother ride.

And then when he was ready to return with The Phantom Menace, much the same happened again. Awful production woes and storms destroying the location, and then a really toxic reaction (obviously the fandom was now closer than ever thanks to the internet, no buffer). I believe that George put a lot of himself into The Phantom Menace. His big love in life has always been cars and racing and the Podrace is the meat of the movie, so I think it is a personal film for him.

For me, he kind of gave up after that. He phoned in Attack of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith. ROTS was the first Star Wars film to not feature any location shooting at all. The whole movie was filmed in the studio using greenscreen. Lucas was an extremely comfortable billionaire, the hunger was gone, he had stopped caring and it was good that he sold up.


I also think it was good that he sold up, I get the impression the he had just "had enough". He can now fill the role of creative consultant without all the pressure and responsibility of carrying the whole thing.
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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Darth Bobby » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:55 pm

A true Legend. Created something incredibly special. He’s had ups and downs like any artist but that goes with the territory. The world would be a different place without him, he inspired so many young minds. As time passes by I look at the Prequels and think they’re not perfect but he gave it a go, not his best work but he wanted to try something new and he did. Total respect to him for trying. Obviously the fan back lash soured Star Wars for him, I’m sure it would effect anyone if the whole world turned them. He’s the Don.

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby chipsteak » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:27 pm

My thoughts are firstly that he's a legend.

He created the series, directed its pivotal and possibly best film and created all those lovable characters ( with vital help like any other film maker, of course ).

Now, he did direct three Star Wars films that I really don't like. However, we judge every other artist on their best work. For example, nobody would say Pink Floyd were rubbish because they don't like The Division Bell but love their classic work.

Lucas peaked very early. I think he creatively burnt out too. His best work, however, it's glorious, so - especially now he's retired - I'm delighted to dwell on that.

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Snaketibe » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:55 pm

An incredibly gifted and imaginative man, who caught lightning in a bottle with the original Star Wars, thanks to his own gifts and those of a fantastically talented team of people around him, who largely remained with him for Empire, and it shows. He's a brilliant filmmaker, but by all accounts not such a great director of people. It has been said of him that his ideal cast would be entirely CGI so that he doesn't have to work with any actual actors, and stories abound about his on-set direction (e.g. 'Do it again, only better', etc. :-)).

Lucas didn't make very much money from A New Hope as a film, but having been given the merchandising rights by an astonishingly short-sighted Twentieth Century Fox (who regarded them as worthless!) as part of a deal when he went to them and asked for a larger director's fee for making ANH, he made enough millions to fund TESB himself. And it was from Empire and the related merchandising that his wealth really skyrocketed. Famously, one of the most talented team members that had surrounded George on ANH and TESB, producer Gary Kurtz, parted company with him prior to Return of the Jedi, because, so some people say, George started to allow merchandising concerns (that's TOYS, to you and me; the reason this Forum exists! :-)) to adversely affect the script and direction of Jedi. Most people seem to agree that Jedi is not the equal of ANH or Empire, so perhaps there is some truth (and perhaps quite a lot) in this.

By the end of Jedi, George was ready to call it a day on Star Wars for the time being. He'd changed his mind numerous times down the years regarding how many episodes there were ultimately going to be in the entire saga (12, 9 and 6 have all been stated at various times), however one thing he has been consistent on is that he was not able to include everything he wanted to into the Original Trilogy due to the limitations of the technology. To pick just two examples, George wanted a working Dewback in Star Wars and a Wampa attack on Echo Base in Empire, but neither of these could be pulled off successfully with the technology of the day. Many people consider the OT to be all the better for George NOT being able to put everything he wanted to on screen, and that instead creative alternatives and script amendments had to be used which improved the films.

George's vision for the original three Star Wars films may have been constrained by the technological limitations of the day, but when he decided that the technology had finally caught up with what he wanted to do, he promptly made the Special Editions in 1997 and included many of the things he still wanted to (although wisely still omitted the Wampa Attack), much to the annoyance of many fans who liked the films the way they were. He then followed them up two years later with The Phantom Menace and the start of the prequel trilogy. With TPM, since he was once again paying for the whole thing out of his own pocket, he was able to call all the shots and make the film that he personally wanted to see, complete with many a merchandising opportunity to boot. Given he knew what he wanted, he quite understandably surrounded himself with 'Yes' men like the talented producer Rick McCallum, who helped bring George's exact vision to the screen. George made TPM and the other prequels largely the way he wanted them to be. I don't doubt the amount of Jar Jar was drastically cut back in AOTC and ROTS due to the enormous backlash over the character following TPM, and doubtless there will have been other 'forced' changes for one reason or another, but in most respects the films George made were the ones he wanted to make. They were therefore made primarily for him, not the fans, and I can actually respect that; it was his money paying for it, so why the hell shouldn't he make the films he wanted to see? The fact that many fans of the original trilogy didn't much care for them (at least in comparison to the OT) is neither here nor there. George made the films he wanted to see.

However, I believe the backlash that the prequels generated definitely affected him. They were clearly not loved as much as the Original Trilogy, and it must have been hard not to take the vociferous criticism of a million fanboys personally. True, he didn't help himself by constantly revising the OT with each subsequent video, DVD and blu-ray release whilst simultaneously refusing to allow the original unaltered trilogy to be released on blu-ray alongside them, but the criticism must have taken its toll, and was one of the reasons I believe why ultimately he sold Lucasfilm to Disney.

I think it would have been very interesting to see what the prequels would have looked like if George had been constrained in his ambitions for them in the same way that he had been with the OT, and especially if he had wise voices of reason like Gary Kurtz advising him throughout the process. Personally, I think the films made would probably have been a lot better if that had happened (and for the record, I don't hate the prequels [although obviously I hate Jar Jar], but I certainly don't love them either, certainly not in the way I love the OT).

And of course to bring us bang up to date, when George sold Lucasfilm to Disney, he also gave them his scripts for the sequel trilogy, and those are films I would LOVE to see! With George no longer at the helm, he would not have total creative control over them, and hence other voices could have offered their input and restrained the worst script excesses, if any, whilst keeping George's story and ultimate vision; the best of both worlds in other words. Instead, sadly Disney decided to largely throw away George's scripts and start over, and gave us The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and those films certainly aren't what George had in mind whatever else you might think of them (personally, I think TFA was a reasonably good retread of much we had already seen, with some ridiculous and ill-conceived moments and some serious and inexcusable flaws, but also a tremendous amount of potential, and TLJ a dreadful, ludicrous, canon-breaking insult that not only killed dead all of TFA's potential, but also all-but killed the new Disney 'Episodes' for me full stop... but hey, each to their own).

In summary, George Lucas is a genius to whom each and every one of us on this Forum owes an enormous debt of gratitude. I don't owe him any more money though. He's had quite enough of mine over the years already ;-)

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Bonsai_Tree_Ent » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:29 pm

The Last Jedi actually does use some of George Lucas' sequel trilogy ideas.

Lucas' idea for the sequel was for an ageing Luke to reluctantly train a young girl to be a Jedi (named Kira not Rey).

Luke had spent 30 years hidden away in solitude in his Jedi temple. Doug Chiang had created the concept art, which got the rubber stamp from Lucas. If you're interested in more, these have come to light in 'The Last Jedi: The Art of Star Wars' book. Here is the Jedi temple pic:

Image

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Snaketibe » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:44 pm

Bonsai_Tree_Ent wrote:The Last Jedi actually does use some of George Lucas' sequel trilogy ideas.

Lucas' idea for the sequel was for an ageing Luke to reluctantly train a young girl to be a Jedi (named Kira not Rey).

Luke had spent 30 years hidden away in solitude in his Jedi temple. Doug Chiang had created the concept art, which got the rubber stamp from Lucas. If you're interested in more, these have come to light in 'The Last Jedi: The Art of Star Wars' book. Here is the Jedi temple pic:

Image

Thank you for that, it's a very good picture. Yes, I had heard not all of his ideas were jettisoned, although I don't doubt his overall story would be very different from the ones Disney have given us. For starters, by the sounds of things if Luke had spent his time in a Jedi temple, he'd probably still be a Jedi and less of a grumpy old man squeezing milk out of a very unconvincing rubber creature's tits on an island in the middle of nowhere :-)

I also seriously doubt George would have broken established canon with quite such carefree abandon as Rian Johnson did in TLJ, or that Kira would have been an instantly super-strong force-wielder capable of defeating an admittedly Poundland Vader at her very first attempt in TFA ;-)

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Crumm » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:44 pm

it's really great to hear the nice and genuine comments here. it's nice to discuss with people who actually know their Star Wars history.
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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Sparky P » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:38 pm

He’s the maker!

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby poncho » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:47 am

chipsteak wrote:My thoughts are firstly that he's a legend.

He created the series, directed its pivotal and possibly best film and created all those lovable characters ( with vital help like any other film maker, of course ).

Now, he did direct three Star Wars films that I really don't like. However, we judge every other artist on their best work. For example, nobody would say Pink Floyd were rubbish because they don't like The Division Bell but love their classic work.

Lucas peaked very early. I think he creatively burnt out too. His best work, however, it's glorious, so - especially now he's retired - I'm delighted to dwell on that.


one of my favourite albums division bell 8)

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby peekaygee73 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:04 pm

In a nutshell:

He had the vision and tenacity to get Star Wars made. There's so much of him in the first Star Wars film, and that's spawned everything Star Wars related since.

BUT

He can't write decent dialogue. Even decent actors struggle to make his prose sound natural.

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby Bonsai_Tree_Ent » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:04 pm

poncho wrote:one of my favourite albums division bell 8)


"The grass was greener! The light was brighter!"

Great stuff...
Last edited by Bonsai_Tree_Ent on Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Your thoughts on George Lucas

Postby _Lee_ » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:16 pm

George Lucas is Star Wars.

Thats it :D
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