What Is George Lucas' Problem with Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
When it was first revealed that George Lucas had finally seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we didn't get to hear his own opinion. Instead, we were assured by producer and LucasFilm boss Kathleen Kennedy that he 'really liked it'. When Vulture caught up with the creator of this universe, he wouldn't give an opinion either way. Instead, he declared that fans would love it. Which they did. Which he sees as a major problem.
Yes, it has now been revealed by the man himself that he has a small beef to pick with LucasFilm, Disney and director J.J. Abrams. While he does 'like' the movie, he doesn't 'love' it. Why? Because it's too much of a nostalgia piece. And, as some fans have complained, it is too much like the 1977 original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Appearing on Charlie Rose, he explained the following.
" 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."
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens is 95% fresh on the Tomato Meter, and received an A cinemascore, the film is not without its critics. Some have been as bold as to call it the most expensive piece of fan fiction ever made. And George Lucas probably doesn't disagree with that. When the creator of this vast and very popular universe sold Star Wars to Disney for $4 billion, he compared it to a divorce or 'break-up'.
George Lucas had the stories for Episodes 7-9 already mapped out. He's known the direction he wanted the story to go in since the late 70s. But Disney and LucasFilm through all of that out the window in creating this new story centered around AWOL Stormtrooper Finn and Force Sensitive desert scavenger Rey. About the abandoning of his original drafts, George Lucas told Charlie Rose the following.
"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.' "
During the Charlie Rose interview, George Lucas calls the Star Wars movies his 'kids'. He then begins to make an allegory that he cuts short before he gets himself into too much trouble. You'll see where he is going when he starts off with this.
"I sold them to the white slavers that takes these things, and [laughs]..."
So, will George Lucas ever come out and say he 'likes' the new movie? We're not sure, but he did sit through Star Wars: The Force Awakens a second time at the premiere. He compares what is happening with the success of the movie right now with the success of the original 1977 blockbuster. Everyone wants a sci-fi franchise. And it's because of the world he created. But things just aren't that easy.
"Everybody went out and made spaceship movies and they were all horrible and they all lost tons of money. And you say, there's more to it than that. You just can't go out and do spaceships. Of course, the only way you could really do that [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!"
George Lucas may sound like the old grandpa that wants all the kids off his lawn, but he does have a point. What is next for the man himself? He is going to make experimental movies. He says this about his future endeavors.
"These are little tiny movies...I'm going back to where 'American Graffiti' or 'THX ,' where I can completely change the way you tell a story in using cinema. I produced a few films that were like this, but they weren't like what I would do. I've been fascinated with the true nature of the medium - it's been used more as a recording medium, than as a art form unto itself. they call them tone poems - in the beginning in Russia, this was a whole movement of: how do you tell visual stories, basically without dialogue, without all the things you use to tell a story, and you just use the film itself. It's kind of esoteric, it hasn't come much further in one hundred years. I'm going to try and take it into something that is more emotionally powerful than most of the stuff we've done up to this point."
What do you think? Does George Lucas have a point about Star Wars: The Force Awakens being a retro show? Or do you think it has enough 'new' in it to make it a worthy sequel? We know most of you loved the movie. And perhaps he's a little bitter at its success. After all, he was met with the exact opposite kind of reaction when he let his prequels out into the world. No one likes to have their baby's called ugly. So of course he's going to point out whatever flaws he can in this new iteration of the classic franchise.