"Dogs Driving Spaceships"

George Lucas doesn't like that 'Star Wars' extends well beyond him
George Lucas Says Ideas in the Original “Sort of Got Lost” in Post-Disney ‘Star Wars’ Films
Lucas reflected on his life in work in a wide-ranging chat in Cannes, where he received an honorary Palm d’Or.

It sounds like Lucas, now 80 years old, was happy to chat about anything and everything in accepting his honorary Palme d’Or for his contribution to cinema at Cannes. Some fun backstories about THX-1138 (which played at the festival back in 1971) and also American Graffiti, Lucas' first hit that directly led to Star Wars being made and his control over it:

The film also caught the eye of Allan Ladd Jr., then head of production at Fox, who approached Lucas after a screening and said, the director recalled: “You got any other movies? And I said ‘Well, I’ve got this sort of science fiction fantasy, crazy 1930s-style movie, with dogs driving spaceships.’ And he said ‘I’ll do it. I’ll do whatever you want’…and he hired me and the rest is kind of history.”

Meanwhile, on the topic of the prequels:

The negative response to his Star Wars prequels, Lucas argued, came from “critics and fans who had been 10 years old when they saw the first one” and didn’t want to watch a children’s film. The public trashing of Jar Jar Binks —one of the first figures to be canceled on the then-nascent Internet — reminded Lucas of the original response to C3P0. “Everybody said the same thing about 3P0, that he was irritating and we should get rid of him,” said Lucas. “When I did the third one it was the Ewoks: ‘Those are little teddy bears. This is a kid’s movie, we don’t want to see a kids’ movie. I said: ‘It is a kids’ movie. It’s always been a kids’ movie.”

On one hand, that's fair – a movie intended for kids was perhaps mismatched with the 20 and 30 and 40 year olds who were the most excited to see it. On the other, at some point the greatest artists realize their work has come into its own in a way that transcends whatever original vision they had. That was clearly the case with the "dogs driving spaceships" movie. But Lucas clearly also didn't realize that in making the prequels and still doesn't seem to realize that.

Discussing the Star Wars sequels made after he sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 (for $4.05 billion), Lucas said the new corporate bosses got a lot wrong.

“I was the one one who really knew what Star Wars was…who actually knew this world, because there’s a lot to it. The force, for example, nobody understood the force,” he said. “When they started other ones after I sold the company, a lot of the ideas that were in [the original] sort of got lost. But that’s the way it is. You give it up, you give it up.”

It is sort of wild how left out-of-the-loop Lucas was with the sequels. Yes, that's undoubtedly in part because the prequels were (mostly) bad. And yes, that's what the $4B was for (for Disney to make any new Star Wars films/shows/etc as it wanted, without having to answer to Lucas). Still, he perhaps could have been a sort of spiritual glue that at least made them not feel like a battle amongst two filmmakers, which led to this weird feeling of whiplash for us, the viewers.

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