“The Great Maker”, aka George Lucas, developed an idea in the 1970’s that went on to capture the hearts and minds of a generation… and then every generation to follow.
His contribution to modern cinema goes far beyond the Star Wars saga, though.
In his many years in the entertainment industry, George has personally directed a number of films, produced even more, and written quite a few. He’s also done a lot to support the development of the arts and education in general.
His directorial credits include: THX 1138, American Graffiti, Star Wars Episode VI: A New Hope, and the oft-maligned Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
His producer and executive producer credits are even more extensive, and include all of the live action Star Wars films (except for Episode VII), all of the Indiana Jones films, and cult classic favourite, Willow – to name only a few.
When you add in his writing credits, his contributions are even more impressive: THX 1138, American Graffiti and More American Graffiti, Star Wars Episodes I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII and VIII (yes, Episodes VII and VIII), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (yep, he has a writing credit for the first anthology film), all of the Indiana Jones films, and Willow. There are more, but those are the best known.
But as indicated above, George isn’t just a writer, producer and director. He’s also a philanthropist, setting up or contributing to a number of initiatives, including: The George Lucas Educational Foundation, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, he gave one million dollars to help build the Martin Luther King, Jnr National Museum, gave 25 million dollars to the charity After School Matters, and gave 175-180 million dollars to the University of Southern California‘s film school, where he learned to make motion pictures. He also has plans to donate most of the money he received from the sale of Lucasfilm.
As the creator of Star Wars, George is universally loved. As a creative person, he’s both loved and loathed.
As a human being, George has equally felt all the love – and all the loathing, and at various times and in various ways it has taken its toll on him.
One thing is clear, without George we wouldn’t have that “galaxy far, far away”, and I don’t know about you, but my childhood would have been so much less without Star Wars.
Despite the contentious way in which George is viewed by Star Wars fans, I do believe most still love and admire him, and I think many of us were shocked, back in 2012, when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney.
I think we were just as shocked when we heard that Disney had thrown George’s ideas for Episodes VII, VIII and IX out the airlock.
In the build up to the release of Episode VII, and most certainly since it’s release a couple of weeks ago, a lot of people have been wondering one thing: “did George like Episode VII?” After everything, would he enjoy this new vision for his baby and how would he feel about the public’s reaction?
I suspect he’s in two minds over it all. In one interview he said he was looking forward to being swept away by the experience like any other fan, because he’s never had the chance to see Star Wars and be surprised by it. In others, he’s walked around the question. George has made a number of comments over the last few months, most diplomatic but there has been at least one that could be called unfortunate, which is the one attracting all the attention right now. I think the comment he is getting criticism for points to the emotion he feels over moving on from something he feels quite deeply for. Does he regret the sale? I get the feeling he does. Not because Disney has ruined Star Wars, but because, as Yoda would remind us “always in motion, is the future” and what seemed like a good idea doesn’t always stay feeling like a good idea. Hindsight can be cruel.
For the record, I am a huge fan of George Lucas, and first read the biography of his work, Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas by Dale Pollack, when I was about 12. It was that book that inspired me to get into the film and television industry.
I even own the recently updated edition and am still in love with the book some thirty years later.
So, as a fan of George’s, I obviously have a bias and feel for him. As far as I’m concerned, George can have whatever opinion he wants to have, and we should all respect that whether we agree with it or not.
George’s most recent ruminations, it would seem, aren’t completely positive… and I think I get why. How would you feel seeing something that you had created being taken in a different direction to the one you had been dreaming of for decades?
George created Star Wars and he had a vision for all nine films. Disney chose to ignore that vision with the sequel trilogy and George is understandably perturbed by that.
It’s important to note that his reaction and opinion aren’t negative. George doesn’t slam the film, but he is clear that it’s different to the one he would have made.
Some fans will no doubt show very little support for George, saying he shouldn’t have sold Star Wars if he didn’t want to run the risk of someone doing something with the property that he wouldn’t have done.
From what I can remember, George sold Lucasfilm and all of its properties to Disney along with story ideas for the sequels to Star Wars. He probably thought the sequel films would be developed around his ideas, and never assumed Disney would eventually abandon them.
Some fans might also say that before selling Star Wars, George should have just made the sequels himself. They’ve probably forgotten how horrible things got there for George when the prequel trilogy came out and how deeply the fan community hurt him.
A number of media outlets are reporting on the most recent interview where George talks about Episode VII, so you can read about it on pretty much any entertainment news site.
Rolling Stone magazine are one of those media outlets, and a link to their story is below.
Included in the article is the video interview where George talks about Episode VII and gives his opinion (at around the 50 minute mark), go check it out. Click here and enjoy and before you judge George, try putting yourself in his shoes for a moment and try to remember that without him, we would have never had Star Wars.