Breaking up is hard to do, and George Lucas is taking his exit from the franchise rather hard. Back in November, he went into detail about his “break up” from “Star Wars” (though not many relationships end with the $4 billion sale of a major company) and in a much longer holiday-season chat with Charlie Rose, he once again reflects on how everything went down.
As we well know by now, Lucas had his own story ideas for the sequels ready to go, but Disney wasn’t so keen on them, and that is pretty much what led Lucas to split from the franchise he started. “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,” he said. “And so I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’ ”
He goes on to call the “Star Wars” films his “kids,” but concedes that, “I sold them to the white slavers that takes these things, and [laughs]” and thankfully bailed out of that metaphor before it got any worse. But he succinctly details what differed between his approach and Disney’s when it came to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
However, the director does remember how Hollywood tried to replicate the success of “Star Wars” when his film broke out in the ’70s, and he sees the same patterns in the industry today. “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,” he said.
“Of course, the only way you could really do that [make money] is not take chances. Only do something that’s proven,” Lucas added. “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!”
So, what’s coming next? Well, as Lucas has long explained, he wants to make “experimental” films, and he details a bit of what means. “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,” he explained.
“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,” Lucas elaborated. “…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.”
May the force be with you, George. Watch the full interview below.