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exclusive news

Director's Cut: George Lucas finally admits he made Star Wars up as he went along

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, May 17, 2010

As ABC's Lost draws to its finale, the accolades from other showbiz creators are coming in and being received by the series' creative team. But what one well-known creator of a story that takes place a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away said to the Lost team is rather telling of the real way he made up the Star Wars saga's storyline.

During last Thursday's Lost Live: The Final Celebration event, ABC Studios executive Barry Jossen read a letter from Star Wars creator George Lucas to Lost producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. What Lucas may not have realized is that Zap2It's Rick Porter was there and reported on what Lucas said -- and what it means to the true history of how Star Wars was created:

"Congratulations on pulling off an amazing show," Lucas said. "Don't tell anyone ... but when Star Wars first came out, I didn't know where it was going either. The trick is to pretend you've planned the whole thing out in advance. Throw in some father issues and references to other stories -- let's call them homages -- and you've got a series.

"In six seasons, you've managed to span both time and space, and I don't think I'm alone in saying that I never saw what was around the corner. Now that it's all coming to an end, it's impressive to see how much was planned out in advance and how neatly you've wrapped up everything. You've created something really special. I'm sad that the series is ending, but I look forward to seeing what you two are going to do next."

 


 

EXCLUSIVE:

"Chewie", the Screenplay About the Making of the Original Star Wars Movie 



 

This revelation by Lucas that he made up the Star Wars story as it went along was guessed by many fans but now at least we have official acknowledgement. What Lucas is forgetting, or perhaps hoping that thirtysomething-year-old fans of Star Wars have forgotten, is that ever since the success of the first Star Wars movie in 1977, he's made it a point of telling any media that cared to listen that he had a grand plan for Star Wars. It wouldn't be so much of a problem for me for Lucas to say that he made it up as the story progressed save for the fact that he marketed his franchise as a grand vision, a unified story that chronicled a story he had in mind. All of that was a lie that took thirty years to finally air out.

When Lucas told Time that he had the stories for nine Star Wars movies (later redacted to six and originally twelve), and that the notes were written in a binder, that was a lie. But it worked at selling toys, bedsheets, lunch boxes, breakfast cereal, amusement park rides and a million other Star Wars products. That lie helped, in part, to make Lucas a billionaire. And as a former fan of the Star Wars universe, I boo at Lucas for finally letting the truth out not in an interview or as a comment made on his Star Wars website or magazine, but to other filmmakers. That makes it appear that Lucas has two faces: the one he shows to his peers as a marketer of a highly successful product, and the salesman face that wants gullible fans to buy his products based in part on a fallacy.

In the end this kind of news and my editorial stance doesn't quite seem to be worth the energy it took to write, but thirty years ago, when people cared about Star Wars, this kind of confession would have meant something. At least Damon Lindelof seems to get both sides of it; after listening to Lucas' letter the Lost producer said, "I just want to apologize to Mr. George Lucas for everything I said about the prequels."

Maybe Lucas could hire a guy like Lindelof to make a decent sequel trilogy.

-Zap2It.
mckracken
Location:
Posts: 965
Posted: 8 years 1 week ago

hmmmpf... I dont think it changes the impact of the 1977 Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back or Jedi. They are the cornerstones of cinema... but when the story expanded, this explains a lot, like trying to cram 30 years of pre-established Star Wars history into just 6 hours of crappy storytelling ...

in my opinion, he would have been better off truncating the three prequels into a shorter span of say 2 to 5 years, omitting Jake Lloyd's younger Anakin Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks. Starting off with an older Anakin and a solid regular cast that isnt supposed to age 30 years over three flicks.

still we all suspected he was lying all this time, no surprise there, I gave up on the CGI tv show after the pilot and I kinda want to watch the live action Star Wars TV show play out (if only to see George Lucas film 100 episodes before pitching his entire series to a network...which also is a total lie... LOL!)

Patrick Sauriol
Location: Canada
Posts: 20119
Posted: 8 years 1 week ago

Lucas' statement doesn't change my appreciation for the genius of the original STAR WARS or EMPIRE. However, it's been well chronicled of the contributions of many others to the '77 and '80 movies, even if in the present Lucas revisioning history era there is no mention of the editing contributions of Martha Lucas, the writing of the famous crawl opening paragraphs by John Milius, the brilliant creature effects of Rick Baker and his pals, the producing talent of Gary Kurtz, et cetera and so on. Lucas has shown himself to be a revisionist not just of the original STAR WARS story but in the contributions of the many others that gave their own vital piece of greatness to the original films. And the result of an unfiltered, unchecked Lucas is evident in the lameness of the prequel trilogy.

No, what pisses me off is that finally Lucas makes it official that there was never a master plan when all along he told his fans (and among them there are film professionals) that he had a master plan -- that's why he doesn't need your help, thank you very much. Think of how much better the prequel trilogy could have been had Lucas' ego not been as large as Death Star II and he had sought the input of this generation's greatest filmmakers. Think about how awesome the original STAR WARS was. That could have been PHANTOM MENACE.

No matter where you go, there you are.
omicron
Location:
Posts: 1238
Posted: 8 years 1 week ago

Like I said on FB, I think he originally had a master plan and grand idea of his universe. I think the prequels were simply "What cool CGI stuff can I do?"

We were watching Al-Quaeda, and all this time our security services should have been keeping watch on Jakester's throbbing nutsack!-Dalton's chin dimple
Quasar
Location:
Posts: 7588
Posted: 8 years 1 week ago

Just the idea that Luke and Leia were love interests in the first movie was a pretty good indication that Lucas hadn't envisioned too far beyond.

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
mckracken
Location:
Posts: 965
Posted: 8 years 1 week ago

hahah good point there Quazar.
i think one of the things people actually REALLY liked from the originals was the fact that Lucas threw us some curveballs and cliffhangers (LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER - anyone?) like Luke being Leia's brother and hidden at birth...

but it takes Lucas 30 years to pen a prequel to Star Wars and still he didnt address the glaring omissions "why the holy hell would Vader NOT SEARCH TATOOINE for 20 years??? or WHY the holy hell would Obi Wan put Luke with his uncle and Aunt???? Wouldnt Vader think to search there FIRST??

... now... I know (and I feel that its pretty weak considering the Dark side of the Force and all) that it says in the script that Anakin/Vader assumed the child (not TWINS) had actually died, had never been born... and thus he would not spend his time searching for them...

Still ... the very first time Vader meet's Luke on the Death Star he should have sensed that Luke was actually his son... but even before that, the damn movie OPENS with Darth Vader capturing Leia... wouldn't he sense THAT she was actually his biological daughter??

the dark side of the force really SUCKS.

and then theres the whole "Jedi ghost" issue.. which was, according to George, resolved at the tail end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith with a quick line from Yoda who seemed to come from talking with the ghost of Qui Gon Jinn... how the hell did Qui Gon Jinn KNOW HE could do that? and why the hell was this pivotal scene DROPPED from the movie?????(it WAS included in the Revenge of the Sith movie adaptation Dark Horse Comic-book by the way)

and then theres the problem with the droids memories and Vader's childhood memories... a quick dash of the pen to fix a hole in the script seemed to indicate (at least to me) George had forgotten all about the Droids memories, fans had realized after Phantom Menace that these two droids memories would have to have been wiped clean at some point, why was this glossed over so quickly? And Vader should have recognized C-3PIO from the first time he saw the droid... Vader's memory wasnt wiped... so what happened here? Maybe every ten year old kid builds a translator robot... ok, but you WOULD recognize your own creation... i'm an artist... I KNOW I would recognize one of my pieces of art if they were left walking and talking all over the universe after 30+ years...