Attack of the Clones,  George Lucas,  Prequel Trilogy,  Revenge of the Sith,  The Phantom Menace

‘The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III: 1999-2005’ will include a new interview with George Lucas

From Paul Duncan:

“The Archives: Eps I-III: 1999-2005
Status Update:
1) Completed image research. Check.
2) Working on layouts. Check.
3) Spent a day interviewing . Check.
4) Working 24/7 to get this book to you. Check. That is all.”

archives_book


The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III: 1999-2005 will be released in fall 2020.

9 Comments

  • jppiper

    wouldn’t it great if he ripped into kk jj and rj for destroying his creation? unlikely but one can dream

    • Stefan K

      I think that GL will be professional and express any disappointment accordingly – I would not be surprised if we had to read between the lines for negative statements.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Stefan:

        Yeah, if you want the actual “in the raw” truth, you come to Naboo News!

        Lucas is too polite. A mild-mannered genius.

        Anyway, this is one book I might put out for, if my cash flow is reasonable enough when it arrives. If it isn’t, I guess it can wait. In some respects, the prequels need this book more than the originals, since the mighty J.W. Rinzler never got to unleash his powers on “making of” books for Episodes I and II — a real shame!

    • Steve Bragg

      Ever thought George doesn’t feel the same as you do? He handpicked her. It was all his choice. He could have hired his OWN directors if he didn’t want to direct anymore. He knew that no director or writer would do things exactly as he would if he were still in full control.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Steve:

        Lucas stated on Charlie Rose in 2015, in an unguarded moment, that he sold his creation to “white slavers”. In addition, he came out with an analogy about moving on from a failed relationship, wherein you don’t drive by to see how your ex-lover is doing or “burn the coffee shop down”. Which gives quite an insight into the mixed emotions that were brewing inside him (no pun intended) a few short years ago, right around the time that TFA was about to come out and inevitably make a killing.

        In that same interview, Lucas also talked about how no-one is willing to take risks anymore, and lamented that the whole filmmaking industry — at least, when it comes to blockbuster/tentpole movies (the major money-earners which the big studios all depend on) — is dominated by cowardice and greed. Once again, one can read between the lines here. He was in a serious funk about what happened after he sold to Disney, and this was his only really chance to go over his thoughts at length; even if he spent much of that time speaking generally and obliquely.

        A more telling indication of the state of play between Lucas and Kennedy, specifically, can be found if you rove through photo archives of the TFA premieres, held in Los Angeles and London, respectively. You will find pictures of Lucas and Abrams together (and video, too) at both events, but nothing of Lucas and Kennedy. Which is really quite strange, given that Kennedy was the film’s producer, not to mention the person Lucas hand-picked as his replacement to head up Lucasfilm and oversee the sequel trilogy and all other future projects.

        Going back to Lucas’ “coffee shop” analogy, there was obviously some kind of tiff between Lucas and Kennedy for a while, and they evidently chose to spurn one another for a short time. A really curious state of affairs, given that Kennedy called Lucas her “Yoda” in a video interview of the two released in November 2012 (recorded some months earlier to announce the development of the sequel trilogy — and zero mention of Disney). Furthermore, Kennedy even spoke for Lucas, as if she was on good terms with him, regarding his opinion of TFA after he saw an early screening, to the press on Dec 9th 2015. Here is what she said:

        “I don’t want to second-guess what George feels he needs to say or do. It’s up to him. If there’s one thing I’ve always known about George, he’s never held back on his opinions. Of course I want him to be happy with what we’re doing. But having him 100 percent on board is up to him. He’s said in his own words, he can’t do that unless he’s the one running everything. [But] he’s seen the movie, and he really liked it.”

        https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lucasfilms-kathleen-kennedy-what-george-846858

        Notice how much rhetorical throat-clearing and equivocation there is in those remarks. Then play them off against Lucas’ remarks on Charlie Rose (already recorded before Kennedy made the above comments), as well as what Lucas said about TFA when asked about it at the premieres. He clearly wasn’t a happy bunny at that time, simply choosing (or being obligated) to show up and put on a brave face, attempting to spin away his disdain with a barbed rejoinder to Kennedy’s hasty (and clearly calculated) remark that “he really liked it” with the following corrective: “I think it’s a movie that the fans will really love” (said at the London/European premiere on Dec 16th 2015). Ouch.

        By the time of Celebration Orlando held in April 2017, which poignantly marked both the 40th anniversary of the release of the original film and Carrie Fisher’s sudden passing (or the first chance to pay homage to her), Lucas and Kennedy finally appeared in public together again, sharing the stage and even some good-natured glances. It seems they had agreed to bury the hatchet and at least try and pretend things were now “okay” going forward. Perhaps it was purely business-related. Or maybe they were both affected by Carrie’s passing, and seeing that it was also the original film’s 40th year, realised that life is short and that it’s better to let go of grudges and forget misgivings when a chance arises.

        Yet Lucas has continued to throw some shade Disney’s way — such as last June, when it was revealed that he had sat down with James Cameron and wanted to explore the “microbiotic world” in the sequel trilogy. In that same interview, Lucas pointedly said, “If I’d held onto the company I could have done it, and then it would have been done. Of course, a lot of the fans would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace and everything, but at least the whole story beginning to end would have been told.” Lucas has had a low opinion of many Star Wars fans, or a vocal subsection, for years. Resolve his remark at the London TFA premiere above, concerning it being a film “that the fans will really love”, against those more recent remarks to Cameron. It’s pretty clear he doesn’t have a rosy opinion of the direction Disney/Kennedy took the sequel trilogy in; even if Kennedy and Lucas made up for the cameras in 2017.

        Stating that Lucas knew that no director or writer would do things the same way is a canard — a false dilemma. A middle ground could have been sought if all parties were willing. It is clear that Disney/Kennedy had other ideas; or agendas. Lucas placed an exceptionally strong emphasis on storytelling, memorable characters, and inventive world-building to convey essential themes. When he sold to Disney, those priorities went out the window, and Disney chose to pander (and Kennedy, it seems, was only too willing), in order to take the fewest risks and ensure a tidy profit. Which is exactly what Lucas talked about on Charlie Rose; even though he largely avoided calling anybody out and suggested (in that segment) it’s an industry-wide issue.

        Let’s be clear: Disney had a bullet-proof strategy for ensuring healthy return of investment. At least, initially. All that suffered was the artistry and scope of the vibrant property Lucas sold to them. Kennedy stabbed her “Yoda” in the back and got her thirty pieces of silver. Lucas could barely disguise his contempt. But the fact he is relatively mild-mannered and understated could have something to do with people missing it; secondary to wanting to believe Star Wars is still an artistic enterprise and the sequel trilogy is as good as it could possibly have been; and that corporations are benign and always put exogenous factors ahead of the bottom line and pleasing shareholders.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Joe:

        Yikes! Force save us. Another tawdry boilerplate bashing article — and you spring this on me when I’m about to go to bed!

        But you know me too well, Joe. I’m a sucker for the occasional bit of prequel bashing deconstruction.

        A few thoughts:

        The piece is full of superficial, hypocritical, fallacious list-mongering and lowest-common-denominator carping. They must be churning this rubbish out by way of an algorithm by now.

        Firstly, the guy is re-writing history (not that that ever happens with prequel bashing excrement — perish the thought). He uses a tabloid tactic of building up the prequels (“the initial response was overly positive”), only to knock them down (“audiences soon started noticing some cracks in the movie”, “most agreed that the rest of the trilogy did not fare any better”).

        While most people may have been very enthusiastic when the prequels were first announced, not everyone started noticing cracks. Most people watched TPM once and moved on with their lives. Other people likely watched the film multiple times and were okay with it. As borne out by Gallup polling in 1999: turns out that most people found the movie an enjoyable experience (or at least the people living in North America at the time who were sampled):

        https://news.gallup.com/poll/3757/public-gives-latest-star-wars-installment-positive-rave-reviews.aspx

        Then, as far as AOTC and ROTS go, plenty of people were singing those movies’ praises on release. ROTS even earned itself a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes in 2005 (with AOTC receiving 65% and TPM 62% on their years of release). Of course, some people who initially gushed all over them later changed their minds, but that can and does happen in life — especially when a cottage industry of negativity springs up around something and everyone is telling you that hatred is the only respectable option.

        His comments also fail to note that the prequels have had long legs. They’re still being talked about and dissected in 2019, twenty years after TPM was released, are they not? And look at the positive reception Hayden and Ian received at Celebration 2017, and Ahmed’s warm reception this year, at Celebration 2019. All this says something. But to the author, the reader must be left with the impression that hatred and disavowal are still essentially universal and the only reasonable responses. The “argument from popularity”/”safety in numbers” fallacy, among other things…

        In the third of their opening paragraphs, the author asserts the following: “Fortunately, the franchise has since seen better days, with the new trilogy improving upon the early films, with The Clone Wars and Rebels giving people more quality stories in the universe.” TCW? That thing that Disney cancelled for five years? I love how the author casually pretends that everything is fine and there wasn’t a half-decade suspension, brought on by callous business decisions built around pandering to moneyed-up motormouthed manchild malcontents.

        As for the sequel trilogy improving on the earlier films (prequels or originals), I think that’s HIGHLY debatable…

        As for their scrupulously-argued, deftly-woven list of so-called “improvements” by way of deletion:

        You never see Bob Dylan or The Beatles being treated this way…

        10. The ol’ “she had two kids to take care of” argument. Man, this should be a euphemism for a bad move in poker, or a dodgy visit to the loo, or something. Padme is totally crushed by Anakin’s turn and the implosion of the galaxy (loss of democracy, destruction of the Jedi Order, quelling of beauty, truth, and reason) — all indirectly by her hand. Lucas was drawing from classical tragedy and painting with some broad brush strokes; crafting the ultimate allegory about attachment, blindness, sorrow, and failure — and how the light can still triumph over the dark in a longer view of history. This guy doesn’t get it at all.

        9. “For such a junky, forgettable place, Tatooine sure is important.” Yes — and deal with it. That is the essence of Anakin’s story arc and the cyclical coming-of-age/loss-of-innocence fable that Lucas wanted to craft. The six films wouldn’t have the same resonance if Lucas had chosen another planet. A problem here (a perennial problem with these dime-a-dozen prequel critiques) is that the guy is looking at it backwards with OT viewing lenses. The prequels are the real foundation of the story. They are designed to lead into the OT and explain why Artoo and Threepio are there are the start of ANH. This sentence makes me laugh: “Countless planets exist in the galaxy, so they should have switched it up more.” Where was this guy when they were developing the sequel movies?

        8. He just asserts that the concept of midi-chlorians was “ludicrous” with no attempt at an explanation, like it’s an a priori, hard-wired fact of the universe. Which speaks mightily to the intellectual depth of this hit piece. But, in truth, there’s nothing outlandish about the midi-chlorians. Lucas wasn’t really trying to explain the Force, so much as make the concept of Force ability more credible and grounded in something with a pinch of science to it. He was also thinking thematically and explicitly wanted to reference the concept of the endosymbiotic theory of life (also known as symbiogenesis). It’s a beautiful concept.

        Another form of the idea (a more generalised form) might be the Gaia hypothesis, or Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of the noosphere, advanced a few decades before the former theories/hypotheses. Teilhard wrote some lengthy tracts that may be of interest: “Cosmogenesis” being one, and “The Phenomenon Of Man” being another.

        In the 20th Century, we began catching onto the idea, despite terrible carnage and brutal massacres, that we might all be connected on a deep level, and that we might, with sufficient courage and strength of imagination, fuse philosophy with science and formulate a new way of seeing ourselves. See also: Carl Sagan and his elegant treatise “Pale Blue Dot” (incidentally: the endoysymbiotic and Gaia hypotheses were developed by Lynn Margulis — a biologist and science populariser and Carl Sagan’s first wife).

        It’s a really important concept, so I’m not done yet. I want to input a quote from another Star Wars fan that I think crystallises it:

        The great moral of the Saga for me is the one laid out most explicitly in TPM, though I see its thread running through the whole Saga and informing the other films (especially RotS, ANH and RotJ) at an even deeper level than TPM: the interdependence of all beings, moral responsibility for each other, being other-directed. The idea that true freedom lies in transcending the individual self and living in an other-oriented way. The paradox that we gain the most when we give all we have, open-handed; and we lose it all when we clench our fists around what we’ve got.

        Cael-Fenton, Sep 4, 2014

        (Comment should be locateable with a Google search — this comment section doesn’t like multiple URL strings)

        7. Jar Jar. Of course, he has to be there. What self-respecting prequel-bashing article would be complete without every basher’s favourite scapegungan? Surprisingly, or not, the author doesn’t really stretch himself to saying anything harsh or mean about Jar Jar. He simply slips in the requisite complaining points: he “gets in the way of the plot” and his role “was reduced” in the other prequels. But actually: Jar Jar *is* the plot. His presence ties directly back into the midi-chlorian concept and he vivifies the perspectives mentioned above. Tolerance and respect for “lesser beings” and recognising the interdependence of all things are the keys to salvation. See also: the parable of the useless tree.

        Humour, of course, is a subjective thing. Jar Jar wasn’t intended to be inconspicuous. One can find his humour childish and grating. Though that’s also in his name: to “jar” is to grate. That’s sort of the whole point. And how apt that a child-like creature like Jar Jar should appear at the start of Anakin’s journey — when he himself is a child. Jar Jar’s gradual disappearance from the saga speaks volumes; not about the artist capitulating to hate, but what is lost after TPM. Jar Jar’s ebbing away makes a set of profound points in itself. There are so many facets to the prequels that people are dull to. Most are like Obi-Wan at the start of his journey. The idea is to be more like Qui-Gon.

        Boy, this is getting long…

        6. Boba was a cool way of Lucas illustrating the parallel paths of Anakin and Boba, but with divergent origins. One, born naturally, but mysteriously, to a human mother. The other, a hand-picked clone, lacking growth acceleration, to an adoptive father (who is his genetic clone). Weird stuff. And very compelling. What’s fascinating is that the Jedi play a big role in both their fates. This guy clings far too much to the vacuous notion of mystery. If you’re delving into the past, some things will inevitably be answered, and mystery will recede; but other mysteries can and will also open up. Ultimately, to me, the prequels make the Star Wars galaxy a far more multifarious and mysterious place. But I never needed the prequels to keep the hazy, Polaroid fuzziness of the OT completely intact. I wanted to dive *into* the picture, and that’s what Lucas gave me.

        5. People were ecstatic over fighting Yoda. Online bootleg/cam footage clearly captures crowds going nuts in 2002 — over a mere Yoda-themed teaser. And I remember the electricity at my screening of the movie. The image the article uses, ironically, is not of Yoda in “duel” combat, but that short interstitial scene of Yoda taking out some clones with Obi-Wan outside the Jedi Temple in ROTS. It was actually a young member of the animating team that suggested that very part where Yoda flings his saber at the unfortunate trooper. Lucas was reluctant to have Yoda let go of his saber, but he obviously relented for the cool factor. And another part in ROTS the author overlooks/ignores: Yoda tossing the red guards. Got a big reaction at my two screenings. They even mention strong crowd reaction to that moment on the commentary track. Yes, some people turned around and complained about Yoda using a lightsaber online in subsequent years — but what do they know? Clearly, many people were entertained, and I love the wuxia aspect. The idea is that, like Mr. Miyagi, Yoda only fights when he really has to. And with the digital technology at Lucs’ disposal, why not? I disagree the technology wasn’t mature enough. It sure was!

        Still four left? Sheesh.

        4. Ugh. The “trade dispute” fallacy. TPM is no more about a trade dispute than Othello is about a handkerchief, or the movie “Traffic” is about overstuffed roads and vehicular jams. It’s a red herring within the darn movie. Qui-Gon himself says at the start of the film: “I sense an unusual amount of fear for something as trivial as this trade dispute.” But here’s the lesson: scheming politicians use whatever they can to their advantage. This an important lesson Lucas is teaching kids. It’s a measure of how screwed up our world really is when adults don’t comprehend it. The little scribe says at the start of this incredibly brief (but annoying) complaint: “Star Wars has always been good versus evil, using the simple conflict to explore deeper human emotions.” And that’s exactly what TPM is doing. But it also has an intellectual veneer. The trade dispute is part of the “simple conflict”, which leads to a more expansive consideration of good and evil, which in turn provide a canvas for exploring human emotions; or struggles might be a better term. I love Star Wars (Lucas Star Wars), and I certainly don’t think it’s shallow, but it isn’t all there is when it comes to exploring human emotions.

        3. The various cameos are actually in the best tradition of mythology and Lucas’ glorious theatre-of-the-absurd machinations — where everyone not only is related, but they better be! Star Wars is a pretty compact, inbred galaxy. And this is where the sequel trilogy feels faker than a piece of fake cheese in a McDonald’s LEGO diorama. The sequel trilogy sort of gets the “compact” part right (but through sheer laziness), but it skips on the inbred part and just offers empty teases instead. The delectable irony of Star Wars is a galaxy teeming with possibility, but everyone seems to have had a run-in with everyone else, whether they know it or not. The image they use here is Yoda on Kashyyyk. Yoda saying he has “good relations with the Wookiees” is something of a calculated feint (the Jedi Council conversations are recorded in-universe and the Jedi are trying to manipulate Palpatine back), while also being a bit of an in-joke from Lucas (unresolved/undisclosed authorial connections between Wookiees and Yoda). Also brings back the theme of allies with strange creatures and “noble savages”, a la TPM (Jar Jar) and AOTC (Dex).

        Are we nearly there yet? Two more…

        2. Don’t know what to say about this one. They’re not bashing Maul as a character. On the contrary: they assert he was “one of the coolest characters” to come from the prequels. They seem to be laying the blame of Maul’s improbable revival on TPM. But TPM, roughly speaking, gave Maul a start, a middle, and an end. Unless they’re merely irked that TPM depicted such a definitive (seeming) death; or underused the character or something. But they don’t say that. This really seems like ridiculous padding to get the article to ten points.

        1. They’re basically complaining here that Anakin is Space Jesus. Well, sorry, but that’s the story. They’re also overlooking the role of the midi-chlorians in his conception. He was never meant to have a “regular dad”. This objection completely misses the tragic tonality of the prequels and all the mythological motifs that Lucas chose to implant there. Anakin is very obviously searching for a father figure; and this is what makes things so difficult for him under Obi-Wan and ultimately drives him to remain loyal to Palpatine (and so open to hearing every kind word Palpatine pours in his ear). It’s also possible that something strange or confusing happened to Shmi and she doesn’t want to talk about it. Anakin’s origins are never fully explained — so one can use their imagination. And if you think about it, that applies to all of our lives. Can you be certain you were born, or that you started life as a microscopic egg, fertilised by a sperm? How did your consciousness even arise? Perhaps we are all Anakin and we don’t know it.

        Seems like an eerie and suitably existential note to end on.

      • jppiper

        @Cyro
        Sorry for interrupting your bedtime and yes the crowd went nuts when Yoda started fighting when i saw it on opening day(i saw TPM 3 times AOTC 5 and ROTS 3)especially when he uses his Lightsaber and him knocking the Emperor’s guards out got a big laugh when i saw Episode 3 on opening day

      • Cryogenic

        @ Joe:

        Thanks, Joe. I’m recovered now.

        You saw the films more than I did. I wish I had gone more.

        There were hearty reactions to Yoda doing his thing all over the map. It shows you that these films really worked on the big screen, which is how they were always intended to be seen. I don’t recall the same excitement for Maz Kanata? Sham Sham Abrams will never reach the same heights as Gorgeous Lucas. I love how these crappy articles are always trying to rewrite history. People who were there — and who didn’t decide to become prequel bashers after the Internet told them to — know the truth.

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