Prequel Trilogy,  Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi producer reproaches Hollywood for having snubbed The Phantom Menace

J.W. Rinzler’s posthumous book Howard Kazanjian: A Producer’s Life got released this month, and it contains some paragraphs on Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. As a reminder, Kazanjian produced Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark. He’s also an old friend of George Lucas. Here are the parts where he talks about Episode I:

“Kazanjian also visited Lucas at Leavesden Studios, not too far from London, in August of 1997. The writer-director was filming the first part of his prequel trilogy: Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999). “George knew exactly what he wanted and how he would edit the film,” Kazanjian says. “It basically was bring the actor in, find your place and we’ll shoot.” Once again he appreciated Lucas’s groundbreaking efforts on behalf of digital, aided by producer Rick McCallum and ILM. The fact that Lucas had chosen to tell the story of how a nice little boy evolves into the greedy and evil Darth Vader—instead of how the mature Sith Lord decimated the ranks of the Jedi (what audiences anticipated)—revealed once more his friend’s iconoclastic side. Lucas was still the independent maverick. […]

Kazanjian recalls, “George said to me after Episode I, ‘I didn’t even get a nomination for costumes or sets.’ And if you look at that picture, whether you like the costumes or not, it was a costume picture, and it was a huge set picture. Hollywood had dumped on George.””

Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill is also quoted once again defending the Prequel Trilogy:

““I was impressed that the prequels had their own identity,” Hamill says. “They were criticized because they were exposition-heavy and more cerebral and probably, like he said back in 1976, they weren’t as commercial. It’s a darker story. But in the age of social media, people’s voices are amplified and I’m shocked at how brutal they can be, not just in the case of the Star Wars films, but across the board.””

3 Comments

  • Keith Palmer

    Understanding the recent foofaraw about Marcia Lucas’s negative reaction to The Phantom Menace (and the added complication of her negative reaction to the “sequel trilogy”) was sourced from this book, it is kind of welcome to see some other opinions can be found in it too.

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  • ArchdukeOfNaboo

    Curious subject for a book from the late J W Rinzler. I think his previous work, which only released last year, was a novel set during the space program, and I never thought he’d return to Star Wars like this. Goodness knows what this fine writer also might have have left to publish.

    RIP J.W. Rinzler

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