George Lucas calls Star Wars: The Force Awakens “retro” and unoriginal
When George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for over $4 billion in 2012, he gave up all rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. That includes creative rights. And when he gave Disney all of his stories he had written for the rest of the Star Wars saga, they politely took them and then set them aside.
Disney wanted to go their own way — and that’s exactly what they did with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which, everyone can agree, is a rehash of the original Star Wars trilogy. There are hundreds of articles out there that detail the elements The Force Awakens shares with Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
It looks like fans aren’t alone feeling this way. Lucas shares the same thoughts, telling Charlie Rose (via The Guardian) that The Force Awakens is essentially a “retro” Star Wars movie dedicated to fan service over originality.
“The first three movies had all kinds of issues,” Lucas said of the original trilogy. “They looked at the stories and said, ‘We want to make something for the fans.’ All I wanted to do was tell a story of what happened. It started here, and it went there.
“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. 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 any more, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, ‘OK, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”
While I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I have to agree with George Lucas. The movie is essentially a rehash of original trilogy elements with far too many clapping moments (not applause, mind you). Which is fine, if it was minimal, not maximal.
Lucas went on to say that, even though people don’t like his Star Wars prequel trilogy, every movie he made was original, because innovation and originality in storytelling is absolutely essential. “I worked very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships — you know, to make it new.”
After the original Star Wars movie released, and went on to become the highest grossing movie ever at the time, several studios, directors, and writers tried to copy it and make their own space movies. But most of them failed, because they weren’t original.
“When Star Wars came out, everyone said, ‘Oh it’s just a silly movie with a bunch of space battles and stuff. It’s not real. There’s nothing behind it.’ And I said … ‘There’s more to it than that. It’s much more complicated than that.’ But nobody would listen,” said Lucas.
“So the spaceships and that part of the science fantasy, whatever, got terribly abused. And of course, everybody went out and made spaceship movies. And they were all horrible, and they all lost tons of money.”
Of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens hasn’t lost tons of money. In fact, it’s on its way to becoming the highest grossing movie of all time, having already grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide. But, at the same time, it’s a Star Wars movie, and, therefore, has a guaranteed success.
Even though The Force Awakens shares many elements with the original trilogy, there are several new characters, new planets, and new creatures — as well as new weapons — that make it a worthy sequel. And isn’t that all we wanted?