This article just popped up on The Wrap, and I thought it had some interesting tidbits: Why Did George Lucas Do the 'Star Wars' Prequels? While I think Kathy Kennedy is a very smart lady who knows the film business (and George Lucas) very well, the article omits some interesting facts. What I've been led to believe by several insiders (including some ILM people) and also the various Lucas biographies is that the truth is that Lucas was crushed, financially and somewhat emotionally, by his June '83 divorce from wife Marcia Lucas. Reportedly, she got about $50 million cash plus their house, some of George Lucas' real estate (including one of the ILM buildings), and some other personal assets. This left George pretty devastated, though he had primary custody of their adopted kids and did not have to share future royalties on the films and merchandising. Normally, if you have the kind of money George Lucas had, you'd be able to handle this kind of loss. Bear in mind that he was trying to finance digital film editing with EditDroid, digital sound mixing and editing with SoundDroid, digital visual effects with Industrial Light & Magic, and digital images with Pixar. All of these were an enormous financial drain, and he wound up shutting down or selling all of them at a loss, with the exception of ILM. I think it was always his intention to make the prequels, but he didn't want to be beholden to the studios in financing them, and he didn't want to cede any creative control, which meant he'd have to completely finance the productions by himself. Lucas spent the rest of the 1980s and 1990s making some films and TV shows (including the final two Indiana Jones films and the Young Indiana Jones series) and raising his children. He didn't have the money to start making the films, so he bided his time, letting his crew figure out new money-saving production techniques on the TV show, and jotting down ideas as they came to him. A funny thing happened in the early 1990s: the Star Wars toys unexpectedly started selling extremely well again, and Lucas found himself cash-rich by the mid-1990s. Suddenly, he now had the ability to completely finance the prequels entirely by himself. His first step was to revise the first three 1970s/1980s films with new VFX (a controversial move, as has been discussed many times elsewhere), and the second was to write the script for what he would call Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. And we all know what happened after that. Kathy Kennedy's side of it sheds some new light on the process, and whatever you think of those films -- I think they're pretty awful, but they have interesting moments here and there -- I think the story of their production is fascinating. If nothing else, it's a cautionary tale about what happens when a very powerful filmmaker gets to have free rein on a production and lacks anyone around him to tell him "no," give him honest feedback, or judge his ideas. I actually think the films are interesting technologically -- they broke a lot of new ground in terms of effects and cameras and editing and so on -- but if you ever wanted an example of great technical work with not-great scripts, the prequels are it.