Why Did Lucas Make the STAR WARS Prequels?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Vidiot, May 11, 2020.

  1. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

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    Luray, Virginia
    True,but also the writing. Granted you can go more in depth in an ongoing animated series than say a 2 hour movie,but there's very little there to give Anakin depth. Its unfortunate it took the clone Wars show to give him that nuance and depth,and that's on George. The sequel characters that aren't Rey and Kylo Ren suffer in this regard as well,but at least they were mostly likable. Anakin ,particularly in AOTC was not only a cardboard cut out,but an unlikable cardboard cut out.

    George should have had someone else direct a script that was rewritten by someone else. That's how we got Empire. I sincerely doubt it would have turned out as well if George had sole writers and directing credit on that one as we got in the prequels. He's good on ideas and the basics. Not so good at giving it color and depth. You find it in the writing and directing
     
  2. Phil147

    Phil147 Forum Resident

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    York UK
    You got it pretty much there. Whilst the sequels do have their own problems the characters that should be likable are and the two leads are both very good in their respective roles. Compared to Annakin and Padme, Rey and Ren is like Hepburn and Tracy... note I said when compared to, not actually really.
     
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  3. rock4ev

    rock4ev Forum Resident

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    CA USA
    To give an answer to the original post question, my answer (and guess) is he had more of his story to tell.
    He had said way back when that his idea/story was too big for one movie.

    With that said, he was very very smart to have in his contract (along with some other great stuff he had in it and wanted, and in exchange gave up some/wanted less from studio) that he had "exclusive rights" to any other future movies.

    His original plan was best thing. Control your your story/art.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  4. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

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    California
    Maybe Lucas' wife was the secret weapon behind episodes 4-6. Maybe Lucas relied upon some of her ideas and dialogue, and that her absence as an influence on the prequels made for a drop off in quality.
     
  5. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

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    Lucas was also stung when he didn't make that much money on American Graffiti, where he got something like ten cent per soundtrack album sold and I think made only a few million dollars on the movie itself. After the movie made grossed than $140 million for Universal (with a budget of under a million bucks), he vowed that the next studio feature he made, he'd have an iron-clad contract where he owned the lion's share of the merchandising and got a big chunk of the gross right off the top. He did make a great deal of money on the first Star Wars in 1977 -- so much so that, in gratitude, he later gave Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and John Williams each 1/4 of a point of the gross, which I think increased a few years later once it passed $500 million dollars (which was unheard of for that era). [A lot of this is recounted in Dale Pollack's biography Skywalking: The Life and Times of George Lucas, which started off as an authorized biography but then became unauthorized when Lucas realized that Pollack was going to delve into areas he didn't want made public.]

    George is famous as a non-frivolous guy when it comes to big cars and fancy living, so it's well-known that he took every penny he earned from Star Wars and the Indiana Jones films and plowed it into Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar, Skywalker Sound, and other 1980s ventures, all intended to help make it easier to make movies through advanced technology. Many of the ideas he innovated back then are now commonplace today.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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  6. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

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    Agree on McDiarmid.

    Apparently, if you had a "Mc" in your name, you did well! :D
     
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  7. Mr. Gnome

    Mr. Gnome Well-Known Member

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    Even though the pseudo-connoisseurs here like to bash the prequels for utilizing using those ideas.
     
  8. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

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    No, I'm talking about the technical innovations that Lucas made that applied to editing, sound mixing, image capture, image projection, visual effects, and animation. All of those ideas have eventually become standard for the entire motion picture and TV industries. Again, read the Droidmaker book I recommended above and see for yourself.

    While I think Lucas was not great as a writer (particularly with dialogue), I think a lot of his technical ideas were amazing, and I think he had great instincts as an editor. As a writer and director, I think he was a lot better off hiring people to do those jobs. And I think the prequels would have been a lot better if he had found a way to do that.
     
  9. rock4ev

    rock4ev Forum Resident

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    CA USA
    I've never quoted anyone on these forums, (for a multitude of reasons, and I'm never really comfortable being quoted) but I like your postings, knowledge of and work in the film industry (which I admire the people in it in all aspects, and over time I saw something I hadn't noticed because I had been a very busy musician, and in being so and lived in "the town" I saw and came to know first hand a lot is more than meets the eye/the surface), so I feel comfortable doing so.
    George worked hard and earned everything when he put it all the line for what he saw best for his story/ideas, "freedom". Yes he learned so much from everything you mention about his American Graffiti experience, and they were tying his hands and much more.
    So when he got his shot at and green light for SW he did best deal by betting on himself and without letting on about it was able to get green light for it and many of his terms.
    Ahh...Freedom! And my typing is bad on this device at moment. :righton:
     
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  10. He needed the money.
     
  11. He was never great working with actors.
     
  12. Stratoblaster

    Stratoblaster A skeptical believer....

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    Ontario, Canada
    IMO the major flaw of the prequels was the character of Anakin; yup, the above characterization is spot on...he was a very annoying, unlikable character from the start all the way to the finish. The evolution of Anakin -> Darth Vader should have been so much more...his motivations and 'journey-to-Darth' were not convincing at all, and he wasn't an empathic character.

    The prequels really did a lot of 'damage' to the character of Darth Vader for me; I can overlook a lot of the issues of the prequels but the whole "Anakin" thing is just....bad. The entire foundation is right off the rails from the get-go.
     
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  13. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

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    I think Marcia Lucas was an influence, but that's not the sole reason. I think Lucas was a very different person in 1997 from who he was in 1977. Check out the Paul Hirsch book I cited earlier if you want to know how Marcia Lucas influenced Star Wars and Empire.

    I agree 100% with this. We had a whole lot of "WTF?" on all three prequels, which we paid to see the day they opened. Again, the 2010 documentary The People vs. George Lucas kind of captures our identical reaction pretty well.

    A couple of interesting things have come out of the J.W. Rinzler "Making of" books (which Lucas allowed them to write and publish): one is that Lucas has often said that 90% of directing is just casting the right actor for the role so who they are as a person comes out in the character and gives it a bit of reality. Another is that the actors who have worked with Lucas (particularly Ron Howard and Carrie Fisher) have complained several times that Lucas' most frequent direction was "faster and more intense!" That's all he ever told them. (To tell you the truth, sometimes when I see modern TV shows or movies, I think, "man, I wish they would go faster and more intense," so I see what Lucas means. "More energy!" might be the way I'd say it.)

    One actor -- it might have been Charlie Martin Smith from American Graffiti -- said that several times during that difficult shoot, Lucas would say, "cut, that's great! Can we do another?" But if Smith asked, "should I do anything differently?", Lucas would tell him no, it's OK, let's just see what happens. So actually prying specific information out of the director was sometimes a bit difficult.

    My favorite line I've ever heard from a director (not Lucas) on set is, "that was great, but can you do it better?" So there you are.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
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  14. FACE OF BOE

    FACE OF BOE Forum Resident

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    London
    Yes Carrie Fisher said in the 2004 Empire Of Dreams documentary that regards casting George Lucas cast them to type and it would have been unlikely she would be cast as something like a shrinking violet.

    “Faster and more intense” - Anthony Daniels, when Lucas made this same request of him, says in the same documentary “I don’t think a faster and more intense C3-PO would be more bearable do you?” Lol!
     
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  15. Grand_Ennui

    Grand_Ennui Forum Resident

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    WI

    I don't know exactly when I heard the whole 9 films thing, but it had to be around the time of "Empire" because I remember it being grade school bus talk... I don't doubt it was out there well before that though...
     
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  16. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

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    Alexandria VA
    This is from December 1980 and they refer to 30 "Star Wars" movies! :laugh:

     
  17. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

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    Washington, DC
    Indeed. Let me emphasize that it was not some grand announcement with studio execs standing behind him. It was a casual statement in some interview or article.
     
  18. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Yup - definitely not some big "here's how we're gonna roll" thing. Just GL saying what his loose plans were.

    While he never announced 30 films ala what Bob and Doug said, I do take the "SCTV" clip as evident of part of the timeline. That clip makes it clear that GL had announced his intentions to make a broader "Star Wars" series beyond just the trilogy.

    "ESB" was already out when the "SCTV" segment aired, so we knew a 3rd film would be on the way. Their comments reflect the public awareness that GL planned to go beyond 3 movies...
     
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  19. Phil147

    Phil147 Forum Resident

    Location:
    York UK
    Indeed, it is hard to put a definite timestamp on this beyond some vague recognition that George Lucas had plans to make more movies and they there would be 9 in total and the OT were in the middle. When he first said it and who too I don't know, I just know at some point he did. I can't remember now when I first became aware of it, I did know when watching ESB there was going to be at least one more film but don't know if at that point I had heard of the 9 story plan but it does feel like something I've always kind of known without been able to remember exactly when I first did... if that makes sense...
     
  20. supermd

    supermd Forum Resident

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    San Jose, CA
    Does anyone else think this stuff is all really stupid and incredibly pointless?
     
  21. supermd

    supermd Forum Resident

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    San Jose, CA
    I was 10 when Episode 1 came out. I really, really liked it, and watched it on VHS and DVD many times over. Same with Episodes 2 and 3. When I was in college, Episode 1 came into theaters again in 3D, so I went to see it. All these things I missed as a kid, like the bad acting and dialogue, suddenly hit me. I still haven't seen episodes 2 or 3 in over a decade. I still watch the original trilogy, which I saw for the first time in 1997 when the special editions were released on VHS, and find they stand up very well. So, as someone who saw both the original trilogy and Episode 1 for the first time in a span of 2 years, I have no particular rose colored glasses for the original trilogy over the prequels. Rather, I have my "adult glasses" on now.

    Being a kid when the prequels came out, and a gamer, I have a lot of really great memories about the movies and the worlds the video games created. I was a big fan of the prequels. They don't stand up as well today, but I think they are fun movies.
     
  22. Mr. Gnome

    Mr. Gnome Well-Known Member

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  23. supermd

    supermd Forum Resident

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    San Jose, CA
    That's fair.
     
  24. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

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    Hollywood, USA
    Around the time Empire came out in May of 1980, they also reissued the original Star Wars, which now had a new title that said, "Episode IV: A New Hope." Everybody buzzed about it, and my memory is that Rolling Stone interviewed Lucas about the new film and they asked, "hey! What happen to 1-3?" And he said, "my ultimate goal is to have 3 movies before Star Wars that will explain how and why the Galactic Empire fell apart and turned to E-vil," and then once the current series ended with Episode 6 (which was going to be called Revenge of the Jedi in 1983, then changed to Return of the Jedi), he was going to do three more episodes that explained how Luke Skywalker and his family rebuilt their system of government and restored it to its former glory. Hamill gave interviews saying, "if George waits 20 years, I'll be about the right age to play an old, wizened Luke Skywalker," which is not far off from what happened.

    But then the divorce happened, Lucas lost a lot of money, 15 years passed, and when he was finally flush with cash again in the mid-1990s, he convinced Fox to re-release a spruced-up Star Wars to verify that there was interest from the audience. It did very well, so he made the decision to make Episode I: The Phantom Menace as the prequel trilogy. But I also remember him saying, "I'll be 70 years old in 2014, and that's too old to devote 10 more years of my life to a sequel trilogy," so it seemed like Jedi would be the end. Then he decided to sell Lucasfilm in October 2012 to Disney... and the rest is history.
     
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  25. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    George made the decision to make the prequel trilogy after supervising post work on Jurassic Park in 1993... between the VFX advances on that film plus the pioneering 'virtual set' effects work on Young Indy Chronicles and the then-upcoming Radioland Murders (both Lucasfilm productions), he saw that he could finally realize his vision for the prequels that would be both financially feasible and creatively practical.

    Rick McCallum started scouting for conceptual design artists in spring 1994 and George started writing that November... so it was all well advanced of the 'Special Editions'.
     
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