Why Did Lucas Make the STAR WARS Prequels?

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

  1. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

    Unlikable? Oh, yeah, like when someone makes Greedo shoot first and adds a fake cheap digital Jabba that looks nothing like the original puppet. Yeah, there might be some unlikable stuff in the post 1983 films/revisions.
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  2. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    That's not what I understand. If you have a link, I'd love to read it. Rick McCallum is a good guy -- I worked with him just about every day for four months, and he had a very good grasp of the realities of production and post. I wish more people in the bidness had that.
  3. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    Oh, it's from an interview Rick McCallum gave to the official SW website (I think)... damned if I know where to look for it again now... not that I thought anything I stated was controversial or a slight on McCallum himself; I'm sure he is a nice guy, I never stated or implied otherwise...

    You think George Lucas only started planning the prequels after the Special Editions had been released (that's what you implied, but if you didn't mean that, fair enough)??? Those films were released in January-March 1997 and Episode I started shooting in late June of that year... George started writing on November 1st, 1994, lead concept artists like Doug Chaing were hired in 1995, and pre-production began in early 1996... how is any of that controversial?
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  4. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    No, what I said was that he told Rolling Stone in 1980 that he had a plan for three prequels (Episodes 1-3) that would explain what created Darth Vader and why the Empire had turned into a fascist state, and that he had ideas for what might eventually be episodes 7-8-9, with a much older Luke Skywalker trying to rebuild what's left of the fallen empire. I also said I spoke to a writer (Alan Dean Foster) who had read the outlines for all nine films so that he could write spinoff novels that wouldn't conflict with Lucas' official Star Wars canon. And I said that Lucas didn't have the money to make them and control the the prequels and sequels for nearly 15 more years. All of this is detailed in depth in The Secret History of Star Wars, and the Rinzler "Making of" books confirm a lot of it.

    What is true with the McCallum connection (which he and I talked about) is that George said in the early 1990s <paraphrasing>, "if we make the prequels the way we made films in the 1970s, they'll cost $300 million apiece, which nobody can afford." So with The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, he began using digital techniques to shoot the TV show relatively cheaply but use very complex digital methods to create bigger sets and different locations, which previously wasn't practical. After a few years, he proved it could be done technically, but then the trick was to convince Fox that there was a new audience willing to see the prequels. In order to do that, they reissued Star Wars in 1997 to great fanfare, and that greenlit Phantom Menace -- which Lucas mostly financed himself. Phantom Menace only cost $115M, mostly because the cast was relatively inexpensive, Lucas wrote, directed, and produced it himself, he did all the post-production at his own facilities (sound, VFX, and picture), and he used a ton of green screen and relatively small sets as a cost-saving effort.

    Note that as wealthy as Lucas was (and still is), even he couldn't distribute a movie himself. I'd point to Red Tails (2012) as an example of a film he produced and financed that flopped miserably, partly because of bad distribution (from Fox). I've long felt that this was the film that caused him to quit the business and sell Lucasfilm; Red Tails was released in January 2012, and he sold Lucasfilm to Disney nine months later. I don't think that's a coincidence.
  5. Mr. Gnome

    Mr. Gnome Well-Known Member

    Are you sure he actually produced Red Tails? I was under the impression looking at the credits that he only financed it. Credits indicate it was produced by Rick McCallum and Chas. Floyd Johnson.
  6. Stratoblaster

    Stratoblaster A skeptical believer....

    Ontario, Canada
    Yup, those two examples are two of the revisions that grated on me the most post 1983, along with the strange dance song and character additions in Jabba's lair in "Return Of The Jedi". Oh yea, removing 'old' Anakin and inserting 'new' Anakin at the end was also....irritating.

    I really wish those movies would have just been left alone; IMO most/all of the revisions added nothing of any real value and actually lessened them.
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  7. Stratoblaster

    Stratoblaster A skeptical believer....

    Ontario, Canada
    Being totally immersed in everything "Star Wars" at that time I also remember reading (somewhere) that he said as much, wanting to do episodes 1-3 followed by 7-9. That was generally known in "Star Wars" fandom. We all talked about it...

    I can also clearly remember seeing "Episode IV: A New Hope" tagged onto the opening crawl of "Star Wars" during a re-release (I saw "Star Wars" several times in the theaters, and during each re-release) for the first time and getting pretty excited that it seemed that there were indeed plans for episodes 1-3/7-9 in the works.
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  8. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    Lucas didn't take a credit, but he not only was the de facto producer (and was very hands-on), he took over directing it after Anthony Hemingway departed, doing all the reshoots. Lucas lost $58 million on the production itself, and then another $25M-$30M marketing it when Fox refused to pay for the trailers and TV commercials. Even when you have a billion dollars, you feel it when you lose $80M cash in a few months.

    This article explains part of the problems with Red Tails:

    George Lucas: Hollywood Won't Finance an 'Expensive Movie' With an All-Black Cast (Video)

    George was very, very bitter about the failure of this film. I sympathize with him, but I also saw the movie in a nearly-empty theater and I thought it had a lot of cliches and stereotypes and was not very good.

    A lot of the reviews were along the following lines:

    Review: ‘Red Tails’ Is A Hoary Mixture Of Jingoistic Clichés & Newfangled Technology

    I thought Red Tails had some great moments and great visuals, but it was pretty empty. Nowadays, I'd say it would be perfect as a $50M Netflix movie. But back in 2012, it was a crushing failure and I'm convinced it had a lot to do with Lucas' retirement.
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  9. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

    Luray, Virginia
    People overlook Red Tails' failure in the scheme of things and it's a good point,one I had not considered. It's his first non Star Wars and non Indiana Jones project in decades. The money loss wasn't pleasant, but the realization that unless the film's title had the words "Star" and "Wars" the movie going audiencd wouldn't go see it is the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. It likely killed any enthusiasm he had left for making films.

    That,combined with getting married and starting a new family late in life,probably is what made him decide to sell Lucasfilm to Disney.
  10. Grand_Ennui

    Grand_Ennui Forum Resident


    Add me to the group that didn't like Greedo shooting first and the CGI Jabba the Hutt... And that song/dance thing in "Jedi" was nearly cringe-worthy.
  11. wayward

    wayward Forum Resident

    Mtl, QC, Can

    Lucas started writing Episode I on Nov. 1, 1994.
  12. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    To break my ever-living heart.

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