Back in 2012, George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion dollars, most of which went directly to educational charity. Since then the Mouse House has released Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is on track to beat Avatar for the title of highest grossing box office film of all time. But while we wait for that news to happen. With the film breaking all sorts of records and being recognized for being one of the best Star Wars films since A New Hope – even though some have criticized that The Force Awakens is a retread on that story – there are some people who are unhappy with what the franchise has become, and that person is none other than Lucas himself.
After the jump, you will find out why he is so unhappy with the film (despite saying that he was pleased with it after watching an early preview), why Hollywood has become so reliant on franchises, and his plans to make original films in the future.
Charlie Rose conducted an hour-long interview with the Star Wars creator, talking about the franchise and his lack of involvement in The Force Awakens:
“They looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans.’ They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing….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 anymore, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.'”
Lucas then explains what he didn’t like about The Force Awakens:
“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new.”
Now this may sound a bit conflicting to the previous statements he relayed to Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy earlier this December, in which he told her that he “really liked it.” But in the new statement, he does provided a bit of detail as to why he didn’t like it, as opposed to just a simple and generic “really liked it” without going into any explanation as to why.
That being said, Lucas went on to say that Star Wars was “his kids,” and followed that up with “I sold them to the white slavers that take these things, and… [laughs].” Well, that could have gotten real ugly, real fast, and had he finished that statement this report would have been about something else entirely.
When Star Wars was first released in 1977, its success had studios and filmmakers trying to replicate that success. While most failed, Lucas believes that the Hollywood of today takes fewer risks, and is relying more on franchises, reboots, sequels, and other intellectual property as opposed to making something more original:
“Of course, the only way you could really do that [make money] is not take chances. Only do something that’s proven. You gotta remember, ‘Star Wars’ came from nowhere. ‘American Graffiti‘ came from nowhere. There was nothing like it. Now, if you do anything that’s not a sequel or not a TV series or doesn’t look like one, they won’t do it!”
There is no real argument there. But that’s where Lucas hopes to change everything with original stories. In fact, he has a few plans to get back into making “experimental films”:
“These are little tiny movies…I’m going back to where ‘American Graffiti’ or ‘THX ,’ where I can completely change the way you tell a story in using cinema. I produced a few films that were like this, but they weren’t like what I would do.
I’ve been fascinated with the true nature of the medium — it’s been used more as a recording medium, than as a art form unto itself…they call them tone poems — in the beginning in Russia, this was a whole movement of how do you tell visual stories, basically without dialogue, without all the things you use to tell a story, and you just use the film itself. It’s kind of esoteric, it hasn’t come much further in one hundred years. I’m going to try and take it into something that is more emotionally powerful than most of the stuff we’ve done up to this point.”
You can find out more in the full interview with Charlie Rose in the video below.