George Lucas on Star Wars: Good and Bad Technology

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

C-3PO, Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

The Scene: R2-D2 and C-3PO are among the allies our heroes find as they face off against the Trade Federation and its army of Battle Droids.

George Lucas Says: “I like technology. I use technology. But at the same time, I understand the failings of technology. You can’t rely on technology for everything. So I have this duel nature in the movies of the friendly human good technology of Artoo and Threepio, and the evil technology of the battle droids. … I’m constantly playing with those two ends of the dilemma. But never really saying that one is better than the other. I’m just simply trying to promote the human spirit, even as it exists in a droid.”

I Say: I get what he’s saying here about the good and bad of technology. But at the same time, George Lucas talking about how he understands the failings of technology is a little rich, as so many of us would say his over-reliance on technology and CGI is one of the major drawbacks of the prequel trilogy.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: The Kurosawa Influence

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

C-3PO, R2-D2, Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope

The Scene: The original Star Wars film opens from the point of view of two droids, C-3PO and R2-D2.

George Lucas Says (via the A New Hope commentary track): “…we follow the two most insignificant characters, which are the droids. This was an idea I was enamored with that was used by Akira Kurosawa in The Hidden Fortress. Where you take the least important characters and you follow their story amongst this big intergalactic drama that they don’t understand.”

I Say: The influence of Akira Kurosawa’s work on Lucas and Star Wars has been widely documented. In George Lucas: A Life, Brian Daley notes that such influence included the “used, repaired, then used again” look of Kurosawa’s films, along with the practice of dropping audiences in the middle of a grand setting without the benefit of backstory, were also among the more notable elements Lucas borrowed for the original film.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: Boba Fett’s “Death”

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Boba Fett, Return of the Jedi

The Scene: Han Solo accidentally smacks Boba Fett’s jet pack with a weapon, jump-starting his jet pack and sending him falling into the sarlaac pit below, presumably to his demise.

George Lucas Says (via the Return of the Jedi commentary track): “In the case of Boba Fett’s death, had I known he was going to turn into such a popular character I probably would have made it a little more exciting. Boba Fett was just another one of the minions. Another one of the bounty hunters and bad guys. But he became such a favorite … for having such a small part, he had a very large presence. And now that his history has been told in the [prequel] trilogy, it makes it even more of a misstep that we wouldn’t make more out of the event of his defeat. Because most people don’t believe he died anyway. I had contemplated putting that extra shot in where he climbs out of the hole. But I figured it doesn’t quite fit. The main character that ultimately dies in this scene is Jabba the Hutt.”

I Say: “It’s a little refreshing to hear George admit a mistake here. He’s a guy that usually sticks to his guns. But with almost 40 years of hindsight, it’s pretty tough to deny that Fett went out like a chump. Years after the fact, Lucas would make a similar admission about his decision to kill off Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace.

It’s even more interesting that George acknowledges that the fans didn’t buy that as his death. It makes you wonder if he’d have made Fett part of the sequel trilogy, had he gone forward with his version of the movies.

Fett was, of course, brought back for various novels and comic books in the old “Legends” canon. And now, Disney has made his return official with The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. So I guess he didn’t go out like a chump after all…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: Chewbacca and the Ewoks

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Ewoks, Chewbacca, Return of the Jedi

The Scene: To aid in their final defeat of the Empire, the Rebel Alliance finds unlikely help on Endor in the form of the diminutive, fuzzy, primitive ewoks.

George Lucas Says (Via From Star Wars to Jedi): “In the original screenplay [the ewoks were] a society of wookiees who had this giant ground battle with the Empire at the end of the film. And also a space battle. They were trained to fly ships, and they were able to take over the Empire. Well, in the evolution of the script I realized I couldn’t do this giant battle. When I came to the third film and the battle was back in again … I couldn’t use wookiees, because I’d established Chewbacca as being a relatively sophisticated creature. … He [wasn’t] the primitive that he was in the original screenplay. So I had to develop a new kind of wookiee or a new kind of creature that was primitive … [what I decided to do was] instead of making them incredibly tall the way wookiees are, I’d make them incredibly short. And at the same time to make them look different from the wookiees I’d give them short fur instead of long fur. That’s really where the ewok evolved.”

George Lucas Also Says (Via the Return of the Jedi Commentary Track): “It was a wookiee planet. Since I had fallen in love with the wookiees so much when I made Episode IV, I decided to make [Han Solo’s] co-pilot a wookiee, which meant that he was technologically advanced. And the whole concept originally was that the people that overthrew the Empire were not technological. So I had to reinvent a half-sized wookiee.”

I Say: “Before Jar Jar and the gungans became as despised as they are, we had Wicket and the ewoks in Return of the Jedi. I don’t hate either group the way a lot of fans do. I actually enjoy the ewoks quite a bit. But I do reject the notion that a society of wookiees couldn’t have worked in Jedi. I’m fairly certain that even back then, Chewbacca’s backstory was that of a slave, freed and taken in by Han Solo. Given enough time, you can teach technology to a primitive. Chewie could have been unique among his people, and thus been that much more distinct.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Wise Mentor

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

THE SCENE(S): We are introduced to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a wise old hermit living in the deserts of Tatooine who was once a Jedi Knight. He guides Luke Skywalker throughout the film, teaching him the ways of the Force.

GEORGE LUCAS SAYS (VIA THE STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE COMMENTARY TRACK): “Most of the characters in this follow the classic mythological archetypes of the [in the case of Luke and Obi-Wan] the young hero and … the old wizard, the old man, the wise companion. … There’s always a teacher. Someone who mentors the young hero in what his destiny is.”

I SAY: Lucas famously read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces before writing the original Star Wars treatment. So he’s very much a student of mythological motifs, archetypes, etc. One of which is, of course, the wise mentor.

Likely the most common example you’ll find is Merlin, who mentored King Arthur. But you’ve also got Biblical characters like Moses or Elijah, or Norse mythology characters like Odin or Mimir. The Iliad also has the likes of Nestor or Chiron. More modern examples include Gandalf from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series, and even Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid.

Of course, Star Wars is filled with wise sages. After Obi-Wan in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back introduced us to Yoda, and then Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. Years later, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo would all play a version of the role in the sequel trilogy.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: Gungans and the Vietnam War

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became pop cultural staples. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Scene: The Gungan army faces the Trade Federation’s Battle Droids on Naboo.

George Lucas Says (Via the Phantom Menace Commentary Track): “Having grown up in the shadow of the Vietnam War, the issue of a primitive society confronting technologically advanced society has fascinated me. Because that was the main event that was going on during my college years. And the fact that human determination and human spirit could overcome these vastly superior armies, I actually found to be rather inspiring. … [That’s] one of the main themes that has gone through all the Star Wars films.”

I Say: This “primatives vs. the powerful” narrative is something that dates back to some of the early drafts of the original Star Wars. Lucas has said that originally, there was a big battle between Empire and a society of wookies at the end of the movie. Obviously that was changed. But the idea re-emerged in Return of the Jedi, then again in The Phantom Menace, and Lucas finally got his big wookie battle in Revenge of the Sith.

For yours truly, Star Wars has served as a bridge into so many things, whether it’s other areas of pop culture, mythology, or in this case history. When you look at some of the circumstances of the Vietnam War and place them alongside sequence like this, it almost becomes an educational tool.

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George Lucas on Star Wars: Anakin and C-3PO

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Scene: Anakin introduces Padme to C-3PO, the protocol droid he’s building to help his mother. Moments later, Threepio meets R2-D2 for the first time.

George Lucas Says (Via the Phantom Menace Commentary Track): “Not only is Darth Vader Luke and Leia’s father, but he’s also Threepio’s father. I thought that was kind of amusing irony in all of this. And I couldn’t resist it. It gives us the opportunity for Threepio to meet Artoo for the first time, and start what will ultimately become a very long and arduous friendship of sorts.”

I Say: Like a lot of people, my initial reaction to the revelation that Anakin built C-3PO was: “Bullsh*t.” Even in a world with laser swords and slug people, it was far-fetched.

But…when you hear George explain it like this, it actually makes sense. So much of Threepio’s character is based on him trying to relate to human beings. (“Sometimes I just don’t understand human behavior!”) So there’s fantastic comedic irony in the idea that like our main hero Luke Skywalker, Threepio is also Darth Vader’s son. It even casts an interesting new light on the “He’s more machine now than man” line from Return of the Jedi.

But that’s all subtext. To the average moviegoer, this Anakin connection is just a contrivance to shoehorn Threepio into the movie. And for no real reason, as there’s not much for him to do other than be introduced to Artoo. So while I very much like what George was going for with this, I don’t know that it was worth it in the end.

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