George Lucas on Star Wars: Senator Jar Jar

***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.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Scene: Jar Jar Binks returns in Attack of the Clones as a representative for Naboo in the senate. He later stands in for Padme as a senator, and motions that Chancellor Palpatine be given emergency powers to create an army for the Republic.

George Lucas Says: “We set up Jar Jar in this one, being from Naboo the most obvious thing is that he would be part of the senator’s entourage. So he’s not really a senator, but a representative of the gungans in the senate from Naboo. Which ultimately becomes more of a plot point.”

I Say: Jar Jar being part of Padme’s entourage is…obvious? Um, no it isn’t.

From both a viewer’s perspective and an in-universe perspective, Jar Jar was a clown. A buffoon. A laughingstock. Why would anyone want him as their representative in anything?

But of course the real reason he’s there is because George wanted something for Jar Jar to do, and there wasn’t necessarily a place for him anywhere else. I suppose he could have gone with Obi-Wan on his investigation into Padme’s assassination. But Detective Jar Jar? Nah, I’ll pass.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Lando Calrissian

***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.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Lando Calrissian, Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back

The Scene: Lando Calrissian, Han Solo’s old friend and administrator of Cloud City on Bespin, enters the film.

George Lucas Says (via the Empire Strikes Back commentary track): Lando Calrissian was created as a character who was a foil to Han, who represents what Han was before he met Luke and Leia in Episode IV. … [Lando] is sort of making the same mistakes that Han would make if Han hadn’t joined the Rebellion and become a little bit more compassionate. He’s the more out for himself kind of character, who has to do what’s practical to keep his life in order. And now Han is trapped in a world between those two. He’s not quite as compassionate and caring as Luke and Leia are. But he’s moved away from where he was, which is where Lando Calrissian is now.”

I Say: I like the idea of someone who’s on an emotional journey meeting someone who’s back at the beginning of a similar journey. It can make for interesting storytelling. That is indeed what we get with Han and Lando in Empire. But I also love that Lando isn’t simply a Han Solo clone. They were able to create character with its own unique vibe and texture. And in the process, Lando became almost as ionic, if not every bit as much, as Han.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Who Shot First?

***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.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Han Solo, Greedo, Star Wars A New Hope

The Scene: The bounty hunter Greedo confronts Han Solo over money he owes Jabba the Hutt. The two sit at a table.

In the original version of the film, Han shoots Greedo dead under the table.

In all versions following the 1997 Special Edition release, Greedo shoots at Han first and misses, prompting Han to fire back and kill him.

George Lucas Says: “It was always meant that Greedo fired first, and in the [original release] you don’t get that too well. And then there was a discussion about, “Well it’s good that it’s left amorphous and everything.” … In terms of Han’s character and everything, I didn’t like the fact that when he was introduced the first thing he did is just gun somebody down in cold blood. That wasn’t what was meant to be there.”

I Say: Like a lot of (Dare I say most?) Star Wars fans, I’m a “Han shot first” guy, and call BS on the idea that Greedo shot and missed at point blank range. If Greedo was supposed to fire his gun first, then why have the two of them sitting at a table? The notion that Greedo, or anybody, could miss a shot like that is laughable.

What’s more, I’d argue Han gunning someone down in cold blood fits perfectly with what George describes as his character arc. He’s talked at length over the years about how Han Solo starts out very selfish, cold, and out for himself. But through his relationship with Luke and Leia, he gradually starts to become compassionate and care about others. As this is Han at the beginning of that arc, it’s more than fitting for him to kill Greedo to save his own skin.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Not Always a Brave Wookiee

***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.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Scene: As our heroes are trapped inside the trash compactor aboard the Death Star, Chewbacca desperately bangs on a nearby door attempting to get out.

George Lucas Says (via the A New Hope commentary track): “[One of the things I like] about this scene is that Chewie panics. He doesn’t like it here. We didn’t get a chance really for Chewie to express himself very much in the movie in terms of his emotional feelings. He usually goes along with the program. But this is the one place where he doesn’t go along with the program. He just doesn’t like it. He wants to get out. He’s not always a brave wookiee, and I like that in him.”

I Say: Chewie’s emotional side, which is a bit child-like at times, is one of his more endearing qualities. His frustration at losing the chess game to Artoo, his outbursts as Han is about to be frozen in Empire, his joy at seeing Han again in Jedi, etc. These are little moments, but they really shade him in from a character perspective and make him more three-dimensional.

So you know what, George? I like it too.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Running Out of Environments

***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.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Endor forest, Star Wars Return of the Jedi

The Scene: Luke, Leia, Han, and the Rebel Alliance arrive on the forest moon of Endor to disable the shield generator protecting the Death Star.

George Lucas Says: “The thing about Endor is I wanted an environment that was different from the other environments [in the previous movies]. But it needed to be a jungly kind of place with a lot of growth and green, which is the color of life. I wanted to give it a different look than Dagobah, which in essence had the same qualities of a swamp. Again, a cradle of life environment. Lots of life there. But I was beginning to run out of environments. Something that was unique. The only thing I could come up with was really giant sequoias, where the trees would be so big that it would give it a different look than what we’d seen before. The reason I was able to move on and do the [prequels] was because I was able to create digital environments. By the time we got down here to Return of the Jedi I had pretty much shot everything on Earth. *laughs*”

I Say: The whole “running out of environments” problem is something that’s very much evident in modern Star Wars stories. After awhile, all the different desert plants and jungle planets and snow planets start to blend together. Creators are having to work, or at least they should be working, hard to make settings that are as distinct and memorable as Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor are in the original trilogy.

This is one of the reasons I was so enamored with the planet Crait in The Last Jedi. The idea of the planet being one giant salt flat with red soil underneath is very creative, distinct, and memorable. It’s very Star Wars.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Palpatine and Donald Trump

***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

Palpatine, First Galactic Empire, Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith

The Scene: Palpatine announces that the Republic will be “reorganized into the first Galactic Empire!”

George Lucas Says (via the Revenge of the Sith commentary track): “When I [first began writing Star Wars], it was during the Vietnam War. It was during the period when Nixon was going for a third term, or trying to get the constitution changed to go for a third term. And it got me to thinking about how democracies turn into dictatorships. Not how they’re taken over, or how there’s a coup or anything like that. But how the democracy turns itself over to a tyrant.

So I went back and looked at how, after the senate in ancient Rome kills Caeser, they turn around and give the empire over to his nephew and make him emperor. … [In the case of the French Revolution], after they’ve gone to all this trouble to have a revolution and get rid of the king and people in power, eventually they turn the democracy over to Napoleon and make him the emperor. So it has to do more with a historical precedence, and it does happen a lot more than what we think. …

It’s more interesting when it’s actually given over to compensate for the fact that the electorate representatives can’t agree on anything and are corrupt. And therefore, in order to clean up the mess, somebody is allowed to come in and “fix” things.”

I Say: I usually don’t like to get political here. But Star Wars is inherently political. So what the hell?

What Lucas describes here, with societies turning themselves over to dictators, is largely what happened with America and Donald Trump in 2016. This notion is briefly alluded to in an interview Lucas did with James Cameron not long ago.

Donald Trump was viewed as an outsider. Someone outside the political system. He spoke to a section of the populace that felt alienated and forgotten by that system. He was democratically (from an Electoral College standpoint at least…) elected to the presidency. What followed were four years of scandal and outrage resulting from a would-be authoritarian leader being elected to a society used to being run by democratic rule. It all culminated in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, as Trump attempted to overthrow the 2020 election and stay in office longer. The similarities between Trump and Palpatine speak for themselves.

The scary thing? The Trump authoritarian threat hasn’t passed yet. Like Palpatine in the sequel trilogy, Trump may survive defeat and return to menace our society yet again…

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Jar Jar Binks and the Fans

***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: Jar Jar Binks, the Star Wars saga’s most comedic character, is introduced in The Phantom Menace. A large portion of the audience rejects him.

George Lucas Says: “There is a group of fans from the films that don’t like comic sidekicks. They want the films to be tough, and like Terminator … They get very, very upset and very opinionated about anything that has anything to do with being childlike. Which, the movies are for children. But they don’t want to admit that. … They don’t want comedy in these movies. And in the first film they absolutely hated Artoo and Threepio. Now Jar Jar is getting accused of the same thing.”

I Say: George does have a valid point here. A portion of the fanbase, which I think mostly consists of adult males, loves the aspects of Star Wars that are dark, tough, gritty, action-oriented, etc. I think Rogue One was largely made for that side of the fanbase. (Which might be why I dislike it so much…) But the truth is, comedy has been part of Star Wars from the get-go. Look at Artoo and Threepio in the opening minutes of A New Hope. That’s all the evidence you need, right there.

All that being said, George is making an excuse here. He clearly overplayed his hand with Jar Jar. Not only did he lean too far into comedy, he largely leaned into bad comedy. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t despite Jar Jar the way some people do…

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: The Cave Scene

***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 Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, vision

The Scene: At Yoda’s behest, Luke walks into a cave. Inside, he’s confronted by Darth Vader. A fight ensues in which Luke beheads his opponent, only to discover his own face under Vader’s mask. It has all been an illusion.

George Lucas Says (via The Empire Strikes Back commentary track): “Part of the [cave scene] is learning about the Force, learning the fact that the Force is within you and at the same time you create your own bad vibes. So if you think badly about things, or you act badly, or you bring fear into a situation, you’re going to have to defend yourself, or you’re going to have to suffer the consequences of that. In this particular case, he takes his sword in with him, which means he’s going to have combat. … He is creating this situation in his mind, because on a larger level, what caused Darth Vader to become Darth Vader is the same thing that makes Luke bring that sword in with him. … [Luke] has the capacity to become Darth Vader, simply by using the hate, and fear, and using weapons, as opposed to using compassion, caring, and kindness.”

I Say: This is probably blasphemous to many, but those words from Lucas being to mind a line from The Phantom Menace: “Your focus determines your reality.” Lucas may suck at writing dialogue, but at least he’s consistent.

Something I’ve always been a little unsure of is Yoda’s relationship to the cave. On this same commentary track, Empire director Irvin Keshner says that Yoda is “setting it all up, what’s going to happen in the cave.” That always seemed to be the indication based on the cinematic language of this sequence. But if you listen to Lucas tell it, the cave seems to have mystical elements on its own, and Luke taps into them via his connection to the Force.

That idea is supported by other Star Wars creators as well, including Timothy Zahn in his Thrawn trilogy of books, and a recent Supreme Leader Snoke comic written by Tom Taylor.

I’m inclined to think this is a situation where everybody is right, and we just don’t know how all the dots are connected yet.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Staying Together

***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: Like the various groups throughout the Star Wars saga, the heroes of The Phantom Menace are a diverse lot. We have two Jedi, a young queen, a gungan fool, a liberated slave, among others.

George Lucas Says: “One of the difficulties in writing a script with lots and lots of characters is you have to be able to rationalize why everybody is along. If you have a film like Dirty Dozen, where you sort of establish they’re all going out on a mission together, and you gather them all up and they go, it’s pretty easy. But when you have a situation like this where there isn’t any mandate that they stay together, and they’re there for transitory reasons that are constantly having to be renewed as the plot progresses, it becomes much more difficult to be able to get all the characters in on the act and take them along…”

I Say: I can appreciate what he’s saying here, and I appreciate its value. But I’m only half joking when I say it still doesn’t explain why Qui-Gon brought eight-year-old Anakin into a war zone.

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