George Lucas Planned to Direct ‘The Force Awakens’

By January 13, 2015
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Since crossing the threshold into 2015, we’ve now reached the year in which Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first film in the series since 2005, will arrive in theaters. It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a decade since the film so many of us believed would be the last i the Star Wars saga hit theaters, showing us in detail what George Lucas’ vision was for the rise of Darth Vader and the birth of a new hope. Now, though, some new information has come to light about the production of The Force Awakens, and a director that originally wanted to take the reins of the project: George Lucas himself.

In an interview with USA Today, Lucas explains that he was actually actively developing Episode VII with hopes of releasing it in May of this year. After that film would re-energize the Star Wars franchise, he would then sell Lucasfilm. The article explains,

Lucas already started to develop the next three Star Wars films, but he knew a third trilogy was a 10-year commitment at least. He at first expected to finish Episode VII, release it in May 2015 and then sell the company afterward. But Disney expressed interest and came along at the right moment, Lucas says. “It’s better for me to get out at the beginning of a new thing and I can just remove myself.

“The time is more important to me than the money.”

The interest from Disney has ultimately led us to where we are now, with a new trilogy of films taking place after Return of the Jedi now on the cusp of being produced. Later in the interview, Lucas reveals that he does have one major regret surrounding the space opera that he created in the 1970s: that he didn’t get to experience it in the same way that the audience did.

Now he can focus on writing what he calls small “experimental” films and be first in line in December for Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“The only thing I really regret about Star Wars is the fact I never got to see it — I never got to be blown out of my seat when the ship came over the screen,” Lucas says. “The next one, I’ll be able to enjoy it like anybody else.”

That feeling is certainly understandable, as Star Wars continues to be hailed as one of the best theatrical film experiences ever created, as evidenced by its profound impact on modern filmmakers like Abrams and Christopher Nolan, among many others. Still, it didn’t take long for this information to come out before certain people started publishing editorials along the lines of, “Phew! We dodged a bullet there!” It seems that so many people who seem to live their lives for bashing Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy are so quick to forget that he created the franchise that they love.

While The Empire Strikes Back is often recognized as being the superior example of the original Star Wars trilogy, its the first film from 1977 that is continually recognized as the trailblazer of its time, single-handedly turning around a largely cynical movie scene and igniting imaginations for decades to come. That film’s director was George Lucas, and Star Wars was most recently placed at number 13 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American movies ever made.

As a Star Wars fan, I understand how its popular to bash Lucas for some of his decisions that he made in creating the prequels. Still, he also created Star Wars itself at the age of 33. It’s downright ludicrous to claim that every single fan of the series wouldn’t have turned out to see Episode VII as directed by Lucas, and as a fan I feel that the franchise creator generally deserves a bit more respect. But hey, what do I know?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams, hits theaters on December 18th.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
  • CurseofZodLovesMaude

    Great words and yes he does. Would be nice to read such articles at other sites without commentary or personal asides…not real journalism by doing that…
    NOT everyone dislikes the prequels as the crybaby internet man-children like to proclaim. My challenge to anyone who likes to bash him- man up, shut up and move on. Show us you have dignity and move along…