I came across this article the other day.
This is related to a source article here.
In these articles, there are some quotes from George Lucas talking about the Star Wars franchise. The most striking of these is:
"Star Wars” fans can only blame themselves for ending the franchise."
Another interesting tidbit:
“Why would I make any more,” Lucas says, “when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?"
So yeah, at first, I was a little ticked off at reading this. A knee jerk reaction because I love the setting so much. But you know what? He really does have a point. I've brought this up before in my blog, but it bears repeating.
The original Star Wars trilogy became a part of popular culture. The fact that the movies stood alone for so long before the prequels came out gave fans (like me) a sense of 'ownership' of the material. Every fan had their own ideas about the Star Wars universe, built on the scant information presented in the original three movies. We all had time to build our own 'mythology' of the setting (some of us on a deeper level than others). We all had our expectations of what the setting could become.
So when Lucas came to make the prequels he was already facing an impossible task. The original movies were satisfying his creative vision. The prequels had a whole lot of baggage pre-attached to them. There was no WAY he could make everyone happy. So he did what creative people do: He made something that satisfied his own vision. And unfortunately, that didn't mesh with the vision of a lot of other people.
Now, my profession is a creative one. My designs are based upon my own sense of aesthetics. And when someone else comes in- the client I was making the piece for- and doesn't like that vision...well, that sucks. Since I am in the commercial business, I am bound to change my vision to suit what the client wants. Lucas, in control of his own product, sees himself as the 'end client' of his work. And so, as an artist, he seeks to satisfy himself. It isn't selfish, its just part of art and the creative process.
I just wish that George Lucas could see that he isn't the only 'client' he should be seeking to satisfy. He made something that became part of our culture. It isn't just 'his' anymore. And you know... maybe he's made the right decision here. Just stop.
And then there's the argument that he should just 'listen to his fans'. Well... that won't work either. Since fans have VERY different ideas about the setting and where it should go. Even if you took a 'consensus' view on it- had fans 'vote' on what they wanted to see. I know for a fact that anything 'designed by a committee' tends to water down the idea.
So what's the answer? Hell if I know. I'd love to say that all he needs to do is hire ME to 'manage the brand' and all would be well, but...ahem. Yeah. Same problem.
As frustrated as I get with George Lucas sometimes, I still love the man for all he's done- and for being a very talented and innovative person. I can feel his pain when it comes to this.
I've often wondered what would have happened if the prequels had come shortly after the original trilogy, instead of waiting sixteen years. If Star Wars hadn't had time to 'imprint' as deeply into the minds of its fans, would the prequels have been received better? Would they have been different without Lucas waiting 16 years to write them? I honestly don't know, but its interesting to ponder.