Some new insight from GL about the PT..

Jeyl

Master Member
And, you know, fans can look at that and determine whether or not they connected with that or not, but certainly George did. That was really important to him. And, you know, that was his prerogative. It was his story. He was using that in a way that was personally meaningful to him.
This is an interesting point because it comes across like Lucas made these films on a personal level and not a professional level. When it comes to film making, how do you differentiate what is important for you as a person vs what is important for the film? Like M. Night constantly writing himself into his own movies for self-glorification vs Steven Spielberg who will reverse some of the changes he's made to his movies to preserve the original versions he had set out to make? Lucas seems to view his films in such a personal and ever changing way that once he makes a change to it, that's the way it's going to be seen from now on. It's just hard to see Lucas as someone who wants to tell stories so long as you always remain up to date about them and accept the changes he makes along the way as always being his intent.
 

Bryancd

Master Member
This is an interesting point because it comes across like Lucas made these films on a personal level and not a professional level. When it comes to film making, how do you differentiate what is important for you as a person vs what is important for the film? Like M. Night constantly writing himself into his own movies for self-glorification vs Steven Spielberg who will reverse some of the changes he's made to his movies to preserve the original versions he had set out to make? Lucas seems to view his films in such a personal and ever changing way that once he makes a change to it, that's the way it's going to be seen from now on. It's just hard to see Lucas as someone who wants to tell stories so long as you always remain up to date about them and accept the changes he makes along the way as always being his intent.
I don't think it's ever been in doubt the PT were films GL made for himself. He funded the party and had absolute control.
 

Jeyl

Master Member
I don't think it's ever been in doubt the PT were films GL made for himself. He funded the party and had absolute control.
Which is strange considering that with absolute control and funding, he still makes changes to them just like he did with the original trilogy. He's doing this for himself, but he's never satisfied with what he makes and isn't content with letting them be accepted for what they are by the masses. Lucas has a weird way of letting go of things.
 

SofaKing01

Master Member
I don't think it's ever been in doubt the PT were films GL made for himself. He funded the party and had absolute control.
On a funny note... Having absolute control is kind of like having "...absolute power..." - per Palpatine ;)
 

Solo4114

Master Member
I don't know about "always being his intent." I think we're well past that little bit of mythology. That seemed to come about largely as a result of the "From Star Wars to Jedi: the Making of a Saga" documentary and was perpetuated from that point forward, but his editing of the films over the last 20 years or so and what he's said in interviews pretty much makes the "I always intended to..." line a lie. "I thought of it once before" might be more accurate for him. I'm sure he thought of a lot of stuff since he first conceived of the story. Doesn't mean that he always had one singular plan. Plus, some of the changes that come in and out of the series in various releases and re-releases...I mean, you just can't take the guy seriously when he says "always intended" anymore. You just can't.

To the extent that the PT was intended as a political statement, I think it's a pretty weak one, but then the PT suffers mightily when you discuss its focus on any given issue and its execution in that regard. The political stuff....well, let's just say it's pretty clear George doesn't have a political science degree. He's a casual observer, and the political aspects smack more of casual observations of what's going on than an actual exploration of how a democracy commits suicide to become a totalitarian dictatorship. The PT, to me, seems far more interested in Anakin's psychodrama than it is in the destruction of one form of government in favor of another, so I don't really buy the films as being particularly political. I think they have minor moments that show political stuff, and otherwise aren't concerned with politics.

All that aside, I do think that the PT is about the purest expression of George's vision as we could expect. I think he's always thought of filmaking as deeply personal, or at least he wanted it to be that way but couldn't back when the OT was being made. The OT, especially as compared to the stuff he did later in his career, all speaks of much collaboration, but I think there's a degree to which he views collaboration in the sense of people telling him no (as opposed to just expanding on what he wants them to do) as stifling his personal connection with the work. By contrast, the PT just says "This is what George wanted. No compromises."

I will say this. I can respect the PT as a personal work in the sense of recognizing that it's pure George up on the screen. I just don't think it's a particularly well-told story, nor one that I find aesthetically appealing.
 

dascoyne

Master Member
Nothing wrong with the core arc and themes. It's the execution - the writing, dialogue, secondary characters, subplots, effects and acting with which I take issue.
The basic story is just fine.
 

batguy

Sr Member
My two cents:

GL developed a rep for having it all planned out because he did a lot of sequel/prequel planning by 1970s standards. But by 21st century standards, where franchises have whole novels & comic books & screenplays lined up waiting to be shot . . . that's another story. I doubt GL ever had more than a handful of pages scrawled out about future SW projects. They guy thinks ahead but he doesn't like screenwriting.

GL has cultivated the idea that it's all an epic master-plan being carried out. It helps him avoid criticism. It lends his current decisions a certain amount of false legitimacy.
 

JD

Master Member
Lucas never had a solid plan or outline... I think that's solidified by early drafts of Star Wars (Secret History of Star Wars). He had ideas and overall arc in mind and aspects of it evolved/changed.

While I don't think the Prequels are nearly as bad as most make them out to be, I really didn't need to see a backflipping Yoda or midichlorians - as the article Bryancd mentions.

I remember for years prior to the prequels comments from Lucas saying he didn't know what form the prequels would be - straight political drama or maybe even comedy -- it seemed to be an attempt to prepare us for movies that would not be like the OT. ...and then, instead we got movies that tried to be (modern?) takes on the OT - at least in overall, style, look and tone (meaning these were not comedies or outright thrillers - still your basic space opera -- this isn't meant to reference design, etc.).

The prequels are dark - I think they're much darker than most of us will give it credit for. But - and I'm sure for many reasons - Lucas opted to balance that darkness with humor. Often very juvenile humor. Let's also note that at the time TPM was released, George's son Jett was only six years-old (and daughters: Katie was 11 and Amanda was 18) - I don't think it's far from reason that this had some impact on some of the humor in these flicks.

After all, Star Wars movies are for kids... and a 6 year-old's direct influence on humor is fairly different than a 33 year-old man (George's age when ANH was released) trying to recreate/recall his childhood humor and movies... A 33 year-old's recollection of what was fun/funny as a kid is pretty different than having a first grader right there with you. Add to that the idea that the prequels are overall a much darker arc and the idea that humor (and action) was thought to be needed to balance that darkness.



(Not sure where else to put this: I found this great interview with Gary Kurtz - it's not really Prequel related - but, it does speak of the shift in tone during the RotJ era that might have some impact on the prequels -- I'm still making way through this article - but, so far there's been a ton of great info).
 
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batguy

Sr Member
Those are some good points. GL's kids' ages probably did affect the PT.

I also agree that the PT is darker than people give it credit for.
 
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Mola Rob

Sr Member
Even if they are darker than some people have perceived them to be how does that in any way make them better?
 

dascoyne

Master Member
Lucas never had a solid plan or outline... I think that's solidified by early drafts of Star Wars (Secret History of Star Wars). He had ideas and overall arc in mind and aspects of it evolved/changed.

While I don't think the Prequels are nearly as bad as most make them out to be, I really didn't need to see a backflipping Yoda or midichlorians - as the article Bryancd mentions.

I remember for years prior to the prequels comments from Lucas saying he didn't know what form the prequels would be - straight political drama or maybe even comedy -- it seemed to be an attempt to prepare us for movies that would not be like the OT. ...and then, instead we got movies that tried to be (modern?) takes on the OT - at least in overall, style look and tone (meaning these were not comedies or outright thrillers - still your basic space opera -- this isn't meant to reference design, etc.).

The prequels are dark - I think they're much darker than most of us will give it credit for. But - and I'm sure for many reasons - Lucas opted to balance that darkness with humor. Often very juvenile humor. Let's also note that at the time TPM was released, George's son Jett was only six years-old (and daughters: Katie was 11 and Amanda was 18) - I don't think it's far from reason that this had some impact on some of the humor in these flicks.

After all, Star Wars movies for kids... and a 6 year-old's direct influence on humor is fairly different than a 33 year-old man (George's age when ANH was released) trying to recreate/recall his childhood humor and movies... A 33 year-old's recollection of what was fun/funny as a kid is pretty different than having a first grader right there with you. Add to that the idea that the prequels are overall a much darker arc and the idea that humor (and action) was thought to be needed to balance that darkness.



(Not sure where else to put this: I found this great interview with Gary Kurtz - it's not really Prequel related - but, it does speak of the shift in tone during the RotJ era that might have some impact on the prequels -- I'm still making way through this article - but, so far there's been a ton of great info).
That's how I remember it.
 
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JD

Master Member
Even if they are darker than some people have perceived them to be how does that in any way make them better?
I never said it that these movies being darker makes them - in anyway - better. Just that they are darker than most perceive them to be... and well, just overall, I think they're better than most give them credit for. Your mileage may vary.
 

Dr Tumbo

Active Member
I recall reading an interview w/ Lucas back in 1992 when he stated star wars was always meant to be 9films focusing the concept of the force.......fast forward to the PT and suddenly he was saying it was always meant to be 6films which covered the rise/fall of Annakin; now we're back to 9films and GL is saying this brings to life his original vision - sometimes even great ppl get caught up in their own hubris
 

DaddyfromNaboo

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nothing wrong with the core arc and themes. It's the execution - the writing, dialogue, secondary characters, subplots, effects and acting with which I take issue.
The basic story is just fine.
Just as much as the rebellion was the backdrop to Luke´s story the rise of the empire was or should have been the backdrop for Anakin´s fall. But for me it always felt like it was vice versa. And now reading that Lucas intended to make movies about politics confirms my personal perception of things wrong with the PT.
I do not think that you can mix such a complex movie genre as "political" (e.g. see movies like made by Oliver Stone) with the movie genre of "space opera". Imo they are on the opposite spectrum of the genre scale. Politics and Science Fiction? Yes. Politics and Comedy? Yes. Politics and Drama? Absolutely. Politics and Biopic? Of course!
GL even mixed another (or several) genre(s) into Episode 2, a film noir murder mystery conspiracy thriller story. I actually liked seeing Obi-Wan playing the flat foot and doing investigation work. But again, in a space opera?! Did not mix well. Oh, and ANOTHER genre: the gritty war movie !!! Man, did the moving jumpy cam in the battle of Geonosis take me out of the story!!! I know that the movies are called "star wars" and that we had this as a MAJOR part of the OT, but the execution in EP 2 felt totally out of style.due to how it was shown ( I don´t really dare to say "shot" due to the completely digital nature of that ... shot) IMO unnecessary attempts at realism. The fallen Ewok in ROTJ felt more "perils of war" than this, where this reality cam shot felt so distant from what was really important and moving in that battle. But I totally digress and rant.
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
He was trying to mirror Hitler's rise to power in a sense, but I think it could have been done differently. I'm not sure how they could have illustrated that Sidious was manipulating the politicians and corporations to get into power without showing things like his play for Chancellor or the Senate voting to give him unprecedented power over the military. I guess they could have had characters just drop those things in discussions, but I don't think that would have cut the amount of time down any. I think it would be hard to completely ignore the politics, as some fans wanted, and still tell the story. I actually think the politics were the least of the problems with the Prequels. I actually think it was a pretty sophisticated play by the Sith. Of course that opinion could have been made with reading additional SW novels and not necessarily what was just in the movies.
 

batguy

Sr Member
Politics is one of those subjects where "you cannot prove a negative." No matter what the filmmaker does they may be accused of a political slant by somebody, somewhere.


I don't think the average SW viewer had really given much thought to Palpatine's rise to power before they started watching the PT. Everyone knew the PT as the story of Akakin-->Vader and Palpatine's rise seemed like a distance second. But IMO Lucas had a very good way of approaching it.

Palpatine wasn't just a cardboard-cutout fictional dictator. He wasn't just making angry impassioned speeches to throngs of frustrated people looking to get riled up & believe in somebody. Lucas could have done this and the audience probably would have accepted it. But instead Lucas had Palpatine covertly set up an outside threat, and then took power in the name of protecting everyone from it. That often happens in real life, in our own world.

But now it could be argued that I'm getting into politics with that last sentence . . .
 

Solo4114

Master Member
He was trying to mirror Hitler's rise to power in a sense, but I think it could have been done differently. I'm not sure how they could have illustrated that Sidious was manipulating the politicians and corporations to get into power without showing things like his play for Chancellor or the Senate voting to give him unprecedented power over the military. I guess they could have had characters just drop those things in discussions, but I don't think that would have cut the amount of time down any. I think it would be hard to completely ignore the politics, as some fans wanted, and still tell the story. I actually think the politics were the least of the problems with the Prequels. I actually think it was a pretty sophisticated play by the Sith. Of course that opinion could have been made with reading additional SW novels and not necessarily what was just in the movies.
Not just Hitler. Julius Casesar had a similar rise to power, and Augustus after him solidified it. But yes, Hitler is the most modern example, and probably the closer analogue of the two.


I don't think the average SW viewer had really given much thought to Palpatine's rise to power before they started watching the PT. Everyone knew the PT as the story of Akakin-->Vader and Palpatine's rise seemed like a distance second. But IMO Lucas had a very good way of approaching it.
Au contraire! I was SUPER pumped to see the rise of the Empire and fall of the Republic, precisely because I'd studied Hitler's rise for political science courses I'd taken.

Palpatine wasn't just a cardboard-cutout fictional dictator. He wasn't just making angry impassioned speeches to throngs of frustrated people looking to get riled up & believe in somebody. Lucas could have done this and the audience probably would have accepted it. But instead Lucas had Palpatine covertly set up an outside threat, and then took power in the name of protecting everyone from it. That often happens in real life, in our own world.

But now it could be argued that I'm getting into politics with that last sentence . . .
There are a lot of ways that Lucas could have gone, but didn't.


Personally, I think the issue with the PT isn't so much that it did too much politically or too much in terms of Anakin, but rather that the balance was off, and that the PT never effectively fused Anakin's own fall with the rise of the Empire. His motivations were entirely apolitical, aside from one scene in AOTC where he's sorta cool with the notion of a dictator who can get stuff done faster than the Senate. After that, everything is basically about his separation anxiety and such. It's all internal psychological drama.

I think you can tell an effective, compelling story about the rise of a dictator who manipulates public perception of external threats, and set it alongside the personal downfall of the dictator's right-hand man. I just don't think this trilogy did that. The politics and especially the manipulation always seemed...I dunno...kinda half baked and far fetched. Like, the notion that Palpatine manipulates everything and is controlling both sides is just too much to buy for me. I get that you need to have an internal threat because there's basically no "external" existence beyond the Republic (e.g., there's no other "nation" that would threaten them), but the internal threat could've sprung up organically, and Palpatine played it more as an opportunist and a demagogue, rather than as the sole architect of the entire galaxy-wide war and the gradual accumulation of power as a result of it.

Meanwhile, set alongside that, I thought it would've made more sense to have Anakin somehow be personally connected to the war and to witness the untold costs of it, the devastation, as well as feeling that personally through loss of people close to him. This would ultimately lead him to a "Peace through force" approach where he would continue to use the Dark Side as a tool for -- he'd tell himself -- making peace. Like, basically, Anakin would become evil because he'd believe he was doing it for good reasons. I think it'd be really interesting to contrast the goals of Palpatine and Anakin; showing Palpatine wanting power for its own sake, contrasted against Anakin wanting power to exert his will on the galaxy for what he'd tell himself is the greater good. I base all of this on Vader's dialogue in the OT where he wants to "Bring order to the galaxy" and where he says it's too late for him in ROTJ. He's a man who wanted to do good, but did it the worst way possible. And in the end, it's that small kernel of a desire to do good that would allow Vader to redeem himself.
 

blewis17

Sr Member
It's the execution - the writing, dialogue, secondary characters, subplots, effects and acting with which I take issue.
...well, that's 90% of what makes it a "movie"

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He was trying to mirror Hitler's rise to power in a sense, but I think it could have been done differently. I'm not sure how they could have illustrated that Sidious was manipulating the politicians and corporations to get into power without showing things like his play for Chancellor or the Senate voting to give him unprecedented power over the military. I guess they could have had characters just drop those things in discussions, but I don't think that would have cut the amount of time down any. I think it would be hard to completely ignore the politics, as some fans wanted, and still tell the story. I actually think the politics were the least of the problems with the Prequels. I actually think it was a pretty sophisticated play by the Sith. Of course that opinion could have been made with reading additional SW novels and not necessarily what was just in the movies.
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