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(Credit: Nicolas Genin)

Film

George Lucas' biggest regret about 'Star Wars'

By the time the original Star Wars trilogy had wrapped up with the release of 1983’s Return of the Jedi it was readily apparent to creator George Lucas that he had created a leviathan of popular culture. Changing people’s lives and cinema forever, he established the first real movie franchise, and it kept giving, to us and him. From the box office to the countless pieces of merchandise, Star Wars was a monumental success, and people wanted more.

However, Lucas refused to, until he decided to make the prequel trilogy which kicked off with 1999’s The Phantom Menace, but allegedly this wasn’t out of any great desire to return to the space opera, but rather to experiment with the latest CGI technology that was beginning to infiltrate the cinematic world. It was a success, and of course, fans wanted more yet again. However, as the years wore on, Lucas decided he had had enough of “the business”, and in 2012 he sold Star Wars to Disney for $4 billion. 

Lucas acted as the creative consultant for the Star Wars sequel trilogy’s first film, The Force Awakens, and has had brief involvements with other titles such as Solo: A Star Wars Story since his decision to move into the shadows but has since stepped back further. 

In the years since the sale, Lucas has heavily implied that he regrets selling Star Wars off. It is well known that he had ideas for multiple other movies, but that he never made them. He’s mentioned the movies at many points over the years, and diehard fans have always wondered what if, particularly given how disappointing Disney’s ownership of the franchise has been.

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In an interview with author Paul Duncan in November 2020, Lucas went into much more detail about the ideas he had for a different trilogy, which featured the return of Darth Maul and Darth Talon, Luke reconstructing the Jedi Order out of the survivors of Order 66, and Leia rebuilding The Republic. 

Lucas explained: “The movies are about how Leia – I mean, who else is going to be the leader? – is trying to build the Republic. They still have the apparatus of the Republic but they have to get it under control from the gangsters. That was the main story.”

It’s evident that after the sale to Disney, Lucas wasn’t done with Star Wars. There’s a well-known anecdote about a Darth Maul and Darth Talon video game by Red Fly that never came to fruition. As Game Informer reported in 2015, Lucas met with the developer and discussed his vision for the game’s narrative. 

A source told the publication that Lucas “wanted these characters to be friends, and to play off of each other. He talked about the show Burn Notice as a reference point. He likened Darth Maul to Sonny from The Godfather, and he likened Darth Talon to Lauren Bacall.”

Showing how his affinity for Star Wars hadn’t waned since the sale, the source even claimed that Lucas “actually did an impersonation of her (Talon). It was supposedly the weirdest impersonation of a ’40s actress going, ‘Don’t you know how to whistle? Put your lips together and blow.’”

Lucas also discussed his plans for a sequel trilogy when speaking to director James Cameron for 2018’s James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction. In it, he disclosed how “[The next three Star Wars films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.”

In what is the most cutting take on the sale, in 2015 when speaking to Charlie Rose, Lucas made his thoughts clear: “These were my kids, all the Star Wars films… I loved them, I created them, I’m very intimately involved in them, and I sold them to the white slavers that take these things and…”

Lucas’ regret is only natural. There is so much he could have done with Star Wars that would have saved it from becoming the child-oriented dross that Disney has made it. Although it didn’t excite him like it used to, his future films would certainly have had more density and something to say, unlike the sequel trilogy we got, which was nothing but a waste of time. 

Watch Lucas discuss the sale of Star Wars to Disney below.

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