First thing's first: George Lucas had no involvement with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The franchise creator and director, who shepherded the science fiction phenomenon through its first six installments, was not affiliated with the seventh sequel. When it came time to exhume the series, Lucas cut ties with Disney rather than be a consultant — as he told the Washington Post , "I knew that I couldn’t be involved. All I’d do is make them miserable. I’d make myself miserable. It would probably ruin a vision — J.J. has a vision, and it’s his vision." Now that the seventh film in the franchise's premiere is rapidly approaching, what does the godfather of Star Wars think of how his creation has been treated? What does George Lucas think of The Force Awakens ?
When Lucas sees The Force Awakens, it'll be like a layperson. He doesn't have the behind-the-scenes perspective he's accustomed to, and unlike members of the press and Hollywood insiders — two groups who usually have early access to movies, albeit not the super secretive Force Awakens — Lucas hasn't yet had a sneak peak of the movie. This might work to his benefit: As he told the Post in the same story, he finally gets to experience Star Wars like its true fans, without the demystified movie magic that comes with directing a picture. Still, it's likely that he'll get a look at The Force Awakens before the rest of us. Lucas reportedly has "the best theater in the world" at his ranch in California, and he told the Washington Post in a separate story that he expects to screen The Force Awakens alongside J.J. Abrams, the new Star Wars director, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.
Funny or Die recently made a parody video reenacting what it might look like if George Lucas and Original Luke Skywalker (present in the video as a Tupac-like hologram) watched The Force Awakens trailer for the first time. They were predictably off put by the re-envisioned light sabers. And given that Lucas presented a concept for Episode VII as far back as the '80s, that video might not be too far off point. Tech Insider reports that Lucas pitched up to 12 Star Wars movies when the franchise was still in its infancy, so there's an understandable amount of psychological baggage to contend with approaching the new movie. He once planned to make the third trilogy himself, releasing Episode VII and then selling his company this year, but he ended up selling Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 in order to spent more time with his family. (He made a cool $4 billion in the bargain, according to Vanity Fair, so it's not as though he's been sold short.)
He described the impending screening as an "awkward wedding," according to the Post. Yet a Vanity Fair cover story about the new episode paints Lucas as a good-natured team player reluctant to meddle in someone else's vision. Kennedy meets with Lucas regularly, and over the course of production she gave him multiple opportunities for input. "I want to be surprised," Lucas responded time and time again. From the sound of it, he bears no grudges, despite some obvious trepidation about the circumstances that will surround seeing how his work has been treated years later.
Though Lucas hasn't yet had occasion to respond, it's almost certain that we're anticipating his reaction even more than he's anticipating watching the film. From the (admittedly few) interviews he's given so far, he seems to view the project with a resigned affection, playing it cool until he has cause to object. If there's anyone worthy of taking up the mantle, it's Abrams; a long-time Lucas fan, he caused outrage when he signed onto Star Trek a couple years ago and proclaimed that he's more of a Star Wars guy than a trekkie. And even though Star Trek made Abrams reluctant at first to try to take on Star Wars, it takes a true fan to understand how best to both meet and unsettle fan expectations — and that includes creator George Lucas himself.
Images: Walt Disney Studios (3)