With George Lucas currently doing the rounds promoting the imminent US release of his WWII drama RED TAILS, much has been made today of his “shocking” announcement that he is to throw in the towel and quit the blockbuster biz.
Altogether now: “NoooooOOOOO!”.
So what's prompted this decision then? Well, for one, according to Lucas RED TAILS was a bitch to get studio support for, with Hollywood uninterested in backing the story due to its predominantly black cast. Fair enough. The business should rightly be called out if these kind of decisions are still dominant factors in what gets greenlit, but there's also another thing that's got under his skin. Namely us. The fans.
"Why would I make any more , when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" Lucas told The New York Times recently.
Being unjustly branded as a ‘Raper of Childhoods’ for his handling of the prequel trilogy probably warrants that statement, we’re with him on that one, but if he’s talking about the criticism leveled at him for the constant meddling with the originals, it’s harder to imagine why he would allow that to upset him. Needless and often so poorly executed (Greedo shoots first, Jabba’s appearance in A NEW HOPE, the aforementioned “NoooooOOOOOO!”, et al), these tweaks to beloved, decades-old classics were bound to be treated with a negative reaction. Man up, sir!
A lot of news sources are focusing on that fact that this means *shudder* ‘no more STAR WARS movies’ but really, who in their right mind ever expected a Lucas-helmed Episode 7, 8, and 9 anyway?!
Also being largely ignored is the fact that the STAR WARS universe will live on in the form of several currently in-development canonical narratives such as the live-action TV show (aka STAR WARS: UNDERWORLD), the animated sitcom from the makers of ROBOT CHICKEN, and, of course, the long-running, increasingly excellent CLONE WARS show. (Not to mention the Extended Universe explored in videogames, books and comics).
Another reason this announcement that he’s retiring from commercial filmmaking has left us quite baffled is the fact that he’s still open to producing further Indiana Jones movies!
So, what exactly has this changed? Squat.
George Lucas only ever directed once in a blue moon anyway! Hell, he didn’t even direct RED TAILS for crying out loud - a fact that most articles I’ve read thus far has failed to mention! That gig went to TV director Anthony Hemingway, while Lucas produced and developed.
George Lucas is, and always will be, a master producer with a keen eye for business over anything else. Even though he’s yet again promising to return to the director’s chair for more art-house, independent THX-1138 type fare in the future. Just as he said post REVENGE OF THE SITH back in 2005!
Again, what’s changed? Nothing.
RED TAILS still awaits a UK release, but will open in US cinemas January 20th.
STAR WARS will continue to be a part of our lives until our children’s children perish in some kind of Robot apocalypse, and Ford will don the fedora at least one more time before all involved actually retire.
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