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29th October 1979

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Another Alan Arnold interview with George Lucas. From 27 years ago today:



Once Upon A Galaxy: A Journal of The Making of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’
Alan Arnold. Sphere Books Ltd 1980

pages 244-248


MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

Monday, October 29 [1979]

The Marin County peninsula points south toward San Francisco's waterfront and is linked to it by the Golden Gate Bridge. Thus it has a coastline on the Pacific as well as one on San Francisco Bay. On the bay side, the peninsula is marked by creeks and inlets and small picturesque harbors, many of which are the settings for some spectacular apartment complexes with their own marinas. Because Marin County has experienced a huge increase in its population during the past twenty-five years, highways have
proliferated and with them the inevitable extrusions of a highly mobile society: shopping centers, all manner of eating places, gas stations, used-car lots, and so forth - their common denominator being easy access for the automobile. As with anywhere else, the environment of the freeways is often ugly, a hapless embroidery in the midst of which there are some pleasant little towns with attractive names: Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Tiburton, San Rafael, Corte Madera, Larkspur. And above the bay on a ledge where the fabled bridge completes its audacious leap from the city is Sausalito, a beautiful little township built among the pines and cypress of the cliffside, wit hone of the best views of the San Francisco skyline.

San Anselmo I found to be a charmingly nostalgic and primarily beautiful town. In the afternoon of a sunlit Sunday, I sat at a timbered cafe beside a little wooden bridge spanning a brook. The cafe had the feel of countless yesterdays, thus I was surprised to learn that it had been built in 1975. Similarly where there had been a drugstore soda fountain, there was a now an ice-cream parlor called the Sweet Sensation where some very young teenagers lingered with there girlfriends, ritualizing over milkshakes. A fine double fronted store that had once dispensed seeds and hardware to local growers was now a classy emporium selling costly porcelain, glass, and silverware imported from England, Germany and France.

It is in San Anselmo that George Lucas has his editing facility in a building just off the main street. He lives on the outskirts of the town among the pines and the redwoods. It was there I visited him for a final interview, and we talked in a study panelled with natural redwood and heated by a pinewood fire. When we had finished, he drove me back to my lodgings in a well-worn twelve-year-old Chevrolet, hardly a symbol of status nor a deliberate exercise in under consumption, simply the car Lucas had grown comfortable with.

As we parted, I suggested to him that it was possible in an environment such as Marin County to become remote from the problems of the world. But he denied that there was any risk of becoming self-centered in his retreat. "If I want a super-stimulating environment I can always fly to New York," he said. "There's stimulation in San Francisco and we are only and hours flight from L.A. Such cities have all the social evils and social blessings of our day. I don't have to live there to be aware of them.
"Do you keep in touch with filmmakers around the world and see their films?" I asked.
"There is a film archive in Berkeley which gets films from all over the world. We see films and sometimes meet with filmmakers, but I keep in touch more by involvement. Now that we've finished the fine cut on Empire, I'm leaving for Japan. I'm executive producer of a film being directed there by Kurosawa. But I’ll always return to Marin. It's where I have a sense of belonging."

It was to be the last of our meetings. I left more impressed than ever by George Lucas's essential simplicity. In his woodland setting he seemed a figure from a fairy tale, a puck in an elfin landscape.

Alan Arnold: What drew you to Marin County?
George Lucas: When I graduated from college in Los Angeles, I knew I didn't want to stay there. I decided I would come back to Northern California and work here. But I had to have a link to an airport so I could go to Los Angeles to conduct my business. My wife and I looked on the peninsula near Palo Alto and San Jose, and then looked up here in Marin and decided we liked it well enough to settle here.

AA: What do you like about it?
GL: I like Marin's rural quality. Yet we're not far from the city, so we can go into San Francisco for cultural events or for business.

AA: What is the extent of your holdings in Marin County?
GL: We have three offices in San Anselmo including an editing room. In San Rafael we have Industrial Light and Magic. What we're trying to do is build the ranch facility which will consolidate all these units into one place. Then we won't be spread over the countryside the way we are now.

AA: The ranch is Lucas Valley, a 2,000-acre holding. Is the fact it is called Lucas Valley pure coincidence?
GL: Yes. It was already named Lucas Valley, and it was the only piece of land that seemed appropriate for our needs and financially within my reach. It's also an easy distance from San Francisco. It only takes about seven minutes longer to get to the ranch from the city than to get to San Anselmo.

AA: When the ranch scheme materializes will you lack anything Los Angeles can provide?
GL: We won't have soundstages. The ranch is purely a "think tank" concept and largely an environment in which writers can create. It will have a library, editing rooms, a place to do the music and the rerecording. It will not be a place to make movies but to write and finish them. Mostly it will be a place to think.

AA: What is the setting like?
GL: It's classic Marin County country, hilly with redwood forests and its own meadow.

AA: What other filmmakers are located in Marin?
GL: In Mill Valley, there's John Korty who was really the first one to come to Marin County. Then there's Michael Ritchie, who grew up in Berkeley and decided to move to Marin. Matt Robins and Hal Barwood moved up here form Los Angeles. Walter Murch came up with me and Francis Coppola to start the American Zoetrope Company. Phil Kaufman and several filmmakers live in San Francisco. I think it would be breaking it down too regionally to say that Marin County is separate from San Francisco in the filmmaking world. It would be better describe us all as Northern California filmmakers. As a group we have all traded ideas and helped each other over the years.

AA: Tell me more about the overall concept of the Star Wars saga.
GL: There are essentially nine films in a series of three trilogies. The first trilogy is about the young Ben Kenobi and the early life of Luke's father when Luke was a little boy. This trilogy takes place some twenty years before the second trilogy which includes Star Wars and Empire. About a year or two passes between each story of the trilogy and about twenty years passes between the trilogies. The entire saga spans about fifty-five years.

AA: How much is written?
GL: I have story treatments on all nine. I also have voluminous notes, histories, and other material I’ve developed for various purposes. Some of it will be used, some not. Originally, when I wrote Star Wars, it developed into an epic on the scale of War and Peace, so big I couldn't possibly make it into a movie. So I cut it in half, but it was still too big, so I cut each half into three parts. I then had material for six movies. After the success of Star Wars I added another trilogy but stopped there, primarily because reality took over. After all, it takes three years to prepare and make a Star Wars picture. How many years are left? So I'm still left with three trilogies of nine films. At two hours each, that’s about eighteen hours of film!

AA: What will the next chapter be?
GL: The next chapter is called "Revenge of the Jedi". It’s the end of this particular trilogy, the conclusion of the conflict begun in Star Wars between Luke and Darth Vader. It resolves that situation once and for all. I won't say who survives and who doesn't, but if we are ever able to link together all three you'd find the story progresses in a very logical fashion.
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Ah Yes! Kagemusha! I still have yet to see the Akira Kurosawa film George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola helped produced. I wonder if George and Francis had any impact on Kagemusha or if it was just an attempt to add "name value" to the project. The screenshots of the film I've seen have looked amazing but I've decided to not read up on the story. Well sorry about my little "sort of on topic" post. Carry on
http://img416.imageshack.us/img416/7823/starwarssuppersmallerxx5.jpg
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Lucas and Coppola just helped pay for Kagemusha, since Kurosawa was at that point just starting to re-couperate from an all-time career low (which included his suicide attempt in 1973). The film is dazzling in moments and visually stunning but overall pretty boring. Its significance, however, is that it was essentially a testing run for Ran, perhaps Kurosawa's largest masterpiece, in 1985.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Now I know what one of my friends really meant to tell me. He said that Lucas and Coppola helped to pay for Ran out of gratitude, appreciation, etc.

At least he wasn't far off.
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Originally posted by: s7en
Another Alan Arnold interview with George Lucas. From 27 years ago today:

AA: Tell me more about the overall concept of the Star Wars saga.
GL: There are essentially nine films in a series of three trilogies. The first trilogy is about the young Ben Kenobi and the early life of Luke's father when Luke was a little boy. This trilogy takes place some twenty years before the second trilogy which includes Star Wars and Empire. About a year or two passes between each story of the trilogy and about twenty years passes between the trilogies. The entire saga spans about fifty-five years.

AA: How much is written?
GL: I have story treatments on all nine. I also have voluminous notes, histories, and other material I’ve developed for various purposes. Some of it will be used, some not. Originally, when I wrote Star Wars, it developed into an epic on the scale of War and Peace, so big I couldn't possibly make it into a movie. So I cut it in half, but it was still too big, so I cut each half into three parts. I then had material for six movies. After the success of Star Wars I added another trilogy but stopped there, primarily because reality took over. After all, it takes three years to prepare and make a Star Wars picture. How many years are left? So I'm still left with three trilogies of nine films. At two hours each, that’s about eighteen hours of film!



Now these are the kinds of threads I like to see. Not those useless ones with their "I thought I read some where..."

I think with regards to the whole "Six or Nine" controversy, I'm gonna give Lucas 1/2 credit. I can buy the original plan was six movies, but to say the plan was ALWAYS six and never nine doesn't hold water.
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I think this is one area where Lucas is the most misunderstood. I don't think he denies ever talking about doing 9 films, just that he only ever got around to fleshing out 6.

From what I understand any of the things he had been talking about with regards to doing a third trilogy had to do with a newly teamed up Luke and Anakin overthrowing the Emperor. As you can see, Lucas just condensed the "third trilogy" into a 5 minute change of heart sequence in ROTJ.

So even if he was thinking about making it 9 films, the story is pretty much over in ROTJ.
Your focus determines your reality.
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No, because he stated in this very interview that each trilogy would be separated by a generation. While that goes against what Gary Kurtz says, it also goes against what you're claiming. He also says in this interview that "Revenge of the Jedi" would conclude the Luke/Vader storyarc. So, yeah, maybe there were plans to have the original Star Wars storyline continue for another trilogy. Who knows? But this is proof right here that another trilogy, completely set apart from the current trilogy, did exist in Lucas's mind at some point. There's no defense against that.

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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I don't think he was denying that. I think the story dynamic of what he originally came up with was ultimately rolled into the end of ROTJ, so the idea that he had come up with more beyond the resolution of both the Emperor and Anakin dying and democracy returning to the galaxy, was what he was describing as a media myth.
Your focus determines your reality.
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Did you even read my post? Everything I pointed out is clearly indicative of story beyond the resolution you just said.

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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What exactly did he come up with beyond what we ended up getting then?
Your focus determines your reality.
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Beats me. But seeing as how he plainly admitted it in this interview, I don't see how you can possibly argue the point.

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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I'm not contesting what he said, just that it seemed to me all that stuff he thought of for a third trilogy was rolled into ROTJ.

I don't see how the story of Anakin/Sidious can continue on without Anakin or Sidious.
Your focus determines your reality.
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Again, he clearly stated that Revenge of the Jedi was going to conclude that story arc, even when the sequel trilogy was planned.

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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I think the conclusion is that Vader turned back and joined forces with Luke against the Emperor, who would have originally survived to be vanquished in the third trilogy.

Anything Lucas could have done after Anakin and Sidious are gone would have to be an entirely new story.
Your focus determines your reality.
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"There are essentially nine films in a series of three trilogies. The first trilogy is about the young Ben Kenobi and the early life of Luke's father when Luke was a little boy. This trilogy takes place some twenty years before the second trilogy which includes Star Wars and Empire. About a year or two passes between each story of the trilogy and about twenty years passes between the trilogies. The entire saga spans about fifty-five years."

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Isn't that the same thing that was posted above?

My point is that even with that, everything I have seen shows it was going to be Anakin and Luke teaming up to get the Emperor once and for all in the third trilogy.

How do you think the story could have progressed without Anakin or Sidious?
Your focus determines your reality.
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Where? Where in this interview do you see this proof? Yes, it goes along with Gary Kurtz's recollections of the third trilogy, but that's not what we're dealing with. I'm not one to bring insults into a debate, but I seriously have to bring your reading comprehension skills into question here. George states in this interview that the storyline would conclude with the third movie. Luke's and Vader's storyline would be over, just like it ended up being. He clearly states that. Do you need me to quote it for you? Okay, fine, I will. "The next chapter is called 'Revenge of the Jedi'. It’s the end of this particular trilogy, the conclusion of the conflict begun in Star Wars between Luke and Darth Vader. It resolves that situation once and for all." He also says that there was to be a generational gap in between each trilogy. Again, quote: "There are essentially nine films in a series of three trilogies. The first trilogy is about the young Ben Kenobi and the early life of Luke's father when Luke was a little boy. This trilogy takes place some twenty years before the second trilogy which includes Star Wars and Empire. About a year or two passes between each story of the trilogy and about twenty years passes between the trilogies. The entire saga spans about fifty-five years." So that is all the proof you need that there was an idea for a third trilogy, completely separate from what we already have. While George does not elaborate on the third trilogy, he does make it clear, based on what we know now, that it does not contain any major plot points that ended up being used in the final "Return of the Jedi." So there is no way to defend him here. In capital letters: HE IS CLEARLY LYING WHEN HE SAYS THAT THERE WAS NEVER AN INTENTION FOR A THIRD TRILOGY. How can you possibly look at all this evidence and continue to push this point? It simply does not make any sense. In order to defend Lucas, you are arguing against everything that he is saying in this interview.

And, finally:

Isn't that the same thing that was posted above?


Yes, it was. That is why I put it in quotes.

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Yes, Lucas is saying something completely different nowadays. He is saying that the actual concept of the third trilogy itself, not its plot or any specifics but the actual notion of the possibility of them existing in any form was a fabrication of the media. Clearly its not though. I think this boils down to it feeling that way to Lucas since he never had any real plans or attachment to the third trilogy, and in Bantha Tracks May 1980 even admits to adding it only because of the success of Star Wars.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Reading comprehension? He says the "situation" between Luke and Vader will be resolved.

Vader turning back to the good side and joining forces with Luke resolves their situation.
He is saying that the actual concept of the third trilogy itself, not its plot or any specifics but the actual notion of the possibility of them existing in any form was a fabrication of the media. Clearly its not though. I think this boils down to it feeling that way to Lucas since he never had any real plans or attachment to the third trilogy, and in Bantha Tracks May 1980 even admits to adding it only because of the success of Star Wars.
See I don't remember him saying all of that. You guys are so bent against Lucas, that you assume your assumptions are the cold hard truth, and it's really pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

I say he meant he never did come up with more story than what we got in the 6 film cycle. That originally the story would have been extended so that Anakin and Luke take a whole trilogy to beat the Emperor once Anakin turns back to the good side.

Sometime during the production or post production of Empire, he decided he woudn't live long enough to make 3 trilogies, so he cut the story down into 6, and he took the final resolution of Anakin and Sidious biting it, and put it on the end of ROTJ.

Therefore, there is no longer any more story to tell in a 3rd trilogy, and the idea that Lucas has 3 more films planned out just simply isn't true.
Your focus determines your reality.
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Does any one have the actual Banthatracks issue in question that they could post here?
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Here's the PDF of Bantha Tracks #8 for easy download:

http://www.erikstormtrooper.com/banthatracks08.pdf

And here's the relevant text:



SW: At one point there were going to be twelve Star Wars films.

GL: I cut that number down to nine because the other three were tangential to the saga. Star Wars was the fourth story in the saga and was to have been called "Star Wars, Episode Four: A New Hope." But I decided people wouldn't understand the numbering system so we dropped it. For Empire, though, we're putting back the number and will call it "Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back." After the third film in this trilogy we'll go back and make the first trilogy, which deals with the young Ben Kenobi and the young Darth Vader.

SW: What is the third trilogy about?

GL: It deals with the character that survives Star Wars III and his adventures.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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I wonder if that means he meant to have Vader still die in the 6th, but keep the Emperor around for Luke and the "other" to vanquish.
Your focus determines your reality.
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Star Wars was the fourth story in the saga and was to have been called "Star Wars, Episode Four: A New Hope." But I decided people wouldn't understand the numbering system...

I'll have to go back and find it from a couple of weeks ago, but there was a quote where he stated it was the studio that forced him to drop the number from the title. Never mind that the pre-production literature, letterheads, and media packages all had the title The Star Wars printed on them - no number. As did the clapboard during filming.


Man, he can't even decide on a single lie and stick to it. Listening to Lucas discuss the past is like reading an article after it's passed through The Ministry of Truth. It changes so often, that it's hard to keep up with. He has so many of the younger fans so clouded on what really happened in the 70s, that they have no choice but to believe whatever version of the past he's belching today.

Pathetic.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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Just because he didn't write it on anything you happen to have access to doesn't mean he didn't think it.

I wish you guys would stick to lies you could actually prove instead of just calling him a liar like it's written in stone somewhere.
Your focus determines your reality.