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Is "Empire Strikes Back" really George Lucas' least favorite?

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Could somebody show me evidence that he actually said it wasn't very good?  Thanks

I wish that I could just wish my feelings away...but I can't.  Wishful wishing can only lead to wishes wished for in futile wishfulness, which is not what I wish to wish for. 

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I think he is upset because he had the least involvement in that movie, and it turned out to be the best.

Anyways, I think this was the quote:

Sid is the reason why The Empire Strikes Back is always written about as the best of the films, when it actually was the worst one.

 

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Its important to note that whatever Lucas says about the film (or any movie) now - good or bad - in an 'interview' should be taken with a grain of salt.  Lucas has only one reason since 1980 to make appearences and 'interviews' - to attract attention by offering soundbites and talking points.  This is a classic example.

he'll probably rave about it now, but for years it wasn't his cup of tea. By no means does this film reflect his 'vision'.  The cast and crew went above and beyond his 'vision'.

To give him credit, I do think he was genuinely amazed at what was put together for Yoda.  And keeping han solo's fate uncertain was very much like Hitchcock killing off marion crane not even 1/2 way thru Psycho.

He certainly did not like the fact that he was at odds with the entire cast and crew and they cared more about making a quality movie than he did.  He did not like how harrison ford took Han Solo character and ran away with it (is ford really 70!?!??!). 

He didn't want it to be a garbage sequel (hello exorcist II) that was the norm in those days, if for no other reason than to keep the franchise going. Making a great movie, however, was of no importance - never was, never will be.

Apologists wil say he was merely complaining that the budget spiraled out of control and ESB could not afford the extensive shooting schedule.  As the films 'financier', they will say he had a right. They neglect to mention that one of the setbacks was a fire in the studio.  And if ESB budget was based on a quickie 2 takes per setup, quality be damned, then Lucas set the film up for failure by underplanning and did not want to put the time and effort. 

click here if lack of OOT got you down

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The films he had the most impact on were the worst, sans the original eponymous classic, which is, IMO, the greatest of the series and perhaps the greatest film of all time...which was George Lucas's complete brainchild in nearly every aspect...I really can't believe he degenerated so much...

I wonder how he would have directed ESB if Kershner had not, or how the plot would have differed without the involvement of Brackett and Kasdan.  I guess we will never know...

-Someone, someday, needs to bring back the LIGHT SIDE to Star Wars.  Has anyone else noticed striking similarites between the character of Anakin/Vader and George Lucas, or is it just me? 

-It's called STAR WARS. NOT "Episode IV: A New Hope". Kids, get this straight.  

-Please read the Archie Goodwin daily SW comics: Too good to be forgotten! 

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Star Wars Purist said:

perhaps the greatest film of all time..

Look moosh I've seen all of time and space (been there, bought the tea-towel) and I'm telling you that while it's good, really good (and I can see why you might prefer it to the other millions of Star Wars films) against all of the films in the entire history of the cosmos it's got a way to go.

And that's just in this universe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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generalfrevious said:

I think he is upset because he had the least involvement in that movie, and it turned out to be the best.

I imagine that's it exactly.  He's been a control freak forever, up to and including how the films are presented.  Which is often times not the way the fan base wants them to be (unaltered, high definition).  For the most part, he gets to exercise his control because he owns the rights to it all.

However, he can't control what the fans want or how they feel about the films - no matter how hard he tries. I've long suspected\assumed that his dislike of Empire is really his dislike of Empire's popularity.  It's sort of an emotional pouting on his part.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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Plus, it exposes to him the fact that SW is actually best when he is not involved at all, and Lucas of course cannot accept that he is far less talented than he sees himself. And since he went into filmmaking to avoid the life of a walnut farmer, it becomes a Freudian dilemma.

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ESB without Lucas' input would probably have been a bit of a mess.

He was rather gentlemanly about giving Leigh Brackett as much credit as he did.

The panic cut still intrigues me greatly but he seemed to be a much more grounded guy back then.

Still subject to depression over unfulfilled plans (he must have been bricking it seeing the Wampa footage) but not as 'multi-faceted'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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I think anything Lucas says about the OT movies is calculated and just to screw with older fans who perceives as taking the movies too seriously.  He wore a 'Han Shots First' Shirt on the Set of Indy 4 so that tell you all you need to know!
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walking_carpet said:

he'll probably rave about it now, but for years it wasn't his cup of tea. By no means does this film reflect his 'vision'.  The cast and crew went above and beyond his 'vision'.

That is ironic considering that for many people, the whole part with Yoda and Luke is what Star Wars is ABOUT.  It is the heart of the Star Wars trilogy.  That and the imperial march, and "I am your father."  To many people this IS Star Wars, not a random deviation or a mistake. 

I was also under the impression that "Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan" should actually have read "George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan", since drafts 2 and 3 of Empire were 100% George.  If you read the George Lucas drafts you see that most of the good stuff is all there...the dialogue just isn't as polished. 

Bingowings said:

The panic cut still intrigues me greatly but he seemed to be a much more grounded guy back then.

Agreed.  The man behind the original "Star Wars Trilogy" was a brilliant filmmaker.  If you watch the old interviews, his personality is even different.  More alert, more intelligent sounding.  More humble, more grounded.  A very striking contrast to "old George" who made the prequels.

I wish that I could just wish my feelings away...but I can't.  Wishful wishing can only lead to wishes wished for in futile wishfulness, which is not what I wish to wish for. 

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Considering star wars cost him his marriage i can understand why he has a love/hate relationship with it and treats it solely as a method for a cash profit.

I can also understand his hatred of Empire because it going over budget made him have to go back to Fox to cover the guarantee of the loan, did not fit his vision of a faster and more action packed sequel like Jedi did and on the cheap.


Also if it failed and did not make back its money the Ranch Project was in jeopardy.

Allegedly he considered firing Gary on star wars, he put it off.  Considered firing him on empire and put it off.  Made sure he was not involved in raiders or jedi and was let go.

 

lucas came pretty close to taking the film away from Kersh and reassembling the footage to fit his vision.  Lucky for us the way he cut the footage did not work.  And Kersh was able to finish his film. 

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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Bingowings said:

The panic cut still intrigues me greatly but he seemed to be a much more grounded guy back then.

Agreed.  The man behind the original "Star Wars Trilogy" was a brilliant filmmaker.  If you watch the old interviews, his personality is even different.  More alert, more intelligent sounding.  More humble, more grounded. 

 AFAIC, more fraudulent.  He said all the right things back in those days, but he had to in order to build up anticipation and create his cult of personality.  Its so repulsive to me nowadays to think back to 'interviews' such as the ones with Leonard Maltin attached to the 1995 VHS release.  He is lying through his teeth.  Doesnt matter if his personality is perceived different if his sensibilities were the same back then as it is now (and they are).

All filmmakers have a portfolio with peaks and valleys and maybe a decline towards the very end.  But you do not have the outrageous dropoff from the OT (and ROTLA) to what we see now unless something else was at play.  and the evidence that Lucas was a dangerous liability mitigated by hall-of-fame talent is overwhelming.

Thats why he lashed out at Dale Pollock's book and claimed it was full of lies for so many years.  We were not supposed to know about the 'panic cut'.  We were not supposed to know that Lucas didnt care about any aspect of filmmaking except editing (and Lucas' vaunted editing skills are so overblown its hilarious).

That cut was not a 'panic' cut.  it was his cut, only difference is the crew told him it sucked ass and they were appalled by what they saw.  Again, if the movie went over budget because lucas planned principal photography to be quick & dirty and half-assed, like the PT, then he is at fault. 

In regards to this topic, the bottom line is this:  ESB may or may not be his least favorite SW film, but it is without question his least favorite production.  And not just because it went over budget.  And he was determined to never going to happen again.  If that meant lousy, pathetic movies - well, thats ok too. 

click here if lack of OOT got you down

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Dale Pollock.

Kitbashed
Essays, videos and thoughts on the inspiration behind Star Wars.

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Anyways, the paradoxical relationship between GL's involvement and the quality of the film just proves that he is one of the greatest frauds of all time. He just managed to keep the deception going for 15-20 years. Try watching American Graffiti or THX 1138 again; neither has aged well at all. SW as we know it is a masterpiece in spite of Lucas because of the editing his ex-wife and three others have done to make it great. If GL had his way with those first two films he would have been rendered a footnote by now.

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            If Ben had survived ANH, there would have been two, three or four years between ANH and ESB in which Ben could have trained Luke. My guess is that we would have seen a very different ESB. Maybe 2 or 3 sequences like the MF training in ANH and one or two more expo drops about The Force. Faster and more intense.

            The developement of the Yoda character and puppet required an entirely different aproach. All those long set-ups and mystical, magical and relatively slow sequences didn't seem consistent with GL's method at the time (Enter: Kersh).

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generalfrevious said:

Try watching American Graffiti or THX 1138 again; neither has aged well at all.

I don't know, I thought American Graffiti was really good.  I think he really was talented at one point and had tremendous potential.  Coppola said it, Irvin Kershner said it.  George Lucas three 1970s films were completely different than the Star Wars prequels, there's just no getting around it. 

I think a lot of it has to do with pride and starting to believe his own hype that he was a genius.  He is talented, but before his personality changed he listened to other peoples' advice:

1977:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnqdrnT5q7c

1983:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykmZp5cgbkU

1995:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCzGerUThSg

2007:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v94Tb8RN84U

2012:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM5VECv5Y6A

walking_carpet said:

All filmmakers have a portfolio with peaks and valleys and maybe a decline towards the very end.  But you do not have the outrageous dropoff from the OT (and ROTLA) to what we see now unless something else was at play. 

I think his personality just changed.

I wish that I could just wish my feelings away...but I can't.  Wishful wishing can only lead to wishes wished for in futile wishfulness, which is not what I wish to wish for. 

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1983 and 1995 links are the same 1990

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Link fixed.  Thanks!

I wish that I could just wish my feelings away...but I can't.  Wishful wishing can only lead to wishes wished for in futile wishfulness, which is not what I wish to wish for. 

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People constantly called GL a genius for creating everything in SW.

Can't blame him for believing it.

“Grow up. These are my Disney's movies, not yours.”

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generalfrevious said:


Try watching American Graffiti or THX 1138 again; neither has aged well at all.


I thought THX-1138 was pretty well done. Except for the masturbation scene - which IMO doesn't make sense within the context of the film's universe - its a very solid film with solid performances.

“I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

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DuracellEnergizer said:

 

generalfrevious said:


Try watching American Graffiti or THX 1138 again; neither has aged well at all.


I thought THX-1138 was pretty well done. Except for the masturbation scene - which IMO doesn't make sense within the context of the film's universe - its a very solid film with solid performances.

 

Which version was that? Like the OT, there have been several special editions of THX1138.

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^^I believe that part was implied in the original version, and made explicit in the special edition.

I wish that I could just wish my feelings away...but I can't.  Wishful wishing can only lead to wishes wished for in futile wishfulness, which is not what I wish to wish for.