Lucas isn’t some sort of literary god or film savant. He’s just a guy that wrote a screenplay back in the 1970s and turned it into a film.
Those of us that loved that film when it was first in the theaters, watched and read every interview we could get our hands on. We listened to what the director and actors said about the film and it’s story. It was an outer space adventure along the lines of a fairy tale – hero rescuing princess - good guy vs bad guy with a damsel in distress waiting to be saved. All set against the backdrop of a futuristic (to us) military struggle as opposed to something like medieval England.
It was a single story. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. It had the main characters with a few sidekicks thrown in for depth. That’s all, no grand, 30 year unfolding space saga of the rise and fall of a boy as he becomes a man and has to ultimately be saved by his children.
NONE of that story was there. It wasn’t hinted at. It wasn’t planned for. It hadn’t been considered, and there was no need or place for it in the movie The Star Wars.
All because - it didn’t exist. The early script was a story surrounding Annikin Starkiller, Luke Skywalker, and General Vader. Separate characters, unrelated to each other. Minor tweaks would later eliminate Starkiller and Luke Skywalker would be a teenager instead of a 60 year old man.
With what ultimately became the movie Star Wars, we could let our imaginations run wild thinking about what might happen next or wonder about all the far away worlds the characters may have come from. When I was sitting in the theater every week in 1977, I was a billion miles from home, on a wondrous adventure. My imagination made the story gigantic.
After the success of the movie, Lucas saw the opportunity to make more, to try and capitalize on his success. That would prove much harder than he realized. Having a completed story already, he had to go about the task of adding a second installment. That wasn’t too hard since you can imagine more things for the characters to do. All you have to do is come up with a reason for them to have to do them. That’s where Lucas failed as a writer. He had no more story in him and his struggle to invent one was weak. He ended up just shrinking the previous story and trying to conjure up all sorts of history that ended up being almost too thin to span another film – let alone 5 more. The movies continued to get larger while the story continued to get smaller.
To cover his tracks and try to explain away the discrepancies and plot holes, he’s lied about what he said and did back in the 70s and he’s removed and digitally altered the previous films to try to revise history. That doesn’t work when all the people involved in making them and the fans following the films are still around to call him on it.
A great many of us were there in the 1970s George – we saw the film, we watched the interviews, we read the script, we heard what you said about the story.
You’re killing me, Smalls.