When George Lucas made the original Star Wars in 1976, he had the support of a couple of producers at Twentieth Century Fox, but everyone else thought it was stupid and doomed to failure. One might call Lucas a visionary for knowing where the audience was, and what would appeal, and that was proven again when Lucas went on to create Raiders of the Lost Ark with Steven Spielberg four years later. (Of course, Howard the Duck and The Radioland Murders might be a sign that Lucas’ insight is far from universal. And the less said about Episodes 1, 2, and 3… Well, you know.) But now with the oodles of free time he has from selling his company to a massive multimedia conglomerate, Lucas is striking out anew against the studio systems and its lack of risk-taking.
While talking to CBS News, Lucas opened fire on the lack of creativity amongst studio execs, and how they’re stifling creativity of those who are creative, and how they’re corrupting the entire enterprise of filmmaking.
“You’re selling creativity. Raw creativity from talented people. Now, the problem has always been the studios. Although the beginning of the studios, the entrepreneurs who ran the studios were sort of creative guys. They would just take books and turn them into movies and do things like that. Suddenly all these corporations were coming in. They didn’t know anything about the movie business.
They supposedly know how to make films. So suddenly we could get jobs, which was a fantastic thing. But then the studios went back to saying well we don’t trust you people and we think we know how to make movies. The studios change everything all the time. And, unfortunately, they don’t have any imagination and they don’t have any talent.”
That’s all pretty funny for the guy who’s every effort as a director in the last 40 years has the words “Star Wars” in it. Also, I don’t think it’s a state secret that Hollywood is creatively bankrupt right now, especially since guys with proven track records for making money like Spielberg and James Cameron have had recent misadventures tying to secure funding for movies. Still, Lucas sold his own company to one of the three hugest media companies in the world, not some small start-up owned by pensioners and school children. He knows what side his bread is buttered on. (So to speak.)
As a result, his risky gamble in ’77 is now the linchpin of a multi-platform, multimedia assault that includes video games, comics, novels, TV series, and yes, many, many more movies. Despite Lucas’ words he sold his ideas to a company he knew would exploit them till they were milked dry. So he is, in essence, part of the very system of creative dearth that he’s criticizing. But that’s okay George, hypocrisy is also a proud tradition in Corporate America. May the Force Be With Us All.