Generally speaking, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been widely regarded as a tremendous success. The staggering box office numbers include being the movie fastest to make $1 billion, and has a worldwide haul of an astounding $1.23 billion after only two weeks, which is greater than the 2014 GDP of 18 nations. Besides the unbelievable box office numbers, it has also received outstanding reviews with 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.6 on IMDB. However, there is one man who was not impressed, and that man is George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars.
George Lucas went and saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens and thought it was meh. Lucas was interviewed by Charlie Rose, and he had some staunch criticisms of the seventh chapter of the legendary sci-fi series.
Lucas, who considers the Star Wars movies his “kids,” said he “sold them to the white slavers that takes these things, and [laughs].” After realizing that his analogy was probably insensitive he quickly shut his trap.
Lucas expounded on why he didn’t love Star Wars: The Force Awakens:
“They looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans’….They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing….They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway — but if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control to do that anymore, and all I would do is muck everything up,” he said. “And so I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”
“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new.”
Trigger Warning: Possible spoilers ahead.
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To be fair to George Lucas, he is correct that there are many striking similarities to previous Star Wars movies.
There’s a massive planet-obliterating spherical weapon that threatens the galaxy, but they made it bigger and renamed it Starkiller Base instead of the Deathstar. But it seems it has a fatal design flaw in the trenches. Sounds familiar.
There’s a droid carrying valuable information on a desert planet. There’s a man dressed in all black with a mask and a voice-changer searching for said droid. A desert town is wiped out by stormtroopers. A hero is tortured by the bad guys to retrieve the information.
There’s a high-ranking military officer who is competing for power with a dark-masked villain who has the Force. Both are looking for justification from a supreme evil entity that lurks in the shadows.
There’s a hero who has the powers of the Force, but has humble beginnings on a desert planet. There’s an old man who explains the Force to the next generation. There’s a rebel forces base on a forest-covered world. The coordinated aerial attack on the huge spherical weapon is monitored from a control room by Princess Leia.
One of the heroes ditches the fight for self-preservation, but he eventually returns to help save the day.
Han Solo owes debts to shady criminals, who now want to kill him.
There’s a cantina filled with various creatures and a live alien band.
A hero watches helplessly from afar as a surrogate father figure is mercilessly killed. A father figure who is murdered by someone previously close to him, who has turned to the dark side.
I’m not sure if Lucas successfully set the bar so low because of the prequels from the 2000s sucked for the most part. It seems the audiences weren’t expecting too much from The Force Awakens and would be happy as long as there was no Jar Jar Binks, no trying to kill Jedis with poison gas, no whiny Anakin Skywalker, no flying R2-D2, no CGI Yoda and no exhaustingly long pod races.
I understand that Lucas has some regrets to selling his beloved franchise to the Disney conglomerate. But he was paid handsomely, to the tune of $4 billion buckarinos. For $4 billion buckarinos (A good deal of which he generously donated to charity), Lucas should go buy an island, sit on the beach in his jeans and flannel shirt and play with Star Wars action figures and not spend one second worrying about the The Force Awakens.
You can watch Charlie Rose’s full interview with George Lucas below.