George Lucas does not hold back in sharing his thoughts on the Star Wars franchise

Here’s to the stubborn filmmaker who changed the galaxy forever.
Palme D'Or D'Honneur; George Lucas Photocall - The 77th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Palme D'Or D'Honneur; George Lucas Photocall - The 77th Annual Cannes Film Festival / Lionel Hahn/GettyImages

George Lucas certainly didn’t hold back at Cannes, did he?

The legendary creator of Star Wars took center stage at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, and boy, did he have a lot to say. Let’s break down some of his most striking points. While attending the event and being honored with a Palme d'Or for his extensive contributions and career in filmmaking, Lucas took the time to speak to a crowd of fans and pressed at the absolutely jam-packed Debussy theater.

According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, he touched on many subjects, including his feelings on Disney's take on the franchise, the prequels, and diversity within the Star Wars universe.

First, Lucas went on a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about his early career and the challenges he faced, including when he and his buddy Walter Murch had to sneak into their own premiere of THX-1138 in Cannes back in 1971. It’s hard to imagine the mighty George Lucas, now honored with a Palme d’Or, having to hustle just to watch his own film. It’s a testament to his passion for filmmaking over money - a theme that seems to define his career. Lucas emphasized his stubbornness in not wanting others to dictate his filmmaking process. This trait, he argues, was key to his success. He recalled the struggle to get American Graffiti made and how it eventually became a massive hit, raking in $115 million from a mere $750,000 budget. This victory paved the way for Star Wars, a project that was almost dismissed as a “crazy 1930s-style movie, with dogs driving spaceships.” Allan Ladd Jr. at Fox took a chance on Lucas, and the rest, as they say, is history.

"Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (Alec Guinness), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in the Millennium Falcon. ? Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved." /

Now, this is where Lucas gets spicy. He passionately defended the prequel trilogy against the haters. Lucas reminded us that Star Wars was always intended as a kids' movie, designed for 12-year-olds grappling with big life questions. The backlash against characters like Jar Jar Binks and the Ewoks? Lucas brushed it off, saying critics simply forgot the franchise’s core audience. He even compared the initial disdain for Jar Jar to the reaction to C-3PO and the Ewoks, labeling it as misplaced adult expectations. Lucas also tackled criticisms about the lack of diversity in the original six movies, pointing out that the Star Wars universe is filled with diverse beings - most of whom are aliens. He made a compelling argument that the series is fundamentally about accepting others, regardless of their appearance. Lucas highlighted the inclusivity of characters like Lando Calrissian and Mace Windu, played by Billy Dee Williams and Samuel L. Jackson, respectively.

Addressing gender representation, Lucas proudly cited Princess Leia and Queen Amidala as central, powerful characters. He argued against the notion that putting a woman in pants makes her a hero, emphasizing that heroism comes from intelligence and strategic thinking, qualities both Leia and Amidala possess in spades.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Padme Amidala played by Natalie Portman. Image credit: /

Lucas didn't shy away from addressing the post-Disney Star Wars films. He expressed his frustration, saying that many ideas from the original saga got lost after he sold Lucasfilm. According to Lucas, he was the one who truly understood the intricate world of Star Wars, especially the concept of the Force. This sense of loss resonates with many fans who feel the newer movies lack the magic of the originals.

"“I was the one one who really knew what Star Wars was…who actually knew this world, because there’s a lot to it. The force, for example, nobody understood the force. When they started other ones after I sold the company, a lot of the ideas that were in [the original] sort of got lost. But that’s the way it is. You give it up, you give it up.”"

George Lucas

Finally, Lucas defended his controversial decision to "clean up" the original trilogy with new digital technology. He strongly believes in the right of directors to present their films as they envision them, even if it means altering classics. Fans hoping for an untouched 4K release of the original 1977 Star Wars might be disappointed, but Lucas stands by his artistic choices.

George Lucas' comments at Cannes offer a rich, unapologetic reflection on his storied career and the evolving Star Wars saga. He’s a visionary who’s always stayed true to his creative instincts, even in the face of criticism. His insights into the franchise’s past and future remind us why Star Wars continues to captivate audiences across generations.

Whether you agree with all his decisions or not, there's no denying Lucas's profound impact on cinema and popular culture.

Here’s to the stubborn filmmaker who changed the galaxy forever.

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