George Lucas Defends ‘Star Wars’ Prequels: ‘It Was Supposed to Be a Kids Movie’

The filmmaker also says a lot of his original ideas got “lost” in the Disney sequels

Liam Neeson and Jake Lloyd in "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" (Lucasfilm)

George Lucas has a very pointed message for “Star Wars” haters who mocked the franchise prequels and cancelled Jar Jar Binks: the movies aren’t for you.

“It was supposed to be a kid’s movie for 12-year-olds that were going through puberty, who don’t know what they’re doing, and are asking all the big questions: What should I be worried about? What’s important in life?,” Lucas said at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, where he received an honorary Palme d’Or.

“And ‘Star Wars’ has all those things in there. They’re buried in there but you definitely get it, especially if you’re young,” he continued.

Of the ire that the character of Jar Jar Binks drew when he was introduced in “The Phantom Menace,” Lucas explained, “Everybody said the same thing about 3-PO, that he was irritating and we should get rid of him. When I did the third one it was the Ewoks: ‘Those are little teddy bears. This is a kid’s movie, we don’t want to see a kids’ movie.’ I said: ‘It is a kids’ movie. It’s always been a kids’ movie.’”

Lucas also touched on the sequels that were made without his involvement after he sold Lucasfilm to Disney, acknowledging many of his original ideas got “lost.”

“I was the 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,” he said. “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.”

After Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, he handed over his treatments for what he intended to be Episodes 7, 8 and 9, but they were largely jettisoned in favor of what would become “The Force Awakens,” “The Last Jedi” and “Rise of Skywalker.”

In a 2010 interview, “Star Wars” stars Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill said they knew Lucas planned to make prequel films while the original series was being filmed in the 1980s. Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy echoed that sentiment, saying that watching Steven Spielberg continue the “Indiana Jones” franchise inspired him to pick the prequels back up.

“I don’t think he ever stopped thinking about whether he would do more ‘Star Wars,’ and I think what happened during ‘Indy was that he was not on the floor directing. He was not necessarily in it, because it was primarily Steven,” she said.

“So, with anybody like George, and anyone who’s a filmmaker, they get antsy after a while at not being able to be on that floor telling stories, making movies, and his love of pushing the technology, obviously. We were doing a certain amount of that with each of the ‘Indiana Jones’ movies, but it wasn’t like ‘Star Wars,’ and I think that each time we would push the technology in making those movies, he got the bug to start thinking about what that might mean for ‘Star Wars,’” she added.

The prequels have seen a resurgence in popularity following their initial release, with a generation of people who were kids when the prequels came out now embracing them. “The Phantom Menace” just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and TheWrap asked the stars of the new “Star Wars” TV series “The Acolyte” what they really thought about the prequels. To a one, they embraced them.


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