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Why Did George Lucas Do the ‘Star Wars’ Prequels? Kathleen Kennedy Thinks She Knows the Answer

Let’s just say, a fedora-wearing, bullwhip-snapping professor of archaeology might have had a little to do with it

Kathleen Kennedy, the longtime producer and now head of Lucasfilm, has a theory as to why George Lucas decided to return to his famed “Star Wars” series for the Prequel Trilogy after stepping away for a decade.

Kennedy, who worked with the “Star Wars” creator on the “Indiana Jones,” said that she and Lucas spent a lot of time working with director Steven Spielberg on the “Indy” trilogy in the 1980s, and she thinks that working on such large productions, combined with his interest in CGI technology, built a hunger in Lucas to get back to “Star Wars.”

“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,” Kennedy shared on an episode of the Disney+ series “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian.”

She went on: “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.'”

The result was “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” three films that used computer-generated technology extensively, including with characters that were once designed with practical effects such as Yoda. But such frequent usage created a backlash from “Star Wars” fans that J.J. Abrams made it a point to emphasize that he used practical effects as much as possible when making “The Force Awakens.”

Watch more of Kennedy’s discussion of George Lucas and all things “Star Wars” on Disney+’s “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian” — an eight-episode series that goes inside the making of Jon Favreau’s “Star Wars” spinoff show that became a successful launch title for Disney’s streaming service.