Any fan of Star Wars has a hard time forgetting what George Lucas’s latest trilogy was like when it came out. The anticipation ran high, and a generation that had grown up on the classic sci-fi movies was going to get to experience theatrical releases of new ones for the first time ever. Lucas had done well by his fans in the past, so what was the worst that could happen? Shortly after The Phantom Menace, we learned the answer to that question.
Lucas’s new trilogy, composed of Episodes I, II, and III, fell flat for audiences expecting a fun, exciting, and well-made series. Instead, they got three movies bloated with special effects and stilted writing. Very quickly Star Wars felt less like fun and more like work, breeding a sense that the new movies should never have seen the light of the day in young Star Wars fans. Following the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, though, the days of Lucas continuing to control the franchise were at an end. J.J. Abrams was tagged to direct Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and all was seemingly made right in the sci-fi world.
From what it looks likes, Disney gave George his cool $4 billion for the rights to the franchise and sent him on his merry way, uninterested in any ideas he may have had for The Force Awakens. And honestly, who can blame it? With hindsight set squarely at 20/20, it’s easy for us to see that Lucas’s newer trilogy was everything the original one wasn’t. This likely explains why J.J. Abrams was brought on to resurrect the fun-loving spirit of movies like A New Hope. He managed to do the same for the Star Trek franchise, and having Disney whisper Lucas’s long-since-forgotten ideas into his ear only serves to distract from whatever vision he might have.
Ironically, George’s decision to hand over the reins to Star Wars came from a feeling that “the time is more important to me than the money.” What likely happened was a scenario in which he lost the trust of the franchise’s rabid fanbase, necessitating far more time and effort from him than he was willing to exert for a full-on reboot. As an impartial viewer, rather than the man behind the camera, he could step away from a franchise that’s come to define him and his career.
We have very little idea of what the future will hold for Abrams’s The Force Awakens past the initial trailers and rumors from the set, but at the very least, we can be certain that nothing we see will be the result of George Lucas’s domineering. With a brand new cash cow in hand, it’s safe to say that Disney wasn’t about to let it go right back to a place that made it fall out of favor with a devoted, built-in fanbase. The people want less Lucas, and now that’s just what we’ll get.