‘Star Wars’: Why Steven Spielberg Refused to Direct the Prequels
The Star Wars prequels continue to divide people and many blame George Lucas for their flaws. Interestingly, Lucas did not want to direct the prequels. He asked Steven Spielberg to direct them, but Spielberg turned down his offer. In addition, other popular Hollywood directors declined the same offer.
The three directors George Lucas asked to direct the ‘Star Wars’ prequels
Our story begins with child star turned Hollywood director Ron Howard. According to Cinema Blend, Howard discussed the prequels on an MTV podcast. He shared some interesting information about himself, Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis.
“[Lucas] didn’t necessarily want to direct [the prequels],” Howard said. “He told me he had talked to Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, and me. I was the third one he spoke to. They all said the same thing: ‘George, you should do it’ I don’t think anybody wanted to follow-up that act at the time. It was an honor, but it would’ve been too daunting.’”
Lucas’ choices of potential directors make sense as each of them had experience making science fiction and fantasy films. Spielberg left an indelible impact on science fiction with his films Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. In addition, Spielberg and Lucas previously collaborated on the Indiana Jones films. In a similar vein, Zemeckis was behind two of the most famous works of speculative fiction from the 1980s: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Back to the Future. Howard was less associated with science fiction and fantasy, however, he did direct the cult classic Willow.
How Steven Spielberg reacted to the prequel trilogy
Though Spielberg never directed a Star Wars movie, he did chime in on the prequels. According to the Irish Examiner, Revenge of the Sith drove him to tears. He felt others would cry at the film’s end.
“I saw it about a week ago, and it’s absolutely amazing,” Spielberg said. “It’s the best of the last three episodes. It’s the best way you could possibly imagine for George to finish it off, it has a tremendous ending and it’s very dark.” Spielberg’s opinion that Revenge of the Sith is the best of the Star Wars prequels echoes the opinion of most critics.
The director George Lucas approached who’d eventually direct a ‘Star Wars’ film
Ironically, Howard would eventually direct a Star Wars film — Solo: A Star Wars Story. Cinema Blend reports the film was originally going to be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who left the project. Howard decided to direct the film because he felt he could help get the movie off the ground.
“I had not planned to direct anything [that] year,” Howard said. “I was reluctant, but I also began to feel that I could help.” The world never got to see a Spielberg-helmed Star Wars film, so a Howard-helmed Star Wars film will have to do.