Some characters in Star Wars have more than two eyes, but you will rarely see one with four eyes – at least, not in the derogatory term that mean people use to describe someone with glasses. That’s because George Lucas said there are no glasses in space.
Now that Lucas is no longer running things, glasses are allowed, and The Mandalorian took advantage of this new freedom, such as it was. But what does the creator of the galaxy far, far away have against vision-improving eyewear?
Here’s why George Lucas nixed glasses
Upon hearing that George Lucas banned glasses in Star Wars, a person might first guess that maybe Lucas, who wears glasses himself, didn’t want cameras or other equipment showing up in reflective surfaces. That’s kind of/sort of true, but that’s not what Lucas was getting at.
Inverse explains that George Lucas disallowed glasses in Star Wars because there should be no need for them in space. When you can travel at the speed of light, surely you can devise some kind of method to ensure that corrective lenses are no longer necessary.
Lucas was a stickler for logic. Editor Paul Hirsch, who worked on the original 1977 Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back said in his new autobiography that Lucas didn’t like dialogue playing on top of a shot of a building. Lucas would complain, “Is the building talking?”
The website explained it this way: “A galaxy that relies so heavily on automated systems, audio/visual communication, and holograms wouldn’t have much need for reading glasses — no one really reads in the Star Wars universe.”
What characters in ‘Star Wars’ have glasses now?
As Screen Rant points out, there’s a character named Pershing in The Mandalorian who wears glasses. That character works for what remains of the Galactic Empire, which is still in tatters after its defeat in Return of the Jedi. The Mandalorian takes place roughly five years after the events of Return of the Jedi when a bunch of small bears armed with rocks and sticks (Ewoks) helped defeat the evil empire.
Why bring that up? Because one of only two pre-Disney instances of Star Wars characters wearing glasses was Noa Briqualon of the TV movie Ewoks: The Battle For Endor. The other was Saun Dann of the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special, which Lucas famously despised. Maybe it was the glasses?
But there have been a number of characters with eyewear in Disney’s Star Wars, if not actual eyeglasses. Probably the most prominent example is Maz Kanata, the sage-like creature voiced and motion-captured by Lupita Nyong’o who takes a particular shine to Chewbacca. Perhaps the simplest explanation for Lucas’ aversion to eyeglasses might be that it makes a good excuse for the stormtroopers to be such lousy shots.
How ‘Star Wars’ left George Lucas behind
It’s not just the allowing of glasses that shows Disney is breaking away from George Lucas’ rules and traditions. When Lucas sold his company to Disney, he gave them a plot outline for a sequel trilogy that would have focused heavily on microbiology. Sure, Luke would be training a new Jedi, but there would be more material along the lines of the midichlorians, one of the less liked features of the original trilogy. Disney, wanting to make its own way, passed on Lucas’ outline, and that gave Lucas seller’s remorse.
When he made the prequel trilogy, Lucas put particular emphasis on digital effects. A firm believer in technological advancement, Lucas thought this was the way of the future, and he was right, but some people thought he leaned too heavily in that direction. With few, if any practical elements in any given shot, the prequels looked artificial to many viewers.
That’s why The Mandalorian’s sensation, Baby Yoda, was rendered the good old-fashioned way, with puppetry and animatronics. Fans loved a photo that circulated recently showing Lucas cradling Baby Yoda like a proud grandpa. Some people may not like Lucas’ rules and methods, but they’ll always have a soft spot for the man who started it all.