The filmmaker admits he still hasn't seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens: "I'm faced with this awkward reality, which is fine"
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is wrapped and ready to roll, but the man behind the franchise still hasn’t watched.
George Lucas confessed as much in an interview with The Washington Post posted Monday, explaining that when he sold the rights to the Star Wars franchise to Disney in 2012, he felt like he was parting ways with one of the great loves of his life.
“I call it like a divorce,” he says. Now, with J.J. Abrams taking the reigns, all Lucas can do is sit back and watch.
“Now I’m faced with this awkward reality, which is fine,” Lucas says. Returning to his marriage metaphor, he continues, “I gotta go to the wedding. My ex will be there, my new wife will be there, but I’m going to have to take a very deep breath and be a good person and sit through it and just enjoy the moment, because it is what it is and it’s a conscious decision that I made.”
So far, Lucas hasn’t watched a single frame. The first official trailer, which debuted on Oct. 19, has racked up over 65 million YouTube views and spawned countless reaction videos from fans and cast members alike. And although Lucas boasts, “I’ve got the best theater in the world” at his Skywalker Ranch, he has yet to screen Episode VII.
While he was originally rumored to be an advisor on the new films, Lucas says Disney “decided they didn’t like” his vision for the sequels. Rather than “working over someone’s shoulder,” he chose to remove himself from the project.
“You’re either the dictator or you’re not,” he explains. “I knew that I couldn’t be involved. All I’d do is make them miserable. I’d make myself miserable. It would probably ruin a vision – J.J. has a vision, and it’s his vision.”
Fortunately, Lucas parted ways with his creation knowing he’d achieved his vision as best he could. In the late 90s, he began digitally revising the original films for rerelease. In addition to cleaning up some of the visual elements, Lucas reworked entire scenes he never liked, including the now infamous exchange between Han Solo and the bounty hunter Greedo from the 1977 film.
In the original version, Han shoots Greedo by surprise under a table after the bounty hunter threatens him. In the new version, Greedo shoots first, prompting Han to fire back in retaliation. Diehard fans were outraged by the change, but Lucas has refused to apologize for the decision.
“Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’ ” he asks. “Because I was thinking mythologically – should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] – you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.”
After spending decades tinkering and reimagining his creation, Lucas says he’s looking forward to experiencing Star Wars as a regular audience member for the first time. “I never got to see the spaceship come over [in 1977]. I never got that experience that everyone else got to have. I never got to see Star Wars. So this time I’m going to.”