George Lucas still offers some advice to Kathleen Kennedy on the Star Wars universe

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From Entertainment Weekly:

“Despite his retirement, the godfather of Star Wars still weighs in occasionally about the new films.

And George Lucas has one main area of interest: the Jedi.

Since The Last Jedi will take fans on a journey to the primitive first temple of the Force-wielding order, it seems like a good time to revisit a comment Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy made to EW at this year’s Star Wars Celebration.

Kennedy, who has known and worked with Lucas since their Raiders of the Lost Ark days, was asked if he still offers input into the films and stories being developed.

“Not really,” she said. “But he’ll whisper in my ear every now and then. Usually it’s something specific or important to him about Jedi training. Things like that.” […]

Lucas, who sold his company to Disney in a $4 billion deal in 2012, has occasionally visited the sets of the films, but Rogue One director Gareth Edwards said his suggestions were limited to jokes and encouragement to not “screw up.” 

Although his original story treatments for where the saga might go have gone largely unused, Kennedy said some of the broader ideas are still providing the foundation, like handing off the heroism to a new group of characters.

“I think he’s starting to settle into this and just be a fan,” she said. “It’s taken a while. It’s hard to let go, after 40 years. That’s a lot of expectation and things he thought a lot about. Suddenly that next generation, that whole thematic idea he came up with, is in process.””

 

Dork Side of the Force defends George Lucas, the Prequels and the Original Trilogy changes

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From Dork Side of the Force:

“Today an article crossed my path from Epic Stream that stated there are problems “ruining” the Star Wars franchise. The media source listed and broke down 10 reasons how the franchise has basically lost its way.

Even though the article is very articulate and well written, I completely disagree with its conclusions. In fact, I believe the 10 reasons that are brought up actually make Star Wars far better and not worse.

The article criticized everything from George Lucas, to the Prequels, to nostalgia, and more. Here is our counter to each point of their 10 arguments. […]

8. Thank you, George Lucas.

Their argument: That George Lucas was not the main reason for their success. They credited others (writers and directors) with more of the reason for the success of Star Wars, not the Lucas.

Our counter: Even though I agree that teamwork is key to Star Wars being what it is today and that the actors, Lawrence Kasdan, the writers, and the story group are critical to their success; they do not deserve most of the credit, Lucas does.

Lucas took all the risk when he first introduced Star Wars. If it fails, then he fails. If the creator didn’t take a chance on these directors, actors, and writers to help him create his vision, then they would not be successful. George Lucas deserves most of the credit.

Plus it was his vision for the animated series Clone Wars, which took the franchise to a whole new level. Thank you, George and we give you most of the praise and credit for Star Wars. […]

4. The remastered versions of Star Wars enhance the story.

Their argument: The remastered versions of the movies makes the Original Trilogy unrecognizable.

Our counter: These new changes actually make the original movies even more recognizable.

Every time these new additions are released, it introduces Star Wars to a whole new audience that may never have seen them before.

It’s also creative and makes the movies more fun.

An example of the revised versions adding to the originals is Hayden Christensen’s version of Anakin being displayed as a Force ghost at the end. Instead of having a guy we’ve never seen standing there with Obi Wan and Yoda, the portrayed and recognizable version of the character prevents confusion and connects the Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy together. […]

1. The Enduring Legacy

Their argument: That The Prequels ruined everything about Star Wars.

Our counter: That viewpoint could not be further from the truth, in my opinion.The Prequels expanded and gave us backstory that we’ve always wanted. We got vast worlds, intriguing politics, the Jedi in great numbers, and an origins story of the Emperor.

They mentioned the point of The Phantom Menace explaining too much of the Force i.e with midi-chlorians. I thought it was a nice touch showing the science of The Force, but still leaving much mystery on how it works.

Their biggest blunder was saying that Episode III was the worst of them all. In fact, I believe that Revenge of the Sith was the best of not only The Prequels but on the same level with any of the originals. Hayden’s portrayal of Anakin/Vader was dark, moving, and had a vast amount humanity that was just brilliant.

Remember, George Lucas wanted to set Vader as the victim, not the villain. Revenge of the Sith achieved that goal and displayed just how tragic Darth Vader really was.

We also got the Clone Wars and a plethora of prequel stories that spawned from the movies.”

George Lucas and Mark Bradford to Share Stage at LACMA’s Art + Film Gala

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From The Hollywood Reporter:

“George Lucas and Mark Bradford have a date with LACMA this fall.

The museum announced today that the legendary filmmaker and the beloved local artist will take the stage as honorees at the 2017 Art + Film Gala on Nov. 4. […]

Proceeds from gala benefit LACMA’s initiative to make film more central to the museum’s curatorial programming, while also serving the museum’s broader mission. […]

In making the announcement, LACMA CEO Michael Govan praised his institution’s history with Bradford as well as Lucas’s upcoming museum of his own. “LACMA has enjoyed a long relationship with Mark, from our first purchase of his work in 2002 as part of the museum’s ‘Art Here and Now’ program to the acquisition of his monumental 2013 painting Shoot the Coin. He was also co-curator and artist of our founding exhibition at Charles White Elementary School, which set a new direction for our many education and community programs,” said Govan, who also serves as Wallis Annenberg director. “George is known worldwide as having made some of the most innovative and beloved films in history. He has also been devoted to collecting a wide variety of narrative visual arts, with his efforts culminating very soon in the construction of a new museum in Exposition Park. George’s epic new museum is one of the greatest cultural philanthropic gifts ever made in Los Angeles, and will benefit local communities as well as encourage a deeper understanding of narrative arts.”

In its release, the museum also noted the duo’s shared commitment to education. Bradford has invested in the Los Angeles community with Art + Practice, an organization that brings museum-quality art exhibitions and youth services to Leimert Park. Lucas founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which provides real-world information at the parent, teacher and school level along with community connections to impact the course of learning and promote lifelong achievement. […]”

Robot Chicken creator says Lucasfilm is far less willing to collaborate since George Lucas left

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From Screen Rant:

“One of Robot Chicken co-creator Matthew Senreich’s favorite things to parody on the long-running Adult Swim sketch show is Star Wars, which was fully supported by Lucasfilm guru, George Lucas, when the show started out. When Lucas sold his multi-billion dollar company to Disney in 2012, however, things changed a bit for Robot Chicken, and now it’s not as easy for the series to do Star Wars specials as it once was.

Speaking with Screen Rant at SDCC 2017, Senreich admitted the Star Wars stuff is “closest and dearest to his heart,” and it shows. […]

When asked how it was so easy for the show to have access to the Star Wars canon, Senreich replied:

“Because it was just one guy: George Lucas. He saw our show and he was the one to approach us, like, “What do you guys want to do with us?” It started a multi-year relationship. When he sold the company to Disney, it changed the relationship… It comes down to corporations playing with each other. As much as we know those people, and they like us and we like them, we are dealing with billion dollar companies that could care less what we think and how well we know each other.”

Senreich said that they will still poke fun at Star Wars, just in a shortened version – at least, for now:

“For a regular episode of the show, it’s parody so it’s no different from say Saturday Night Live making fun of any of these properties. But to do a full episode of an actual property, we would need the agreement of that company.””

Lucasfilm still doesn’t intend to release The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Michael Siglain is creative director at Lucasfilm Publishing.


J. W. Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was initially scheduled for release in October 2016, but Lucasfilm eventually canceled it. The book was to reveal some of George Lucas’ original ideas for the sequel trilogy.

George Lucas predicted in 1999 that Jar Jar would be seen in a new way 20 years later

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From WIRED:

“THE CALL FROM George Lucas came in the summer of 1999, while Ahmed Best was out for a walk in New York City’s Washington Square Park. It was like a lifeline. At that moment, the then-25-year-old actor and musician was on screens across the world, starring in one of the biggest movies of the year, if not the decade: Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace. Thanks to pre-emptively ecstatic press leading up to the film’s release, Best’s face had been everywhere, grinning widely from the covers of Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, and even landing a corner flap on the front of Time magazine. But because he’d always been in character as Jar Jar Binks, his CGI-assisted alter ego, Best’s fellow parkgoers likely didn’t recognize him that day. Which means they couldn’t have known they were in the presence of the most hated-upon alien in the galaxy.

For the previous few weeks, Jar Jar and Best had been the twin villains of the internet, with Best’s performance eliciting all sorts of ire-ridden accusations: that Jar Jar was a kiddie-pleasing drag who was wesa– and mesa-ing his way through a grown-up movie; that he’d been crassly concocted by George Lucas solely to sell more toys; that he was a bafoonish, borderline-racist caricature. These days, such pop-culture controversies are usually snuffed out within a few weeks and swiftly replaced with more up-to-date outrages. But the Jar Jar jeremiad lasted for years. A site called JarJarMustDie.com was launched before the film’s release, and numerous fan forums emanated a loud, shared anti-Gungan din. Best’s creation was so toxic that a Jar Jar gag wound up being jammed at the last minute into that year’s South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut, and in 2000 a Star Wars fan released a homemade version of Menace—dubbed The Phantom Edit—that pared down some of Binks’ antics.

By the time Lucas called, Best was stuck in a cruel limbo that few actors experience—a state of being infamous and anonymous, all at once. “It’s really difficult to articulate the feeling,” Best says now. “You feel like a success and a failure at the exact same time. I was staring at the end of my career before it started.”

Throughout the controversy, Best had largely remained quiet. But Lucas wanted to talk. “George said, ‘This happened with the Ewoks. It happened with Chewbacca. It happened with Lando Calrissian,’” Best recalled. “He was used to this. He knew what was going to happen.”

Twenty years from now, Lucas said, things were going to be very different, and people were going to see this character in a new way. Best just needed to focus on the future. […]

One of Best’s dream guests [for his podcast], he says, is Lucas himself. The two occasionally still talk, though Best says he’s closer to Menace costars Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor. “I’d like to have the definitive Jar Jar episode with him,” Best says. “I would really want to know how he saw that this type of filmmaking was going to be pretty ubiquitous. And I’d want to ask him why he went there.””

George Lucas to appear in HBO documentary about Steven Spielberg

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From Variety:

“HBO is giving the documentary treatment to Steven Spielberg.

Directed and produced by “American Masters” alum Susan Lacy, “Spielberg” is set to air Oct. 7. Lacy conducted more than 30 hours of interviews with the renowned filmmaker for the feature-length doc.

The docu will chronicle his nearly 50-year career as a filmmaker of such landmark pics as “Jaws,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Color Purple,” “Schindler’s List,” “Jurassic Park” and “Saving Private Ryan.”

Among the notables who contribute insights on Spielberg are J.J. Abrams, Christian Bale, Drew Barrymore, Cate Blanchett, Francis Ford Coppola, Daniel Craig, Daniel Day-Lewis, Brian de Palma, Laura Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Dreyfuss, Ralph Fiennes, Harrison Ford, David Geffen, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Holly Hunter, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ben Kingsley, Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas, Liam Neeson, Martin Scorsese, Oprah Winfrey, and Robert Zemeckis.”