I picked up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly yesterday (with Anakin/Hayden on the cover), to have something to look at during the wait for the start of ROTS. They have a very nice article in there, talking with Lucas about the Saga, and some interesting tidbits are in there. Just to throw out here for conversation, here's some things I found interesting:
Regarding what the fans wanted for the prequels....
"I think the problem most hardcore fans had with the movies is that they wanted to cut to the chase" says prequels producer Rick McCallum. "They watned Darth. You could almost go from Episode III now and do two more films....you know, Episode 3.1 and 3.2. Just to see a Vader evolve...." McCallum pauses, and the idea just hangs there, tantalizing. "But those aren't the films George wanted to make".
Lucas on the Prequels and the gamble of TPM.....
Lucas believes his biggest gamble was starting the saga with Jake Lloyd's gee whiz kid in Menace. Even his marketing team was skeptical. "That's a little bit of why it got overhyped. People (here) were nervous if it was going to break even," says Lucas of Menace's notorious promotional push. "I didn't care. I said, This is the story. I know I"m going to need to use Hamburger Helper to get it to two hours, but that's what I want to do."
By Lucas' own calculation, 60 percent of the prequel plot he dreamed up decades earlier takes place in Sith. The remaining 40 percent he split evenly between Menace and Clones, meaning each film contained a lot of.....filler. Or, in Lucas parlance, "jazz riffs....things that I enjoy.....just doodle around a lot"--mostly in the form of blending live action and animation to create exotic worlds and emotionally resonant characters. You know, like Jar Jar. "That's the whole point to me. Making it the way I want it to be. That's what it comes down to," he says. "Somebody's got to be happy out of all this. It might as well be me."
Lucas and the beginnings of the Prequels........
After finishing ROTJ in 1983, capping a decade of Star Wars labor, George Lucas wanted to focus on raising a family with his wife Marcia, and build Lucasfilm into a vehicle for financing and servicing the films he wanted to make. "Then I got divorced," says Lucas, "and that sort of screwed that up. I had to start all over again." He means emotionally and financially: The split reportedly cost him $50 million of his fortune. He spent the next decade or so raising his three adopted children, shoring up Lucasfilm, producing a few movies and a TV series (Young Indy), and trying to determine when....and with what.....he'd return to direction. In 1994 "after much back and forth", he chose Star Wars.
"I tried to get out of doing it," confesses Lucas. He even asked (half jokingly) Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard to each take a prequel: "Those are the two guys I agree with aesthetically the most." If they had said yes? "I would have said, Good!" But both said no. "He was reluctant to get back in the harness. Its just the hours and the intensity," says Howard. "Steven told him the same thing: George, there's one person to do these, and that's you. YOu just have to get up out of your chair and leave your desk. I know the ranch is an enticing place, but just go make these movies".
Anyways...great article, and a nice read. I really didn't know some of these things that Lucas thought about the prequels, and basically admitting that he had to stretch the story out and use "filler" for the first two prequels. Plus, the fact that he initially wanted help with them from Howard and Spielberg was just interesting to me.