The Book





Nature of the Beast: De-Centralization and the Star Wars Screenwriting Process in Critical Perspective

Much has been made over the lackluster writing in the newer Star Wars films, which earned more than a combined ten "Razzie" nominations and drew countless amounts of media criticisms. After more than a decade since their theatrical initiation, no Blade Runner-like process of re-discovery is in sight, and it is hard to resist comparing this against the original set of films, which were received in a very different manner and which were arguably written equally differently. Star Wars certainly had a comic book flair to it, featuring swordfights, doomsday devices and space cowboys, yet in spite of this critics found themselves charmed by the film's cleverness, such that it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay; AFI currently ranks the film as the thirteenth most important American motion picture of all time. Its sequel, Empire Strikes Back, arguably had an even better screenplay, leaving behind the broad jokiness of Star Wars in favor of grave melodrama, sepulchral in its approach and brimming with emotional subtext--while facing some criticism in 1980, today it is widely considered one of the great films of all time,[1] and remains the fan-favorite of the series.[2] Return of the Jedi, however, has long been noted for its storytelling faults,[3] and was not received nearly as warmly, though it nonetheless occasionally garners honourable mentions.[4]

In 2001, BBC reported that tens of thousands of voters in a poll run by Channel 4 selected both Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back as the two greatest films of all time.[5] Voters in Total Film magazine voted Empire Strikes Back as the greatest film of all time in 2006,[6] and in 2008 10, 000 readers, 150 industry professionals (including directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Sam Mendes) and 50 "key film critics" in UK's Empire magazine voted Empire Strikes Back at number three in their ambitious "500 Greatest Movies of All Time" feature.[7] Taking a survey of reactions to the films by critics gives us a rough guide to reinforce this.[8] Using Metacritic.com, Star Wars scores 91/100, Empire Strikes Back 78/100, Return of the Jedi 52/100, Phantom Menace 52/100, Attack of the Clones 53/100 and Revenge of the Sith 68/100. Rotten Tomatoes.com has similar rankings for the films.[9]

Given the wide disparity in appraisal between the first two entries and everything that followed, we might ask ourselves then: what creative and temporal processes correspond to the construction of these? If the films degraded in quality after Empire Strikes Back, is there a historical context that can be traced in parallel? Indeed, there is; probing deeper into the ways the films were assembled, we discover that there are commonalities in their construction that correspond to their reception. This article will henceforth be an examination of the working methods of George Lucas, and how those working methods changed--and what the repercussions were. It will be, essentially, an examination of why Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back had much better screenplays than all the other films in the franchise.


When it was merely the original trilogy the aforementioned degradation might be attributed simply to bad luck--Lucas was successful twice but then slipped for the third entry in the series, and Jedi's tenuous reputation was still overshadowed by its connection to the cherished previous two films and the trilogy upheld as a classic. But when the Special Editions of 1997 presented the same questionable material (i.e. a musical number, Han Solo shooting second, CGI slapstick) it raised alarms--alarms that the prequels confirmed, a few years later. Now it was no longer an exception but a deliberate trend--there was something inherent in the mind and manner which was producing the material itself. Much like Return of the Jedi, the prequels were praised for their visual effects and design but harshly treated for their lack of drama, non-existent characters, poor dialog, and child-pandering elements, which all coalesce in the screenplay stage of development.


A common explanation is merely that "Lucas lost his touch" [10]--he made two great films and one good film (the original trilogy), plus the masterpieces of American Graffiti and Raiders of the Lost Ark and the overlooked gem of THX 1138, but now he's past his prime. While this is ostensibly part of the explanation, it is too simple a view. The research enacted for my monograph on the screenwriting of the Star Wars franchise, however, afforded me the availability of a number of facts which outlined a distinct division in the processes used to construct the six films which comprise the series, especially where the screenplays were concerned. To put it succinctly, Lucas never really had "the touch" to begin with in this sense. This is not to argue that he was untalented and that the original films should be credited to everyone but him. However, on his own, Lucas is incapable of constructing a plot-and-character-based film which emotionally grabs the audience; he is not a Lawrence Kasdan or a Francis Coppola, two writers he is often connected with. One can observe that the films that are considered his best--Graffiti, Star Wars, Empire, and Raiders--were the most collaborative, in fact highly collaborative, in terms of the script, and the films that are his worst--namely the prequels, and to a lesser degree Jedi--were the least collaborative. There is a very observable correlation between the methods Lucas used to construct the screenplays and the popular opinion of their quality.


Lucas' Early Methods


Describing why there exists such a gap in writing quality between originals and prequels requires a more detailed probe into the manufacturing of the films. It is not to be attributed to one factor, however, but many, often overlapping and related. First is that, indeed, Lucas is perhaps past his prime; like Orson Welles or even performers like Paul McCartney, who in their youth produced acclaimed works of art, this freshness cannot always be sustained into old age, even if later works are of merit nonetheless. Perhaps an example illustrating the difference manifested by a twenty-year retirement on the part of Lucas can be made between the poignant scene in which Luke discovers his murdered aunt and uncle in Star Wars and a similar scene in Revenge of the Sith where Darth Vader discovers he has killed his wife and cries out "NOOooo!!" to unintentionally comedic effect--in fact, an entire web meme developed around the accidental humor in this.[11]


Other factors are numerous but related: Lucas' own conception of the series is lacking in character depth and nuance; Lucas lost creative control of Empire Strikes Back, creating the false expectation that the films would stylistically continue to be mature and character-driven; Lucas creatively collaborated in a very heavy manner in his earlier efforts; and he did not have as much clout or status and thus was challenged more. Conversely, beginning with Return of the Jedi a process of centralization occurred, where Lucas assigned himself dictatorial control and imposed his demands much more strongly, without as much counterbalance of input from others. This methodology was comparably minor in that film but in the prequels it became all-pervasive--the scripting was a singular effort, without much criticism, editing or input from outside individuals, at least in the same profound and integral manner that the earlier films were made with.


To start, we should look at THX 1138 and American Graffiti in order to understand the origins of Lucas the writer, and understand the entry point from which his later space adventure was approached from. Lucas, in his early career, detested both storytelling and scripting and never intended to participate in either, preferring to make abstract art films bearing influence from the formalistic experimentations of Arthur Lipsett.[12] Lucas remarked to Starlog magazine in 1981:


I don't think I am a good writer now. I think I'm a terrible writer...I went to USC as a photographer--I wanted to be a cameraman--but obviously at film school you have to do everything...Well, I did terrible in script writing...I didn't want to know about stories and plot and characters and all that stuff. And that's what I did. My first films were very abstract.[13] 


He was able to escape the emotional involvement of a movie with narrative and identifiable characters when he was in film school, but once he began making professional films he could not postpone confronting this for long. "I'm not a good writer," he repeated to Filmmakers Newsletter in 1974, whilst writing Star Wars. "It's very, very hard for me. I don't feel I have a natural talent for it...When I sit down I just bleed on the page and it's awful."[14]


Preparing his first feature, THX 1138, producer and close friend Francis Coppola mandated Lucas write the script himself, arguing that he had to learn to write if he wanted to direct.[15] What resulted was not surprising. "[Francis] chained me to my desk and I wrote this screenplay," Lucas remembered in a Starlog interview. "I finished it, read it and said, 'This is awful.' I said, 'Francis, I'm not a writer. This is a terrible script.' He read it and said, 'You're right.' "[16] A professional writer (Oliver Hailey) was hired to do a second draft but Lucas, poor at interpersonal communication, couldn't articulate how he wanted the film to be and was even more distraught.[17] Finally, his film school friend Walter Murch stepped up to the typewriter to produce a useable script.[18]


THX was a very light first step into the world of writing--the plot is threadbare and there is little in the way of characterization; this was a criticism sometimes leveled at the movie, but it was also intentional design that allowed Lucas to avoid confronting his limitations as both a filmmaker and a person, forever emotionally blocked. American Graffiti is where the journey really starts--a slightly more involved plot and more importantly an emphasis on complex characters. With encouragement from his wife and his friends to get away from cold, abstract filmmaking and do a more emotional sort of movie,[19] Lucas came up with the concept based on his adolescence but the actual story was developed with his friends the Huycks (Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz-Huyck) in the form of a treatment, with the Huycks poised to write the script as well.[20] They were unavailable when the time came, so Lucas hired another writer (Richard Walter) but yet again the draft was not what he envisioned.[21] Lucas then hashed out a screenplay on his own that was graced with the fortune in that it was autobiographical, and thus Lucas was able to turn in a storyline that, while perhaps not having characters as strong as the Huycks might have given, at least felt emotionally honest. "Graffiti I wrote in three weeks...[It] was just my life and I wrote it down," he once remarked.[22] More importantly, the Huycks were finally available to re-write Lucas' draft and give the characters more convincing life. Lucas says the scenes are his, the dialog is theirs.[23] This form of relationship would be fundamental to his later successes as well.


Also integral to the success of the film was the directing--or rather lack thereof. Being more concerned with cinematography, Lucas hired a drama coach, set up the cameras and let the actors run the scenes and improvise.[24] "[George] had to shoot so fast that there wasn't any time for directing," executive producer Coppola explained to author Peter Biskind. "He stood 'em up and shot 'em and the [actors] were so talented they--it was just lucky."[25] It was very much the product of chance and collaboration, and Lucas' next project--an action-packed Flash Gordon homage he was calling The Star Wars--was no exception. It is this process that must be understood as a crucial underpinning to how any of Lucas' early films were made.


A Writing Odyssey


In contrast to the image of Lucas as the master-planning storyteller, he stumbled for some time in trying to first write Star Wars. He once referred to it as "a good idea in search of a story," [26] the idea being a revival of the 1930s space opera pulps and adventure serials. After failing to secure the rights to remake Flash Gordon, Lucas was compelled to invent his own sci-fi storyline;[27] in 1973 he wrote a plot summary called Journal of the Whills that was so impenetrable that his agent Jeff Berg didn't even understand it until Lucas explained to him the plot in person.[28] This is understandable considering the story opened with a line as convoluted as: "This is the story of Mace Windy, a revered Jedi-Bendu of Opuchi, as related to us by C.J. Thape, padawaan learner to the famed Jedi." Berg suggested Lucas try something simpler so Lucas did just that, remaking Akira Kurosawa's 1958 adventure fable The Hidden Fortress into a fourteen-page treatment.[29] By 1974, a whole year later, he had expanded this into a rough draft screenplay and showed it to his friends for feedback--most of them found it poor in character and confusing in plot,[30] so Lucas changed it once again, writing himself into the second draft as Luke Starkiller. This provided a more identifiable character, but again the script was lacking.


These drafts, which were almost entirely the product of Lucas, simply weren't very good scripts--characters were flat and stilted, the dialogue was laughable, and the plots convoluted and often deficient in drama, though they showed tremendous imagination, very much like the prequels. His attempts at humour were often off-target as well, as this line of Aunt Beru's from the second draft shows: "Luke, you've hardly touched your dinner. Have some bum-bum extract. It's very mild." However, starting here, Lucas himself began to have less of a direct influence, instead orientated by a circle of collaborators, whom had already been integrated into an informal feedback loop.


When one reads the term "friends" one must keep in mind the referent, as this includes some immensely talented and important filmmakers such as Francis Coppola, John Milius and Haskell Wexler, among others, whom had already been distributed Lucas' first draft.[31] This circle of mutual collaborators gave input, told him which characters worked, which characters didn't work, where the story needed to be improved and how to make the script more engaging. This collaborative aspect should not be underestimated in the least--it was an integral element of the scripting process of Star Wars. Instead of having hired writers or co-writers, which had thusfar failed on his previous films (i.e. Richard Walter, Oliver Hailey), Lucas for this very reason consciously decided to write it himself from the beginning,[32] re-orienting his collaborative approach--he would act as a filter, taking the suggestions of others but then writing the words himself so that he could make the script the way he envisioned it.


"We're all one group of friends here," Lucas expounds in a 1977 interview with Ecran. "Francis Coppola, Matt Robbins, Bill Heiken, Gloria Katz, and a friend I went to school with who works in my production office here; we're all screenwriters. We read each other's scripts and comment on them. I think this is the only way to keep from writing in a total void." Lucas goes on to state:


There are also those who, in addition to being screenwriters, are directors and friends of mind: Coppola, whom I've already mentioned; Phil Kaufman; Martin Scorsese; and Brian de Palma. I show them all my footage and they give me precious opinions that I count on...I wrote the first version of Star Wars, we discussed it, and I realized I hated the script. I chucked it and started a new one, which I also threw in the trash. That happened four times with four radically different versions. After each version I had a discussion with those friends. If there was a good scene in the first version, I included it in the second. And so on...The script was constructed this way, scene by scene.[33]


We see here that Lucas did not simply gather input the way writers typically might do so, but instead had systematically instituted the critique process into the structure of the screenwriting. Lucas' wife Marcia, herself an Oscar-winning editor who had cut Taxi Driver and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, also kept Lucas in check by reminding him of the fundamental emotional resonance needed for a screenplay, in contrast to Lucas' more technical interests.[34] Mark Hamill remembered, "She was really the warmth and the heart of those films, a good person he could talk to, bounce ideas off of, who would tell him when he was wrong." [35]


Finally, following Lucas' last draft, the Huycks rewrote the script (uncredited) to improve the dialogue and give it better snap,[36] a crucial final polish considering Lucas' self-admitted weakness in this area. After a three-year process of filtering and refining his ideas in collaboration with others, Lucas finally had a screenplay that was imaginative and human; though it's cover page only stated, "written by George Lucas," this does not begin to tell the full picture.


Moreover, the rest of the film was an occasion when everything came together in spite of difficulties--Industrial Light and Magic miraculously beat the odds and developed the most dynamic effects ever put on the screen, Ralph McQuarrie and John Berry designed a plausibly weather-beaten world, the actors gave the film needed chemistry, John Williams crafted one of the most rousing scores of all time, Ben Burtt gave the picture weight with his immersive sound design, and Lucas was able to somehow tie these all together. None of these achievements could have possibly been foreseen--they simply happened. Like many forces in popular culture, a film as great and impactful as Star Wars can only be the unlikely product of serendipity.


The Post-Star Wars Years


Moving on to the Indiana Jones series without delay, Lucas continued in the collaborative spirit that had built his previous releases. Lucas devised the concept for Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1975 and he and director Philip Kaufman had developed the story together, but Kaufman was called away by other duties.[37] As Lucas vacationed the week Star Wars was finally released, Steven Spielberg and his wife joined him and Marcia in Hawaii where Lucas brought the idea to his friend's attention, finally enabling the project to move forward. Spielberg recommended budding screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, someone he knew could create complex characters and a rich story.[38] Spielberg, Kasdan and Lucas conferenced on the general plot and personality of the script,[39] drafted a brief treatment,[40] and then Lawrence Kasdan set out to write the script.[41] "I was on my own for six months," Kasdan says in an interview with Scott Chernoff, "and had to go off and write this whole thing by myself."[42] Lucas had finally found a writer-for-hire that suited his style, who would later be put to use twice more. We see, then, that the de-centralized creative framework didn't just apply to the films Lucas directed during this period. While this was going on, however, Lucas was also starting to write the much-ballyhooed sequel to Star Wars.


Lucas had conceived of the Star Wars franchise as a co-operative one even before the film was released, as he had initially hired sci-fi author Alan Dean Foster to write sequel novels in 1975,[43] with the possibility of adapting them into screenplays should there be the commercial impetus.[44] This creative model continued into the post-release period, as the film became a critical and commercial hit in the summer of 1977; Foster had already written the first sequel novel, which was soon released as Splinter of the Mind's Eye, but Lucas chose a more elaborate direction for their cinematic incarnations, owing to the unpredictably wild success of the film, and wanted to include more than just Foster in the shaping of the franchise. In an interview with Rolling Stone published in August 1977, Lucas asserted that he'd like to have a different director for every sequel to give them each a different personal touch, the franchise set at unlimited possibilities (later to be limited to twelve films). He says in the interview:


I think it will be interesting, it is like taking a theme in film school, say, okay, everybody do their interpretation of this theme. It's an interesting idea to see how people interpret the genre...I've put up the concrete slab of the walls and now everybody can have fun drawing the pictures and putting on the little gargoyles and doing all the really fun stuff. And it's a competition. I'm hoping if I get friends of mine they will want to do a much better film, like, 'I'll show George that I can do a film twice that good.' [45]


Only a few months later, in November 1977, he began preliminary writing work on the first sequel to Star Wars, indicating the mindset he brought to its construction.


In this, we come to the great divide of the Star Wars franchise--Empire Strikes Back. Being the second act in a narrative trilogy, executive producer Lucas envisioned the film as somewhat darker and more heavy-handed than Star Wars but still maintained it to be a quick-paced serial adventure: characters would be swiftly developed, the pace breathless, and action would overrule introspection, he insisted.[46] After persuading Irvin Kershner, independent filmmaker and his former film school prof, to direct the film, Lucas then hired aging sci-fi author and Howard Hawks scribe Leigh Brackett to write the screenplay, a seemingly perfect match. He held script conferences with Brackett in November where they developed many ideas and concepts for the film and the rest of the series, which Lucas then took and wrote into a story treatment.[47] Following this Brackett wrote her screenplay--but once again, the result wasn't quite in the style that Lucas envisioned.[48] She passed away the next month, and so Lucas rewrote the script himself, bringing it closer to the way he had imagined. With enough on his plate as it was, he sought someone else to take over writing duties; Lawrence Kasdan soon turned in his first draft of Raiders, and was hired on the spot.[49] Once again, a process of creative de-centralization was at the heart of the film's construction.


Lucas made some bold story choices in his draft, such as writing in Darth Vader as the father of Luke, and he also cemented the narrative skeleton of the final film, but nonetheless, Kasdan unsurprisingly says that Lucas' re-write left a lot to be desired, especially in the character department. "There were sections of the script, which, when I read them, made me say to myself, 'I can't believe George wrote this scene. It's terrible,'" Kasdan recollects in John Baxter's Mythmaker.[50] An example of Lucas' dialog for a scene wherein Han flirts with Leia: "Don't worry, I'm not going to kiss you here. You see, I'm quite selfish about my pleasure, and it wouldn't be much fun for me now." Shades of Attack of the Clones, indeed. Had this been filmed, critics might be lashing the poor scripting of Empire--but, somehow, Empire ended up evolving into another first-rate screenplay. How did that happen? How did lightning not only strike twice but arguably produce a better-crafted script than the original? The answer comes with the relinquishing of control Lucas enacted, allowing his screenplay draft to be transformed into something far beyond any abilities he had on his own.


In late 1978, now nearly a year after the first conferences with Brackett, Lucas gathered up writer Lawrence Kasdan, producer Gary Kurtz and director Irvin Kershner, and together the four of them re-developed Lucas' screenplay.[51] Lucas maintained that the script be short in length, light on character and heavy on action, and no more than 105 pages,[52] but everyone else saw it differently--Kasdan and Kershner thought the film should be slower and could hold more character, and Kurtz agreed.[53] Kasdan complained that Lucas rushed through scenes at the expense of their emotional content, to which Lucas replied, characteristic of his storytelling philosophy, "Well, if we have enough action, nobody will notice."[54] Yet, Kasdan, Kurtz and Kershner gradually eroded this mindset. The script was slowly re-built, developing characters, slowing the pace and introducing nuance and subtext. Kershner embraced the darkness of Empire, seeing it as a gloomy fairy tale that could tap into the subconscious fears of children like the tales of the Brothers Grimm.[55] With the smart, sophisticated writing of Kasdan and the guidance of seasoned veteran Kershner, Lucas' story took on new life and the screenplay finally emerged as a much different animal than the first film.


However, while the script was in this respect not the way Lucas initially wanted it, once filming began Kershner let the material drift even more--performance overruled action and spectacle, and scenes were re-written and improvised in order to let character and performance lead the film, which led the production behind schedule and immensely over budget but simultaneously resulted in engrossing drama.[56] An infuriated Lucas hounded Kurtz to restrain Kershner and speed up the production[57] but Kurtz found the additional expenses "worth it," [58] defending Kershner.[59] When Lucas finally flew in from California and saw the rough cut he was horrified and scrambled to re-edit the film to be more like the way he envisioned--action-oriented, eliminating subtlety and moving from scene to scene as fast as possible;[60] again, very much like the editing of the prequels. His cut was a unanimously decreed disaster.[61] Kershner then recut the film with Lucas and it finally became we entity we know.[62] Kershner, however, still feels that the film moves too fast,[63] while Lucas seems to have an understated distaste for the stylistic choices Kershner made.[64] With Lucas picking up the bill at the end of the day, he complained in 1983's Skywalking, "It was just a lot better than I wanted to make it."[65]


Thus we see the answer: Empire was a sort of accident. It was never supposed to turn out the way it did--Kershner stole the film from Lucas, Kasdan was on the same page as Kershner, and Kurtz allowed them to get away with it all.


The production model of the third and final film in the trilogy, Return of the Jedi, then must be seen as a reaction against this incident, with Lucas shifting his approach to safeguard his ability to control it to his own whims and desires. However, as Empire's follow-up the material necessarily continued in the more sophisticated manner of that film. And, while Lucas wrote the rough drafts of the film himself, he still passed them on to Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the final three drafts, precursed with story conferences involving Kasdan, director Richard Marquand and producer Howard Kazanjian, all of whom worked to maintain characters and a believable tone in the re-writes.[66] 


Kurtz and Kershner, of course, weren't invited back, but nor were they interested themselves, alienated by the Lucas' increasingly corporate-influenced approach that shunned his peers. Here, Lucas began to take a more dictatorial approach to the film--Empire would not happen twice. "You're working for George--it's his story, his baby," said Jedi's producer, Howard Kazanjian, in a 1983 article for American Cinematographer. "You're representing his wishes."[67] Such was the guiding principle of the production. Gary Kurtz stated to IGN Film Force in 1999: "On Jedi, [Lucas] was determined to find a director who was easy to control, basically, and he did. And that was the result, basically--the film was sort of one that George might have directed if he had directed it himself."[68]


What was more, unlike Empire where Lucas only visited the set a handful of times, Lucas was permanently on the shoot, and uncreditedly served as both second-unit director and at times even directed portions of the main unit;[69] though Marquand helmed the majority of it, the film is, as Kurtz has suggested, one that belongs to Lucas first and foremost.


With Lucas growing tired of the series and hoping to walk away from it,[70] vowing to never make a Star Wars film again,[71] and pushing the film in a simpler, more kid-friendly direction (perhaps because he had just adopted an infant daughter), the material ultimately sacrificed much of the dramatic potential of Empire's conclusion and left many critics bored, but with checks and balances from Marquand and Kasdan the script and film were kept stronger than Lucas himself would have achieved alone.


Method Changes After the Original Trilogy


Constructing the prequels, the process of collaboration that had characterized most of the precedings ceased. Even in 1981, in the midst of pre-production on Jedi, Lucas expressed doubts that anyone but himself could write the second set of films--the vision in his head was too specific to allow anyone else to compromise it: "I don't know," he replied in 1981 when Starlog asked if he would ever allow anyone to write the prequels. "I'd love to. But I don't think it's going to be possible."[72] As we will see later, it seems Lucas believed, perhaps due to the mega-success of his recent projects, that he was capable of such a feat, forgetting or not fully realising the impact that collaboration had played in achieving those successes. In 1983, seeing the growing Lucasfilm kingdom boxing Lucas in, his old friend Willard Huyck remarked, "When you're that successful and you've been proven right too many times, you don't give people an opportunity to argue with you because they can't argue with success."[73]


The prequels were faced with more challenges that just Lucas' inability to write naturalistic dialogue and three-dimensional characters--even on Star Wars, Harrison Ford famously said of the techno-talk, "You can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it."[74] Lucas saw the Star Wars series as quick-paced, without much character development and presented in a simple manner. He was denied constructing Empire in this fashion but began to successfully integrate the aforementioned characteristics back in the series with Jedi. With the prequels he finally had absolute power, able to make the series precisely as he envisioned, stating that while Star Wars was 50 percent how he intended, 1999's Phantom Menace was 90 percent;[75] as he would boast in interviews, for the first time in his career he had total control over the content of his films.[76] This was especially meaningful now that he was directing them as well. Consistent with his approach on the previous sequels, Lucas apparently didn't mind that the characters were only mildly developed, that the pace was erratic, and the dialogue clumsy--seeing the series as Saturday matinee material he accepted these as allowable aspects of the films, and perhaps even regarded them as part of their charm.[77]


The result was that there was no strong desire to clean up the scripts in any significant way.[*] His initial Star Wars screenplays were considered equally weak but his friends helped orient him enough to make the final piece engaging, while Kasdan and Kershner muscled him out for Empire and wrote the script as if a serious drama. Lucas had much more input in Jedi, but Marquand and especially Kasdan could at least put it on paper and on screen in a way that was dramatically passable most of the time. Thus we come full circle to my original preposition--in a sense, Lucas never really had "the touch." He didn't lose it--quite the opposite, it was hidden all along, compromised on Star Wars and Empire, prefigured in Jedi, and then allowed full exposure on the prequels. The prequels are actually a pure example of George Lucas, free of any storytelling mediators. Most critics simply didn't realise how much collaboration alleviated the inherent flaws in his earlier work.


This can be argued alongside the popular contention that Lucas has become so revered and powerful that there is no one willing to challenge him. While this is undoubtedly true to a large degree--for example, Kurtz was with Lucas since the days of THX and hence did not see him as a powerful mogul--a more significant element to this argument that underlines the differences in approach is that Lucas chose to script the prequels on his own. Lucas' obstinate his-way-or-the-highway attitude is legendary, whether in 1977 or 1997, but the crucial difference between the original trilogy and prequels is that it was Lucas himself who removed the checks and balances. The original trilogy had additional input only because Lucas consciously created such an environment.


During the time of Graffiti and Star Wars Lucas took a rather humble view of himself, and frequently had his concepts challenged by others--and he let them do so. Being self-avowedly mediocre at writing and directing, he was open to what others had to say. Alan Dean Foster, who wrote the 1976 Star Wars novelisation and was initially hired to write the two following sequel novels,[78] once remarked to Starlog his amazement at Lucas' ability to simply listen to the feedback of those he worked with.[79] Star Wars can be viewed as the result of Lucas recognizing his own limitations: having never wanted to write from the beginning, he sought out writers for THX and Graffiti, but inevitably found himself involved in their scripting, so he experimented with a different method for Star Wars where he would just script it himself from the start--anticipating that he would end up writing regardless--but had indirect co-writers in the form of a circle of friends. Although Lucas thought he would have more control over Empire than he did, he still set up the project in a way that was built around collaboration, which is why the film ended up the way it did. Even on Jedi, he had hired Marquand to direct, and held story conferences with him, Kasdan and Kazanjian before Kasdan wrote the final drafts of the screenplay.


The contrast of his early days to his later days is enormously significant and deserves the attention I am giving it here. It may be argued that this transformation was largely due to hubris. After Star Wars, Lucas became such a celebrity that he could no longer venture outdoors, only leaving Skywalker Ranch to go to the movies,[80] and he was praised as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time--but Empire was made so soon afterwards, with writing commencing in 1977, that he still operated with the pre-Star Wars mindset. "It'll be your film," he assured Kershner, who was concerned about maintaining artistic control.[81] It is not until Jedi, written starting in 1981--after Star Wars, after Empire and after Raiders, cumulatively worth over a billion dollars in worldwide grosses--that the change becomes apparent. Checks and balances were removed--Kurtz left, he found a director (Marquand) that would essentially act as his personal avatar, found a producer (Kazanjian) that would tow the company line, controlled the project strictly and was constantly on set co-directing[82]--and he wondered aloud that no one but himself could script the prequels.[83] In 1983's Skywalking he states, "If I have any more success, it's going to be obscene...I'm beginning to impress even myself."[84]


This entire transformation can be traced in parallel to the creation of Skywalker Ranch, which has taken on the informal monikers of "LucasLand" and "Fortress Lucas,"[85] a fenced compound that Lucas lives and works in, completely isolated from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. This facility arguably has its roots in the late '60s, where it began under a very different philosophy as American Zoetrope, a collaborative union of hippie filmmakers who strove to make films together. The first and only film made for it during its formative stage was the directorial debut of the company vice-president--George Lucas' THX 1138. Hence we see how the collaborative nature of his own early films was apparent in the workplace he immersed himself in.


When Zoetrope collapsed following THX's unsuccessful release, Lucas continued the dream in the form of Lucasfilm: he bought a house in the San Francisco suburbs and turned it into an office, renting office rooms to his friends, such as Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins. There, they shared ideas and inquired into their respective projects--Lucas was writing a script called The Star Wars, which must have made it easy to gather feedback from them. There were cafes and restaurants down the street where they would often gather and discuss their scripts.[86] Later, Lucas purchased additional houses on land nearby and turned them into screening rooms and storage spaces[87]--the commune was growing in scale, and here it began to transform from American Zoetrope to Skywalker Ranch. After Star Wars, Lucas too began to change, purchasing a multi-million dollar piece of land in the country. He was constructing a sprawling complex that he hoped would be like the Lucasfilm and Zoetrope offices but on a bigger scale, a filmmaker's Xanadu.


During the making of Empire it was just a vacant piece of land, but afterwards he used the profits to construct the actual facility. As it underwent construction Lucas began changing his mindset on how to make his future films, believing that he should have more control over them. By 1983 the Ranch was complete--and the friends he formerly collaborated with were nowhere to be seen. Everyone had drifted apart and went off on their own, and Skywalker Ranch sat unused;[88] unsurprisingly, most of them had their heyday in the earlier period where they were still closely connected. "It started out that everybody worked together, helped everyone else," John Milius said of the implosion of the New Hollywood in the early '80s. "But as soon as they got money, everyone turned on each other...Steven and George had tremendous power, and they never asked me to do anything for them."[89] This observation did not escape Francis Coppola either, as he explained in Cinema by the Bay: "You ask why there are movements in movie history. Why all of a sudden there are great Japanese films, or great Italian films, or great Australian films, or whatever. And it's usually because there are a number of people that cross-pollinated each other."[90]


After some years of living distantly together Lucas divorced his wife in 1983 just as the Ranch was complete, and in the end it became the $20 million Lucasfilm office, with Lucas left alone--Marcia had been an integral part of keeping Star Wars grounded in character and her departure would be felt in his future films. "You can see a huge difference in the films that he does now and the films that he did when he was married," Mark Hamill stated to Walter Chaw in 2005. "He's like William Randolph Hurst or Howard Hughes, he's created his own world and he can live in it all the time." [91] Lucas remained this way, in his own self-created world, while the facility and Lucasfilm corporation expanded more and more, and his status as the preeminent mythmaker of modern times grew with them. When he returned to Star Wars in 1994[92] it is little wonder that he chose to write the films on his own, and direct them as well. With the media upholding him as an enigmatic god-like figure, with legions of devotees and billions of dollars at his disposal, it is unsurprising that in his isolation he believed that he was capable of doing it all himself.


Consequences of the Prequel Methods


While Lucas ceased working in the model that had characterized his early period once he returned to writing in 1994, he also instituted a number of new techniques into the screenwriting process, which also must be examined to fully explain the manufacture of the prequels and underline the difference in approach Lucas took to filmmaking.


Firstly, the visual- and effects-centric perspective of the prequel construction should not go unexamined. Lucas is famous for having once said "a special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing,"[93] and it is tempting to throw this back at him--but the prequels did have a story, and a very compelling one at that. Issue is instead to be taken with the aforementioned factors which simply allowed the characters and plotting to become weakly written while the visuals more or less continued to uphold their excellent standards, thus disrupting the balance. Commentators have widely criticized Lucas' recent preoccupation with computer effects; this should not come as a total surprise given that Lucas has stated that he waited to tell the prequel stories until he had the technology to let his imagination run free.[94] He certainly seems to show the biggest interest in the new technology, like a kid with new toys to play with[95]--preoccupations that seemed to have, in unison with Lucas' allowance of simple and swiftly-developed characters, let the emotional subtext of the films go by the wayside. It is telling that Lucas wrote the scripts from the perspective of art department--rather than concentrating on what worked for story and character, he would give the art department a concept, a scene or a character, see what their visual interpretation of it was, and then write the script from there.[96] While this occurred in some form on the original trilogy as well, the importance placed on this process for the prequels gave the films tremendous visual strength but without a counterbalance of input with regards to character, dialogue or plot.


Another divergent factor that has contributed to the prequel scripts and should not go unnoticed is a crucial one: time. It is often not considered. Attack of the Clones is a prime example, a potentially-entertaining story tarnished with writing described by some of the most reputed publications in the United States as "irritating gibberish" and "inducing projectile vomiting."[97] Comparing Clones to the process of the original trilogy may illustrate why. While George Lucas ended up in 1976 with an Oscar-nominated screenplay, it had been a journey that not only engaged the collaborative efforts of a dozen friends but that also had spanned the timeframe of three whole years. Each draft was the product of six to twelve months of work. With Empire, after the first story conferences in 1977, it was almost a whole year, with three drafts in between, before Lucas started conferencing for a second time, now with Kasdan, Kurtz and Kershner, which then entailed another month as Kasdan rewrote the script, and then another four months as the final screenplay was cultivated in early 1979, altogether amounting to over a whole year since the first draft was completed. Return of the Jedi had a similar, though not quite as prolonged, chronology. Attack of the Clones exhibits an altogether different scenario. While the situation was not assisted by the fact that Lucas was writing it himself, his rough draft--not yet even a proper first draft--was completed in March of 2000,[98] typed up as he was boarding the plane to leave for the studio since production would begin in June.[99] Can we really be surprised that a script is considered lacking when the rough draft is finished a mere three months before cameras rolled,[100] in contrast to the year-long intervals of the original films?


The process of writing the first pass at Clones' screenplay had been dragged out as far as Lucas could get away with but there literally was no more time--he was also the director and executive producer of the mammoth $115 million film, being shot on the other side of the world in Australia, and he had other duties as production geared up, which is why co-writer Jonathan Hales was brought in shortly afterwards;[101] it was a matter of necessity. However, the sets were already built and the schedule on its way to being locked, a situation producer Rick McCallum described to as like trying to build a skyscraper without a foundation. He added, "Do you know what it's like to budget a film without a script?" [102] Hales therefore had little room to maneuver, and the situation was limiting to all involved in the film. As the final product shows, either Hales' influence is minimal or his writing ability isn't much beyond Lucas' (his only subsequent credit is for 2002's Scorpion King, starring wrestler The Rock). Lucas also re-wrote Hales' last polish, making his contributions even more tenuous.[103] The script was delivered to cast and crew just three days before filming began; no one had seen a draft of the screenplay prior.[104] Curiously, Ben Burtt's editing seems to have exaggerated the film's faults, as the screenplay to Attack of the Clones is slightly better than the final film would suggest, with many of the script's best character bits cut out (though one suspects Lucas' hand is responsible for this as well).


This time-crunch re-occurred yet again on Revenge of the Sith, with the first draft completed a mere two months before filming,[105] which explains why Lucas re-wrote and re-filmed the central arc of the film so intensely after production wrapped (completely changing Anakin's turn to the dark side, the central issue of the six-film franchise)[106]--he never had enough time to come up with these story changes during the actual scripting period.[†] The writing process of the original trilogy demonstrated that ideas need to incubate and simmer, and then be explored and slowly refined, rather than torn out and rushed onto film. On the other hand, Phantom Menace' s two and a half year scripting period does not seem to have made a huge difference either.




This brings us to our last point. A final aspect to consider is that, indeed, Lucas may be past his prime or out of touch with reality--by this I mean that a young, struggling filmmaker in his twenties, desperately trying to get by and determined to make a name for himself, has much to say and a very personal connection to the rest of the world; conversely, a sixty-year-old divorced billionaire who has been a businessman for twenty years and does not venture out in public nor exist as an integrated part of society is less capable of writing convincing or captivating characters. Star Wars had the ring of truth because Luke Skywalker was George Lucas, and the audience felt it--they could identify with Luke's yearning to leave home and make something of himself and it was presented onscreen by someone who knew exactly what it felt like.[107] The sort of awkward distance that one gets from Anakin may parallel the same emotional distance inherent in a reclusive, technical-minded, sixty-year-old billionaire bachelor who runs his own private empire.


The films of George Lucas have had a wide range of reception, but it is quite conspicuous that his earliest efforts have received so much acclaim, while his second phase of films--the prequel trilogy--faced an equal amount of slander. These criticisms are rarely articulated in terms of historical processes, beyond vague sentiments that Lucas "lost his magic." Inquiries into the construction and methodology of the writing process of his films, however, reveal corresponding consistencies that show that the concept of collaboration, above all else, was responsible for those successes, caught in a larger matrix of social integration and power-checking that, once fallen away, led to the critical failures which began with Return of the Jedi and surfaced in full force with the prequels.


[*] Lucas was interested in 1993 in hiring Frank Darabont to write the films, but then decided to just write it himself when the time came in 1994. As Lucas was about to leave for the start of filming on Episode I in 1997 he bumped into Lawrence Kasdan by chance at a speaking event at USC and asked him if he wanted to give the script a polish. Kasdan declined. However, this is akin to an undergrad student asking his roommate to proofread his term paper on the night it is due, unlike Darabont who was actively considered but then passed over.

[†] Sith was at least saved in part in that it had the best dramatic material—in fact, Lucas states that Episode III is eighty percent of his original story material, calling Episode I and II “padding” that he had to make up as he went. See Empire magazine, June 2005; similar sentiment is expressed in “Director George Lucas Takes a Look Back—and Ahead,” by William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 12th, 2005. Lucas also had Tom Stoppard do a polish, focusing on humanizing characters, according to Christensen in a 2005 Playboy interview.




[1] For example, in his 1997 review Roger Ebert opened by saying, “Empire Strikes Back is the best of the three Star Wars films, and the most thought-provoking,” which seemed to be the general consensus among commentators on its re-release. Even in 1991’s edition of 5001 Nights at the Movies, Pauline Kael, ever critical of the series, admits that Empire Strikes Back  is the best of the three and that it displays a skill for fine performance and competent filmmaking unfound in the other two films. U.K.-based Empire magazine’s 1999 poll listed the film as the second-greatest movie of all time (http://www.filmsite.org/empireuk100.html) , while UK’s Film Four listed it at number one. TV Guide’s 1998 Top 50 movies lists it at number 27, ahead of Jaws, Graffiti, Raiders, On the Waterfront and Schindler’s List (http://www.filmsite.org/tvguide.html). Return of the Jedi is absent from these lists, it should be noted—Empire is in a class of its own, as far as sequels go.

[2] Even Lucasfilm acknowledges Empire is the favourite, such as on the back cover description of 2010’s The Making of Empire Strikes Back.

[3] One only needs to peruse the reviews upon the time of its initial release to see that, although some critics found the film enjoyable, a great many found the film clunky, tired and repetitive. An overview of viewer reaction from 1983 usenet internet postings, available http://groups.google.ca/group/net.movies.sw/topics?start=300&hl=en&sa=N, shows a similar trend. A study conducted by website Rotten Tomatoes found that of all six films Jedi by far had the harshest of critic judgment, and even in its 1997 re-release the general consensus is that it is the weakest of the original three. In the late 90s, a popular list circulating on the internet, which was published in 1999’s Unauthorized Star Wars Compendium, was titled 50 Reasons Why Return of the Jedi Sucks, citing tired dialogue, inconsistent kid-friendly tone, and repetitive plotting among other things. As mentioned in the previous footnote, although Star Wars and Empire are routinely found in professional “best film” lists, Jedi rarely if ever is.

[4] On Empire Magazine’s “500 Greatest Films of All Time” it appears a prestigious number 91, while it also appears in compilation books such as the popular 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

[5] “Star Wars Voted Best Film Ever”, BBC, November 26, 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1676023.stm

[6] “100 Greatest Movies of All Time”, Total Film online, Oct. 17, 2006,  http://www.totalfilm.com/features/100-greatest-movies-of-all-time

[7] see “The 500 Greatest Films of All Time”, Empire online, 2008, http://www.empireonline.com/500/

[8] For example, reviews as tallied by Metacritic.com average the prequel trilogy rating as 57/100, while Rottentomatoes.com tallies it as 56/100 (using its “Top Critic” filter, which counts only non-website publications). This goes in contrast to the original trilogy, in which Star Wars and Empire are considered classics of the cinema and Jedi, while not on the same level as the first two films, is still accepted into the pantheon. While it does sometimes take movies a number of years until they become considered classics, the ten years since the start of the prequel trilogy has not seemed to undo its reputation as disappointing series of imaginative yet mediocre films. Even on IMDB the user ratings of the three films are close to the critical consensus at the time of release. Revenge of the Sith received generally warm grades, however, scoring 68/100 as tallied by metacritic and 69 by Rotten Tomatoes; still not good, but much higher than the other two films. It has been asked sometimes why this film is considered acceptable by most critics but not the first two. I would argue that the writing is not any better—what is better, however, is the story itself, where characters have profound arcs and the plot has immediacy and dramatic change. Lucas has admitted that 80% of his original backstory was contained in Episode III, calling the other two films “padding” in Empire magazine in June 2005. Poor reception of the first two films also made the contrast of an acceptable film more favourable.

[9] There is one caveat—many of the original trilogy reviews are recent, rather than time of release. Rotten Tomatoes once reported that the original trilogy was reviewed worse than the prequels when surveying reviews from the time of release, but this is not the case, on the basis of my own research. Indeed, that report by RT is fraught with distortions, from the low sampling rate to the fact that the prequel ratings were taken from websites and fan-sites, rather than legitimate critics (its “Top critics” filter). It is indeed true that the original trilogy wasn’t regarded as highly as it is today, however, but the difference is not extreme; only Empire underwent any noticeable re-appraisal in the years since, but Metacritic’s 78/100 score includes many vintage reviews and reflects in part its reception in 1980, whereas today it is considered better than Star Wars (91/100) by many (Metacritic’s users rated Empire 9.6/10, while they rated Episode II 6.1/10).

[10] This sentiment, if not outright stated, is at least implicit in most negative reviews and critical articles of the prequels (that is, the majority of them), which inevitably long for the days of the original trilogy when the films were still entertaining, meaningful, or otherwise well-made.

[11] This was especially popular at website YTMD.com, and eventually the meme was granted its own documentary in The United States of NOOooo!

[12] "The George Lucas Saga" by Kerry O'Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[13] "The George Lucas Saga" by Kerry O'Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[14]  "The Filming of American Graffiti," by Larry Sturnhahn, Filmmaker's Newsletter, March 1974

[15] "The George Lucas Saga" by Kerry O'Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[16] "The George Lucas Saga" by Kerry O'Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[17] “The George Lucas Saga” by Kerry O’ Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[18] “The George Lucas Saga” by Kerry O’ Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[19] Biskind, p. 235

[20] “The Empire Strikes Back and So Does Filmmaker George Lucas With His Sequel to Star Wars” by Jean Vallely, Rolling Stone, June 12th, 1980

[21] Baxter, p. 117

[22] The Making of Star Wars by Jonathan Rinzler, 2007, p. 132

[23] "The Filming of American Graffiti," by Larry Sturnhahn, Filmmaker's Newsletter, March 1974

[24] Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind, 1997, p. 237

[25] Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind, 1997, p. 237

[26] The Star Wars Souvenir Program, 1977

[27] “George Lucas Goes Far Out” by Stephen Zito, American Film, April 1977

[28] Baxter, p. 142

[29] Kaminski, p. 48

[30] Baxter, p. 157

[31] Rinzler, Making of Star Wars, p. 24

[32] “The George Lucas Saga” by Kerry O’ Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[33] "The Morning of the Magician," by Clair Clouzqt, Ecran, September 15th, 1977 

[34] Biskind, p. 422

[35]  "Mark Hamill Walks Down Memory Lane with Film Freak Central" by Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central, March 20th, 2005, http://filmfreakcentral.net/notes/mhamillinterview.htm

[36] Rinzler, Making of Star Wars, p. 132

[37] Pollock, p. 222

[38] Pollock, pp. 206-7

[39] Rinzler, Complete Making of Indiana Jones, p. 22

[40] Rinzler, Complete Making of Indiana Jones, p. 23

[41] “Lawrence Kasdan Screenwriter” by Scott Chernoff, Star Wars Insider, issue 49, May/June 2000, p.33-36

[42] “Lawrence Kasdan Screenwriter” by Scott Chernoff, Star Wars Insider, issue 49, May/June 2000, p.33-36

[43] Rinzler, Making of Star Wars, p. 107

[44] “Star Wars Per-Zahn-ified” by Jeff Carter, Echostation.com, December 19th, 1998, http://www.echostation.com/interview/zahn.htm,

[45] “The Force Behind Star Wars” by Paul Scanlon, Rolling Stone, August 25th 1977

[46] Pollock, p. 209

[47] See Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays by Laurent Bouzereau, 1997

[48] Bouzereau, Annotated Screenplays, p. 144

[49] Pollock, p. 206

[50] Baxter, p. 271

[51] Pollock, p. 209

[52] Pollock, p. 209-11

[53] Pollock, p. 209

[54] Pollock, p. 211

[55] Pollock, p. 215

[56] Pollock, p. 217, Arnold, pp. 131-47

[57] Pollock, p. 215

[58] “An Interview With Gary Kurtz” by Ken P, IGN Film Force, November 11, 2002, http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/376/376873p2.html

[59] “An Interview With Gary Kurtz” by Ken P, IGN Film Force, November 11, 2002, http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/376/376873p2.html

[60] Pollock, p. 218

[61] Pollock, p. 218; Baxter, p. 293

[62] Pollock, pp. 218-9

[63] “Father Figure” by Michael Sragow, Salon.com, May 13th, 1999, http://www.salon.com/ent/col/srag/1999/05/13/kershner/index.html

[64] Pollock, p. 217

[65] Pollock p. 218

[66] Bouzereau, Annotated Screenplays, p. 231

[67] "Starlog Salutes Star Wars," Starlog, July 1987

[68] “An Interview With Gary Kurtz” by Ken P, IGN Film Force, November 11, 2002, http://movies.ign.com/articles/376/376873p4.html

[69] As he says in the DVD commentary for the film (for instance, he directed Darth Vader’s death scene). Dale Pollock’s set visit during the film’s production described in Skywalking (pp. 6-9) gives no illusions that it is Lucas in command on the filming, not Marquand.

[70] Pollock, p. 274-5

[71] Pollock, p. 274-5, Worrell, p. 175-6

[72] "The George Lucas Saga" by Kerry O'Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[73] Pollock, p. 3-4

[74] Baxter, p. 189. What is interesting is that he also took this infamous statement back after he saw the completed film—he states in The Making of Star Wars, p.298, “I said you can’t say that stuff, you can only type it. But I was wrong. It worked.”

[75] Shone, p. 285

[76] Bouzereau, The Making of Episode I, p. 105

[77]  For instance, while procrastinating on the writing of Revenge of the Sith he jokes to Jonathan Rinzler, “I’m not known for my dialog.” Rinzler, Making of Revenge of the Sith, p. 53

[78] Rinzler, Making of Star Wars, p. 107

[79] Starlog, “Starlog Salutes Star Wars”, July, 1987.

[80] Pollock, p. 239

[81] Pollock, p. 208

[82] Empire of Dreams

[83] "The George Lucas Saga" by Kerry O'Quinn, Starlog, July 1981

[84] Pollock, p. 241

[85] Pollock, p. 233 for example; “Fortress Lucas” is a term Baxter uses, following Lucas’ friend Richard Walter’s use of it in an anecdote, p. 333

[86] Rinzler, Making of Star Wars, pp. 24-25

[87] Baxter, p. 154

[88] Baxter, p.423

[89] Biskind, p. 421

[90] Avni, p. 28

[91] “Mark Hamill Walks Down Memory Lane With Film Freak Central” by Walter Chaw, Filmfreakcentral.com, March 20th, 2005, http://filmfreakcentral.net/notes/mhamillinterview.htm

[92] His first day of writing was November 1st, 1994, as shown in the web documentary for Episode I, produced by Starwars.com, All I Need is an Idea.

[93] From Star Wars to Jedi

[94] Bouzereau, Making of Episode I, p. 105

[95] Evidence seems to suggest as much; he is noted for being uninvolved in directing on set, yet is shown in documentaries to be meticulously detailed in his instructions to post-production artists. He talks much about the visual effects and technological achievements in interviews, and all that this allows him to do, but is generally tight-lipped on anything related to acting. Irvin Kershner says that Lucas told him in 1997 he was directing the prequels “because he couldn’t resist toying with all these new techniques.” http://www.salon.com/ent/col/srag/1999/05/13/kershner/index.html

[96] Rinzler, The Making of Revenge of the Sith, p. 28

[97] So says the reviews by The Villiage Voice and Rolling Stone respectively

[98] Hearn, p. 216

[99] Duncan, p. 17

[100] Hearn, p.216

[101] Hearn, p. 216

[102] The Making of Revenge of the Sith, p. 27. McCallum is referring to Episode III in these instances, but the process and situation is identical as to Episode II in terms of this issue.

[103] Hearn, p. 216

[104] Duncan, p. 17

[105] Rinzler, p. 51

[106] Kaminski, pp. 426-433

[107] Asserted by Pollock, Mark Hamill, and Lucas himself.


05/26/07 last revised: 02/17/10

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