I am more of a visual person than a verbal person.
— George Lucas
George Walton Lucas Jr. (born May 14, 1944, Modesto, California), is the man behind Star Wars
and Indiana Jones
In high school, George was a car buff, and wanted to be a professional racer, until a near-fatal crash days before graduation; EMTs actually declared him dead at the scene
. After recovering, he attended a community college and turned his passion to filmmaking.
His first work was Freiheit
, but his best known pre-Star Wars works are THX 1138
and American Graffiti
. He co-founded American Zoetrope with Francis Ford Coppola
, to get away from the oppressive Hollywood studio system, and with the success of Graffiti
and Star Wars
, founded Lucasfilm. THX 1138
in particular is a frequent source of references
, with "THX" and "1138" appearing in various forms in American Graffiti
, Star Wars
and the Indiana Jones
films, not to mention providing the name for the THX soundsystem.
After American Graffiti
, George wanted to revive the old serials' spirit, and pitched two ideas: one based on the Flash Gordon
and Buck Rogers
serials (Star Wars
); and one based in the Republic serials with an Adventurer Archaeologist
(the Indiana Jones
series, produced by Lucas and directed by his friend Steven Spielberg
To create his vision for Star Wars
, George revolutionized special effects and post-production techniques. Before, the "spaceship flyby" effect was accomplished by pulling a model ship across a starfield backdrop with a string; very limiting and very
cheap. George (with a LOT of help from John Dykstra) decided to leave the model static, put it against a bluescreen, and move the camera around it
George is infamous for his iron-fisted grip on the Star Wars
franchise. This may be from Warner Bros.'s Executive Meddling
to cut it down and reduce its marketing budget. Many fans blame the perceived faults of the series on Lucas's refusal to accept creative input from others; in other words, he's considered a great producer when he simply oversees his staff developing his general ideas such as Lawrence Kasdan
who did script rewrites, but now a terrible director and writer when he tries to do that himself.
He's also infamous for writing cheesy dialogue - during the filming of A New Hope
, Mark Hamill
is alleged to have told him that "people don't talk like this!", Harrison Ford
complained "you can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it" and Empire
co-writer Lawrence Kasdan recalled frequently saying "This is a terrible scene, I can't believe George wrote this" while reading Lucas' draft before reworking it. Even Lucas called himself
"the King of Wooden Dialogue".
He also seems to have a fondness for cute alien critters, a fondness which many older Star Wars
fans don't share. This, has contributed to the sizeable Hatedom
he seems to have gathered and the fracturing
of the Star Wars
fandom between older fans (who grew up with the first three movies) and younger ones (who grew up with the prequel trilogy and animated series).
Lucas is still indisputably a pioneer in film technology and special effects, both in his own films and through Industrial Light and Magic
. He's a strong advocate for digital filmmaking
, having shot the last two Star Wars prequels digitally (and turned Robert Rodriguez
onto the technology), and firmly believes that digital filmmaking will lead to an increase of independent productions (at a much lower cost than studio films, due to film reel development) and be surprise successes. He predicted this in the early 1990s, well before the release of District 9
Lucas was married to film editor Marcia Lucas (formerly Griffin) between 1969 and 1983. Marcia worked as an editor for A New Hope
and Return of the Jedi
, participating in the production of all the three original trilogy movies. In a notable example of Creator Couple
, her main contribution to the original trilogy was to serve as The Heart
, balancing out Lucas' highly technical, visual-minded vision with an emphasis on character development, plot and emotional response - Mark Hamill
in particular has confirmed this. Lucas' divorce from Marcia
, occurring at the same time as Spielberg's divorce from Amy Irving, is cited as a leading cause for the Darker and Edgier
nature of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
, as well as the fate of the Prequel
Trilogy. It also led to the sale of Pixar
to Steve Jobs
While not involved in the creative process, his name resonates in the videogame scene thanks to the videogame branch of his empire, LucasFilm Games
-later renamed LucasArts
- , which experienced a golden age in the 1990s and was responsible for creating many iconic Adventure Games
and Space Simulation Games
often ranked among the best games ever.
He decided to retire and in late 2012 turned over Lucasfilm and the Star Wars
franchise to Walt Disney Studios
in a $4 billion deal. In early January 2013 he became engaged to his girlfriend of seven years, investment executive Mellody Hobson.
Projects Involved With:
- THX 1138
- American Graffiti
- Star Wars: Well duh, but the most influence he had was with the movies and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He does a little work with the general EU but isn't quite as involved as sometimes believed.
- Apocalypse Now: Provided financial support with no request for screen credit.
- Kagemusha: Executive producer.
- Body Heat: Also provided financial support, but specifically avoided a screen credit because of his family-friendly reputation.
- Indiana Jones and the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Executive producer and story.
- Twice Upon a Time: Executive producer.
- Captain Eo: Executive producer.
- Labyrinth: Executive producer.
- Howard the Duck: Executive producer.
- Willow: Executive producer and story.
- Radioland Murders: Executive producer and story (the project was conceived in The Seventies but not produced until 1994).
- Red Tails
Tropes associated with George Lucas:
- Author Appeal: High-speed chase sequences. There's always at least one per movie.
- Auteur License: Wrote, issued, and certified his license after the huge success of Star Wars. He actually said "screw you" to the Director's Guild in 1981 and left the union after they demanded he put credits at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. In his last movies he didn't even need it, as he owned his own studio. In addittion George dislikes production companies messing with other people's movies, violating their "moral rights", and has spoken before Congress about this. He argues that only a work's creator should be allowed to make changes to their work as they see fit.
- Creator Breakdown: As mentioned above, his divorce from Marcia is often considered one.
- Executive Meddling: Experienced this with his pre-Star Wars movies so much that it literally traumatized him, which led to a near-patholigical fear of being told how to make his own movies, which led to his habit of updating Star Wars every few years.
This has ended up making him somewhat of a pariah in the general Hollywood system. When Empire came out he dropped out of the Directors Guild when they started demanding more traditional opening credits for them. Ever since he strove to make himself completely independent from Hollywood so that he could make his movies his way. With the financial clout Star Wars gave him, he noted about the time Revenge of the Sith came out that he has become his own meddling Hollywood system.
- Fan Nickname: The Maker, especially by the fan organization the 501st.
- Fanservice: Puts it in his movies quite regularly.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: His own father was a Real Life example, never supporting his filmmaking ambitions.
- Flip Flop of God: Some of his ideas about what his "original vision" were, although a lot of this was exaggerated by the fandom. He does not say that every change was his original vision or that the prequels were intricately mapped out ahead of time, only that specific items were unable to be realized at the time.
- George Lucas Altered Version: Trope namer. He altered Star Wars and THX 1138 significantly after their initial releases.
- Genre Throwback: Formerly "George Lucas Throwback", his works include several well-known examples:
- The original three Indiana Jones adventures (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade) were based on 1930s pulp adventures, with Those Wacky Nazis or an evil cult as the villains, and supernatural, often Biblical forces. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, meanwhile, was rooted in '50s pulp sci-fi, with the atomic bomb and the Cold War featuring prominently, the Soviets replacing the Nazis, and a plot based around aliens from Another Dimension.
- Star Wars: 1930s sci-fi serials among other sources, Flash Gordon in particular. (It originated as an attempt to actually revive Flash Gordon, except that Lucas could not buy the rights.)
- Red Tails: '40s and '50s war movies. It wasn't directed by Lucas, but he did produce and finance it, and it had been one of his dream projects for years.
- Iconic Outfit: His flannel shirts and jeans.
- Irony: Lucas survived his near-fatal car accident because his seat belt failed.
- Merchandise Driven: Part of what caused the Broken Base is just how much George has licensed for his various properties, especially Star Wars. Here's a brief overview.
- Old Shame/My Greatest Failure: Has said he wishes to hunt down every copy of The Star Wars Holiday Special and destroy it, even though he wasn't directly involved with it.
- Only Mostly Dead: Happened in his teenage years.
- Otaku: A major eiga otaku, for many different classic film genres, including Jidai Geki. note
- Re Cut: There is precidence of filmmakers re-editing their movies after the original release long before Lucas became the poster-boy for it, including friends Francis Ford Coppola for Apocalypse Now and Steven Spielberg for Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. It's often a source of parody, if not outright flanderization, South Park featured a joke that had Lucas remastering home movies.
- Retcon: Has been accused of this with the Special Edition and prequels to Star Wars.
- Special Edition: Trope Namer and, with Steven Spielberg, the co-Trope Codifier.
- Stock Scream: Loves using the Wilhelm Scream in his movies.
- Technician Versus Performer: Technician, in contrast with Steven Spielberg, who is a performer.
- Trolling Creator: One possible interpretation of his more recent behavior. Then again, if you had a fanbase like that, you would too.
- What Might Have Been: Or in this case, what might not have been. Lucas abandoned his quest to become a race car driver due to a near-fatal accident. If he hadn't had the accident, he might have become a race car driver. On the other hand, he might have died.