George Lucas — Legend Debunked

This is what happens when ESPN Page 2’s Patrick Hruby leaves his politics at the door — awesome stuff!


The only good Ewok is a dead Ewok.

George Lucas As writers, sometimes we botch facts. Sometimes, we make typos. Sometimes, we flat-out drop the ball. Such was the case in my recent “Real Men of De-Genius” article, in which I inexplicably failed to include director George Lucas among a list of sports and pop culture individuals whose initial burst of brilliance proved illusory.

With thanks to commenter alz9794, it’s time to right a wrong:
George Lucas

Mistaken identity: Directing peer to Steven Spielberg.

Genius credentials: Directed the original “Star Wars,” created the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, founded the animation studio that later became Pixar.

Genius moment(s): Han Solo’s shooting first, the Jedi mind trick, failing Darth Vader for the last time, Lucas waiving his up-front directing fee for “Star Wars” in favor of owning licensing rights believed to be worthless at the time. (The AT-AT walker under our early-1980s Christmas tree begs to differ.)

Genius reconsidered: Neither directed nor wrote the screenplay for “The Empire Strikes Back,” by far the best “Star Wars” film.

Genius reconsidered (II): “The Ewok Adventure,” Ewoks in general.

Genius reconsidered (III): “Howard the Duck.” You are not forgotten!

Genius reconsidered (IV): Digital “Star Wars” redux has Greedo shooting first.

Genius reconsidered (V): Lucas sold Pixar to Steve Jobs, who later sold it to Disney for $7.4 billion.

De-Genius moment (I): Jar-Jar Binks; “Yippee!”; Jedi Jimmy Smits; every word of maple-bat dialogue and pretty much everything else about the new “Star Wars” trilogy, except for casting the same guy who played the Emperor the first time around. Oh, and the double-bladed lightsabers. Those are totally awesome.

De-Genius moment (II): “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” did not happen.

The real genius: Whoever talked Lucas into not making any more “Star Wars” movies for all those years.

16 comments to George Lucas — Legend Debunked

  • Mr Sideous

    But the Dana Carvey thing, I’m not so sure about. Didn’t he have a major health problem that knocked him out for several years. That’s an eternity in show biz years, and he never recovered any momentum from that?

    Oh, and Jimmy Smits was not a Jedi. He’s Leia’s stepdad. Don’t let the hate distort you…

  • JohnFN

    Carvey is a genius, it just didn’t translate well to movies. I actually liked his short-lived sketch comedy show (who could forget the skit featuring Bob Dole announcing Strom Thurman as his running mate “Together, the two of us can win this Civil War.”)

  • Dana Carvey, Wayne’s World and the ‘Foxy Lady’ scene.

    Too funny…

  • Am I alone in thinking Mr. Meyer’s just a tad overrated, at least at this stage of the game? He’s been riding that one-note “I’m OK!”/”I promised myself I wouldn’t cry” routine for far too long. Yes, I know that’s two-note, but it’s one blurry line. 😉

    • Meyers last funny movie was the original Austin Powers… At this stage, he is.

      • JohnFN

        I liked the third Powers movie, the second stunk – not to mention the infamous JohnFN Heather Graham rule comes into play.

        The most overrated director of all time is John Singleton. He was the black Spielberg, he was going to usher in this era of high-quality cinema of the travails of black youth, instead he directs the most racially sado masochistic movie of all time, one which caused a race riot in Akron. His biggest box office hit is 2 Fast 2 Furious, which qualifies as one of the worst car movies of all time.

        Musically, REM. Made Document, spat out a couple albums of alterna-poppy excrement for half a decade, then vanished into obscurity.

        • Floyd

          I still like Fables of the Reconstruction though….

          • That one’s aged quite well, but I’ll always be a Lifes Rich Pageant kinda guy. Only one WB-era album of theirs finds its way semi-regularly back into my player and it’s probably the least popular of the ones still featuring the original band: Monster. Loud music!!!

            Big race riot in Racine, WI with Boyz N the Hood, too. Saw T2 at the theatre the week after and it was still a shambles.

        • Didn’t she actually keep her clothes on in that movie, the weakest of the three? 😉

          Agreed on Goldmember, which Michael Caine blessedly rescued.

  • Mr Sideous

    I like early REM. Soundtrack to my college years (along with XTC and Talking Heads). Then Mr. Stipe decided to speak, and what an ass he is! Totally ruined the music for me. When I went back to some of the earlier songs, I became aware of how pompous it all really was. Well, I guess when you’re in college you can let that slide, since you ARE in college and smarter than anyone else. But when adulthood crowds in? uh-uh.

  • It makes me happy that Empire Strikes Back is now universally considered the high-water mark for the franchise. I’ve been saying that since 1983, and everyone always used to dog pile on me about it, but I’m right, I’m right. In your face, entire eleventh grade class!

  • But, yes, Lucas is a hack. I’ll give him Star Wars, Empire, and American Grafitti. I’ll also give him points for Raiders, and Apocalypse now (Which he was a producer on), but that’s it. Everything he’s done since then has been increasingly pointlessly clueless and Michael Jackson-like.

  • Anyone ever read The Secret History of Star Wars?

    It debunks the myth that Lucas had any master plan centered around Anakin Skywalker. It makes a convincing case that the story was made up as Lucas went along. (Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what he claims.)

    It was an interesting read and was available online when I read it. It’s since been taken down because it’s now been published. I still have a PDF copy, but don’t know if it would be ethical to share it.

  • Mr Sideous

    I’ve always heard that the producer Gary Kurtz is the secret hero of Star Wars. Lucas obviously needs someone to keep him focused and on track. When Kurtz left after Empire, well….

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