Then Star Wars happened.
I don’t think he expected it to become the religion that it’s become. Much like the church with all the crucifixes, various translations of the bible, and ubiquitous images of Christ—there are the toys, video games, books, collector cards, comic books, light sabers, STUFF, STUFF, STUFF! Well—it’s pretty much a religion where Lucas has inadvertently created a “Prophet Share Program”, where we the audience flocked to it with a fervor no other film has ever generated.
It was the Prequels that pissed people off. Fine films to my mind, but presented to a crowd that saw the religion one way, and The Creator (the rare instance of a creator challenging his flock on how the religion should be handled, or how he wished to handle it from here on out, at any rate). Gone was the idea that everybody could be a Jedi. One would have to have the right Midichlorian count/Mutant Gene for that. Gone was the idea that Jedi were infallible. Incorruptible. I mean, folks were pissed off that Annakin was going to become Vadar, when we all are oracles into Annakin Skywalker’s life. That he would become Darth Vadar, and that there wasn’t a damned thing that anybody could do about it. They hated the love story in Clones. They hated the little boy in Menace. They hated Jar Jar Binks. They hated that Vadar bellowed in sorrow over the death of his beloved Padme’. They hated the acting. They hated the writing. They hated everything. And they especially hated LUCAS. They hated Lucas so much that he gave it all up in an Ayn Rands “Atlas Shrugged” sorta way, and Star Wars/“Reardon Steel” was given to the ravenous corporate “monster” to parcel out the entertaining, if derivative, chunks to the cynical/cannibal masses who, like most who splinter off in their own direction from what they don’t agree with about a religion, they go off to live in the “correct” thought process on how to best follow the religion.
I nearly got into a debate about the merits of Episodes I-III with reviewer Kevin McCarthy of Fox 5, Washington DC. I thought it was going to be a fair and balanced discussion, but I was immediately shut down by his biases, especially where acting was concerned. I believed he said that the, "Prequels were horrible, especially the acting." I swear, I was so disappointed by that comment, because like most die hard fans, there is no convincing them otherwise, no debate whatsoever. I was also disappointed because he didn’t see the same movies I saw in comparison to the originals. I LOVE the “originals”. But, my god, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill have always just been really cool actors, not really GREAT actors. Harrison Ford has always been a solid performer, in really great vehicles. I should write a book called, "When Great Movies Movies Happen TO OK Actors." It happens all the time when people get the great experience confused with the actor (I really do love you Keanu Reeves for SPEED, CONSTANTINE, MATRIX, and DEVIL'S ADVOCATE, you wonderfully ok actor you!). ANYBODY could’ve played Indiana Jones, and almost did. Tom Selleck almost played Indiana Jones, and he would’ve been just fine. All I’m saying is: They will never win Oscars, none of them, for their performances in Star Wars. And they don’t need to.
I wrote a book some years ago called “THERE ARE NO BAD MOVIES: ONLY BAD AUDIENCES.” I dedicated it to George Lucas, and to anybody else out there who has ever been needlessly maligned and undone by the fickle caprices of “Know-it-alls” out there who feel they should continually tell you how you should enjoy what you enjoy, or judge you over what you enjoy, cinematic or literature wise. There really aren’t bad movies out there, only movies that are bad to YOU. Not like being physically punished bad to you, but “bad” according to YOUR personally tastes. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. You are the judge of what is art. What is literature. And for me, as it pertains to Star Wars Episodes I-III? Well, they were fun experiences during a time when the world had seen it, done it, and been there. Was asking for far too much from a movie whose predecessors came at a time when wide-eyed wonder was commonplace. There weren’t any blockbusters making people line around the block before The Originals Star Wars. There weren’t any toys and related books in abundance as they are now to make you think that all Lucas wants is your money. And—and. . . .
Where was I? Oh, yeah. I miss you George Lucas. I’m sorry that your fans suck and have made you give up everything. “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” I know that’s Douglas Adams, but I thought you’d appreciate the reference, sir.