George Walton Lucas (born May 14, 1944) is an American filmmaker. He is the creator of the Star Wars series as well as many other films, including American Graffiti, THX 1138, and, with the help of Steven Spielberg, Indiana Jones. His auteur elements in film-making had been influenced by the French Marxist filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. When initially conceptualizing Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he intended for him to have had a sexual relationship with Marion Ravenwood while the latter was 11 years old.
George Lucas, the son of a middle class business man, grew up in Modesto, California, although he later claimed he grew up in San Francisco. His childhood and teenage years heavily revolved around cars and girls, and this aspect of his life became the basis for his movie American Graffiti, and to a certain extent Star Wars. He was a poor student, however, in his senior year of high school, he got into a serious, life-changing car accident. After he graduated, he was able to bring his grades up in community college, and got into USC's film program.
With Francis Ford Coppola, he founded an independent film studio, American Zoetrope. Their first feature was THX 1138, based on one of Lucas's student films. The film depicted his then pessimistic view of the 21st century, a world where people engage in mindless, pointless consumerism and love is outlawed. It was poorly received at the time, but currently holds an 89% "fresh" approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was not commercially successful.
Following a dispute, he withdrew from the Writers' Guild of America and the Directors' Guild in 1980 over his choice of using no opening credits in The Empire Strikes Back. In addition, he originally wanted his friend Steven Spielberg to direct Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), but his dispute with the Director's Guild barred him from doing so. Since then, in all of his recent films, he has hired actors who are not members of the Screen Actors' Guild, as legally a non-Guild member cannot hire Guild members.
George Lucas was very liberal and left-wing in his politics, where he frequently donated to Democratic candidates. One of the more infamous examples was Barbara Boxer. He also wasn't a big fan of JFK or the Kennedy clan, which can be inferred by his claiming in TIME Magazine around the time of the release of Attack of the Clones that the Republic's transition into the Empire was partly based on the Kennedy clan, as well as conflating them with Richard Nixon. His left-wing views stemmed from college, where he recalled that he "was angry at the time, getting involved in all the causes. The draft was hanging over all of us, and we were bearded, freako pre-hippies." He also claimed that he was a believer in pure democracy and not Capitalistic democracy. When discussing his ideal filmmaking style and how it contrasted with Hollywood's view on filmmaking, particularly the studio system which he claimed was dead due to corporations taking over, he described it as "the workers have the means of production", implying that he was an adherent to Marxism. Similarly, during a later interview with Charlie Rose on CBS where he denounced the company he sold the Star Wars and Indiana Jones to, the Walt Disney Company, as "white slavers", he also implied that he found Soviet filmmaking to be preferable to filmmaking in America because, barring obviously avoiding making any negative statements against the leader of the Soviets, he is allowed to do whatever he wants, while in America, he has to curtail to a fine line of commercialism. He also implied that he had supported the Vietcong during the Vietnam War when he admitted that he based the Ewoks on that group and the Galactic Empire and it's defeat on Endor on America and its involvement in Vietnam. A note for his 1973 screenplay for Star Wars (at the time known as The Star Wars) also indicated that he had intended for the Galactic Empire as a whole to be based on America and its involvement in Vietnam (as well as Emperor Palpatine, its leader, specifically being based on then-President Richard Nixon), and that he specifically intended for the Rebel Alliance to be based on the Vietcong since the first movie entered production. He also specifically intended for Star Wars to be the third of a thematic trilogy detailing various critiques of the Vietnam War (with the first being American Graffiti and the second intended to be Apocalypse Now before he was forced by Warner Bros. to hand it over to Coppola due to his studio, American Zoetrope, being shut down by the studio). He also implied that at least one other inspiration for the story involved Napoleon Bonaparte taking over France during the French Revolution. Part of his reason for selling the Star Wars franchise to Disney was to make himself tax-exempt when the George Bush tax-cuts were repealed in 2013, despite his aforementioned lectures on how "the rich shouldn't own government". He also voiced his support for Occupy Wall Street in 2012, with his declaring to his then-future second wife Mellody Hobson in a New York Times article that he was, among other things, a "dyed-in-the-wool 99-percenter before there was such a thing." During the 2008 election campaign, George Lucas infamously declared then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama to be a "hero." On a similar note, he has also implied that Obama would have been a Jedi. Ian McDiarmid, the actor for Emperor Palpatine in the films, implied in an interview with The Guardian that George Lucas' decision to have Star Wars be geared towards children at eight years old was specifically to indoctrinate them into Lucas' left-wing views. He also implied at one point that he supported the Jacobins and their revolution until Napoleon took over when explaining his philosophy of dictatorships appearing due to people "giving away" democracy. Lucas, or rather, his Educational Foundation, was also responsible for the left-wing educational group Edutopia, with Lucas also having created that group videos teaching bullying and emotional intelligence which were deemed disturbing. in a study, which included teaching Math as a social activity, and has even promoted Common Core via that organization. On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Lucas also sarcastically vowed to "only make films blindingly uncritical of [America]" in mockery of pro-American films. During the AMC series James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction, Lucas heavily implied that he was not fond of Donald Trump being elected president by quoting alongside James Cameron Padme's "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause." Similarly, in the same source, he also indicated that most of his views that he tried to push in Star Wars, including his trying to subtly depict the heroes as the Vietcong (also claiming in response to James Cameron's question about the matter that he had done so with full knowledge that the Vietcong was a terrorist group), stemmed from his study of anthropology. In an interview with Wired magazine, he also indicated he was an adherent to postmodernism by stating that history was fiction, and implied that his making Star Wars was an extension of this philosophy, also citing as his example of "folk artifacts" that get people "closed minded" Michael Moore's anti-Bush truther propaganda schlockumentary Fahrenheit 9/11, despite the fact that the contents of the film were systematically shown to be untrue, maliciously edited, and bordering on treasonous by an independent study. During the 2016 Presidential Elections, George Lucas made an attack ad on Donald Trump modeled after the "Daisy" attack ad which showed a nuclear bomb going off as well as a narrator stating that the million casualty figure of a nuclear bomb is more than all the men, women, and children in Columbus, Ohio, and then it showing a clip of Donald Trump being interviewed by Chris Matthews with the latter claiming people "don't want to hear" the possibility of using nuclear weapons, with Trump bluntly asking why they're making them in the first place, with the last portion of his statement being echoed as it refocuses on a mushroom cloud and it saying "Be Careful Who You Vote For."
- Dark Victory on Time Magazine's website (archived)
"I'm more on the liberal side of things," [George Lucas] says. "I grew up in San Francisco in the '60s, and my positions are sort of shaped by that ... If you look back 30 years ago, there were certain issues with the Kennedys, with Richard Nixon, that focused my interest." Lucas' own geopolitics can sound pretty bleak: "All democracies turn into dictatorships—but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea ... What kinds of things push people and institutions into this direction?"
- Skywalking, p.246
"'George Lucas is not what the rest of the business is about,' says Ned Tanen. 'Nobody has ever done what he has done. Nobody. George Lucas is over there, and the rest of the business is over here.' Lucas is the man who got away, who beat the system by building his own system. 'The studio system is dead,' Lucas insists. 'It died fifteen years ago when the corporations took over and the studio heads suddenly became agents and lawyers and accountants. The power is with the people now. The workers have the means of production.'"
"When I asked about Hobson, Lucas said, “I’m a ’60s, West Coast, liberal, radical, artsy, dyed-in-the-wool 99 percenter before there was such a thing.” (He was referring to his upbringing rather than his reported $3.2 billion net worth.) “And she’s an East Coast, Princeton grad, Wall Street fund manager, knows all the big players, works in the big world. You would never think that we would get together, have anything in common. But when we did, we realized we had everything in common. It was the most unlikely coupling.”"
He [McDiarmid] also bristles at the notion that the Star Wars films are totally hollow entertainments. "I remember when I sat there in the Evil Emperor's swivel chair and George [Lucas] said things like 'does it remind you of the Oval office?' And I realised that at that time Richard Nixon was in his mind.
"And I see that in the Guardian's review of the DVD - not favourable, of course - mention is made of the fact that there are lines that sound really contemporary. But the reviewer decided that was by chance: no, no, no, no. Entirely by design.
"George knew that eight-year-olds, for whom these films are primarily intended, are very impressionable, and he wanted to make the right impression. So the whole film is about the unnecessary rise of fascism. In other words: watch out, they're all after your freedom, particularly when they're talking about defending freedom. Without getting over-extended about it, that is at the heart of these movies."
- Revenge of the Sith invites Bush Comparisons, page 2 on CBSNews.com
"Lucas said he patterned his story after historical transformations from freedom to fascism, never figuring when he started his prequel trilogy in the late 1990s that current events might parallel his space fantasy.
"As you go through history, I didn't think it was going to get quite this close. So it's just one of those recurring things," Lucas said at a Cannes news conference. "I hope this doesn't come true in our country.
"Maybe the film will waken people to the situation," Lucas joked
"When I wrote it, [the 2003 Iraq war] didn't exist," Lucas said, laughing.
"We were just funding Saddam Hussein and giving him weapons of mass destruction. We didn't think of him as an enemy at that time. We were going after Iran and using him as our surrogate, just as we were doing in Vietnam. ... The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable."
The prequel trilogy is based on a back-story outline Lucas created in the mid-1970s for the original three "Star Wars" movies, so the themes percolated out of the Vietnam War and the Nixon-Watergate era, he said.
Lucas began researching how democracies can turn into dictatorships with full consent of the electorate. In ancient Rome, "why did the senate after killing Caesar turn around and give the government to his nephew?" Lucas said. "Why did France after they got rid of the king and that whole system turn around and give it to Napoleon? It's the same thing with Germany and Hitler.
"You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kinds of issues, and threats from the outside, needing more control. A democratic body, a senate, not being able to function properly because everybody's squabbling, there's corruption.""
Wired: In addition to the experimental films that you say you want to make now, you’ve expressed an interest in making historical films.
George Lucas: Yes, but I don’t want to get into situations where people say, “That’s not historically correct.” History is fiction, but people seem to think otherwise. The thing I like about fantasy and science fiction is that you can take issues, pull them out of their cultural straitjackets, and talk about them without bringing in folk artifacts that make people get closed minded.
Wired: Give me an example of what you mean by a folk artifact.
Lucas: Fahrenheit 9/11 . People went nuts. The folk aspects of that film were George Bush or Iraq or 9/11 or – intense emotional issues that made people put up their blinders and say, “I have an opinion about this, and I’m not going to accept anything else.” If you could look at these issues more open-mindedly – at what’s going on with the human mind behind all this, on all sides – you could have a more interesting conversation, without people screaming, plugging their ears, and walking out of the room like kids do.
- http://www.davekopel.org/terror/59Deceits.pdf (archived version found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20040719225448/http://www.davekopel.org/terror/59Deceits.pdf)
- George Lucas at the Internet Movie Database
A&E books Biography channel book on George Lucas