At times, George Lucas must feel like Dr. Frankenstein. His creation has become a monster, distancing itself from its creator and going on to wreak havoc across the world. Over the years, Lucas has expressed mixed feelings about Star Wars and its fans, with their reaction to the Prequel Trilogy part of what convinced him to sell to Disney in 2012.
Now, Ron Howard has explained that when he took the job of directing Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lucas warned him that he was walking into a minefield. Howard revealed Lucas’ advice in a new interview with Collider, where the veteran director discussed working with Star Wars and its fans, saying:
“It doesn’t happen on every movie with that kind of intensity, but it sort of goes with the territory when you have a really high-level intellectual property, there was a bit of that when I did [How the Grinch Stole Christmas] 20 years ago. George Lucas is a mentor, a tremendous friend. He warned me, and he’s always said, ‘It’s for the fans, yet you have to have the courage to hear them but tell the story you want to tell.”
Of course, as the director of a standalone story rather than an entry in a trilogy, Howard was somewhat insulated from fan demands about where the story should go next. The same cannot be said for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Despite Bob Iger’s insistence, it was clear that Lucasfilm was spooked by the high-profile backlash against The Last Jedi and went to great lengths to walk back the events of that movie. And, well, we all know how that worked out.
Howard went a little further in talking about what Lucas wants to see in Star Wars projects as well, saying:
“He’s all for the galaxy expanding and experimenting. That’s what he prefers the most. He gets most excited about those that want to push the boundaries of a Star Wars movie or a TV show. And he always contemplated TV shows, he did animated [series], so I was sort of prepared for it.”
Here he’s clearly talking about The Mandalorian. George Lucas visited the set (where he famously met Baby Yoda) and seems to be far more enthusiastic about this show than he was about the Sequel Trilogy. Perhaps with the second season having entered production, there’s a chance he could come out of retirement to direct an episode?
Fingers crossed, because while I definitely didn’t agree with every choice George Lucas made with Star Wars, at least he usually did his own thing rather than listen to others.