If you were a Star Wars fanatic looking for any kind of hints or reveals for the next Star Wars feature films, well the Tribeca Talks: George Lucas and Stephen Colbert conversation wasn’t the place to find it today. At the top of their dialogue, Lucas told the crowd, “They’re (Disney) doing a different story, I don’t even know anything about it.” While the entire conversation recapped Lucas’ career from wannabe race car driver to cutting Jabba the Hutt out of the 1977 version of Episode IV: New Hope, Lucas — after being asked by an audience member– assured that he would return to his indie filmmaking roots. “Experimental films — that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” exclaimed Lucas.
He regaled the crowd with tales of when he made THX 1138 for Warner Bros. “After Warner Bros. saw the film, they told Francis Ford Coppola and me, ‘We want our money back’.” That amount was $350K in script development. Lucas told the crowd that after Coppola made The Godfather, he asked Lucas a favor: “He told me not to make any more experimental robot films. ‘I dare you to do a comedy’ Coppola told me,” said Lucas. That film was American Graffiti which was made for $700K becoming one of the more profitable films at the U.S. Box Office with $115M.
“I’ve always wanted to do it (return to indie filmmaking), and kept saying I would do it after Star Wars. Most of my friends who made experimental films scraped money together from their families. Then there’s another way to make them: becoming very rich,” Lucas said referring to himself.
“A lot of my friends have yachts. I said no to that. I put my money in a vault and (planned) to waste it on movies that won’t make money. The key to experimental films is you don’t know what will happen with them. And that’s not how the movie business works,” added Lucas.
“With digital technology it’s made it easier for people to experiment. And with the internet you have a place to show it and make it a cult classic with 12 people liking it.”
Lucas’ only mention of the upcoming Walt Disney Star Wars films came at the end of the hour talk at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. “I hope it’s successful. The original story was about the father, the children and the grandchildren. They didn’t use my stories and they’ve taken it in a different direction,” said Lucas.
Lucas said he still hasn’t seen the second trailer to Star Wars: The Force Awakens that dropped yesterday.
“I want to see it on the bigscreen,” said Lucas.