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It's been nearly six years since Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived, and if there's one thing we can confidently say about that film and its legacy, it's that we won't be done arguing about the Star Wars sequel trilogy any time soon. To underscore that, one of the original trilogy's most important contributors has recently weighed in — revealing she's not a fan of what's gone down in the most recent era of the franchise.
The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars feature film released after creator George Lucas sold his company, Lucasfilm, to the Walt Disney Company, and therefore the first film in the franchise made without any involvement from him. Writer/director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan (the legend behind The Empire Strikes Back) aimed to revitalize the franchise with an approach that paid homage to the first Star Wars film, and while their efforts worked, they also ignited fierce debate among fans. The Force Awakens was followed by the even more divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson, and Abrams' own return to the franchise, the trilogy-capping Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which depending on who you ask either redeemed the entire trilogy or muddled it the most.
If you ask Marcia Lucas, George Lucas' ex-wife who's famously credited with saving the original Star Wars through her work as the film's editor, she's definitely in that latter category, not just with The Rise of Skywalker but with the entire sequel trilogy. In an interview for the new book Howard Kazanjian: A Producer's Life -- about the former Lucasfilm executive and producer on the original Star Wars sequels -- Lucas didn't mince words when sharing her feelings about where the franchise has gone since her ex-husband left it behind. Here's what she had to say, via Variety:
“I like [Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy]. I always liked her. She was full of beans. She was really smart and really bright. Really wonderful woman. And I liked her husband, [producer Frank Marshall]. I liked them a lot. Now that she’s running Lucasfilm and making movies, it seems to me that Kathy Kennedy and J.J. Abrams don’t have a clue about Star Wars," Lucas said. "They don’t get it. And J.J. Abrams is writing these stories — when I saw that movie where they kill Han Solo, I was furious. I was furious when they killed Han Solo. Absolutely, positively there was no rhyme or reason to it. I thought, 'You don’t get the Jedi story. You don’t get the magic of Star Wars. You’re getting rid of Han Solo?'”
Lucas won an Academy Award for her work on 1977's Star Wars, went on to do uncredited work on The Empire Strikes Back, and returned as one of the credited editors on Return of the Jedi. She is still widely credited as one of the most important creative voices to work on the original trilogy, having taken her then-husband's footage for key action sequences in the original film and spun it into suspenseful, dramatic gold. Now, she's clearly unhappy with the direction of the sequel trilogy, not just in terms of the death of Han Solo (which, it's worth noting, Harrison Ford famously campaigned for all the way back in the original trilogy era), but...well, just about everything else.
“They have Luke disintegrate. They killed Han Solo. They killed Luke Skywalker. And they don’t have Princess Leia anymore. And they’re spitting out movies every year. And they think it’s important to appeal to a woman’s audience, so now their main character is this female, who’s supposed to have Jedi powers, but we don’t know how she got Jedi powers, or who she is. It sucks. The storylines are terrible. Just terrible. Awful. You can quote me — ‘J.J. Abrams, Kathy Kennedy — talk to me.'”
Bearing in mind that there's never been universal agreement over what makes a "good" Star Wars movie, even from the filmmakers themselves — especially with the franchise expanding with spinoff tales like Rogue One and The Mandalorian — it would be genuinely interesting to see what might happen today with Marcia Lucas consulting on future films set in a galaxy far, far away. Whether she was actually serious about the offer is, of course, another matter.