This article contains some spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
George Lucas is not exactly a tremendous fan of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Right around the time that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was coming out, Lucas -- who sold his Lucasfilm properties to Disney in 2012 and then stepped away from active involvement in Star Wars -- was asked what he thought of J.J. Abrams' long-awaited seventh chapter in the saga.
His response was, let's say, less than enthusiastic. Part of that may have come from some residual bitterness over the fact that his own ideas for the next three chapters in the story were politely rejected by Disney, and part of it may have come from the simple fact that the direction taken with The Force Awakens was not the one he would have gone in.
Now, in an interview with Charlie Rose, Lucas spoke a little more specifically about his main issue with the film:
They wanted to do a retro movie. I don't like that. Every movie I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new.
To be fair, Lucas did just that with the prequels. No matter how they succeeded or failed in other ways, they had -- for the most part -- a completely different look from the original trilogy and went to different places in terms of setting, themes and storyline.
And whatever you think of The Force Awakens, the biggest major criticism of the film is that it does lean heavily on the past in many ways, whether bringing back the original actors, opening on a desert planet or having another planet-destroying superweapon in the mix. That was done partially on purpose -- to reassure fans that this was going to be more like the Star Wars they loved and not like the generally maligned prequels (although they have their fans).
But if one thing has become clear, it's that Lucas doesn't care what fans want. Whatever you think of his work, he is an artist who does not want to repeat himself and who wants to make films to please himself first and foremost.
It's also clear that Disney made the right decision in the short term, since Star Wars: The Force Awakens is well on its way to likely becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time and has received massive (if not universal) acclaim from fans and film critics alike. Still, what would Lucas' vision for the film (and its sequels) have looked like? We may never know, but would you be interested in finding out?
You can watch the entire interview below (the comments on The Force Awakens come about 50 minutes in). It's a fascinating and rich talk with a filmmaker who has been innovative, pioneering, personal and visionary -- while also being enigmatic, frustrating and divisive.