It turns out that "creative consultant" might not begin to describe the involvement George Lucas has in the next phase of Star Wars.
Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm almost a year ago and put us on the path to a new set of Star Wars films, it's never really been clear just how much Lucas himself will influence the continuation of the blockbuster franchise he created decades ago. Lucas has said that he considers himself a kind of "keeper of the flame" for the franchise, and that he'll be around to back up producer Kathleen Kennedy and help with any scripting concerns, but that's about it. It makes sense that Lucas would make himself available to Kennedy, writer Michael Arndt and director J.J. Abrams to answer questions about the universe and the internal logic of Star Wars, but just how much time will Lucas devote? How invested is he?
According to Lucas' 20-year-old son Jett, in a video interview with Flicks and the City, Lucas was actually already writing something new for the Star Wars universe about a year before Disney entered the picture. It's unclear how much of what Lucas was working on (if any) might make its way into the new films, but when it came time to hand the franchise over, Jett Lucas believes his father had the same mindset as a parent watching their child leave for college.
"He was very torn on the matter," Jett Lucas said.
As for what Lucas is doing now, Jett said his father has laid down some "guidelines" for the story going forward, which is something we might expect a creative consultant to do, but he's also apparently keeping very close to his baby's new caretaker, J.J. Abrams.
“Yeah, as any parent watching their kid going to college would. He’s constantly talking to J.J.," Jett Lucas said. "Obviously J.J. was handpicked. He [Lucas] is there to guide, whenever, he’ll help where he can. At the same time, he wants to let it go and become its new generation.”
When you take together the news that Lucas was already writing new Star Wars stories when the Disney sale came up, and the news that he's "consantly talking" to Abrams and acting as a "guide," you get the impression that Lucas is not just making sure his brainchild is in the right hands. The fact that he already had new ideas in his head makes it seem like he's genuinely interested in where the saga will go next from a story perspective, which points to him being more invested in the future of the franchise than someone who simply made a business deal. Whether that's really the case has yet to be seen, as Lucas himself hasn't spoken much about it, but it's at least something interesting to ponder.
As for what the story of Episode VII actually is, Jett Lucas says he knows and is "happy with what's going to happen." He's not spilling any plot details, but he did offer up his hope for what the new films will achieve in relation to past Star Wars installments.
"I would like to see [Episodes VII-IX] following a new generation. I’m not saying that’s what happens, I’m saying that’s what I would like… because to me these movies are about the next generation as the prequels are about a new generation and the originals were for that generation… I think following a new generation and a new group of heroes and villains will – [pause] I think that’s the right move to make.”
So, if his son is to be believed, George Lucas is still pretty into Star Wars. Now we have to wait and see if all that constant talking with the franchise's new director will translate to sage advice or backseat driving when the films actually come out. What do you think?
Check out the full video interview with Jett Lucas below.