Star Wars overseer Kathleen Kennedy her theory on why George Lucas went back to the galaxy far, far away to direct the prequel trilogy.
While Lucas is the creator of Star Wars, he only directed Star Wars: A New Hope. With the prequel trilogy, he decided to write and direct all three. Following the success of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in 1983, it was 16 years before Lucas returned for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. He then tackled Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in 2002 and 2005.
Discussing the prequel years during the second episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, Kennedy explained how Lucas couldn’t shake the lure of the Force. “I was around with the movies that were in between [Star Wars trilogies] which is the Indiana Jones movies,” said Kennedy. “I don’t think he ever stopped thinking about whether he would do more Star Wars and I think what happened during Indy was that he was not on the floor directing. He was not necessarily in it, because it was primarily Steven [Spielberg]. So, with anybody like George, and anyone who’s a filmmaker, they get antsy after a while at not being able to be on that floor telling stories, making movies, and his love of pushing the technology, obviously, we were doing a certain amount of that with each of the Indiana Jones movies, but it wasn’t like Star Wars and I think that each time we would push the technology, in making those movies, he got the bug to start thinking about what that might mean for Star Wars.”
Lucas has always been invested in advancements in technology, which is something that came across in the number of patents registered during the original trilogy’s production. The Indiana Jones movies had a similar push for pioneering visual effects and piqued his interest in heading back to Star Wars. Ironically, the films’ groundbreaking use of CGI was one of the major critiques of critics, who accused Lucas of sacrificing character development and story for visual effects.
Lucas’ prequels weren’t a total bust and many cite Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith as a particular highlight as he told the long-awaited story of how Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side. The prequels also included legendary actors including Terence Stamp, Christopher Lee and Samuel L. Jackson, while a standout performance from Ewan McGregor led to the recent confirmation of an Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+.
As maligned as the prequel trilogy was, it’s nothing compared to the controversy of the latest trilogy. When it comes to Disney’s recent run, Episodes VII-XI were initially supposed to have a different director for each movie. In the end, Colin Trevorrow dropped out of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and J.J. Abrams reprised his directing duties from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Kathleen Kennedy explained how George Lucas' work on another major movie franchise persuaded him to return to Star Wars for the prequel trilogy.