George Lucas was raised in Modesto, California. As a film
student he made several short films including THX-1138:
4EB (Electronic Labyrinth) which won first prize at the
1967-68 National Student Film Festival. In 1967 he was awarded
a scholarship to observe the making of Finian's Rainbow
which was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Lucas and Coppola
became good friends and formed a company called American Zoetrope
in 1969. The company's first project was Lucas' full-length
version of THX 1138. In 1973 Lucas wrote and directed
American Graffiti. In 1973 he started writing Star
Wars, which was turned down by several studios. Twentieth
Century Fox agreed to back the film and Lucas agreed to forgo
his directing salary in exchange for 40% of the film's box-office
take and all merchandising rights. The rest is history. We
caught up with him as Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge
of the Sith was due to be released on DVD...
Rea: So you've finally finished the Star Wars saga.
Are you glad it's all over?
Lucas: It's nice to know that it is all complete. You know
that feeling you get when you're in the middle of a project?
You always feel worried that something's going to go wrong,
or that you're never going to get it finished? That's the
way I've felt for about 20 years now, so it's really great
to have all of the episodes complete, and to have the entire
story told in a way that I'm very happy about.
a story that I put together a long time ago and it feels great
to finish it.
Star Wars is set "a long time ago in a galaxy far,
far away," but how much has the plot been motivated by our
The underlying themes in Star Wars come from mythology,
and if you look through the history of world mythology, you
see that there are certain ideas and concepts that keep recurring.
Partly, that's because myths do incorporate some historical
elements, and history seems always to repeat itself.
the political aspects of the prequels have a basis in historical
events like Caesar taking over the Roman Senate and Napoleon
taking over the Republic in France.
I've taken a story that is fictional and comes from my imagination
and I've layered on top of it things I've learned about the
world and our cultures.
The final Star Wars film is called Revenge of the
Sith. Now most people know what a Jedi is, but won't have
a clue what a Sith is. What is it?
The Sith are people who are very self-centred and selfish.
There used to be many Sith, but because they were corrupted
by power and ambition, they killed each other off, so now
there are only two - a master and an apprentice.
rely on their passion to get things done. They use their raw
emotion, their hatred, their anger, their bitterness - which
is the dark side of the Force.
The Force is what binds the galaxy together, and it has a
good side and a bad side.
Sith learned how to manipulate both sides of the Force, and
then they fell into the trap of being corrupted by the dark
side. The Jedi Knights are like marshals in the Wild West.
It's their job to make sure everyone is protected, to bring
peace. They are the enemy of the Sith, because the Sith want
to dominate the galaxy, to control everything, and for a thousand
years they have had a plot against the Jedi.
in this movie, it is time for them to seek revenge against
the Jedi for perceived injustices and to carry out that plot.
When you were writing the script to the first Star Wars
movie, did you have any idea you were writing something that
would be so successful?
I was excited about it and very proud of it, but I never imagined
that it would be successful - let alone turn into the phenomenon
that it became.
I had been trying to incorporate mythological motifs into
a modern story, and I was excited by that challenge.
I just wanted to make a good, fun movie that I would want
to see myself.
people like the way your movies turn out, sometimes they don't
- and I'm just lucky that they liked these.
In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin finally turns to the
dark side and becomes Darth Vader. Why does he make such a
poor career move?
Anakin wants to be a Jedi, but he cannot let go of the people
he loves in order to move forward in his life. The Jedi believe
that you don't hold on to things, that you let things pass
through you, and that if you can control your greed, you can
resolve conflict not only in yourself but in the world around
you because you accept the natural course of things. Anakin's
inability to follow this basic guideline is at the core of
his turn to the dark side.
In every one of the Star Wars movies, the concept of
a mentor and a Padawan, or a learner, is very important. Have
you had many mentors?
I've had a lot of mentors, especially teachers, who have helped
me over the years.
feel very strongly that the future of the human race lies
solely in our ability to use our brain and to learn from those
who have come before us. That
is a central theme in my movies, because it's important to
very firmly believe that only through education and knowledge
- gaining it, then transferring it on to the next generation
so they can use it and improve it - will we survive and grow.
Revenge of the Sith is arguably the darkest in the
franchise, is that intentional?
It is, and it has to be because Episode III sets up
the hopeful part of the story. It's a dark movie and a bit
of a sad movie, but it's also a fun movie that has a lot of
action and a lot of excitement. I think it's very different
than any of the other movies I've made.
now, I hope people have come to expect the unexpected from
these movies - they are never quite what people are anticipating
them to be, and I think that will be the case with Revenge
of the Sith.
There have been rumours on and off for years that you may
go on to make Episodes VII - IX. Just so that
we can put this to rest for once and for all, will you be
doing any more Star Wars movies, or is that it now?
This is the last of the Star Wars movies. At the end
of Return of the Jedi, the Republic is restored, and
Darth Vader is redeemed.
It took a very long time, but Anakin finally fulfils the prophecy
that he will destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force.
To me, there are no more stories to tell in movie form after
that. It seems a natural and fulfilling place to end the story
of the Skywalker family and the struggle of the Jedi and the
Rebels to bring peace and freedom to the galaxy.
So, almost 30 years have passed since you started Star
Wars. What on earth are you going to do now?
There is a movie I am planning to produce, about African-American
fighter pilots during World War II, and we are looking
into a variety of possibilities for television projects. As
for what movies I'll direct next, I'm not sure. I've been
working on Star Wars for quite a long time now, and
I've had a lot of ideas over the years.
The first films I made were very experimental. I was trying
to tell stories in purely cinematic ways, and that was enormous
fun for me. Movies like THX 1138 and American Graffiti
were not traditional films, they told non-linear stories and
relied very heavily on sound and image working together to
create an experience. I'd really like to get back to that,
to explore different techniques and different ways of making
films. I'm looking forward to the future.
Thank you for your time.
thanks to Liz Silverstone at DSA
Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith is
released on DVD from 20th Century Fox on the 31 October 2005
this DVD for £14.99 (RRP: £24.99) by clicking