Star Wars: George Lucas Initially Admitted He Went "Too Far" With 'Phantom Menace'

Following the premiere of Return of the Jedi, Star Wars fans had to wait more than 15 years to see a new installment in the saga, which was delivered in 1999 with The Phantom Menace. Series creator George Lucas hadn't directed a chapter since the original 1977 film, making his return one of the most highly-anticipated events in sci-fi fandom of the decade. That pressure resulted in an immediate and vocal criticism of the film, which Lucas may have also felt, according to a documentary on the film's DVD.

The featurette explores the development and production of the film, which includes initial reactions from Lucas himself and a handful of other prominent members of the crew. According to the documentary, Lucas' original reaction to an early cut was the confession that he "may have gone too far in a few places."

Of the many issues Lucas raised about the film, one of his biggest issues is the way in which he had crafted the film's finale. Throughout the finale, the movie follows Anakin Skywalker in space, Jar Jar and his fellow Gungans facing battle droids, Padme Amidala infiltrating Naboo and Darth Maul waging battle with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

"It's a little disjointed," Lucas admits of the finale. "It's bold in terms of jerking people around. I may have gone too far in a few places."

Editor and sound designer Ben Burtt echoes Lucas' feelings, pointing out, "In a space of about 90 seconds, you go from lamenting the death of a hero to escape to slightly comedic with Jar Jar to Anakin returning... It's a lot in a very short time."

Given that the script had been finished and the scenes had been shot, it was too late to completely restructure the film's ending.

"It boggles the mind," Lucas admitted. "I have thought about this quite a bit, and the tricky part is you almost can't take any of those pieces out of it now, because each one takes you to the next place. And you can't jump because you don't know where you are."

Although he was frustrated by the end result, Lucas accepted full responsibility for the product.

"I do a particular kind of movie of which this is consistent," Lucas shared. "But it is a very hard movie to follow. But, at the same time, I have done it a little more extremely than I have done it in the past. It's stylistically designed to be that way, and you can't undo that, but we can diminish the affects of it. We can slow it down a little bit, so if it's intense for us, a regular person is going to go nuts."

Fans have taken to criticize the latest chapter in the series, The Last Jedi, for a variety of reasons, making its audience score on Rotten Tomatoes the lowest of the entire franchise.


The Last Jedi is in theaters now.

[H/T YouTube, mranderson00001]