Monday, August 16, 2010

Celebration V - Day III - The George Lucas Interview

Okay, I had a couple of hours sleep, so let's see if I can remember Saturday.  The first thing I headed to was, of course, the Main Event with George Lucas and Jon Stewart.  You may have heard of them.  One's a huge star with a fairly big ego and a large geek following.  The other is George Lucas.

Jon Stewart was an excellent choice for this one-on-one interview.  Anyone who's seen The Daily Show knows what a great interviewer he is.  And funny, too.  Mr. Lucas himself has a wicked sense of humor, but can come off a little reserved and shy.  Jon helped bring out the man that we all know and love.  George made Jon laugh several times  and told some fascinating stories.

Jon opened with what he said was a fairly simple question.  It ended up spanning 3 note cards and involved a very long query as to why Threepio, a droid that had just arrived on Tatooine and had a horrible sense of direction, was driving the speeder when they went looking for Artoo.  George answered, "It's amazing what a good oil bath can do for you."  If you can find the text of that question - or better yet John reading it - it's well worth your search.

George had a good explanation for what I thought was a glaring bit of horrible planning.  Why did Obi-Wan take Luke (last name Skywalker) to Darth Vader (also named Skywalker)'s childhood home to hide him?  Wouldn't he (or more likely the Emperor) look for him there first?

George explained that Tatooine was a very painful place for Anakin.  His mother died there, for one thing.  And Darth, not knowing that his wife had survived long enough to give birth to a son, had no reason to look for him.  It wasn't until Luke destroyed the Death Star that the Emperor felt a tremor in the force and suspected that Luke had survived.  Or something like that.

It was obvious that George does put a lot of thought into the creation of the Star Wars universe.  The prequels themselves were the backstory for the original trilogy after all.  He had good explanations for some of the more puzzling aspects of the prequels and the original trilogy.  Even if he does make it up sometimes.

When asked what planet Obi-Wan came from, he answered the planet StewJon.  When Jon called him on the obvious improvisation, George asked for a friend to come out on stage.  Entering wearing an action figure on his dome was R2-D2.  (Knowing them, probably one of the originals.)  

The figure was a custom stormtrooper with John Stewart's head on it.

Earlier Jon had asked about the original R2 units used in the films.  He said he saw some that were laser-guided, some were hovering, one made him a sandwich.  What did George think about seeing all these functioning, home-made droids?  He said there were 8 droids originally and that he struggled for years to just get one that would roll more than 10 feet and flip out his middle leg into the tripod position.  Eventually, they had to attach strings to a fiberglass mold of one and pull it like a wagon.  I remember seeing behind the scenes footage of the Jawa sale at the Lars homestead where one guy, on his knees, dressed as a Jawa had to literally push Artoo's middle leg out.

Some of the "exclusive" information released by others that had already beat me to the punch literally a half hour after I got out of the show, was the announcement of the movies coming out on Blu-Ray.  Unfortunately, I am a complete sucker for the original trilogy coming out in any new format.  I have VHS copies of the 1st trilogy in theatrical version and special edition as well as all 6 movies on DVD.  I believe I've even recorded it off TV a couple of times.  There is even a cassette version of about an hour's worth of dialogue and sound FX from A New Hope.  So, I guess I'll have to buy the white album again.

In this new release will be never before seen footage.  One deleted scene is of Luke building his new lightsaber before he confronts Jabba the Hutt.  (Which you can see right here on this site, if it hasn't been pulled by the powers-that-be.)

The announcement, and subsequent showing of this scene was preceded by the most poignant moment that may have gone unnoticed by most of the audience.  Jon Stewart brought Mark Hamill to the stage.  And then this happened.

I'm not sure how true this may be (I was told by someone who should know) but I had heard that Mark and George had had a falling out after they worked together on the original trilogy.  Something about Mark bad-mouthing the franchise.  Except for Robot Chicken, whenever there is call for a Luke Skywalker voice in a video game or cartoon, it's done by a professional voice actor.  But it would seem that they may have put all that behind them.  Let's hope so.

Following Mark was an all too brief and somewhat adult-oriented appearance by Carrie Fisher.  That was a shame considering that she ended up canceling her Sunday appearance.

Before wrapping things up, George took a moment to address the crowd.  After saying at the beginning of the interview that Star Wars was something that grabbed ahold of him and threw him against the wall, he admitted that he's starting to come to accept this major "force" in his life.  He thanked everyone in attendance for their love and support and for making Star Wars the success it has become.  Knowing how grateful all of us are for what George has given us, it was very moving to hear him thank us.

You're welcome, George.

Use the Force, Jon.

Coming up: more details on Saturday including the Last Tour to Endor party.

-– thrown against the wall by ReevesReel –

Photos: ReevesReel/POParitaville

1 comment:

  1. Awesome pics! Wish I could have been there.