While the much maligned Star Wars prequels suffer from a whole host of issues, a significant amount of the blame for their poor quality has been placed on George Lucas’ ability as a director. Lucas received so much criticism for the trilogy’s static performances, bland staging, and overall inconsistency of tone that some fans were forced to look back on the original movie they loved so much and morbidly wonder if it too was a piece of shit.
A new video circulating online explores the theory that the original Star Wars was in fact a mess of film before being “saved” in the edit bay. If you look at certain pieces of evidence, it’s a story that seems to add up. Lucas was a young, inexperienced director at the time, and his film was both over budget and running behind schedule. Furthermore, after the first film’s surprise success, Lucas relinquished directing duties of Empire to his mentor Irvin Kershner, making it seem like the fate of the franchise needed to be placed in more capable hands.
But, as the video points out, saying that the original Star Wars was salvaged by the editors is a bit unfair to Lucas. If you look at the raw footage of any movie, let alone a special effects-heavy, sci-fi adventure, it’s going to look pretty lame. That’s why editors exist in the first place, to take the giant mess of unfocused garbage and carve away at it until a completed movie emerges. At the end of the day, Star Wars is a film that works for a number of varying reasons. What’s still up for debate is whether Lucas being the director is one of them.