George talks about his decisions regarding Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca and the Ewoks.
George Lucas: We’re going to have to cope with Billy(Dee Williams).
Richard Marquand(director): Well, seriously, the Falcon is the thing to send him in.
Lucas: I’m just going to have to break the news that it’s not about him.
Lawrence Kasdan(screenwriter): Why does he think it’s about him?
Lucas: Because he’s an actor.
Kasdan: It’s not because you misled him?
Lucas: No, I didn’t mislead him. I said his part would probably be bigger in the next film than it was in Empire.
Marquand: You can give him something really smart to do.
Kasdan: What about killing him now, since it’s so late in the picture?
Lucas: You can’t kill him now.
Kasdan: Why not? What if they need someone to go to (Imperial homeworld)Had Abbadon for some reason and he volunteers to do that and then accomplishes his mission but is killed by Vader?
Howard Kazanjian(executive producer): Then you make him a hero.
Lucas: Well, the trouble is that it’s complicated. Then you have another story line that you have to intercut.
Marquand: I think Lando should fly straight into the Death Star. Give him a great ending.
Lucas: I think it’d be better to put him in the air battle, because then we’ve personalized the air battle.
Kasdan: The air battle at the end?
Lucas: If he dies right at the end of the movie, then you come back to the celebration and yet you’ve just killed one of the main characters.
Kasdan: You want me to give him some meaningless job, hey.
Lucas: Put him with the fleet and have him lead the rebel attack.
-Excerpt from Return of the Jedi story meetings on July 13-17, 1981 from “The Making of Return of the Jedi” by J.W. Rinzler.
In honor of George Lucas getting hitched over the weekend to Mellody Hobson (mazel tov!), here’s something I wrote about how his first marriage affected his work. This was originally posted on my starwars.com blog back in December 2008.
Part I: Good and Bad Fathers
“Of course, your perspective changes when you get older and as you get battered by life.”
—George Lucas, in 1997, when asked about the difficulties of going back to work on Star Wars (1)
During the summer of 1983, the Star Wars saga was ending, and George Lucas’ life was falling apart. Three weeks after the May premiere of Return of the Jedi, the final Star Wars episode, Lucas announced through his publicist that he was divorcing Marcia Griffin, his wife of fourteen years. The split came shortly after Griffin revealed to Lucas that she had an affair while Lucas was overseas producing Jedi. “My life was a shambles,” said Lucas in 2002, “the only thing I really had left was Amanda.” (2)