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George Lucas: ‘We Made ‘Star Wars’ For 12-Year-Olds’

Some of the ‘Star Wars’ films faced a lot of backlash for their seemingly childish nature, but according to the director, that was exactly the point.

George Lucas recently gave context for the hate the ‘Star Wars’ prequel trilogy received following the release of ‘The Phantom Menace’ in 1999. He explained to The Hollywood Reporter:

“It was supposed to be a kid’s movie for 12-year-olds that were going through puberty, who don’t know what they’re doing, and are asking all the big questions: What should I be worried about? What’s important in life? And ‘Star Wars’ has all those things in there. They’re buried in there but you definitely get it, especially if you’re young.”

The trilogy’s first film holds only a 53% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes despite its box office success in the past and is the lowest-rated live-action ‘Star Wars’ project after ‘The Rise of Skywalker.’

The Characters Were Also Designed For Children

The prequel movies still face criticism from some fans for their exposition and childlike characters such as C-3PO, the Ewoks, and Jar Jar Binks. But Lucas notes:

“Everybody said the same thing about 3P0, that he was irritating and we should get rid of him. When I did the third one it was the Ewoks: ‘Those are little teddy bears. This is a kid’s movie, we don’t want to see a kids’ movie.’ I said, ‘It is a kids’ movie. It’s always been a kids’ movie.’”

Especially the backlash Jar Jar drew at the time nearly ended Ahmed Best’s career. Best said that being the first black actor in a motion-capture role added to the criticism.

The Cast Still Love The Project

The trilogy’s cast took pride in their work despite the negative feedback, though. Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Ewan McGregor shared with Variety in February:

“I am happy that I am this character for a lot of people, but when these films came out, they were so disliked. That was hard. The first one was panned, and we still had to make another two! It was weird to be in a film that was hammered.”

Liam Neeson looked back on the experience as follows in 2022:

“I like the film. I am proud of it and proud to have been a part of it. I got to be a Jedi. I got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff. It was terrific, Andy, it really was.”

‘The Phantom Menace’ was re-released in theaters on May 13 to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.

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