Original Star Wars Producer Gary Kurtz Speaks Image

Original Star Wars Producer Gary Kurtz Speaks

By Chris Gore | December 24, 2019

No one seems to really allowed to be strong as an actor in the Star Wars films…
Yeah, it’s very held back and Liam Neeson is a very strong screen personality and he’s supposed to be the strongest character. One of the story things that bothers me about it, is you don’t have any sense of who the Jedi are. They’re just referred to as these amazing characters. Ewan McGregor is supposed to be an apprentice so he’s not even supposed to be as good as Liam Neeson, you don’t see that either, you don’t see any training. The biggest thing that bothers me about Phantom Menace as far as I’m concerned is the destruction of the spiritual center of the force, turning it into DNA and blood.

In order to be strong in the force now you basically have to have the right blood. May the midiclorians in your blood be with you! I don’t understand why he did it and in two separate scenes it’s reiterated by Liam Neeson and it’s clumsy.
The exposition is weak.

“George has a clear idea of what he wants and whether you agree with that or not, he goes about getting that…”

Not only that there’s no central protagonist in the film. You could argue it’s the queen, you could argue it’s Liam Neeson, you could argue it’s Anakin, or Jar Jar. There’s no quest or journey that any of the characters are on. Secondly, you don’t understand the motivations behind any of the characters. That’s why I feel so strongly that George needed some kind of a rewriter to come in and fix it. To me, Episode 1 really points out the fact that the emperor has no clothes and I don’t mean the character in the film, I mean George himself. It’s a crushing disappointment for someone like myself who grew up with these films.
If you look at what’s been done in some of the novels, some of the novels that have been authorized to be done with the characters going off in different directions are pretty good. A lot of them aren’t but some of them are pretty good in terms of the story. They set up a premise, what would happen if Han and Chewie did this? What would happen if Princess Leia did this? Some of them are silly, but some of them are actually quite good. One of the websites I just pulled down yesterday was one that actually some guy went through and listed all of the written materials that’s ever been written on Star Wars, all of the novels and put them in to a kind of time ark. Where they’re placed on the stream around the movie. It’s really interesting actually. Most of them are after the first three films. Some are way back, 30,000 years before. Anyway, what I’m saying is that some of the novels are actually quite good. The idea of taking the Star Wars franchise and saying, “Okay bring in somebody who has an interesting idea, let them explore, go off in a different direction. It doesn’t have to be a linear ABC, 123-story concept.” That would be a different take on how to deal with Star Wars characters that the fans were really interested in. Not direct sequels and saying the story goes like this, but let them go off and do a Han Solo story that happened before, it doesn’t have to fit into the overall scheme. It hasn’t really been tried. Well, it has been tried because in the 30’s there were lots of series of films that were based on characters that were interesting. The Andy Hardy series, the Thin Man series, they had nothing to do with each other they were just different stories. But, the characters were interesting so you wanted to see them again.

My understanding is that Rick Mcallum does not stand up to George.
Evidently not, I mean, I don’t know Rick Mcallum. I’ve heard lots and lots of rumors, which I just prefer just not to talk about. Anyway it’s very easy to take pot shots at people around a situation like this.

I actually thought that everyone did a great job, the costumes, the actors, the digital effects people, everyone did a great job. Unfortunately the two great weaknesses of the film are the writing and directing – George Lucas’ job.
I think that a lot of what it is, is that George has a clear idea of what he wants and whether you agree with that or not, he goes about getting that. Anybody else in that same position would do the same thing. Now, whether or not that’s popular or whether or not it isn’t is totally a matter of individual opinion.

I’ve never heard of a major filmmaker ever saying, “Look it doesn’t have to be that good.” That’s the most appalling thing I’ve heard come out of the mouth…
No, but that happens all the time on films. You’re making judgments on everything you do. When we worked down the special effects on the first Star Wars we didn’t have very much money and you do this no matter how much money you have, we did this back in the Roger Corman days.

“To go back years later and to change them, I think is probably a wrong philosophy…”

What are your feelings on the Star Wars Special Editions?
To go back years later and to change them, I think is probably a wrong philosophy. In the case of Star Wars it had to be restored anyway, because the negative was so screwed up. All right that’s work, just like restoring David Lean’s version of Lawrence of Arabia that’s a good job, you do that and you do the best job you can. Even like the restoration of A Star is Born, where they actually put in scenes that they didn’t have anymore, they just had stills. That’s just trying to get it back to the way it was in the first place. Here it’s different, it’s not the way it was in the first place. The way it was in the first place was the way we released it.

Now you’re working on this independent film called “1977”, kind of a “day in the life of a group of teenagers on the opening day of Star Wars.” Sounds a little like American Graffiti?
I think it’ll be a good little film. It’s fun and the characters are really believable. It’s out to several companies. The coverage is very good. I think that the title 1977 is good, but I’m not sure we can actually call it 5/25/77 because in the rest of the world it would say 25/5/77. Because nobody else puts the month first it’s only America that does that.

Finally, were there plans for a third Star Wars trilogy and were there any ideas generated for those three films?
Yes, it was very vague. It was Luke’s journey really up to becoming sort of the premiere Jedi knight in the Obi-Wan Kenobi mold and his ultimate confrontation with the emperor. That was the outline of it and all that happens.

“It was Luke’s journey really up to becoming sort of the premiere Jedi knight in the Obi-Wan Kenobi mold and his ultimate confrontation with the emperor.”

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  1. These Behind-The-Scenes Photos Will Make You Rethink The Star Wars Movies ► Lovablevibes | South Africa | Nigeria | Africa | WORLD | says:

    […] After the latter’s success, the pair continued their collaboration and worked on the first Star Wars film. It was a massive success and made Kurtz’s career. Lucas was a dreamer but Kurtz had the business acumen to make it happen. The two had a perfect balance in their primes (via Film Threat). […]

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    […] You can read the rest of the interview here – https://filmthreat.com/interviews/gary-kurtz-interview-the-original-star-wars-producer-speaks/6/ […]

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    […] 10:26 Personal memories of meeting Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz Remembering Gary Kurtz […]

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  6. Jason says:

    Lucas actually talked about midichlorians back in 1977. It’s in the newer Making of ANH book! Look I think there are problems with the Prequels, but this was another typical fanboy who ran around crying about how Lucas raped their childhood. Every other questions was “Lucas was a monster, wasn’t he?!?!”

  7. Rlcigar says:

    “you personally strike me as an eminitely diplomatic personality, you don’t seem capable of really having much of a confrontation with anybody”

    That’s the misconception of the decade! That jerk has lashed out at fans nearly every convention appearance.

  8. Crymore says:

    No, mouth-breather, it’s most definitely an interview. Just because it happens to put sand in your crack doesn’t invalidate it as an interview. Now, run off to your turd-sandwich prequels and stop pretending you actually understand anything.

  9. Ace says:

    It’s not even an interview, it’s more of a gossip rag bashing Lucas. No one cares about Kurtz until he stays whining about big Daddy Lucas firing him for not doing his job correctly. Get over it.

  10. Mark Bell says:

    Yeah, article written 12 years ago… get over it…

  11. Ace says:

    Dudes, honestly. Give it a rest. Lucas is not your enemy. He didn’t cause your parents to divorce and make your childhood suck.

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