George Lucas Defends All-White Casting and Depiction of Women in Early 'Star Wars'

The famed filmmaker speaks on diversity and the evolution of 'Star Wars' while addressing some longstanding criticisms and shares insights on the franchise's current path under Disney.

AceShowbiz - George Lucas, the iconic filmmaker behind the "Star Wars" saga, appeared at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival to receive an honorary Palme d'Or. During his discussions, Lucas candidly addressed criticisms directed at the original "Star Wars" films, particularly pertaining to perceived lack of diversity and representation.

Critics have often pointed out the predominance of white male characters in the early Star Wars movies. Lucas responded, insisting that the galaxy he created is far more diverse. "Most of the people are aliens! The idea is you're supposed to accept people for what they are, whether they're big and furry or whether they're green or whatever. The idea is all people are equal," he explained.

He noted that the only characters who face discrimination in Star Wars are the droids, drawing a parallel with contemporary issues surrounding artificial intelligence, "I mean, we're already starting with AI, saying, 'Well, we can't trust those robots.' "

Lucas also defended the portrayal of women in his films. Highlighting strong female characters like Princess Leia and Padme Amidala, he argued, "Who do you think the heroes are in these stories? What do you think Princess Leia was? She's the head of the rebellion."

"She's the one that's taking this young kid who doesn't know anything and this boisterous, I-know-everything guy who can't do anything and trying to save the rebellion with these clowns. And it's the same thing with Queen Amidala."

Regarding the prequel trilogy, Lucas suggested that much of the criticism stemmed from a shifting audience demographic. "I made Star Wars for 12-year-old kids, at the time we were going through a dark period with the Vietnam War and we needed to dream. That's why fans of the 1st trilogy didn't like the prequels, they weren't kids anymore," he explained.

This perspective is shared by some fans but disputed by others who criticize the quality of the prequels.

Finally, Lucas shared his thoughts on the franchise's direction since he sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012. While he acknowledged the talents and efforts of those currently steering the ship, he expressed a sense of longing for his direct involvement, "I feel like they come from my children, and sometimes it hurts a little when they grow up and get away from you."

Through his words at Cannes, Lucas provided a nuanced defense of his work and its legacy while also acknowledging the changing nature of the "Star Wars" universe and its audience.

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