A 1999 interview between Empire Magazine and George Lucas is re-entering circulation. The interview features Lucas discussing the reactions of executives at 20th Century Fox regarding Lucas’ decision to have the first installment of the Prequel Trilogy revolve around a 10-year-old Anakin Skywalker.
The interview took place a few weeks following the opening of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace at the box office. Lucas admitted in the interview that the movie would have been easier to market provided he portrayed Anakin as a teenager falling in love with Queen Padmé Amidala, played by Natalie Portman.
“I kept it as it was originally intended,” said Lucas. “You can’t play too much to the marketplace. It’s the same thing with the fans. The fans’ expectations had gotten way high and they wanted a film that was going to change their lives and be the Second Coming. You know, I can’t do that, it’s just a movie. And I can’t say, now I gotta market it to a whole different audience. I tell the story.”
“I knew if I’d made Anakin 15 instead of nine, then it would have been more marketable,” Lucas went on. “If I’d made the Queen 18 instead of 14, then it would have been more marketable. But that isn’t the story. It is important that he be young, that he be at an age where leaving his mother is more of a drama than it would have been at 15. So you just have to do what’s right for the movie, not what’s right for the market.”
With regards to his story choices, Lucas noted the execs at Fox told him “You’re going to destroy the franchise, you’re going to destroy everything.” and that he stated on set that he’s “making a movie that nobody wants to see.”
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