What strategy is Lucasfilm planning for the Episode 1 promotional campaign?
We'll promote the film to a reasonable degree to make sure that everyone knows that a new Star Wars film is coming next May. We want to do that while avoiding overkill. The most important aspect of film promotion is to convince those who have no interest in seeing your film to see it. Positive word of mouth is the best way to accomplish that goal and is worth much more than a large ad campaign. If the film isn't good, it doesn't matter how much you spend to promote it. With Episode 1, the film will be the best film that I know how to make. I would expect that the positive word of mouth of this new film will rival that of the first one.
How do you decide what kind of battle sequences to put in the films?
The general idea is that I want each succeeding Star Wars film to have sequences that are even more spectacular and spellbinding than the ones seen in previous films. In Empire, we topped the death star battle with the Hoth Battle. Then in Jedi, we topped Hoth with the multi-leveled battle at Endor. The reason these sequences get so much better with each succeeding film is because technology keeps getting so much better. While the effects in Episode 1 will be much better than anything we've done before, Episode 2 will still be much better just because our digital-animation technology will be much more advanced when that film goes into post-production.
Why not have a full-scale water battle in Episode 1?
The fans are anxious and want to see all my best ideas in the first film. I can't do that because I've got three of these films to make. If I use all my best ideas in the first film, I won't have anything left over for the next two. Also, because I know that technology is going to be much better in just a few years, I'm saving the most complex and intricate sequences for the next two films. The real problem is trying to come up with an original idea for the main battle that will top anything that has been done before. In my mind, we have accomplished that goal and have even exceeded what I thought was possible when I was writing the script. I purposefully write sequences for the film not knowing how on earth we're going to pull them off. But we always seem to find away to make it work.
As you're well aware, many fans are hoping to see younger versions of many of the characters that appear in the classic trilogy. Who do we get to see?
What makes writing the prequels so enjoyable is that I finally get to show where many of the characters in the first films came from. You get to see how many of them ended up where they were at the beginning of A New Hope. I don't spend time worrying about how I can fit a character like Chewbacca into the new films. I can't write these new films with the intent of trying to use all the old characters again. Instead, various plot lines give rise to the need for many characters. I can choose to use an old familiar character or create new characters for certain parts. Artistically, it is more satisfying to create new characters and creatures that have never been seen before, but, at the same time, it would be neat to see what certain characters from the original films were up to during the prequel timeframe. Needless to say, these scripts are very challenging to write.
Why not close down the Star Wars fan sites like 20th Century Fox and Paramount have done with Simpson's and Star Trek fans sites, respectively?
If the fans want to express their love for the films through a website, then that's fine with me. Fan sites encourage children to read and without those sites people might otherwise be watching TV.
What's it really like to be George Lucas?
Well, I can say that I never expected to be where I am today and am very grateful for the success that I have enjoyed through the years. I can tell you that my life is not as exciting as many would be led to believe. While I'm privileged to be able to do what no one else can do which is to make new Star Wars movies, I also do alot of ordinary things like raising a family.
Are you surprised that the Hollywood studios are avoiding opening their films in close proximity to Episode 1?
Yes, I guess I should take that as a compliment. (laughs)
With the Prequel Trilogy, you have stated that you are going to do some unconventional things that are not necessarily commercial. Do you plan to take the same route with Indy 4?
The fourth Indy film will almost certainly be the last because Steven, Harrison and I are getting so old. It will be the last opportunity to do things in an Indy film that we have always wanted to do, but may have shied away from in the past because those things may be considered unconventional and not commercial.
Could you tie all the Indy films nicely together by bringing back old characters like Marion, Willy and Short Round?
Yes, that would help tie all four films together and it would be neat to reunite the previous casts members with Indy in some creative way. Steven or I could think of a way to do that if we really wanted to.
With the tremendous popularity of strong female action heroes like Lara Croft (of the Tomb Raider games) and Xena: The Warrior Princess, why not give Indy a female sidekick who is as tough, if not tougher, than him?
We could do that and that would be unconventional because the traditional female role in adventure films is that of the helpless heroine.
Why not pass the Indy torch by introducing Indy's son (say Henry Jones III or his daughter for that matter) or introducing a female version of Indy in the new film?
I could do that, but it would be hard to imagine future Indy films without Harrison in the starring role.