George Lucas on the Prequels Before He Started Writing Them

Star Wars Screen Entertainment Box ArtI was going through some old boxes of computer games the other day, and amongst my various notes on hints and cheats I found a print-out of a secret message that was contained in Star Wars Screen Entertainment — the Star Wars screen saver program that was released in 1994. This was written by George Lucas before he started the prequels.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Good and Evil battled to determine the fate of the Universe. The struggle is chronicled in STAR WARS, nine episodes which depict the reign of the Empire and a small, brave band of rebels who threatened to topple it. The middle third of the story was told in Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. We followed a young farm boy, Luke Skywalker, and his commitment to the Rebel Alliance. We watched as Luke learned about the Force from Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, and felt his pain when he discovered that Darth Vader, the most highly regarded commander in the Imperial Navy, was his father. The STAR WARS saga actually begins 40 years before Luke has the pivotal meeting with Obi-Wan that sends him down the path to his destiny. The first three episodes begin with the friendship of a young Ben Kenobi and Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker. When Ben meets Anakin, he sees that the talented pilot is very strong with the Force and decides to train Anakin in the ways of the Jedi. But the Emperor senses Anakin’s growing power, and determined to harness it for the Empire, sways the young Jedi to the Dark Side. Anakin Skywalker ceases to exist, and in his place Darth Vader emerges. The new movies will feature all the action of the first three. Much of the drama, however, will revolve around betrayal — between friends and within the Empire. In this part of the story, things are not always as they seem and you never quite know who the good guys and bad guys are. I plan to start the screenplay for episode one by the end of 1994, and release the prequels by the year 2000.

George Lucas

Pretty interesting look at George’s thought process at that point in time there. I’ve always wanted to have the giant book of drafts and scratch paper for the prequels, to see where some of the ideas in the movies came from. It intrigues me to think about the things not mentioned above, like Qui Gon Jinn or the fact that Anakin is some sort of messiah figure, and wonder why George felt the need to add them into the saga. I mean, does it really matter that Anakin is special? Or could it just be that he’s a pivotal figure, as human, or at least Jedi, as anyone else?

One of those Veggie Melt Days

Yesterday, I went to the cafeteria downstairs where I work to grab something for lunch at my desk. It was just one of those days, you know, where you give up and eat lunch at your desk.

I stopped at the display of food at the cafeteria entrance, trying to decide on something fake-healthy for lunch. You know, it’s not oats and fruit, but if most of the population saw you eating it, they’d say, “Oh, eating healthy, huh? Good for you!”

I settled on the Veggie Melt Ciabatta. Nice mushrooms and peppers and herbs, which by themselves are mostly healthy, along with some melty cheese and oil and some big fat bread so my subconscious would be fooled into thinking it was something more akin to a Whopper.

So I go to the deli counter, and ordered the Veggie Melt, gesturing to the sign.

“The what?”

This is not the first time I have had this experience. I did a little Vanna White action at the sign. “The veggie melt?”

“The what?”

Fine. I pointed.

The guy turned the sign around and pondered it a bit. “Wow…veggie melt?”

Then, accepting the quest on the sign, he leaped into action. He read each line of the description, carefully adding each item to the sandwich. On at least two occasions, he goes off on a quest to find the ingredient. When he came back with the bowl of mushrooms, I silently hoped that he didn’t find them growing back behind the building.

Finally, he handed me my sandwich, which actually looked quite a bit like the display one by the entrance…except…it’s a veggie melt…and it’s not actually melted.

“Thanks,” I say. It was just that kind of day.

At least the sandwich was good.