Here’s a very interesting revelation from director Ron Howard, who has known George Lucas since working on “American Graffiti” decades ago. Lucas had asked him to direct TPM, as well as Robert Zemeckis AND Steven Spielberg:
Appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Howard revealed to host Josh Horowitz that George Lucas, with whom he worked on American Graffiti and Willow, asked him to direct Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
“He did, he did,” Howard said in response to whether Lucas approached him about the film. “He didn’t necessarily want to direct them, and he told me that he had talked to [Robert] Zemeckis, he talked to me, he talked to Steven Spielberg. I was the third one he spoke to. They had all said the same thing, ‘George, you should just do it!’”
So much for the meme that Lucas was some power-hungry control freak who only wanted “yes men” and wouldn’t “share” with anyone else.