A Communications Disruption: Commentary

Former Lucasfilm employee and author J.W. Rinzler recently started blogging a popular series called “The Rise And Fall of Star Wars” on his personal website.  The entries were going to cover his time at Lucasfilm 2001-2015 where he worked in publishing and got a great deal of access, especially while working on his series of behind the scenes books for ROTS, the OT, and TFA, which was unpublished.  Up until July 14 2017, he had published twelve entries with vivid descriptions of life at Skywalker Ranch and Big Rock Ranch and anecdotes about various personalities like George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Lucasfilm execs, ILM players, the prequels cast, etc..  Shortly after his twelfth entry was posted, he edited it a couple of times, then the blog completely disappeared.  He abruptly canceled an appearance (“indefinitely”) on the Star Wars Junk podcast that was supposed to happen July 17.  He then posted on Twitter that he has had to discontinue his blog, with no further explanation given.  This tells me Rinzler was ordered to stop blogging and to take down all of his entries immediately through a cease and desist letter from Lucasfilm.  It’s likely they are alleging the blog violates a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that I’m certain Rinzler had to sign while an employee.

The July 14 entry was about his time on the set of ROTS in 2003 and he had noted that 1) Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman were “likely” affected by years of prequel bashing and weren’t terribly cooperative with his efforts 2) McGregor loudly and rudely rebuffed Rinzler after getting the green light to interview him;  McCallum allegedly said the actor was on “an emotional rollercoaster” and the crew claimed he’d changed since working on TPM 3) the difference between the way McGregor and Hayden Christensen took direction versus old pro Jimmy Smits and 4) Christensen talking about how Lucas wanted Anakin to be more understated than he wanted.  Given that Rinzler had been blogging away for weeks, even getting comments from former and current Lucasfilm employees as well as fans, there was something about this entry that made Lucasfilm uncomfortable enough to cry havoc and unleash the legal dogs of war.

 Now, let’s get one thing straight.  Lucasfilm doesn’t give a crap that you now know Ewan McGregor may have had a hissy fit on a movie set fourteen years ago.  Lucasfilm got nervous because of what Rinzler knows about a whole host of other things:  Lucas’s failed battle to build a studio at Grady Rock Ranch, when Lucas got the bug to do another Star Wars trilogy and why, what were originally Lucas’s ideas for the sequel trilogy, the sale to Disney, the decision to pull the plug on Clone Wars, the decision to cancel re-releases of the prequel trilogy, rebooting the spinoff material of books and comics, any falling out between Lucas and his former allies at Lucasfilm, the decision to dump Michael Arndt for Larry Kasdan and J.J. Abrams, what happened on the set of TFA, why Lucasfilm didn’t publish his book about TFA, and why he was let go shortly after TFA’s release.   If Rinzler wasn’t afraid to talk about cranky actors, he sure wasn’t going to be afraid to give his perspective on a lot of other things.  Maybe it wasn’t all sweetness and light on the set of TFA; maybe there was far more to the story of Harrison Ford’s injuries than what we’ve been told.  There were after all criminal charges filed against the production company.

The old Lucasfilm was more than happy to delve behind the scenes.  The new Lucasfilm seems to regard, beyond a few PR-friendly reels for cons and home viewing, Star Wars films the same as sausage:  you don’t want to know how they are made.  A book about the making of “Rogue One” was supposed to be published this year and that was abruptly cancelled.  Fans suspect it was because of the re-shoot drama late in the film’s production.

The old Lucasfilm had NDAs all along but let people like David Prowse, Gary Kurtz, Charlie Lippencott, etc. talk all they wanted even if what they had to say was score-settling along with the inside skinny of making Eps IV-VI; Prowse eventually got banned from official events but nobody has ever shut him up.  A former employee named Michael Rubin wrote “Droidmaker” several years ago that gave an insider’s view at Lucasfilm, American Zoetrope, and the early days of Pixar.  Today’s Lucasfilm will use NDAs to make sure nobody says anything to anybody ever.  There might be people who will shrug off or even defend this action but this means what we learn about Star Wars and about Lucasfilm now  will only be through tightly-controlled PR or from the Supershadows of the world.  Either way, you don’t get the truth.

They won’t be able to keep everyone quiet forever though.  There will be others coming forward to give their .02 as they leave the business and aren’t worried about burning any bridges.  Somebody will fight draconian interpretations of NDAs, consequences be damned.

In the meantime, we’ve lost a valuable time capsule capturing a part of Star Wars history that doesn’t get a lot of coverage.  It’s truly a shame.

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64 Responses to “A Communications Disruption: Commentary”

  1. mes520 Says:

    Truth will probably come out someday.

    • joe Says:

      and when will that be? when everyone is dead so there’s no one to offend? it’s crazy rinzler should write all this down on paper and keep it locked and safe and when the time is right revealeverything

    • Hunk a Junk Says:

      Disney can keep the lid on the truth indefinitely. Don’t believe me? Try seeing “Song of the South.”

      • joe Says:

        whoopi goldberg is trying to do something about that disappointing they and or lucasfilm stooped to this level (the blog of course)

      • joe Says:

        to be clearer shutting down rinzler’s blog was where they stooped to hope it wasn’t confusing

  2. Darth Deckard Jones Says:

    I really want to know how the sale of Lucasfilm went down and what George’s original idea was for the sequel trilogy. I think we may learn all of that someday but it won’t be until this phase of films has wrapped. Who knows maybe the 40 page sequel treatment will get leaked like Frank Darabont’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls script was.

  3. CV73 Says:

    Fantastic commentary and I hope we do find out everything one day, but I don’t blame Rinzler in the least. I’m sure they threatened to come down on him like a ton of bricks. I’m also sure the real story does not cover anyone at Disney in glory.

  4. Moose Says:

    The parallels between how the Republic became the Empire and how Star Wars went from George Lucas to Disney are too numerous to mention. Based on the mass appeal of Episode 7, it seems to have happened “with thunderous applause.”

    • Anticitizen One Says:

      Nicely said. I’ll never understand how that movie is so highly regarded. Nostalgia is a powerful drug, I guess.

    • lovelucas Says:

      Excellent parallel- I felt it from day one but could never have nailed it like you did.

    • Cryogenic Says:

      It’s actually a grade worse than that. Lucas sold to Disney and therefore allowed Star Wars to “become the very thing he swore to destroy”: a fascist corporate label and an excuse to make as much money as possible. On the ROTS DVD commentary, Lucas concedes that he ended up taking a similar path to Anakin’s, losing his chance at a normal life and becoming the controlling head of a major film studio, and the self-made heir to a major commercial empire, in spite of his maverick nature, love of rugged individualism, and open dislike of authority. But he REALLY became Anakin when he signed his creation/s away to Bob Iger for $4 billion. That is when Lucas made his own Faustian pact. Like Anakin, he thought he could beat the devil at his own game and come out of it intact. And maybe he personally could. But at a terrible cost to his own legacy. The distinction between them has starkly collapsed. With the passage of time, the universe shows you who you really are.

      • joe Says:

        his legacy was already on shaky ground with the backlash to the prequels and indy 4 of course i don’t think his legacy was hurt by those great films

      • Cryogenic Says:

        You’re right, Joe. That was a slight overreaction on my part. Star Wars is alive and well. Selling to Disney has breathed new life into Lucas’ creation; even if the result is more of a Frankenstein’s monster than anything else. To echo the top post: The Republic will be reorganized into The First Galactic Empire…

  5. Prequel Knight Says:

    Its really time people stopped letting the fact Disney own Star Wars cloud their judgement about who they are and what they’ve done. There are too much fans afraid they won’t get anymore Star Wars material if they dare to criticise them. Star Wars for all intends and purposes is dead under this new regime, more machine than man. Their material pales in comparison to the stories and art we got before they arrived.

    • lovelucas Says:

      Sadly true and we sort of knew it was coming but I never dreamed it would be this severe…..and severed.

    • Cryogenic Says:

      The House of Disney certainly cares less for artistic boldness than Lucas ever has. And it behaves in ruthlessly imperialistic ways. It’s kind of a mystery why he would ever have placed his trust in Disney at all.

  6. Xa-V Says:

    Very much on point and well put, I agree 100% and Lucasfilm feels indeed quite ugly since Disney/Kennedy behind fake smiles and forced declarations like it’s always “an honor to be part of this”….

    On the surface I’m casually ok with TFA (depending on how the trilogy will turn out really) and I do love Rogue One and think it’s pretty authentic SW, still there is something unmistakably stinky behind the scene… the only thing holding it for now IMO is a bunch of people who seem still sincere navigating through this like Filoni, Hildalgo,…

  7. Jacobesico Says:

    The only thing about Disney Star Wars that I love is Rebels. I’m not interested in any of the spin offs and I’m not excited for the future movies.

  8. Keith Palmer Says:

    The really ambiguous thing about this to me is that I can imagine the final entry you described as being used by some to put down George Lucas and the “prequel era”… I suppose Rinzler’s “The Making of Return of the Jedi” seeming to dwell on a “contradiction” between that movie and TESB that I’d already formed a less hostile personal theory on went some slight way towards my not having been particularly enthralled by his posts while he was making them.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      He said early on ROTJ was not his favorite SW film and honestly I thought that bias showed in the book. Whenever you put these things out, people will twist it to suit their purposes.

  9. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I think it is clear that since Disney now owns LucasFilm, they are not that interested in revealing any “behind the scenes” tidbits regardless of when Lucas controlled the company or them. Disney is a very tightly controlled publicity machine.

  10. lovelucas Says:

    I attended Rinzler’s session at CIII and it was totally packed even though it was the last session of CIII and most folks had already left. One of the best SW sharing of information ever. Plus he’s very animated and open….seemed to love his job, Star Wars, George and every SW film. Wish I had known about his blog but thanks, LP, for salvaging what you could and sharing it with us. And to think Rinzler was one of the most convincing SW cheerleaders.

    • Cryogenic Says:

      Thank you for this, Linda. It is clear that Rinzler applied some disinfectant to his own blog *before* removing it and is operating from some cognitive bias and quite possibly some grudge-settling of his own. But then again — who isn’t? I was enjoying the blog entries; just as I’ve enjoyed all of Rinzler’s previous work. I would say that Lucas was very lucky to find a careful, committed scribe like Rinzler. And one who still seems, whether he has his own agenda or not, to be TCB-ing for George and sticking it to Disney in his own way. Rinzler is one of us! It also doesn’t look good when you gag the author of FOUR Star Wars saga-movie “making of” books (or, indeed, FIVE with the unpublished/withheld/suppressed TFA “making of”); as well as the main brain behind the graphic novel adaptation of GL’s first draft screenplay of “The Star Wars”. Rinzler has given a tremendous slice of his life to Star Wars and helped roll back the curtain in a positive way. Imagine this happening under his old boss. Silencing him won’t change anything in the long term. As Rinzler himself said last year, the truth will out eventually…

      • lovelucas Says:

        I’ve missed you …everywhere we all used to be but I don’t go there anymore. Bless you, LP

      • Cryogenic Says:

        Aww — yes!!! It was once a melting pot; though one always threatening to bubble over. Now it’s not really the place for prequel fans and Disney critics to be. Lazy Padawan created something singular and terrific with this website. I feel guilty for neglecting to add comments/feedback for so long. Best prequel site on the Internet.

  11. Kim Says:

    Too bad, I enjoyed reading about his experiences and perspective. It’s a shame what has become of Lucasfilm.

    • Cryogenic Says:

      An exchange from “Man Of Steel” comes to mind…

      These Disney people with their endless remakes are leading Star Wars to ruin; and if they continue, they will be the owners of nothing.

      They’ve taken up the lightsaber against their own people. People like George Lucas, J.W. Rinzler, and even critical Star Wars fans.

      I will honour the company that Lucasfilm once was. Not this monster it has become.

  12. joe Says:

    heard earlier that are no plans to release the making of tfa anytime soon

  13. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    The real truth is that J. J. Abrams was fired half way through filming TFA and replaced by Uwe Boll, master of shlock. That explains all the similarities between TFA and Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead.

    Rinzler gave me this information personally. Disney can’t bury the truth!

  14. ashokatanostarwars Says:

    I’m looking forward to The Last Jedi but finding out about this really puts a damper on my hype for this movie..

  15. Stefan Kraft Says:

    In the end, a commentary I can agree with. I think that some editing of the blog posts by Rinzler was fair (McGregor and Portman “likely” affected by Prequel bashing vs the earlier edit where you get the impression that Rinzler was 100% sure about it).
    Anyway, today’s Disney (a large media company) is no independent Lucasfilm. I even understand why Disney wants to tightly control its public image. Still, I wish there was a better way…

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      P.s.: I agree that we will someday learn what really happened. However, I also fear that it may be some disgruntled ex-Lucasfilm employee so that you may have to take his commentary with a grain of salt. A “Making of” book by Rinzler or his blog posts would certainly be better.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      2.P.s.: I just read your comment on the other blog post that it was probably Lucasfilm itself that told Rinzler to stop blogging. So it is “old independent Lucasfilm vs new Disney Lucasfilm” and not “Disney vs old independent Lucasfilm.” Anyway, The NDA policy seems to have shifted.

      • Branislav Marček Says:

        I don´t distunguish Lucasfilm from Disney anymore. As far as I´m concerned, they´re now more or less one and the same thing.

    • Cryogenic Says:

      I don’t mean to quibble too fiercely here, Stefan, but while that might have been a tactful edit, the earlier version on Naboo News makes clear that Rinzler also wiped out Ewan’s hostile reaction, as well as background details regarding an apparent shift in his behaviour/temperament between AOTC and ROTS. So it seems Rinzler tamed down his last entry to avoid incurring the wrath of Ewan primarily; and obviously to ward off wider scrutiny. Rinzler didn’t just make a small adjustment to a piece of possible speculation on his part. He chose to completely censor ill behaviour from the principals; instead painting them in a more ambiguous/amorphous manner (well, Ewan and Natalie) as remote/aloof. And while that was presumably his own doing, Lucasfilm sure stepped in quickly thereafter. That is, if we are, indeed, assuming he was silenced by Lucasfilm, and not leprechauns.

      There’s definitely some irony to note in the fact that an entity named after George Lucas himself, with whom, and with which, Rinzler previously enjoyed a good relationship with (seemingly), has now stepped in to gag him. Talk about a two-headed Hydra. Lucasfilm giveth, Lucasfilm taketh away… Also, while this watchful dragon was probably worried about dirt being dished and light being shed on their sinful operations/machinations circa 2012-onwards, with earlier revelations about Lucas’ plans for Star Wars/Lucasfilm in 2011 (potentially) further exposing Disney’s avaricious, opportunistic nature, there is further irony in writings/revelations on the prequels getting squelched. Disney/LFL has once again stepped in (or so it appears) to nip something “prequel” in the bud. Not their main motive; but it’s at least consistent with all the other shunning of prequel material after Lucas signed everything over to them.

      It’s kinda funny that the human dimension of Star Wars is being suppressed here. If the prequels present a more complex and rueful take on human nature, then Disney/LFL striking out to silence a quasi-ally and cohort of Lucas’, and to stop him from disseminating a few less sunny facts or notions about these films to the public sphere, is them spiritually attacking the prequels, and the deeper foundation of their intellectual property, on multiple levels. Perhaps Rinzler himself learned to be more critical of the films and behind-the-scenes shenanigans after his “making of” book for ROTJ. Perhaps he went into “Episode VII” with a slightly more jaded and cautious mindset; especially after some of the difficulties he just alluded to on the set of ROTS in his last entry. This could only have served to make Disney/LFL all the jumpier. Rinzler is no greenhorn. And he has his former loyalty to Lucas; who he was happy to refer to as a “visionary” in his last blog entry. You can sense they were getting rattled.

      • lovelucas Says:

        Cryo!!! I’d read your blog daily 🙂 Where else can I find you?

      • lovelucas Says:

        Meant to put this here: lovelucas Says:
        July 22, 2017 at 4:34 am | Reply
        Pablo Hildago’s on set diaries and blog many times contained veiled references. Barely hidden negatory towards Natalie, especially. But none were blatant – still, it’s all sort of true gossip. We will never again have that kind of immediate and relevant access even as the film is being made… But if it’s honest, what’s the problem, Disney? How I loved those Hyperspace days of glory and the days when George didn’t have a problem with what was revealed.

      • Cryogenic Says:

        Thank you, Linda! You can still find me on TFN — well, sorta. I’m here for the time being as I seem to have suffered a similar fate to Rinzler. Can’t really elaborate for the time being. Perhaps now is really the time to break away and start a blog of my own…

      • Cryogenic Says:

        Okay, well, see my response below where you originally put it. I guess Rinzler’s blog finished (ahead of time) on an entry with quite a lot of sizzle to it.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        “I don’t mean to quibble too fiercely here, Stefan, but while that might have been a tactful edit, the earlier version on Naboo News makes clear that Rinzler also wiped out Ewan’s hostile reaction, as well as background details regarding an apparent shift in his behaviour/temperament between AOTC and ROTS.”
        You’re probably right. Still, I think that Rinzler’s edit may also have been (not mainly, but also) motivated to be “fairer.” Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

      • Cryogenic Says:

        Fairer, sure. Yet Rinzler was obviously motivated, in the first place, to set the record straight; and maybe even to get back at Ewan for his poor behaviour toward him. Assuming Rinzler was earlier telling the truth and didn’t embellish what happened. Granted, this is also speculation on my part, but if you were in his position, assigned to document the last Star Wars film under George Lucas and the closing piece to a thirty-five year cinematic saga founded on the most popular movie of all time, wouldn’t you be a little surprised if a principal actor, who gave off nothing but good-guy vibes in the behind-the-scenes material for the previous entries, suddenly barks at you, the hired scribe, to essentially keep your distance? And never grants you an interview; forcing you to rely on EPK material?

        It’s the deleted Rick McCallum anecdote-and-quote about McGregor I find interesting. Rinzler was clearly trying to give his own recollection some substance. As they say: First impressions count. Then all those pieces are taken out. I think Rinzler was thinking about the heat such remarks could bring him. It’s not like he was slandering Ewan’s performance or making accusations about his personal life. I just don’t think he wanted to face recriminations. Though chivalry could also have been a motivation. Everyone has some kind of self-image they’re trying to live up to. Rinzler doesn’t seem like that much of a dirt-dishing guy. Even with his Star Wars blog designed to be an on-going expose, I’m not sure he was interested in being especially salacious. But I guess, to echo your words, we’ll never know.

      • joe Says:

        rots came out 28 years after anh

      • Cryogenic Says:

        Yeah. I was out in my maths there. I should have said “thirty years”, not “thirty-five” (rounded to the nearest decade). That said, given that Lucas both founded Lucasfilm and registered the name “The Star Wars” in 1971 (via United Artists), with the two forever being intertwined from then on, it’s still true to say it was a thirty-five-year (or thirty-four-year) odyssey — well, from a certain point of view. I earlier screwed up on the hyphen, too.

      • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

        The notion that Ewan and Natalie were less enthusiatic about Star Wars by Episode III (well, Natalie probably wasn’t enthusiatic from the beginning) is nothing that should surprise us. Reading the “Making of ROTS” feels very much like reading the thoughts of George and (in the chapters about principle photographie) Hayden. There was a noticable lack of content from Ewan, especially.

        It felt like Hayden had the best understanding of and relationship with George out of the three main leads. He also attended Geoge’s wedding and spoke very highly about him at Star Wars events.

        Ewan always felt a bit like he was too much of an “OT fan” to fully embrace the prequels and Geoge’s vision for them.

        Honestly, I don’t care for Disney. I don’t care for the moment they “took over”. But I would have loved to get more information about the making of ROTS, George’s plans for the future etc.

        Screw you, Disney! 🙂

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Honestly, I think Hayden really “got” Lucas. Samuel L. Jackson too.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Quite some interesting observations here! It would be interesting to know what happened between Natalie and Hayden as well as why Ewan changed (at least during the EP III photography). On the other hand, these actors have also a right to privacy.
        Anyway, it is IMHO good that Ewan still seems to be interested in making an Obi-Wan movie despite his frustration (or whatever it was) during EP III. Maybe he has changed his mind again, or the good memories outweight the bad. But again, we will never know. (And Disney, please make the Obi-Wan movie!)

      • Cryogenic Says:

        Good points, PrinceOfNaboo. I haven’t read the “making of” book for ROTS all the way through in a while, but in parts, I guess it does kind of feel like “The George and Hayden Show”. Which is not to put it down in any way. It’s still very detailed and illuminating. The basic deportment of the book in that sense also dovetails nicely with Lucas revealing that he twice had to cut the film down, once in the scripting phase, and again in the editing/rough-assembly phase, to make it leaner and more “Anakin”-centric. So it’s appropriate there’s some focus placed on the the two minds/performers bringing Anakin to life. With ROTS being the last in the classic “George Lucas/Anakin Skywalker Saga”, it was also a great opportunity for Lucas to expound on his artistic processes and his view of the complete saga. And I guess Rinzler couldn’t force Natalie and Ewan to participate if they didn’t want to. I think we have Rinzler to thank for his book having the intimate approach it does.

        I agree on Ewan. He’s always read to me as an OT fanboy. Though, recently, I’ve been given to think he’s not even much of that. Star Wars may have been a fascination for him in his youth, but I think he’s only one of a thousand actors that prefers more “serious” and artistically challenging films. Ewan has been more tactful than Alec Guinness, but I’m not sure his thoughts are all that removed from his on-screen avatar/hero/mentor/progenitor. It’s like he quietly said to himself, as he moved from one prequel to the next, “I see what you mean, Sir Alec.” He’s just never said it in public. That said, he’s probably a *little* cooler about the whole thing than Guinness. Loved the report on here in 2015 about Ewan meeting back up with Liam at the Los Cabos International Film Festival in Mexico. And then there is Ewan providing his voice for Obi-Wan in the chest/vision sequence in TFA and his indicating he’d be up for playing Obi-Wan in a spin-off.

        But it’s still tough to really pin him down. He says he was happy to be in them and he’s glad they’re films that children can watch; yet, in earlier years, he laughed at the title “Attack Of The Clones” and asked outloud: “Is that better than Phantom Menace? I dunno.” As well as saying on more than one occasion that he was left relatively unmoved by having worked on them; and that the prequels, in particular, were about special effects and visuals than, well… Star Wars, or what he remembered of the films from when he was younger, I suppose. So I guess he has a complicated relationship with them, yet largely comes off as someone, like you said, OT fanboy or no, unwilling/unable to embrace Lucas’ expanded vision.

        Boy, I love to talk.

        It’s a shame if Natalie resented being part of Star Wars from the start. I feel she brought a good deal of poise and dignity and authority, and an underlying maternal warmth to her character. It wasn’t an especially easy role. People tend to focus on the male characters. She was the solitary “lead” female of the PT. And Padme/Amidala has many layers. The prequel trilogy is as much about her as it is Palpatine or her “Jedi Protectors”.

        I would say that Hayden, Sam Jackson, Christopher Lee, Liam Neeson, and Ian McDiarmid — *all* those guys really got Lucas and powerfully delivered. Pernilla, Jake, and Ahmed, too. And, of course, I still have admiration for Ewan and Natalie; regardless of their temperaments and what they personally think of their involvement. The PT, much like the OT, but in an even greater way, was and is a wonderful ensemble, in my opinion. But with this Picasso-like genius steering everything and largely having everything his own way.

        I don’t think we’ll hear too much from the actors going forward about difficulties on the set. But who knows? I agree with Stefan that they are entitled to their privacy. But I’m also glad Rinzler put those details out there before revising.

  16. lovelucas Says:

    Pablo Hildago’s on set diaries and blog many times contained veiled references. Barely hidden negatory towards Natalie, especially. But none were blatant – still, it’s all sort of true gossip. We will never again have that kind of immediate and relevant access even as the film is being made… But if it’s honest, what’s the problem, Disney? How I loved those Hyperspace days of glory and the days when George didn’t have a problem with what was revealed.

    • Cryogenic Says:

      Vader’s wifey being played by a difficult, remote “ice queen” actually makes a measure of sense. I’ve never quite been sure what to make of Natalie Portman. She seemed warmer in the Episode II days, though, possibly? A vibe I get from her interview material at the time. If you watch the scene of Natalie and Ewan in ROTS, where Obi-Wan confronts Padme with the news of Anakin’s turn, there is, I suppose, this faint whiff of “we’re smarter than this little runt”; as if Anakin was right to feel cuckolded. They are essentially playing aristocrats to Hayden’s impertinent slave-kid brooding wrecking-ball. Palpatine implies a small hint of the two wanting to access each other’s pants in Episode II: “Perhaps someone you’re familiar with…” (and that wicked grin). So if the two actors sort of buddied-up and thought they were above other people, it wouldn’t surprise me too much. A little more in Ewan’s case, a little less in Natalie’s. I remember Rinzler capturing a moment in his ROTS “making of” where Natalie is reading The New Yorker. Gives off a certain “air”, let’s say (The New Yorker also trashed Star Wars in a 1997 interview piece with Lucas; which inspired a t-shirt he and some crew members wore during the making of TPM…).

      Does all feel rather different now. How I wish I had signed up for Hyperspace back in the day. There was a lot of extra material on there, wasn’t there?

      Funny, too, isn’t it, that Kathleen Kennedy thought nothing of dissing Lucas (“My Yoda” — as she said back in 2012, anyway…) in that self-promoting Vanity Fair interview in February 2016; yet don’t anyone dare say anything critical back…


      • lovelucas Says:

        Never a fan of Kathleen. I think George was probably floored by her betrayal. Hyperspace: great stuff. You could watch as they filmed but it was never totally revealed about what was happening. TFN boards etc were on fire with posts presenting theories about what scene was being filmed and where. First shot I remember was overhead on Padme’s veranda and it was early July, 2003. I still have a lot of this stuff, having copied what I could. This was on Aussie time, too so I was at work not getting a whole lot done. I was so irritated when the job interfered with what was important. The coup day was when I spotted the image of an unconscious Padme on the birthing table. I captured it and sent it to SW buds who couldn’t think of anything else the rest of the day. Re Natalie and Ewan: She did apologize later for her behavior – she knew she was being an isolated snob. Friend of a friend (yeah – one those) who had been on the set of both AotC and RotS noticed a huge difference between Natalie and Hayden – where before they were like playful pups, flirting etc and laughing a lot on AotC but something happened by the time they reached Spain. And Rots – it was cold as ice. The source mentioned they would do the scene then abruptly turn and walk away from each other, no communication at all. Hard to believe anything negative about Ewan – Rick was so appreciate of him, always. Hayden was the one who seemed to really love what he was doing – He stayed for the post-filming partyon the set but no one else in the lead cast did. Now granted, they may have had other commitments but I read over and over how much the crew loved Hayden. This was said about Ewan, too, but primarily for AotC. For nerdy folks like myself, it was a kick to re-read all the Hyperspace stuff once RotS was showing and Pablo was able to be quite specific about things he had kept semi-undercover: describing precisely what scene was shot and what stage they were on.

      • Cryogenic Says:

        Wonderful stuff there, LL. Thanks!!! You are simultaneously the most archly-loyal, the most archly-articulate, and the most archly-perceptive prequel fan I know. Work vs. Star Wars (or Star Wars > Work). I know the dilemma. Not that I’ve had much capacity to check things in a work situation myself. But the tug of this thing is immense. It’s not an especially gross exaggeration to say I’ve consecrated half of my life to it.

        Some bits ‘n’ pieces of various blog entries for ROTS are still accessible (or were recently accessible) on The Way Back Machine (archive.org). But patchy. A couple of years ago, someone on TFN also re-posted a whole set of early images released for AOTC, including a very fine composition of Anakin meditating against moodily-lit Art Deco “Force Lines” in Padme’s penthouse apartment. Shame that didn’t make it into the movie. The downturn in Hayden and Natalie’s relationship sounds fascinating. Movie screen couples are often irritated by each other; with the tension sometimes being replaced forevermore by hate. Sad that something good seemed to be kicking off for a while between them; and then the big freeze. To bring this full circle: A communications disruption can mean only one thing…

        Hayden still seemed really appreciative and somewhat in awe of Lucas when they did that “Unscripted” Moviefone interview together for ROTS. From there comes Hayden’s memorable response about Vader “going commando”. I’m pleased that he showed up at Celebration this year. He sounds like he might have needed some downtime, but that he has always been accommodating — not to mention a little shy, awkward, humble, sincere, thoughtful, and engaging. Fame, to invoke a cliche, doesn’t seem to have changed him much. I’m going to remember your comment forever and a day that going back to Star Wars was GL’s finest hour. This was the Golden Age in every sense of the term. We’ll always have Coruscant.

  17. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    “…I came to understand that a big part of him remained the artsy, rebellious graduate student who disdained narrative and dialogue. Indeed, after watching his shorts and while re-viewing the four Star Wars films for my new job, I noted aspects that are absent from run-of-the-mill blockbusters: long segments featuring only Ben Burtt’s sound design or John Williams’ music; odd framings; emotional dislocation; and nontraditional story lines, such as showing Darth Vader as a little boy growing up—the choice and execution of which had initiated a shock wave of revulsion among certain movie-goers that continues to this day.”

    -J. W. Rinzler on George Lucas

    • Cryogenic Says:

      Great quote. Many of us have (hopefully) noted such aspects and facets to Lucas’ film art. And how Star Wars is, in some ways, the catastrophic fulfillment of his core avant-garde tendencies fused with a long-held fascination in people/psychology/history (anthropology) and incipient interest in “Old School” Hollywood and film drama. That’s a mealy-mouthed sentence. But Star Wars is a deep dish. Especially when all the autobiographical shards are also noticed and seriously examined. When you consider all the layers, and the remarkable impact of the whole thing, Star Wars can definitely be seen as the “Black Swan” of modern cinema. I love the one-two punch there of Rinzler parsing “odd framings; emotional dislocation”. I’m reminded of this Francis (Bacon, not Coppola) remark: “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion”.

  18. Edward Diego Says:

    “Now, let’s get one thing straight. Lucasfilm doesn’t give a crap that you now know Ewan McGregor may have had a hissy fit on a movie set fourteen years ago. Lucasfilm got nervous because of what Rinzler knows about a whole host of other things […]”

    Nothing against your assumpation Lazypadawan, but isn’t the opposite the case? I mean since the last Celebration/40th Anniversary we can all agree that Disney/Lucasfilm is actively trying to rebuild the reputation of the Prequels (Inviting Hayden & Ian, Samuel & Liam making an on-screen appearance and so on). But then comes along J. W. Rinzler with a Blog called ‘The Rise & Fall of Star Wars’ which is by far not a very positive title. It was a mistake that he wrote how conflicted the actors (Ewan especially) felt about the whole Prequel thing. Rinzlers Blog had the potential to reignites the past doubt & anger towards the Prequels. So Rinzler was working AGIANST what Disney/Lucasfilm are momentary trying to achieve! To me it’s no surprise that someone asked Rinzler (maybe Lucas himself since they are good friends/colleagues) to stop his pessimistic Blog.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Did you even read it? It wasn’t pessimistic at all. I’ve heard and read worse stuff written by people who were around during the OT era. No, there’s something he clearly knew and folks at Lucasfilm didn’t want him talking about it.

    • Cryogenic Says:

      Disney/Lucasfilm — “Actively trying to rebuild the reputation of the prequels?” They SHOULD be!!! They’re the ones that did a lot to kowtow to ill feeling and further knock them down. Who can rightly look past all that dog whistle and the various negative overtures in the marketing campaign for TFA in 2015; and TFA itself? To say nothing of them squashing “The Clone Wars”, scrapping the 3D releases of AOTC and ROTS, and developing spin-off movies that cling to the classic appeal and established iconography of the original trilogy like leeches. This is before we get into the suppression of “making of” books and the firing of directors supposedly hired for their individual sensibilities; and how Lucasfilm is meant to have retained autonomy from its parent company because there’s a “built-in culture” that Disney trusts.

      “The Rise And Fall Of Star Wars” is not a positive title, but it’s not outrageously negative, either; I suppose, in its own way, echoing Edward Gibbon’s “The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire”. Like that epic tome, it promised to be an equally luxuriant and gripping (if less voluminous) read. And nothing should get in the way of a good story; least of all the machinations of a devious, money-hungry corporation; one which already has a disturbing level of power and bullies esteemed individuals and academic institutions, no less, into silence. Link below.

      It’s important, in all things, to speak a measure of truth to power. Stifling and oppressive hegemonic forces need to be challenged with salient facts and counter-narratives. The last prequel movie came out twelve years ago. The oldest began filming twenty years ago. When *is* it going to be okay for Rinzler or someone else to begin talking about those and robustly reminiscing on the rough and the smooth?

      Calling the blog “pessimistic” is itself a pessimistic assessment. Honest, rueful, bittersweet — even objective — would probably all be better words. Personally, I think a title like “The Rise And Fall Of Star Wars” implies Star Wars can rise again. You can always reverse the placement of “rise” and “fall”. Rinzler indicated he was only giving his personal view of things. We’ve seen fan efforts like “The Secret History Of Star Wars” allowed previously that were every bit as rueful, and yes, pessimistic; with no attempt at intervening (although, to be fair, the author of that work was merely drawing on pre-existing sources). This looks like a blatant attempt at muzzling someone, as LP just said, that knows things Disney/LFL don’t want getting out.

      I also promised a link and here it is:


      • joe Says:

        and pulling the plug on the cartoon star war detours you know there’s nothing wrong with having a fun silly cartoon based on star wars what’s your opinion on detours lp ? do you think it would be funny or do you think it would have been a slap in the face to the films? may the force be with you

    • Cryogenic Says:

      Credit goes to a good fellow by the TFN board name of “mikeximus” for the last link.

      • Michael Kelly Says:

        Who is this Mikeximus fellow? I heard he got banned for not playing nice with the mods over there…

      • Cryogenic Says:

        Mike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :O

      • Mike Kelly Says:

        Hello there Cryo! Long time my friend! I see you are keeping up with old tricks. I can’t say I miss TFN too much, with the exception of some of the individuals like yourself, Darth Nerdling etc. Telling Heels to Go F himself was pleasing and well worth the perma ban. The opinion and individual preference driven moderating over there had finally wore me down!

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