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In recent years George Lucas has become one of the most instantly identifiable pariahs of Hollywood. Fans of the original Star Wars trilogy quickly turned him into some sort of Sith lord when he went back and used modern technology to tamper with his iconic films – and then completely gave up on him when he mishandled the prequel trilogy. However, how Lucas’ film industry peers feel about him? Peter Jackson has an opinion, and recently decided to share it.
The architect of Middle Earth spoke to Deadline recently and gave his opinion on the polarizing Lucas:
As a filmmaker however, my gratitude and respect for George Lucas is without limit. In the decades following Star Wars, George has used his own resources to develop digital VFX, digital editing, digital sound and digital cinematography. He opened the door for me to make the films that I have, in a way I could have barely dreamt of doing before Star Wars. It’s only these technology advances driven by George that allow me to transfer images directly from my imagination onto the screen.
Jackson speaks in reference to the fact that while the A New Hope had an immense impact on him when he first saw it, he never considered himself a total Star Wars fan boy. That being said, he holds Lucas in high regard for the way in which he pioneered numerous filmmaking techniques that have become standard today. He seems to hold Lucas in immensely high regard, not for his ability to tell an amazing story, because those Star Wars prequels did happen, but for his ability to invent and innovate in a way that would forever change the Hollywood landscape.
In that regard, Jackson praises George Lucas more as an inventor and innovator than a filmmaker:
The same would be true of most filmmakers working today — but I can’t help feeling that George Lucas has never been fully appreciated by the industry for his remarkable innovations. He is the Thomas Edison of the modern film industry.
Jackson undoubtedly has a point with his remarks. While Lucas may have stumbled a bit in his storytelling endeavors over the years, his work forever changed the way we view movies. For better or for worse, after Star Wars hit theaters in 1977, giant special effects driven adventures became the go-to cash cows for the film industry. Without Lucas’ efforts on the saga in a galaxy far, far away, it could be easy to argue that audiences would have ever witnessed the Lord of the Rings franchise, or even our beloved superhero movies.
So from now on when George Lucas comes up in conversation, it might be worth considering just how much he has done for the film industry before you roll your eyes. Just remember, without his work you would not have the opportunity to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is currently in theaters.