If there's one thing that Star Wars: The Last Jedi has shown, it's that the galaxy far, far away is going in a very different direction than it likely would have under George Lucas. Turns out, that's exactly what he wanted. Following the release of the original film in 1977, Lucas was asked about the possibility of other directors taking over the franchise. At the time, Lucas seemed excited by the idea, which seems odd, considering now he seems far less interested in it. Back then Lucas said...
It would be interesting. I would want to try and get some good directors, and see what their interpretation of the theme is. I think it will be interesting, it is like taking a theme in film school, say, okay, everybody do their interpretation of this theme. It's an interesting idea to see how people interpret the genre. It is a fun genre to play with. All the prototype stuff is done now. Nobody has to worry about what a Wookiee is and what it does and how it reacts. Wookies are there, the people are there, the environment is there, the empire is there... everything is there. And now people will start building on it. I've put up the concrete slab of the walls and now everybody can have fun drawing the pictures and putting on the little gargoyles and doing all the really fun stuff. And it's a competition. I'm hoping if I get friends of mine they will want to do a much better film, like, 'I'll show George that I can do a film twice that good,' and I think they can, but then I want to do the last one, so I can do one twice as good as everybody else.
When it comes to the original trilogy, this is exactly what happened. After George Lucas directed the film that has come to be known as Star Wars: A New Hope, other directors came on to handle The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. That was originally supposed to be the plan for the prequel trilogy as well. At least part of the reason this didn't happen is that everybody else Lucas spoke to about directing actually turned him down.
Of course, starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, George Lucas hasn't been involved in Star Wars anymore. Others are taking on that responsibility. While back in 1977, according to Rolling Stone, George Lucas seemed ok with other people putting their stamp on it, recently that hasn't seemed like the case. Lucas has been polite, but his comments always seem somewhat backhanded. He complimented The Force Awakens as a movie the fans would like and more recently he called The Last Jedi "beautifully made," which is nice, but leaves out quite a bit.
With news that Rian Johnson will be helming a brand new trilogy that will deal with entirely new characters and ideas, people truly are starting to build off of the structure that George Lucas created. Of course, with Disney's long-term plans for the franchise, there is no end in sight for Star Wars meaning that George Lucas won't get his wish of directing the final movie.
Star Wars is about 25% of what I wanted it to be. It's really down there quite a bit. It's still a good movie, but it fell so short of what I wanted it to be. And everyone said, 'Well, Jesus, George, you wanted the moon for Chrissake, or you wanted to land on Pluto and you landed on Mars.' I think the sequels will be much, much better. What I want to do is direct the last sequel. I could do the first one and the last one and let everyone else do the ones in between.
When other people are in control they are destined to do things differently and nobody is going to like every decision. Hell, a lot of people didn't like George Lucas' decisions when it came to the prequel trilogy. For better or worse Lucas now has his wish and Star Wars is now going to be created by others. If The Last Jedi is any indication, there will be plenty of conversation and debate going forward.