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‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas was told young Anakin would ‘destroy the franchise’

20th Century Fox executives told George Lucas that the story about young Anakin Skywalker would ruin ‘Star Wars’ forever.

From left: Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) appear in a scene from “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”
From left: Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) appear in a scene from “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”
Lucasfilm

An excerpt from a 1999 edition of Empire Magazine has been making the rounds on social media, and it highlights quite an interesting moment in “Star Wars” history — 20th Century Fox executives once told “Star Wars” creator George Lucas that the story of young Anakin Skywalker would destroy the franchise.

Here’s what happened:

The 1999 Empire Magazine interview debuted a few weeks after “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” debuted at the box office. As you can imagine, the film did big numbers.

  • Lucas explained to Empire Magazine that 20th Century Fox executives told him that telling the story of young Anakin Skywalker would hurt the franchise, according to IGN.
  • “You’re going to destroy the franchise, you’re going to destroy everything,” Lucas said executives told him.
  • He said executives told him he was “making a movie that nobody wants to see.”

Lucas’ thoughts about the sequel trilogy

This isn’t the first time old words from Lucas have surfaced online. Earlier in November, one Reddit user posted a photo from an older “Star Wars” book “Star Wars Archives Episode 1-3 The Prequels.”

In the book, Lucas admitted Darth Maul — the villain of the prequel trilogy — would have been the villain in the sequel trilogy. Of course, this might have changed over time, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

  • “Maul eventually becomes the godfather of crime in the universe because as the Empire fails, he takes over.”