Photos from the set of The Empire Strikes Back have producer Gary Kurtz looking like some bearded, bright-eyed, Tinsletown version of Brigham Young. Sadly, for Star Wars fans, Kurtz and Lucas parted ways after TESB because Kurtz wanted to continue to tell special space stories and Lucas, aka Baron Papanoida, wanted to milk every last drop of golden juice from the toy teat the Star Wars saga had begun to spawn. Specifically, Kurtz and Lucas split after TESB because they couldn’t agree on how to proceed with the third film, 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Kurtz explains in his interview with The Los Angeles Times that he was particularly grouchy about Lucas wanting to bring back the Death Star, as well as the tidy, happy ending with the Ewoks. Kurtz claims Lucas’ thrust was merchandise, so he left and moved on to other, lamer projects, like The Dark Crystal.
Why is this relevant? Well, Kurtz was headed down to Celebration V in Orlando, Florida and decided to get some weighty matters off his chest with the LA Times beforehand. The entire article is fantastic reading, particularly if you feel punched in the soft parts by Lucas’ lame prequels, which Kurtz – surprise, surprise – thought were ok, but not great. Interesting. Kind of like Return of the Jedi.
Click here to read the entire article at the Los Angeles Times.