George Lucas’ Ex-Wife Gets Candid on ‘Most Problematic’ OG Star Wars Movie

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
George Lucas, Star Wars Original Trilogy

George Lucas' ex-wife Marcia Lucas - who served as an editor on the original trilogy of Star Wars - discussed which movie of the bunch was the "most problematic" and faced troubles in the editing room.

Star Wars has always been a franchise about family, more specifically the Skywalker family, but the production also has its own family story behind it. The franchise's infamous creator George Lucas worked on the films with his now ex-wife Marcia Lucas, who served as editor on the project.

The two were married in 1969, eight years before A New Hope was released, but eventually divorced in 1983, the same year Return of the Jedi hit theaters. And although the Lucas couple closely collaborated on the entire original trilogy, Marcia has expressed plenty of distance to much of the Star Wars content since.

Not only did the Star Wars editor describe Disney's sequel trilogy as "just terrible," but she also revealed how she cried after first viewing The Phantom Menance out of dislike. However, it appears that wasn't the start of her problems with the galaxy far, far away based on recent comments about Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars Editor Addresses Return of the Jedi Problems

Marcia Lucas
Star Wars

Star Wars original trilogy editor Marcia Lucas - who used to be married to franchise creator George Lucas - recently revealed the issues with editing Return of the Jedi. 

Lucas revealed that Episode VI was the "most problematic editorially" to the point she had to leave another project to fix it:

"The third film was the most problematic editorially. It went through several English editors and we weren’t happy with any of the assembled footage. I had to beg off another movie to stay and fix this one."

The Star Wars editor put particular emphasis on the battle above the Sarlaac Pit on Tattooine early in the flick, saying it took two months to cut into "something intelligible:"

"The battle in the desert over the monster hole - I spent two months cutting that into something intelligible. I worked with Rose at ILM for the entire time. She probably hates me to this day I was always on her to get finished effects shots so I could cut them in."

Yoda's death scene was also stated to be "too dry" in initial cuts as the scene lacked emotion from Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker:

"I cut Yoda’s death scene together - in the first cuts it was too dry - no emotion from Luke and by extension the audience."

The marriage between Marcia Lucas and George Lucas came to an end during the post-production of Return of the Jedi. A past interview with Vice TV on Icons Unearthed: Star Wars - via Film School Rejects - saw the franchise creator's ex-wife shut down speculation from crew members that an affair was the cause. She insisted that her husband was pulled away from her as he became a workaholic. 

Despite their marital issues at the time, George still asked Marcia to be involved with Return of the Jedi as she worked on the edit with Paul Hirsch, but by the end of the job she had lost all creative desire and interest. 

How Return of the Jedi Made a Comeback in Editing

Many Star Wars fans regard Return of the Jedi as the worst of the original trilogy, although most clearly still look upon it rather favorably as it boasts a 94% Rotten Tomatoes audience score. Hearing about the "problematic" editing process behind it makes it ever-clearer how it came to be regarded as the worst of the bunch.

But if the trilogy-completing flick truly was as much of a mess at one point as Lucas appears to be indicating, the team behind it did an impressive job of repairing the project in post-production. Especially since the Sarlaac Pit battle is now regarded by many to be among the most iconic scenes of the trilogy.

What's particularly interesting is Lucas' note of the difficulties faced in editing Yoda's death scene from the film, with the focus of the problems supposedly being on Luke's lack of emotion. This could arguably be taken as an insult toward the performance given by Mark Hamill, but that may not be what she meant.

All nine movies in Star Wars' Skywalker Saga are streaming now on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.