In honor of George Lucas' latest disappointing piece of film, I've been poking around a site called "The Secret History of Star Wars", which devotes several articles and an e-book to asking the question, where and why did Lucas go so wrong.
The surprising short answer is, he didn't. The new stuff is actually representative who he is when left to his own devices. He's never been much of a writer. The first Star Wars was created through a tremendous effort (by himself and others) to overcome his own limitations. He labored for years like a mad genius, absorbing any sci-fi or adventure he could get his hands on in the service of his vision, constantly rewriting and hating himself for not being better at it. It didn't hurt that he had a support system of film-school pals with names like Spielberg, Coppola, Scorcese, Milius, and Kaufman. But nobody but him could have come up with the concept.
Strangely enough, digging in to this history actually has the effect of re-awakening my admiration for the man.
PICTURED: O.G.-WAN KENOBI