“I’m sorry if they don’t like it… Go back and see The Matrix or something”: George Lucas Had a Stone-cold Response to Star Wars Fans Hating on One Movie

George Lucas did not hold back while discussing the criticism aimed at The Phantom Menace, the first installment in his prequel trilogy.

"I'm sorry if they don't like it... Go back and see The Matrix or something": George Lucas Had a Stone-cold Response to Star Wars Fans Hating on One Movie

SUMMARY

  • George Lucas' Star Wars franchise made a comeback with 1999's The Phantom Menace, which debuted to mixed reviews from critics and fans.
  • Speaking about the criticism aimed at the film's comic relief character, Jar Jar Binks, Lucas simply asked fans to tune off and watch something else.
  • At the same time, Lucas also addressed the criticism the film faced over its dialog and performances and was defensive of the latter.
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This year’s Star Wars day, aka May 4, 2024, marks the eve of The Phantom Menace‘s 25th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, the film has also been re-released in select theaters. However, when the film was originally released back in 1999, it generated polarizing reactions among the fanbase, with many disliking the film for its characters, performances, and dialog.

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A still from The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace will complete 25 years in 2024.

In an interview following the film’s release, director George Lucas spoke about the divisive reaction towards The Phantom Menace. Lucas gave an extremely blunt and stone-cold response when asked about fans disliking certain elements of the movie and throwing hate at it. Here is what Lucas had to say about the initial criticism aimed at The Phantom Menace.

George Lucas Hit Back At Haters Of The Phantom Menace With a Blunt Response

The Phantom Menace was released in theaters on May 19, 1999, and marked the start of the prequel trilogy of films in the Star Wars franchise, spearheaded by George Lucas. However, the film received mixed reviews, with criticism aimed at the inclusion of characters such as Jar Jar Binks.

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George Lucas had some stern words for The Phantom Menace‘s criticizers (Image via AMC)

During an interview with Empire, Lucas was asked about the negative reactions to Jar Jar Binks. However, the creator noted that this wasn’t new for him as fans had previously disliked characters such as R2-D2, C3-PO, and Ewoks when they were first introduced.

“I’m sorry if they don’t like it. They should go back and see The Matrix or something. These are PG movies. I’m not gonna take those kinds of characters out.” 

Lucas bluntly made the above statement, confirming that he intended to continue using such comic relief characters since he envisioned Star Wars for a family audience. The visionary director also added that most of the hate aimed at the character was coming from a small portion of the fanbase, and was being amplified because of the internet.

George Lucas Responded to Criticism of Performances and Dialog in The Phantom Menace

During the same interview, Lucas also spoke about the performances and dialogs in The Phantom Menace, which also received negative reactions from fans and critics. Lucas admitted that he wasn’t the greatest dialog writer.

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Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
George Lucas’s dialogs in The Phantom Menace were also criticized by fans.

The director noted that his dialog was usually meant to move the plot forward and wasn’t intended to have a poetic effect. However, Lucas was slightly more defensive of the performances in the movie. He stated that acting in his films was different from others because it was meant as a throwback to a previous era of cinema.

“The acting in Star Wars movies is a throwback to an earlier time – the 30s and 40s and more theatrical acting than method and realism.”

Lucas made the above statement regarding the performances in the movie, which received negative reactions, mainly for Jake Lloyd’s acting as Anakin Skywalker. Despite his comments, The Phantom Menace has failed to improve its standing among the Star Wars fanbase, as fans continue to dislike the film on social media.

Fans can watch The Phantom Menace to celebrate Star Wars Day on Disney+.

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Pratik Handore

Written by Pratik Handore

Articles Published: 615

Pratik is a writer at FandomWire, with a content writing experience of five years. Although he has a Bachelors in Hospitality, his fascination with all things pop culture led him to writing articles on a variety of topics ranging from latest streaming releases to unheard movie trivia. When not writing, you can find him reading manga, or watching classic TV shows.