“You just lost, I don’t know how many millions of dollars”: The Star Wars Movie Even George Lucas Couldn’t Convince David Lynch to Direct

A young Lynch reportedly begged his agent to reject the offer from George Lucas.

george lucas, star wars, david lynch
Credits: Sasha Kargaltsev,Joey Gannon/Wikimedia Commons


  • George Lucas' Star Wars is one of the highest-grossing franchises and has a legacy of over forty years.
  • The original trilogy ended with Return of the Jedi which has often been considered to be one of the best in the franchise.
  • Lucas reportedly wanted David Lynch to helm the third film but the Twin Peaks filmmaker rejected the offer.
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The Star Wars franchise is one of the highest-grossing franchises of all time and has spawned multiple films, shows, animated series, and comic books. The Galaxies created by George Lucas changed pop culture as well as blockbuster filmmaking since the first film was released in 1977. The film earned $775 million against a budget of $11 million.


While Lucas directed the first film in the original trilogy, he wanted to take more of a creative producer role in subsequent films of the original trilogy. The Empire Strikes Back was helmed by Irvin Kershner while Return of the Jedi was directed by Richard Marquand. However, Lucas reportedly first had David Lynch in mind for the latter.

David Lynch Rejected The Opportunity To Direct A Star Wars Movie

George Lucas in an interview | Credits: YouTube/Full Bodied Productions
George Lucas | Credits: YouTube/Full Bodied Productions

George Lucas’ Star Wars was and still is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood and many filmmakers would give their left arm to helm a feature for the franchise at the height of its popularity. While Irvin Keshner helmed the second film of Lucas’ original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back, he reportedly refused to return to the third film.


Lucas’ initial choice for the film was reportedly Steven Spielberg. However, the two were at loggerheads with the Director’s Guild of America at the time and Spielberg was hence banned from directing the film. The Star Wars creator then had to look elsewhere to find a director for the climax of his trilogy and he set his eyes on a young, budding filmmaker named David Lynch.

David Lynch played the role of John Ford in Meet the Fabelmans
David Lynch in Meet the Fabelmans

Lynch at the time had only directed the student film Eraserhead and the biopic The Elephant Man and was gaining a reputation as a surrealist filmmaker with an auteurial voice. Hence, Lucas, who had viewed these films, reportedly approached him to direct his sci-fi epic. 

However, David Lynch mentioned that he had little to zero interest in the opportunity at the time. He said in an interview,


I was asked by George to come up to see him about directing what would be the third Star Wars. And I had next door to zero interest. I always admired George. George is a guy who loves what he does. And I do what I love. The difference is what George loves makes hundreds of billions of dollars.

After hearing about George Lucas’ ideas about Return of The Jedi, and being unable to decipher the meaning behind Ewoks, the Twin Peaks filmmaker reportedly went back home and rejected the offer.

David Lynch Was Reprimanded By His Lawyer For Rejecting Star Wars: Return of The Jedi

Luke Skywalker and gang travel the galaxies aboard the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
A still from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

The third film of George Lucas’ original trilogy Return of the Jedi is often regarded as one of the best of the franchise. Directed by Richard Marquand, the film wraps up Luke Skywalker’s quest to stop the Empire and makes him a true hero while Darth Vader fulfills his destiny as a tragic hero. It acts as a jumping-off point for Lucas’ prequel trilogy which focuses on Vader.

While Marquand did a great job with the film, it would have surely been a much different movie had George Lucas had his way and David Lynch would have helmed it. With Lynch’s surrealist tendencies and auteurial voice, a blockbuster franchise like Star Wars would not have been the perfect fit for him.


However, when he rejected the opportunity, Lynch revealed that he was reprimanded by his lawyer for passing on millions of dollars. He said in the interview,

George, bless his heart, I told him on the phone the next day that he should direct it. It’s his film. He invented everything about it. But he doesn’t really love directing. So someone else did direct that film. But I called my lawyer and told him I wasn’t going to do it. And he said, ‘You just lost, I don’t know how many millions of dollars.’ But it’s okay.

The filmmaker would go on to helm the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune and would have such a bad experience in the process that he would disown the film altogether.

All films and shows from the Star Wars franchise are available to stream on Disney Plus.


Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 1081

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.