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George Lucas once sent hilariously brutal message to Star Wars critics

When Star Wars became a monster success, it was a lot easier for George Lucas to stick a middle finger up to those who hated his movies.

George Lucas got his own back on Star Wars critics years later

If you’re George Lucas (we assume he’s a Digital Fix reader), we’ll give you permission to boast a little. Star Wars was a big risk back in the 1970s and it has since grown to become a true goliath of pop culture. And when Lucas got back on set in the 1990s to make the Star Wars prequels, he couldn’t resist taking a shot at his doubters.

In a behind-the-scenes photo from the set of the Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace, Lucas wore a t-shirt bearing the words of a New Yorker article that savaged the original film. Given Lucas was about to embark on shooting three new movies in the franchise, he was well within his rights to have a bit of fun at critics’ expense.

After all, he had seen his original trilogy and the Star Wars characters within it earn the love and affection of the world, not to mention plenty of box office dollars. I’d be getting dozens of t-shirts printed if I’d made three of the best movies of all time.

Film-focused Twitter page All the Right Movies shared the behind-the-scenes photo, along with the quote from a John Seabrook piece in the magazine. Seabrook wrote: “Comic-book characters, unbelievable story, no political or social commentary, lousy acting, preposterous dialogue, a ridiculously simplistic morality. In other words, a BAD MOVIE.”

George Lucas wore a shirt with a negative review of the first Star Wars movie

It goes without saying that we couldn’t disagree more with Seabrook. And given he was writing in 1997, he has very little excuse for being so sniffy about one of the best trilogies of all time.

We don’t associate Lucas with being a joker at all, so we really enjoyed this suggestion that he was having a lot of fun on the set of The Phantom Menace. Unfortunately, he was probably in a less buoyant mood when the response to his new Star Wars movies came rolling in. We don’t mind The Phantom Menace, but Attack of the Clones is a real shocker. Sorry George.

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It’s worth noting that Phantom Menace gave us the Duel of the Fates, which is about as magical and fun as Star Wars gets. It doesn’t matter how many times we watch the Star Wars movies in order (and that’s a lot), that lightsaber battle still takes our breath away.

So we’ll let George Lucas have this little bit of arrogance. Star Wars is one of the defining achievements of 20th century pop culture, whatever the New Yorker thinks about it. The franchise is still providing new Star Wars series several times a year – the Andor season 2 release date is underlined twice on my calendar – and we can’t wait for the movies on the way as well.

For more from the world of George Lucas, find out why he was terrified that Star Wars would “die”. We’ve also got a full guide to the Star Wars cast and a list of the best Star Wars villains for you to disagree with if you’re under the spell of the dark side!

And finally, we’re looking ahead to the future and hoping that Star Wars will return to Rian Johnson’s best idea for the franchise.