The day David Lynch turned down George Lucas’s juicy offer to direct Return of the Jedi

“What just happened? What is this movie about?”, are two common questions that are repeated among the spectators who leave a cinema after seeing one of the films of David Lynch. The creator of Twin Peaks, the famous series from the 90s, often puts its audience in check with a sordid and dark style. There is no director further from the commercial formula of Hollywood than Lynch.

However, more than three decades ago, when Lynch still had no track record or prestige, he drew the attention of George Lucas, who was looking for a director for the third installment of Star Wars, Return of the Jedi and considered offering him the position.

The meeting was hilarious and finally Lynch rejected the offer. The film was directed by Richard Marquand and raised $ 475 million. What would have happened if Lynch accepted? On YouTube there are numerous parodies of users who tried to solve the mystery and edited videos with challenges from the film, but in the style lyncheano. An eccentricity.

Why Lynch turned down George Lucas’s offer

Lynch. (AP)

In the early 1980s, Lynch received a call from his agent. George Lucas wanted to meet him and talk to him about directing the third Star Wars movie. “I had the following ‘zero’ interest in directing the film”, Lynch recounted a quarter of a century later.

For “security” reasons, Lynch was sent a card, keys and a map. He took a flight to California and when he arrived he had a car available to go to the building that the map indicated. When he arrived, Lucas was waiting for him.

“I always admired George. George is a guy who does what he loves. I do what I love. The difference is that what he loves makes hundreds of billions of dollars. So I thought I should go up and at least visit it. And it was amazing, “Lynch acknowledged.

Lynch arrived at the scene, entered an office and Lucas was there. They talked for a while until the creator of Star Wars invited him up the stairs: “I want to show you something”, Told him.

George Lucas with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in the middle of filming.

George Lucas with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in the middle of filming.

“At that point I started to get a bit of a headache,” Lynch said jokingly. “He took me upstairs and showed me these things called ‘Wookies’ -referencing the Ewoks-. The headache was already stronger“, the story of the director of” Imperio “(2006) becomes more and more satirical.

“He showed me a lot of different animals and things. Then he invited me to lunch and we went in his Ferrari. George is a bit short, had the seat reclined and was almost lying in the car: We were flying through this small town in Northern California. We went to a restaurant and it’s not that I don’t like salad, but that was all they had. “

That was the last straw for Lynch, who at that point in the meeting “already had a migraine.” He did not know how to escape and return home. After saying goodbye to Lucas, the director called his agent: “There is no way I can do this”. The next day, Lynch called Lucas, declined the offer, and suggested he run it.

“He invented that whole universe. But he really doesn’t love directing. So someone else directed that movie. 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 million dollars’. But it’s okay, “Lynch closed.

What happened after

David Lynch.

David Lynch.

In his book “Lynch on Lynch”, the director explained that he never really liked “science fiction. I like elements of it, but you have to combine them with other genres. And, obviously, Star Wars was George’s thing.”

However, shortly after, Lynch accepted the proposal of Dino and Raffaella De Laurentiis (uncle and cousin, respectively, of the president of Napoli of Italy) to bring to the screen the adaptation of the novel “Dune”, by Frank Herbert.

The film tells the story of the Atreides family who must take charge of the exploitation of a planet where a powerful drug necessary for space flights is extracted. The protagonist must cross a desert where there are multiple dangers. The movie has weapons that spit laser beams, spaceships, aliens … Like in Star Wars.


A crowd lines up outside a theater in Philadelphia to see the premiere of “Return of the Jedi” in 1983. (AP)

Lynch made an eight-hour movie, which got down to five. However, the big Italian producers forced him to reduce the tape to 137 minutes. The director was not satisfied and ended up hating the film. Despite the huge budget on which the project was made, the film was a box office flop.

Meanwhile, Return of the Jedi was led by Welsh director Richard Marquand, in what must have been his most successful work. Fans consider the film, the one that closes the original trilogy, as one of the best of the saga. It was a huge global success.

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