By Anna Merlan
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"The risk was all ours," McCallum says, referring to both Young Indy and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which introduced Darth Vader when he was but an 8-year-old would-be messiah. "The company would live or die on that risk. We thought it was a pretty safe risk with Star Wars, because we thought all we had to do was...tell the story of Darth Vader. But that isn't the story that George had written, and he wasn't interested in it. He wasn't interested in doing a story for kids who had seen the film who were now in their late 30s and 40s. He was interested about kids who were 8 to 12 years old...He was making it for a new generation altogether. It's very interesting: Most older fans hate the prequels—well, it's not that they hate them, but they say they're too slow, there's not enough action, the explosions are corny.
"But if you're an 8-year-old kid and you see an 8-year-old kid flying a pod racer, it does something to you. It's a totally different impact. It's like Jar Jar Binks. He was the most hated thing [by the original trilogy's fans], but he's the second most popular character in our merchandising."
McCallum is told: You're kidding. He laughs.
"No, because if you're a goofy kid, and you're breaking out with pimples and everything else, Jar Jar's your guy," he says. "It's just weird. And I'm not defensive about it at all, because I actually understand both sides of it completely, but it is interesting how it played out. What makes George and Steven Spielberg unique as filmmakers—George as a storyteller and Steven as a filmmaker—is that they're always looking at the world from the point of view of an 8- to 12-year-old boy. The camera's always set low and looking up. And it's always about wonderment."
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