In an interview with the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart on Monday night, Lucas was frank about the trouble he had getting the film made—in part, he said, because the studios weren’t willing to finance a film without a white protagonist as an anchor.
“This has been held up for release since 1942 since it was shot, I’ve been trying to get released ever since,” Lucas joked—although he did say that the film took about 23 years to develop. “It’s because it’s an all-black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all…I showed it to all of them and they said nooooo. We don’t know how to market a move like this.” Lucas goes on to explain that major studios don’t believe films with majority black casts do well in foreign markets. Lucas was unbowed, telling Stewart that “we do want to do a prequel and a sequel,” which I take as a measure of how excited and proud about Red Tails Lucas actually is. Bonus exuberance: “This is the closest you’ll ever get to Episode Seven.”