The geek relationship with George Lucas has had a lot of peaks and valleys over the years, with nerd-rage reaching a point in recent years following the Star Wars prequels that you almost have to feel a little badly for Lucas. After all, this was a guy who created the greatest science fiction trilogy in history (I’m counting Lord of the Rings as purely a fantasy series, obviously), so he should be spared from at least a little bit of ire.
Well, maybe he doesn’t need to be spared too much. After all, this is the guy who unleashed Jar-Jar Binks on an unwitting public. So maybe if, like me, just thinking of Jar-Jar makes you want to throat punch someone, you’ll be happy to learn that back when George’s good friend Steven Spielberg was getting set to film Jaws, the shark almost ate him.
It turns out that Lucas went to visit Spielberg before production had even begun, and before the horror stories about how horrible the giant animatronic shark would be in terms of functionality. Lucas looked at the great beast and jokingly placed his head in its mouth. Spielberg apparently thought it would be hilarious to activate the shark, nicknamed Bruce after Spielberg’s lawyer, and it clamped down on the man-who-would-create-Vader’s head.
Only it clamped down a little too hard and, in a sign of the malfunctions to come, they couldn’t get it to open back up. So yes, Jaws very nearly bit off George Lucas’ head. Obviously they eventually managed to pry open the shark’s mouth, and Lucas lived to tell the tale.
Of course before you get too angry that the shark wasn’t able to finish the job, remember that this was a couple of years before Star Wars came out, so a mechanical menace almost prevented us from getting Luke, Han, and Boba Fett.
And, well, Jar-Jar. But hey, I guess you’ve got to take the bad with the good.