Why David Lynch Turned Down Directing Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Though he's known for experimental movies like Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive, David Lynch could have gone the more mainstream route. In the 1980s, he was offered the chance to direct Return of the Jedi—a gig many filmmakers would have killed for—but turned it down.
Lynch is a great storyteller, so it's not surprising that George Lucas would be interested in seeing what his take on the Star Wars universe might look like. But apparently, Lynch thought it was out of his depth and passed. The filmmaker described the situation in his book Lynch on Lynch, writing:
"I went to meet George Lucas, who had offered me the third Star Wars to direct, and I’ve never even really liked science fiction. I like elements of it, but it needs to be combined with other genres. And, obviously, Star Wars was totally George’s thing."
The famed director has gone on to speak of his meeting with Lucas in greater detail, explaining he immediately got a headache as a result of the Star Wars creator's vision:
In the end, both parties seemed satisfied with the outcome, however. Return of the Jedi, which was directed by the late Richard Marquand, was released in 1983 and is still widely regarded as one of the best films in the Star Wars franchise.