During the early 2000s, America was still reeling from the 9/11 attacks. This unease is how the Bush administration was able to consolidate power, from creating the modern surveillance state with the Patriot Act or leading an invasion of Iraq with lies and deception. The narrative in the “Star Wars” prequels, of the galaxy giving up its freedom in the name of security, thus struck a chord.
In the aforementioned Chicago Tribune piece, Lucas and his producer Rick McCollum commented on the real-life parallels — and confirmed they were unintentional. McCollum said:
“First of all we never thought of Bush ever becoming president, or then 9/11, the Patriot Act, war, weapons of mass destruction. Then suddenly you realize, ‘Oh, my God, there’s something happening that looks like we’re almost prescient.’ And then we thought, `Well, yeah, but he’ll never make it to the second term, so we’ll look like we just made some wacky political parody of a guy that everybody’s forgotten.'”
Obviously, that prediction turned out untrue — “Revenge of the Sith” wound up premiering during the first year of Bush’s second term as president. While the former president didn’t declare democracy over to the Senate, his handling of crises like Hurricane Katrina, the continued occupation of Iraq, and the 2008 financial crisis meant his term was no less disastrous for America than Palpatine’s was for the galaxy.