Left to right: 'The Elephant Man,' Darth Vader in 'Star Wars'

Even the thought of directing Wookies gave him a migraine headache. Still, out of respect, David Lynch met with George Lucas in the early 1980s to talk about directing the secondsequel to his landmark blockbuster, eventually titled Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Lynch recalls Lucas telling him about Wookies and "a lot of other animals," having lunch at a restaurant where only salad was served -- "not that I have anything against salad" -- and developing a migraine headache so severe that he snuck off to call his agent and beg not to make the movie. Lynch's conversation at the Hudson Union Society was captured by FORA.tv and is embedded after the jump.

In hindsight, knowing that Lynch would go on to make Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, and Mulholland Dr., it sounds like an insane idea, as in "What Was George Smoking?" At the time, however, it must have made much more sense. Sure, Lynch's weird and wild Eraserhead was already a midnight classic, but The Elephant Man, released in 1980, was stylish, dramatic, and triumphantly bittersweet, all qualities that would have served Return of the Jedi well. (Plus, the whole elephant thing might have made George think Lynch liked working with animal-like characters. And that whole 'mask hiding a disfigured face' thing...) Nominated for two Academy Awards, Lynch was a hot property. He could have been lured to the dark side.

Instead, Lynch ended up directing another science fiction movie: Dune. Would he have been better off directing Jedi? As he acknowledges in the video, his bank account would definitely have been fatter.

Watch David Lynch explain why he turned down Return of the Jedi -- after the jump!