Given all the classic sci-fi trappings found in the Star Wars films (spaceships, laser weapons, giant insects, aliens, etc.) did George Lucas in fact consider Star Wars to be science fiction?
George Lucas has gone on the record to describe it as a sort of combination of genres - including science-fiction, versus some of the "harder" science-fiction that he grew up with.
From an interview included as part of the introduction of the Star Wars: A New Hope novelization:
"As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction. But instead of reading technical, hard-science writers like Isaac Asimov, I was interested in Harry Harrison and a fantastic, surreal approach to the genre. I grew up on it. Star Wars is a sort of compilation of this stuff, but it's never been put in one story before, never put down on film. There is a lot taken from Westerns, mythology, and samurai movies. It's all the things that are great put together. It's not like one kind of ice cream but rather a very big sundae."
However, in the annotated screenplays, he acknowledges that what he has created was never really "science fiction", per se.
I knew from the beginning that I was not doing science fiction. I was doing a space opera, a fantasy film, a mythological piece, a fairy tale. I really thought I needed to establish from the start that this was a completely made up world so that I could do anything I wanted."
No. Lucas often used the term Science Fantasy. He never referred to it as only science fiction. Star Wars doesn't hold itself to use science: space craft bank in a vacuum like airplanes do in air, there's the Force (a type of magic or at least metaphysics), .... Star Wars is about epic story telling and not one to get caught up in details such as physics and using the scientific process to solve a problem. This is also why it's felt that JJ Abrams is a great choice for directing Star Wars movies, much more so than Star Trek which spent much effort on not violating laws of physics or at least having a really good technical explanation why something works. Star Wars doesn't attempt to use science to solve problems where as science fiction series such as Star Trek expose science to the audience in an attempt to engage them as to the difficulty of the problem, some possible solutions, and how to conduct experiments to decide upon a solution.
It combines elements of both and I have heard it referred to as Science Fantasy.
Lucas seemed to view it as having Sci-Fi and Fantasy and even tried to remove some of the ambiguity with his, disastrous IMHO, attempt to qualify the force as a symbiotic relationship pushing it more towards Sci-Fi.
When I was watching a making of Star Wars video George Lucas said; "It's more of space fantasy." He took lots of fantasy things but put them in space. There's the hero, Luke; the smooth serious guy cool guy, Han; the old man that guides the hero, Obi-Wan; and the damsel in distress, Princes Leia.