Is George Lucas Retiring?

Posted Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 12:00 pm GMT -4 by 0

In an in-depth interview published by ‘The New York Times,’ George Lucas recounts the difficulty he had getting his new film, ‘Red Tails,’ made. Lucas spent almost $100 million dollars to make ‘Red Tails’ because studios were not interested in producing a film about African-American WWII fighter pilots. The man who brought us ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ got rejected by all major studios.

The experience with ‘Red Tails’ is the main reason behind Lucas saying, “I’m retiring. I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.” Lucas has given himself an “out clause” in case he feels the urge to make a fifth ‘Indiana Jones’ film with Spielberg, but ‘Red Tails’ will be the last major blockbuster Lucas makes.

“Once this is finished, he’s done everything he’s ever wanted to do,” said Rick McCallum. “He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker.” I suspect McCallum will take over a lot of the day-to-day duties and be responsible for major projects, including the task of bringing the ‘Star Wars’ TV show to the small screen.

Kate Capshaw - Steven Spielberg - George Lucas - Harrison Ford

Another source of frustration for Lucas is the internet. Lucas has always seen himself as an independent filmmaker. His first major films, ‘THX 1138’ and ‘American Graffit,’ were re-edited by the studios against Lucas’s wishes. Wanting to control his vision, Lucas worked hard toward financial independence from studios so the final cut would be his. “If the movie doesn’t work,” he said, “it’s going to be my fault.”

That mindset is why he has made changes to the ‘Star Wars’ films. The outcry from fans sounded like the studios telling him how to make a movie, a sound Lucas vehemently detests. According to Lucas, “On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change are completely changing the movie.” Lucas has nothing against those who are re-editing his films, “I’m saying: ‘Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.’” All of the changes, from Han shooting first to Darth Vader yelling “No!” is the vision Lucas has had all these years. Technology has finally allowed him to complete his vision, and his vision is what he wants us to see and enjoy.

As for making more ‘Star Wars’ films, “Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”George Lucas and Mark Hamill

While I am not a fan of the prequels or of the changes he made to the original trilogy, I have never thought Lucas was a terrible person. I have always admired his independent filmmaker philosophy. He is the most successful independent filmmaker, and he has achieved what many filmmakers deeply desire—complete creative freedom. Lucas has built an empire, and he can create a film on his own; he just needs a studio to distribute his final product. Also, his business model should be the standard, not the exception. Lucas routinely takes a huge chunk of the profits and re-invests in his companies and his employees. And he must treat his employees well because I have not heard any negative stories about working for Lucas or any of his companies.

George Lucas revolutionized the film industry, and he made films that have endured for decades. Lucas is responsible for my first cinematic memory. ‘Star Wars’ is the first film I remember watching in the theater, and the experience instilled a love for film I still have today.

Thank you, Mr. Lucas, for all of your contributions to film and your dedication to tell stories your way.

  • Guest

    This is misleading. Lucas is not retiring from film making. He is retiring from making big blockbuster films. The article said he was still going to do personal films. Your post sounds like he is retiring all together. And there is a possibility that his personal films will do well with audiences. Maybe you should have read the NY Times better. 

    • http://michelleealey.blogspot.com/ Michelle Ealey

      In the second paragraph, I said that ‘Red Tails’ will be his last blockbuster. He might make personal films. Might. He might make ‘Indiana Jones 5.’ Might. 

      This is why the title is a question. He claims to be retiring. 

      • guest

        Please take the courtesy of reading my comment. Again, you are implying he is retiring from FILMMAKING when he clearly says he’s not. Your last sentence in the story makes it sound like it too. In the NY Times “Lucas has decided to devote the rest of his life to what cineastes in the 1970s used to call personal films.” My point is he is retiring from big blockbusters NOT film making all together as you make your story sound. There is nothing that in your story that says anything about making personal films. 

        • http://michelleealey.blogspot.com/ Michelle Ealey

          Technically, every single film he has made has been personal. Also, the statement about him possibly making smaller, personal films contradicts what McCullum said about how he has done everything he wanted to do as a filmmaker: 
          “Once this is finished, he’s done everything he’s ever wanted to do,” said Rick McCallum. “He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker.”   

          A lot of people right now are taking this opportunity to take cheap shots at Lucas. Some don’t think he’s actually retiring at all and are accusing him of this being a publicity stunt to draw attention to his new film, the prequels coming out in 3D in February, and the ‘Star Wars’ TV show.  

          I took the chance to publicly thank him for everything that he’s done. It doesn’t matter if he makes more films or not, he deserves credit for what he has accomplished. 

          • Guest

            So are you saying the reporter who wrote the NY Times article is wrong because the quote ”Lucas has decided to devote the rest of his life to what cineastes in the 1970s used to call personal films.” comes straight word for word from his article (which you yourself source) and you are saying it is contradicting Rick McCallum.

            Again I am just stating that the post you wrote is misleading.  I am not knocking Lucas’ decision. Just stating that he is retiring from big blockbuster films and not film making all together which is indicated in the original source material, NY Times.  

          • http://michelleealey.blogspot.com/ Michelle Ealey

            I focused on the quotes, that Lucas might be done with blockbusters, and on his frustrations with the fans.The author talked about how Lucas went into a Socratic dialogue and mused about the past and Coppola; so the quote you’re using is the author’s conclusion.  Maybe he’ll do art films. Maybe he’ll play golf all day. Maybe this is just a ruse. That’s why the title of my piece is a question. The title of the NY Times piece is “George Lucas is Ready to Roll the Credits,” which is a statement. And the piece ends “The sentiment is perfectly corny and naїve, and at the end of an amazing saga, it sounds like George Lucas’s preferred way of saying goodbye.”

            Again, maybe all of us are being mislead. 

  • guest

    Please take the courtesy of reading my comment. Again, you are implying he is retiring from FILMMAKING when he clearly says he’s not. Your last sentence in the story makes it sound like it too. In the NY Times “Lucas has decided to devote the rest of his life to what cineastes in the 1970s used to call personal films.” My point is he is retiring from big blockbusters NOT film making all together as you make your story sound. There is nothing that in your story that says anything about making personal films. 

  • Lee W

    “All of the changes, from Han shooting first to Darth Vader yelling
    “No!” is the vision Lucas has had all these years. Technology has
    finally allowed him to complete his vision, and his vision is what he
    wants us to see and enjoy.”

    What a load of crap. Lucas wanted Han to shoot first, it wasn’t a technology decision — and neither was Vader ‘not’ yelling no, it was simply a different Lucas back then. Not to mention that Richard Marquand directed RotJ and Lucas should respect his vision. Now he takes perverse pleasure in making changes that alienate fans – the same people who made his fortune. I hope he does retire. Star Wars can still reclaim its glory in another person’s hands, but not Rick McCallum – a sycophant yes man if ever I saw one.

    • http://michelleealey.blogspot.com/ Michelle Ealey

      I didn’t like the changes either, but ‘Star Wars’ is still his and if he wants to mess it up, then he can. 

      • http://www.hydeandgeek.com Scott

        I agree in part. It *is* his movie and he has the right to tinker with it however he sees fit. My only concern is that he is ignoring the multitude of fans that made him. All we want are remastered DVD/Blu-Ray copies of the ORIGINAL Star Wars trilogy (before his changes). As long as I have those, I can ignore whatever travesties he decides to inflict on the “remix” version.

        • http://michelleealey.blogspot.com/ Michelle Ealey

          I would LOVE the original trilogy on Blu-Ray. I agree. With the original on DVD and Blu-Ray, I can forgive all of the changes. 

        • Brian

          amen brother!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3FRCAMLKUFJCYZ5Q5TLI6C7VWM Thanatos

    What Lucas seemingly cannot understand is that at this point, they are not HIS movies.  And ironically – they never were.  He worked on them with a lot of other people.  To say now “Oh, they did a bad job” when everyone else in the entire world knows they did a good job is beyond hubris.

    Yes, stop making movies George.  And for god’s sake don’t make Indiana Jones 5.  Though at least we’d get another Plinkett review out of the it.

    • http://michelleealey.blogspot.com/ Michelle Ealey

      Yes, films are a collaborative effort. One of the reasons ‘Empire’ worked is because Kershner directed; Lucas only has story credit on ‘Empire.’ I think he feels since he came up with the idea and he made a lot of money from it, ‘Star Wars’ is all his. 

      I agree with you about Indy 5. It’s not needed.  

      • http://twitter.com/RoundTableNerds Chris Ferrell

        And I think George Lucas only having story credit might be part of the reason ESB is arguably the best Star Wars film. I’m not trying to knock Lucas but I think he tries to overcomplicated and over-detail when he directs and it gets messy.

        • http://michelleealey.blogspot.com/ Michelle Ealey

          Agreed!

  • Jonas Birk Jensen

    Lucas did a
    good job starting Star Wars, but now Star Wars has grown far beyond him. Now
    that he is retiring he needs to pass on the Huttball, for instance to Drew
    Karphysen, that would be great.

     

    Nevertheless,
    the most important thing is that Star Wars CANNOT stop with Lucas’ retirement,
    it’s not just movies anymore it’s a whole culture, and an important part of
    many people (including mine) lives.