George Lucas says he's ready to retire
January 18th, 2012
10:11 AM ET

George Lucas says he's ready to retire

George Lucas' cinematic tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, "Red Tails," opens in theaters on Friday, and it might be the last opportunity for fans to see a more commercial Lucas production.

After spending nearly $100 million on the biopic about African-American World War II pilots starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard and David Oyelowo, Lucas tells the New York Times that he's ready to call it quits. From blockbusters, anyway.

"I'm retiring. I'm moving away from the business, from the company, from all kinds of stuff," the "Star Wars" legend said.

Instead, with what sounds like a possible exception for a fifth "Indiana Jones" movie, Lucas would like to focus the remainder of his career on more "personal" ventures (a.k.a., art films). And it doesn't sound like any of those more personal flicks would be attached to the "Star Wars" franchise.

"Why would I make any more ['Star Wars' movies] when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" Lucas inquired. Besides, he says of the criticism he's received from fans of the franchise, "I think there are a lot more important things in the world."

Such as trying to rattle Hollywood out of its tried-and-true approach to moviemaking. Lucas, who served as executive producer on "Red Tails," has spoken openly about the difficulties of getting a movie with a black cast made, but he tells the NYT that he doesn't think the studios were being racist, as much as they were being unimaginative.

But if he can get "Red Tails" to do "Twilight" business on opening weekend, he joked, "then gosh, all movies will be black."

So do you believe Lucas will now focus solely on the more experimental projects? (Time magazine, for one, isn't quite as convinced.)


Filed under: movies

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soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. flernisfiek

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    April 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tsquareg,net

    For many people, including myself, George Lucas represents the connective tissue in the love affair between science and fantasy. He provided us with a world that, not only was beyond what we could imagine, but outside of the rules of imagination. We know it is impossible to shoot cannon through a window at a tie fighter, just as we know that laser beams do not extend to just over a meter in length from a flashlight and then stop in mid-air. And while we’re at it, why didn’t the princess just e-mail the plans to the rebel base on Yavin. But I digress.
    This week, Mr Lucas, announced his retirement from film. No doubt he will withdraw to a sunny retirement home on Tattoine and reflect on the life he has had.
    He can enjoy the fact that he changed the face of science fiction – every movie made after “Star Wars” paid homage to it in some way, either in design or, more blatantly, in opening scene – yes I’m talking to you Alien!
    He redefined the rules of science fiction, moving away from a clean, sterile environment, to a more lived in, gritty and true to life vision.
    Without a doubt, he revolutionised the special effects industry, championing motion control, that just about everyone copied afterwards, or if they couldn’t they’d hire ILM to do it for them.
    In the world according to George, space and spaceships were dynamic, fast paced, not the soaring, boring two minute glide across the screen that we saw in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    His retirement, hopefully also means that he will finally walk away from the Star Wars movies that have been described by some as a death of a thousand cuts. The tinkering with the happy memories of millions, that effectively left them feeling upset, unhappy, and in some cases violated.
    There will continue to be those who say “Han shot first”, and “Did the Death Star explosion really need the shock wave effect?” I’m sure they would debate the virtues of a CGI Yoda , to the living, breathing latex imbued physical puppet.
    Just remember guys , the same chap you claim should have the Star Wars trilogy tackled and wrestled from his hands by force, is the same one who filled your sense of wonder in 1977, when the cinema lights dimmed and you read those immortal words “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away”.
    So let’s give him the golden watch and hope he enjoys the quiet life!

    June 8, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. CommonSensed

    He's off to film the JarJar Binks biopic: "How I single handedly allowed the Empire their rise to power and the slaughter of countless billions." Please, Mr. Lucas, please stop making Star Wars films. You jumped the shark with JarJar and never returned to your core.

    April 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jway

    What has he been doing the last 20 years? Becoming one of the chubby little dork-babies he keeps loving to make fun of everytime you turn on the TV or open up the newspaper. As Nicholson says – He Can't Handle the Truth. He looks in the mirror and sees Jabba and it's his own fault He's got 98 million dollars to throw away on a movie? Let him take some of that and buy him a personal trainer and a personal chef and a personal everything else.

    No jawline? A spare car around the midsection nevermind a spare tire? Cobwebs in the cabeza? That's what you get when you either take show business seriously, become a sellout or make fun of your core audience. He should turn Skywalker Ranch into the Dork Version of the Biggest Loser for guys who haven't seen the sun since the Total Solar Eclipse.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. FL

    I'm going to guess that this movie won't be lambasted for years for not having white people in it the way Star Was for not having any black people in it. Just a guess.

    January 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PamelaP12

    Not until he produces a completely unaltered version of the original Star Wars Trilogy first! Yes, I am one of those stalwart preservationists of the original trilogy. That is becuse I grew up on them and they hold a certain special nostalgia for me. So seeing them in all their original glory on DVD would be AWESOME!!!! He can alter the new 1,2,3's until he drops but the original 1,2,3 are sacrosant!

    January 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jim Dandey

    Is his neck waddle going to retire also? I think the only reason he has that beard is so you can tell where his head starts...

    January 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. George S

    Give me the StarWars franchise and i will make as it once was!!!

    January 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jonathan

    I think this might be a great move. He made Star Wars when he was practically a nobody in Hollywood. It wasn't much different than an independent movie when he made the original. If he wasn't worried about making a blockbuster, if he could focus on just telling a good story, we might get another Star Wars level movie out of him.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wr

    bye, George. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert Conway

    Lucas has brought us some of the best films ever made... then he made some pretty bad ones. But all in all, I am sorry for panning the guy so much. I just bought Star Wars on Bluray and it's like watching them all over again for the first time. I hope his new film is a chance for him to shine.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NoGr8rH8r

    Thanks for Star Wars but it's time to just chill.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bob

    good maybe now they will stop making the old star wars as bad as the new ones.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Harry

    I hope he just steps away for a while and gets rid of the new special effects.
    Make a new movie with the old school special effects. That is what makes the Star Wars IV-VI better than the prequels. I want to throw the first Indiana Jones movie in there. The imagination that went into the special effects, without having a computer do it, made them better and I think some other ideas came out of it.

    Focus on the story and the cast, less on the special effects. They have become a distraction.

    He had some great ones, but I think he lost a bit of focus at the end. Raiders of the Lost Ark's opening scene is still very vivid in my mind, it made an impression.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ryan

    It sounds like George's midichlorian count count is getting low.
    He's been saying he wants to focus on more art films for the past 20 years.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Jamie

    George Lucas is a genius!!!!!!!! Do any of you realize what he has done for the movie industry????? Computer grafics / CGI is because of him.....He started industrial light and magic, which is the best of the best and who pioneered it for movies. Out of that company became PIXAR. Did movie merchandising even exist before Star Wars??? No it didnt, he had the forsight to secure all the rights for that....a first. An amazing writer that doesnt get anywhere near the credit for that. I for one thought EP 1-3 were brillant, if you go back and watch.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  17. Todd M

    Wow. A lot of vitriol here. I just wish I had a fraction of his success and money. He started with a vision and ends being a Hollywood legend. You are crabbing at him for hte works he did to make him a legend. That's the problem with the American public. The more success, the higher the pedestal and the farther the fall (or expectations).

    January 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  18. Jelboo

    I feel sorry for George sometimes over how much criticism he received over the prequels. However, much of it is warranted. The prequels are incomparable to the original trilogy, lacking in so many departmens. Too much CGI, lousy acting, lousy writing…

    January 19, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  19. BigRich

    but...now my far fetched hope of some sort of willow 2 is dead. Nooooooooooooooooooo!

    January 18, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  20. BlueDestiny

    DId George really say that? or was it taken out of context? That's surprising and disappointing.

    Look, as a Star Wars fan who's read all the expanded universe books of Luke's era (frankly a truly epic feat of literature masterfully coordinated between authors and Lucas editors to maintain a mythos and chronology, canon and prose that picks up one novel where the last ended, on a level that has never been achieved before, truly epic body of work – I have to say this... I watched Ep III again recently, and with a deeper understanding of the background, the film packed and delivered so much, on so many levels, that you literally have to come at it from 5 angles for any scene to appreciate how much was delivered in that film – a film that I did not at all appreciate before. It really was amazing this last time through. Whether the casual fan or person off the street can appreciate how much was delivered in a single film, with every line packed with background and underlying depth, I can understand how that's not the case for the average Joe. I, however, walked away from the last viewing with the impression that Lucas is nothing short of artist and genius.

    Add to it the unequalled accomplishment of the body of work of the combined expanded universe novels, which continues Luke and ensemble casts' journey after ANH, in a cohesive and well written string of stories spanning decades and dozens of volumes of work ... truly epic. Nothing like it, anywhere.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Ed

    George, I've been ready for you to retire since jar Jar Binks first opened his stupid mouth. From a Gen-Xer who grew up with Star Wars and Indiana Jones, your early works will always be celebrated. But please, it's time to ride into the sunset.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Keith

    and if there were ever an expert at s u c k i n g it would be Dick Four! Ask his daddy!

    January 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  23. RJ

    Armchair critics *smdh*

    January 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Jar Jar

    Meeesa thinks he should retire!

    January 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  25. The Måd Råp3r

    He's certainly done some incredible work. Him, and plenty of others, overuse of CGI ruins the theatre experience for me though. I'm fine when its used on stuff that's fantastical and would look cheesy if not done by computer, but more and more it seems like a crutch. Its a lot of flash with minimal substance. I can visualize most of the old Star Wars movies, the new ones are a video game blur to me. Also its hard to forgive after Jar Jar.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  26. DoryR

    Wow, what a vitriolic bunch of idiots. Maybe you are all forgetting that science fiction movies where relegated to stricltly B-movie status before Lucas shook up the studio system's expectations with Star Wars. Frankly, if those comments are any indication of the kind of feedback George Lucas is getting, I don't blame him for wanting to go off and do "personal" projects. If any of the commenters would do something public besides spew online, maybe we could give them a taste of their own medicine. George Lucas is a genius and an innovator who deserves respect, no matter what you think of individual movies.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • BlueDestiny

      as a Star Wars fan who's read all the expanded universe books of Luke's era (frankly a truly epic feat of literature masterfully coordinated between authors and Lucas editors to maintain a mythos and chronology, canon and prose that picks up one novel where the last ended, on a level that has never been achieved before, truly epic body of work) I have to say this for example...

      I watched Ep III again recently, and with a later deeper understanding of the background, I was able to recognize that the film packed and delivered so much, on so many levels, that you literally have to come at it from 5 angles for any scene to appreciate how much was delivered in that film, line for line, scene for scene – a film that I did not much appreciate before beyond just happy for another Star Wars film. It really was amazing this last time through.

      Whether the casual fan or person off the street can appreciate how much was delivered in a single film, with every line packed with background and underlying depth, I can understand how that recognition might not register for the average Joe. I, however, walked away from the last viewing with the impression that Lucas is nothing short of artist and genius.

      Add to it the unequalled accomplishment of the body of work of the combined expanded universe novels, which continues Luke and ensemble casts' journey after ANH, in a cohesive and well written string of stories spanning decades and dozens of volumes of work ... truly epic.

      Nothing like it, anywhere. Not even close.

      I can only hope that George is passing on the baton, and we can look forward to more from the SW universe, including that live action TV series we've been waiting to land, thats sitting on the Lucas shelf gathering dust.

      January 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJD

      DoryR, Thanks so much. Your comments are so worthy of a thank you. Haters don't want to see anyone succeed. They are losers and wants everyone else in the boat with them.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  27. ANGEL

    He needs to because his game is definately off!!! Im sorry but Steven S. needs to retire Also!!! @Ron, his early movies were enjoyable because they were new and different, but after a while it stopped being enjoyable and Revenge of the Sith was average!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Joe

    Retire? What the hell has he been doing the past 20 years except re-releasing the same movies yet somehow managing to make them slightly worse each time. Yes, please, retire!

    January 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Ron

    Unfortunately he is correct. It probably is time for George to retire, especially if negative criticism is getting to him. His movies are some of the most enjoyable and profitable ever and yet he is focusing on negative criticism, why? Revenge of the Sith was absolutely terrific.
    George should look at his good friends Steven and Martin for inspiration to continue to do something he is obviously still passionate about.
    Word of advice George: do not let Harrison Ford near your script for the next Indiana Jones movie. Whatever you and Steven come create as a plot and screenplay will be good enough for Ford.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Jedi Knight

    Good! This guy is a classic example of letting success get to their head. To think that all that comes from within him in every which way ( pun intended ) is golden. I hated the "dumb-ification" of certain things he created. Especially the stupid names he gave characters in the Star Wars films, let alone Jar Jar Binks. What an ass.
    Oh and that cheesy cropped beard to hide the lack of jaw line you have because you're so portly doesn't do it justice.
    And ...cut!
    That's a wrap.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      And what have you done? What have you contributed to... anything? That's what I thought.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • elco

      I think its important to point out George has always sported a fine beard, even in his younger/skinnier days.

      Cudos for the original Star Wars but it's been a long time since he's done anything good that I can think of, hopefully Red Tails will be a great movie and he hasnt nuked the fridge again.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cfunk

      George doesn't post about how bad you are at mopping floors at your job at Walmart, does he? Give him a break.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Mr E

    I hope this movie doest make a dime

    January 18, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Ynotbbad

      Why would you say that? You don't like Lucus? You dislike the content of the new film? At least explain why – that's what this forum is about. Sounds like you need a "Hug".

      January 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dollie Jackson Davis

      Why would you wish failure on anyone who is not doing anything illegal or immoral? You need prayer...

      January 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      He's saying this because he's letting everyone know that he's a dyed-in-the-wool racist.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Louie

    He did some good stuff. Take the money and have a good time.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  33. cubicle desk

    Me too. Im ready to retire too. If he will slide me a bag with about 2 million dollars in it ILL retire with him. Thatd be more than enough moolah for me.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  34. ohbrother123

    Bye bye George.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  35. al3x

    Thank you whoever removed that vulgarity!

    January 18, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  36. fucnn001

    Good. You ruined the legacy of your own franchises with crappy movies just to make some more money. Crystal Skull was one of the worst movies I've ever seen btw.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      So, you're one of those geniuses who are furious at the guy who provided you with what is obviously your greatest cinematic experience ever. So sad.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  37. al3x

    Holy mother of...!! You are one disturbed individual!! Better to kill yourself now and get it over with than subject the public to your kind of grossness!!

    January 18, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |

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