George Lucas Planned to Make Star Wars: Episode VII Himself—Find Out Why He Didn't and His Regret About 1st Film

The 70-year-old director, producer and creator of the original cult franchise sold production company Lucasfilm to the Walt Disney Company in 2012 for about $4 billion

By Corinne Heller Jan 14, 2015 4:29 PMTags
George LucasGetty Images

Why didn't George Lucas sign on to direct the third Star Wars trilogy, including upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, aka Episode VII?

That is the question many fans have asked over the past two years and in an interview with USA Today posted this week, the 70-year-old director, screenwriter, producer and creator of the original cult sci-fi franchise reveals that he had planned to work on the project—and explains why he changed his mind.

Lucas had sold his production firm, Lucasfilm, to the Walt Disney Company in late 2012 for $4.05 billion. The deal, the biggest acquisition for the entertainment giant since it bought Pixar in 2006, accompanied an announcement of a third Star Wars trilogy, starting with the seventh movie, directed by Star Trek director J.J. Abrams. Lucas would serve solely as a "creative consultant."

Six months later, in June 2013, Lucas married longtime partner and financial expert Mellody Hobson, 45, at his 6,000-acre Skywalker Ranch in central California. The two welcomed their first child, daughter Everest Hobson Lucas, via a surrogate the following August.

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According to USA Today, one of the reasons Lucas stepped away from Lucasfilm was because of their little girl.

"The time is more important to me than the money," he told the newspaper.

"By the time she's 5, she'll have her own career going and being in school and talking about her friends and her homework," Lucas added, regarding their 17-month-old daughter. "The fun, goofy time will fall into place in reality, as opposed to right now, (when) she doesn't have much else to do but hang out with her father."

Lucas had himself gotten the ball rolling on the next three Star Wars films. He had started to develop the trilogy and was expected to sell Lucasfilm to Disney after the release of Star Wars: Episode VII, in May 2015. The report said Lucas knew a third trilogy required a commitment of at least 10 years, quoting him as saying that the Disney deal came along at the right moment.

"It's better for me to get out at the beginning of a new thing and I can just remove myself," he said.

Lucas and ex-wife Marcia Lou Griffin also share three adopted adult children, two daughters and a son. The eldest, Amanda Lucas, was born in 1981, the year the second film, fan favorite Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, was released. She and her siblings have made cameos in Star Wars movies.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens stars original cast members Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Kenny Baker as R2D2 as well as newcomers Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, John Beyega, Daisy Ridley,Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow. The movie is set for release on Dec. 18—more than 38 years after the original 1977 film, Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope, hit theaters.

"The only thing I really regret about Star Wars is the fact I never got to see it—I never got to be blown out of my seat when the ship came over the screen," Lucas told USA Today. "The next one, I'll be able to enjoy it like anybody else."

He told USA Today that he now wants to focus on writing what he calls small "experimental" films. The last movie Lucas directed was the most recently released Star Wars movie—Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which came out in 2005.

He has in recent years concentrated on personal projects, such as collecting art and books, and executive producing projects such as the 2012 film Red Tails, which was about the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, and a movie his toddler daughter may particularly enjoy—the new animated movie Strange Magic, which will be released on Jan. 23.

The latter flick takes Lucas, who worked on the '80s movies Labyrinth and Willow, back to the fantasy genre and features the voices of Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth and Hairspray's Elijah Kelley.