George Lucas Claims He’s Ready to Retire from Blockbuster Filmmaking; Producer Rick McCallum Says Lucas is Taking a Break

     January 17, 2012

George Lucas is ready to retire, again. Though he previously threatened retirement before launching into the Star Wars prequels, the director’s 20-year passion project Red Tails is finally hitting theaters this month, and with that Lucas says he’s basically done:

“I’m retiring. I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.”

That “stuff” would be blockbusters, and Lucas seems to be taking a page out of Francis Ford Coppola’s book and says he’s ready to move on to more personal material. Hit the jump for more, including what Lucas had to say to critics of his Star Wars tampering.

rick-mccallum-george-lucasSteve recently sat down with producer Rick McCallum, who produced not only Red Tails with Lucas but also the three Star Wars prequels. McCallum echoed Lucas’ retirement statements, saying Red Tails is the final long-gestating project that the Star Wars director had planned:

Red Tails is the last of all the films that he ever said [he wanted to make]. He started 23 years ago on Red Tails and now he has fulfilled everything he set out to do, which no…very few filmmakers ever get an opportunity to do. He’s done everything that he actually wanted and planned to do, including more American Graffiti, including the revised version of [THX]. He got to be able to do everything that he actually wanted to do.”

So what does this “retirement” hold for Lucas’ future? McCallum says that Lucas will be taking a break, after which McCallum hopes he’ll move on to the smaller, independent movies that he’s always wanted to return to:

“Now, with [Red Tails] completed, a little bit of rest, now I think he can set upon the next chapter of his life and figure out, ‘Okay, do I have a new set of films, a new kind of films that I want to do?’ And that’s what we hope and wait anxiously to hear from him on.”

george-lucas-rick-mccallumLucas’ “retiring” quote comes from an extensive profile of the filmmaker in the NY Times, in which he talks about the hardships of actually getting Red Tails made and distributed. He concedes that after looking at a three-part epic script that tackled the training of the Tuskegee airmen, the dogfights over Europe, and the racist atmosphere the airmen returned to after the war, Lucas realized he couldn’t make the Lawrence of Arabia version:

“I can’t make that movie. I’m going to have make this kind of . . . entertainment movie.”

Red Tails merely focuses on the middle part of the story; the one with all the action. The piece notes that Lucas has left himself an out clause for a fifth Indiana Jones film, but for the forseeable future he seems to be done writing, producing, or directing big-budget flicks. No Lucas interview would be complete without Star Wars talk, and the director had some choice words for fanboys:

“On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change are completely changing the movie. 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.’”

Regarding the possibility of any future Star Wars movies, Lucas was incredibly blunt:

“Why would I make any more, when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”

As many have said before, I’d be fine with Lucas making all the changes to Star Wars he wants if he would just make available the original versions with zero edits. Nevertheless, it sounds like we may or may not get some Lucas indies in the future. Regardless of my personal opinion of Lucas, I’m intrigued to see what kind of small-budget independent films he’ll roll out.


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  • Yahzee

    … one word… BRAVO. His movies, so he pretty much can do whatever he wants with them, and if don’t don’t like it that’s just too bad.

    It’s not like those small things are changing the story at all.

  • mrbatmatt

    A small independent movie for this guy is anything with a budget between 80-100 million. People forget that the Star Wars movies are technically independent. Lucas ponies up the money and Fox got to distribute them for a VERY small percentage of the gross. So his idea of independent is a little warped in comparison to what comes to your local film fest. Still, American Graffiti is one of his best works, it’d be nice to see something like that again.

  • Robotpo

    The fact that Lucas isn’t making any more movies PROVES that he’s a terrible person! You nasty, naughty, stupid, sorry, weird little man!!!

    • Northern Star

      Get a hold of yourself Robotpo, of course Lucas isn’t a bad person, he’s someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s friend, you may not like some decisions he’s made, but don’t get personal, that’s the kind of abuse he’s talking about on the internet.

      I certainly have criticised both Lucas and McCallum in the past, but for not releasing the original trilogy’s theatrical versions amongst other things, and then just throwing out totally inferior knock-offs from the 1993 Lasedisc when he did finally release them, an act that showed total contempt for the fans. He’s been isolated in a world of his own making for the last 30 years, and he’s grown out of touch, stubborn, and set in his ways (no matter what the people who made him a billionaire think), but not necessarily a bad person…

      • dogg

        Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally. And welcome to the internet.

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  • Spock Jenkins

    I don’t how many other filmmakers/custodians of genre favourite franchises would be regarded if they treated the fans with the disdain Luca$ treats Star Wars fans. He sounds like a churlish kid.

    Fans would want to see more Star Wars films, just let other creative filmmakers/storytellers ‘play in the sandbox’.

    He can still ( and will ) own the company/rake in the cash, but by passing the baton to people who care, we see a decent Star Wars movie finally.

    Lucas’ defence as to the criticisms of the prequels is that “it’s a kids’ film”.

    Let’s take Harry Potter then, or the upcoming Hobbit, does that mean kids’ films are ‘stooopid’, charmless, and clumsy? No, if anything, that is horrendously patronising to kids.

    Please retire George, keep your cash cow if that suits you, but if you are one tenth the creative you think you, you will let others enrich you ‘kids’ world with a decent story…

    • darthmeat

      I think you’re the guy he has disdain for, or others like you. I’m sick of hearing people bash him. He gave us some of the coolest damn movies ever. And if you don’t like the prequels, hey bub, don’t watch em. I bet you aint done s&%# in life have you? Except for maybe troll.

      • Spock Jenkins

        On the contrary, I have a very successful career in the media industry as a concept artist. The fact that you cannot put together a cogent response, says more about you and your life, if we are going to take it to that level.

        You’re a clown.

  • sense 11

    He stopped making movies over 20 years ago

    • tarek

      Exactly. He stopped doing movies since 1977, that is since Star Wars.

  • Joe

    “I don’t how many other filmmakers/custodians of genre favourite franchises would be regarded if they treated the fans with the disdain Luca$ treats Star Wars fans.”

    Star Wars fans are the biggest wastes of space on the planet. They are nothing more than a bunch vile, self-entitled losers. If I had fans and followers like that, I’d tell them to fuck off too.

    Lucas doesn’t owe a damn thing to Star Wars fans, except maybe a swift kick to the teeth.

    • JackBurton

      He only owes his financial well-being to Star Wars fans. Star Wars fans have made sure that Mr. Lucas and his family and their families and so on and so on will comfortable for the rest of their lives.
      Dont get me wrong I admire George Lucas for what he has accomplished, its the American dream personified. I just believe that Star Wars has become so beloved and cherished over the last three decades that offering the fans un-edited versions of the original three films is not too much to ask.

      • NorrTron

        Hey jack, Lucas doesn’t owe you shit. Star Wars fans didn’t just give their money to Lucas. They paid for the privilege of enjoying some of the funnest movies in the history of cinema, it’s not like the fans just gave him money and got nothing in return.

    • vxx

      “Star Wars fans are the biggest wastes of space on the planet. They are nothing more than a bunch vile, self-entitled losers.”

      I take it you haven’t met any comic book fans yet.

  • tarek

    You are right Luca$ let it be. you’re done. you can’t mess-up more than you’ve already done.
    You made me hate everything related to Star Wars. Bravo.

  • Tim

    “On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change are completely changing the movie. 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.’”

    “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back–
    Directed by Irvin Kershner
    Produced by Gary Kurtz
    Screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan
    Story by George Lucas”

    Certainly entitled there.

  • Ringbearer1420

    The Newt Gingrich of film.

  • Guns Of Navarone

    Alas, there IS a god after all. Lucas… for the love of god, get some new writers in and a new director to breathe some fresh air into Star Wars and release some new material. The Clone Wars animated series is the best it has been in nigh on years and it’s because it has some fresh ideas i.e. story writing / direction. By all means oversee your babies but please please step aside and give up on your useless tinkering/meddling. They’re not improvements, they’re annoyances. Your ideas are nothing more than faecal matter.

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  • MWB
  • Zach

    I dont care about getting anymore movies, but he definitely should focus on Star Wars : Underworld.


    Oh THAT’S news! Gee, how will the industry ever function the same.

  • Darth Future

    Stop onlice piracy act will save this company.

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  • Agent_Black

    We all have opinions and mine is that the guy is an over-rated talentless hack.

    They are his films and he has every right to tamper if he pleases yes, and its important for the visionary to have creative control but he hasn’t exactly been prolific in his output, just playing with the same material over and over and over again for nigh on 40 years, selling people the same shit in different formats, making filthy lucre, material which has pretty much been vastly over-rated anyway.

    If y’all want to be sold the same shit again and again, it’s your money to piss down a drain.

    His success wasn’t due to how great his many films were, he’s only directed a handful of features in 40 years (half of them crap) and his glory simply built on a clever marketing strategy involving the total commercialisation of movies, aiming merchandise directly at children. Very smart move, cynical but smart.

    The original Star Wars stands out for praise and to some degree THX1138 but that aside (I wasn’t a big fan of American Graffiti either) there is little worth shouting about.

    He’s the Axl Rose of the cinema industry (or is Axl Rose the George Lucas of music?).

    • mr me

      He created one of the most successful franchises ever, that are adored critically, not just commercially, and created a second franchise, Indy, which also shares its commercial and critical success.

      So saying his success isnt due to how good his movies are, is being very ignorant, and not giving him credit where its due.

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  • Joe

    Gosh! Is that really his neck!?
    Jabba’s ain’t got any dibs on this guy I tell ya!

    • Chris

      You must be on an elementary school playground. That’s usually where senseless, cruel and dumb comments like yours are made. Do the world a favor and jump out the nearest window.

  • CeejayNightwing

    Ding Dong the Witch is dead..!

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  • Liar