Star Wars creator George Lucas has spoken before about why he made the galaxy-rattling decision to sell Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company back in 2012, but thanks to a forthcoming book, that topic is back in the news again. In Taschen’s The Star Wars Archives 1999-2005, author Paul Duncan includes a new interview with Lucas in which the acclaimed writer/director explains exactly why he parted ways with the cinematic franchise he built.
Why did George Lucas sell Lucasfilm in 2012? He tells me why in this extract from my new book The #StarWars Archives Eps I-III. My unboxing video here: https://t.co/M907YGZsjm pic.twitter.com/MEPRStOil8
— Paul Duncan (@kershed) December 3, 2020
“It’s better for me to get out at the beginning of a new thing and I can just remove myself,” Lucas said in early 2015. “The time is more important to me than the money…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. The next one, I’ll be able to enjoy it like anybody else.” [Narrator: he didn’t.]
Lucas explains that around the time of the sale, he was finally beginning to gear up production for his own sequel trilogy while simultaneously about to have a daughter with his wife. (If you want to know what his trilogy would have been about, we go into that here.) “It takes 10 years to make a trilogy,” he explained, noting that he would “still be working on Episode IX” if he had gone ahead with the decision to get underway on those movies. “In 2012 I was 69,” he says. “So the question was am I going to keep doing this the rest of my life? Do I want to go through this again? Finally, I decided I’d rather raise my daughter and enjoy life for a while.”
Lucas, who describes himself as “one of those micromanager guys,” lays out an alternate reality scenario in which he could have kept the company and hired other people to direct the sequel trilogy, but he knew his own tendencies well enough to know that he wouldn’t be able to fully disengage and the result would be that he’d be “frustrated” at being on the sidelines.
“I’ve spent my life creating Star Wars – 40 years – and giving it up was very, very painful,” he continued. “But it was the right thing to do. I thought I was going to have a little bit more to say about the next three because I’d already started them, but they decided they wanted to do something else. Things don’t always work out the way you want it. Life is like that.” That final sentiment is something the most vocal contingent of Star Wars fans may do well to take to heart.
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