George Lucas Threatens to Retire, Whines About His Sad Lot in Life

While promoting this week’s theatrical release of the WWII action drama ‘Red Tails’, which he produced, George Lucas told the New York Times that he’s going to “retire” from making blockbuster movies because the evil, evil Hollywood studios aren’t being nice to him anymore, and he thinks that his fans are all jerks anyway. The funniest part of this: Lucas really expects ‘Red Tails’ to be a blockbuster.

In the article (subscription required, unfortunately), Lucas describes his 20-year journey to get the passion project ‘Red Tails’ made. He’d like us to pity the fact that he was forced to finance the film himself from the vast reserves of his multi-billion-dollar personal fortune when he couldn’t drum up interest for the $58 million production at any of the major studios. In his mind, this automatically makes all of the studio executives who turned him down racists. (The movie is about the famous Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black squadron of fighter pilots.)

In response, the filmmaker is taking his ball and going home. He says that ‘Red Tails’ will be his last blockbuster production… except of course for a fifth ‘Indiana Jones’ movie, which is already in development. But that’s it, really!

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

He was careful to leave himself an out clause for a fifth “Indiana Jones” film. But otherwise, “Red Tails” will be the last blockbuster Lucas makes. “Once this is finished, he’s done everything he’s ever wanted to do,” says Rick McCallum, who has been producing Lucas’s films for more than 20 years. “He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker.”

He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker? Wow, he must really have a high opinion of how ‘Red Tails’ turned out. Why is it, then, that the movie’s trailers make it look like a cheesy, cliché-ridden mess?

Of course, the subject of ‘Star Wars’ came up in the interview too. Lucas once again defends the many asinine revisionist changes that he’s made to the original trilogy of films over the years, and derides anyone who would ask him to restore the original theatrical versions as well.

“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.’”

What? He thinks that the audience is changing the movie? How does that work?

While more Indy sequels may be on the table, Lucas claims that he’s done with ‘Star Wars’ now.

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

Oh, boo frickin’ hoo. Here’s a suggestion, George: If you don’t like being called a terrible person, how about you try not being a terrible person hell-bent on desecrating an important part of cinema history? Jackass.

Is this really the end of ‘Star Wars’? Of course not. Lucas may not make any more movies, but the ‘Clone Wars’ animated series is still ongoing, as are plans for the long-in-development live action ‘Star Wars’ TV series. Not to mention the many tie-in novels, videogames, and overwhelming flood of other spin-offs and merchandise that will continue unabated forever.

Now that he is allegedly retiring, what will George Lucas do with his time? He’s going to concentrate on finally making those “small, personal films” that he’s been blathering on about for decades but never actually made any attempt to produce. You know, tiny character-driven art pieces… like ‘Indiana Jones 5’.

[via Collider and Topless Robot]


  1. JM

    If I was George Lucas, with billions of wealth, I would finance my peers.

    Francis Ford Coppola, here’s $500M, go make ‘Megalopolis.’

    Scorsese, go make ‘Silence.’

    Steven, Altman, Woody, Friedkin, De Palma let’s turn this place upside-down.

    Sexy Wes Anderson, here’s $500M, put it all on the screen.

    Fuck hollywood, and fuck the internet.

    Retirement is for people with smaller chins.

  2. Drew

    I had a vast, carefully crafted response to this post all composed. When I hit, “Submit Comment” all was lost.

    I’m not going to take the time to develop a new follow-up comment.

    Let me just say – What a complete bitch!

    Lucas is easily the lowest scum sucking bacterial infection that ever worked in Hollywood.

  3. “Red Tails” looks okay. I will probably see it, but mainly because it looks like an action movie. He will probably make back what he made on it. As far as Blockbuster, well, we will see.

    I am kinda glad Lucas is retiring. He started a great empire (LucasArts, LucasFilms, isn’t he also partly responsible for THX and Dolby and ILM?), but really hasn’t done anything good in roughly 20 years. And most of the good stuff that has come out, he has pretty much not even been involved with. I mean, just because LucasArts made Monkey Island doesn’t mean George Lucas sat down and wrote the game himself. So yeah, great empire, but he seriously needs to retire and let others do the work.

  4. Random Commenter

    George Lucas is an asshole. Plain and simple. A big, whiny asshole with way too much money, power and respect in his possession. It’s absurd he is still on the Board of Directors of the Film Foundation after all that he has done. Funny how back in the 70’s/80’s he was a god of cinema, fighting against the power of the studios, but he has become exactly what he set out to destroy. Sad. Very, very sad.

  5. Oscar

    This is a great excuse for when each of his future movies is less successful than the last. “Well, I’m retired, so I’m intentionally not making blockbusters anymore…”

  6. wroberts

    The question to Lucas should be remember when everyone was ripping Turner for trying to colorize all the old black and white classics? That is what he has effectively done to the (no longer) original trilogy. Bastard.

    • At least Turner didn’t destroy the original B&W elements. I am the oddball who likes colorization, but not at the expense of the originals.

      I like the Special Editions, but I still would like to watch the originals of Star Wars from time to time. Luckily, I have both.

  7. Hatsa78

    I have been reading this site for years now and always enjoying your informative reviews, Josh, but I think you sound a bit too harsh and bitter when it comes to Lucas. There’s a fine line of thinking differently of changes he made to his own movies and downright hating the guy for it. After all, as fans of movies we can only see them the way moviemakers themselves choose to show them. There’s no point in fighting againts it.

    BTW, there’s another article, a long one containing same news of “retiring”. Interesting read though.

    • When he stops insulting the intelligence of a large portion of his fan base by saying that the original masters of the original trilogy are no longer available and just comes out and says he doesn’t want to release the trilogy as many of us remember them then I might be able to have some respect for the man.

      As it stands now he’s a hypocrite and a liar. He has no problem taking the money of his fans without giving them the one thing they been asking for… the movie they (the fans) made a success by shelling out countless millions of dollars on that went directly into his pocket. After years of support what does he give us back in return? Lies, the Special Editions, and now crying about how the fans are mean to him.

      • “He has no problem taking the money of his fans without giving them the one thing they been asking for… the movie they (the fans) made a success by shelling out countless millions of dollars on that went directly into his pocket.”

        Hmmm, last I checked, the fans were giving that money willingly. It’s not like he’s robbing the stagecoach here.

        • EM

          No, just history.

          I agree that fans who dislike the alterations but continue to pay for them are a part of the problem.

  8. EM

    On paper, Red Tails is a fascinating project…but Lucas has time and again proven himself to be an unapologetically untrustworthy caretaker of history. Besides…if I’m going to see a film, I’d rather wait until I know it’s finished.

  9. John

    I read the article and I have to say you seem to really go in there and find the “worst” parts of the article, instead of looking at the whole.

    That said yeah he screwed the pooch on Star Wars and deserves some of the vitriol. BUT I like his idea of old style Hollywood WW2 movie, as a kid I ate those up and loved them. Some of my favorites are still movies like “The Longest Day” and “Battle of the Bulge”

  10. If he actually does retire I HOPE that Star Wars can live on and be taken on by other people, new movies within the universe from other directors and writers, I hope that he doesnt stop more movies from being made, if he doesnt want to make them fine, but the best ones werent scripted and directed by him anyways, why not give it up and let some others take the reigns?

    Otherwise I really dont care, I still love my Star Wars, its probably my favorite and most memorable anything in my life and I’m happy with that 🙂 He doesnt do much else anyways, so Im not hurt….

    • I doubt this. Neither Emprie or Jedi was directed by Lucas, yet somehow Lucas was allowed to fuck with them. So apparently directors no longer have any say as to what their movies are going to look like. I doubt we will have any more decent Star Wars spinoffs, or the original theatrical versions, before Lucas kicks the bucket.

  11. Okay…why the searing anger? I mean, between this and other posts you’ve made on the subject of George Lucas, it’s very apparent that you have lots of anger towards him. Now, I understand you want the original “Star Wars” films to be released untouched, but the level of anger you have for the subject is a bit disturbing.

    Yes, “Star Wars” is a big part of our generation’s (well, maybe yours and mine since I’m a bit older) development — but it isn’t the ONLY part. In fact, if you were to really think about it, it’s only one of hundreds of films that actually did shape your love of the medium.

    Your points regarding the treatment of the films by Lucas are valid, I don’t want you to think I’m saying they aren’t. I’m just saying that the amount of vitriol you have is excessive, and can’t be that good for you, and is off-putting to read.

    It’s okay to turn your back on Lucas and the “Star Wars” films if they don’t bring you joy. They really aren’t that important anymore, especially if you look at the entirety of film history. There were many formative films before and after that deserve lots of love an devotion.

    • Drew

      “I’m just saying that the amount of vitriol you have is excessive, and can’t be that good for you, and is off-putting to read.”

      Couldn’t disagree more.

      It’s not off-putting to read at all! I love the fervor that is always on display when Josh writes about Lucas and the utterly inexcusable handling of cinematic art history that the ‘Star Wars’ films have fallen victim to.

    • Josh Zyber

      George Lucas’ behavior sets a dangerous precedent for other filmmakers in Hollywood. Many have already followed his lead by making revisionist changes to their old movies, and few of them allow the original versions to be preserved as well. The original Star Wars is lost, as is the original French Connection. Very few of Michael Mann’s films are available in their original versions, and the director has a habit of making his movies worse with his Director’s Cuts (especially Last of the Mohicans).

      These films, as they were released originally, are part of our cultural heritage, which is being whittled away bit by bit. Our children and grandchildren will have no opportunity to ever see these movies in their original forms.

      • JM

        Are revisionist changes evil when they make a castrated theatrical release live up to the film’s true potential?

        Should we be rigidly dedicated to preserving the studio’s popcorn version?

        Are director’s cuts being forced on directors as a way to milk new profits?

        Hollywood is fucked up by money and arrogance in so many ways I’m surprised the art form hasn’t imploded.

        • Random Commenter

          The theatrical cut should always be preserved. In my opinion, even if the studio mandated cuts without any say from the director, it still should be preserved. It’s not hard to have both. Look at Superman II, Close Encounters, Blade Runner, etc. The studio mandated cuts all are in near equal or equal quality to the “Director’s Cut” in their respective Blu-ray releases.

          • Agreed. Look at both Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Just because there were different versions of the film doesn’t mean they did anything to the original. I like seeing extended cuts as much as anyone (shoot, I paid $40 for the first two Harry Potter movies to get extended cuts), but I still like seeing the originals from time to time. There is just no reason why making an “Ultimate” or “Final” or “Extended” or “Directors Cut” means that we cannot have the Theatrical Version as well.

          • JM

            I can’t think of one film that I love that was made before 1979.

            And most of the movies I admire were made after 1993.

            Only within the last three years have I been turning cynical.

            But even now, I feel the art form is the best its ever been.

            Perhaps I’m locked inside the combination of my sensibility and my age.

            I should see if my acupuncturist has a therapy for that.

          • EM

            Sounds like deflation in lieu of implosion.

            Can you think of any pre-1979 films that you at least like? About ⅗ of the feature films I’ve deigned to add to my library have been handed down from those days of yore, even though the most represented decade is the 1980s (or 1977–1986, if one may designated any ten-year stretch). I wouldn’t say I love every single one of these films—but I love most of them. Cinematically, I am far from monogamous.

          • JM

            I like parts of ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ and Christopher Walken in ‘Annie Hall.’

            I think in the old days audiences were more comfortable with boring movies simply because excitement hadn’t been invented yet.

            ‘Apocalypse Now’ was the first film ever made worthy to be called art.

            But keep in mind, I was raised by wolves. My palette is still unrefined.

  12. He could help unburn a few bridges by at least admitting that he COULD give us the original versions of Starwars with cleaned up effects and a remixed HD audio track. We just want the movies we watched as children back. I wouldn’t hate on the prequels or the Special Editions if I had SOMETHING to compare them against other than a terrible Laserdisc encode. And I had to buy a SECOND COPY of the entire Saga on DVD for that.

    But enough is enough. Until him or one of his cronies gets us the versions we want I’m not giving him another dime.

    The man was key in so many historical breakthroughs in Film from the late 70’s all through to the 90’s. ILM was like a wonderland to me when I was growing up.

    But now it makes sure to have not one scene with stupid gophers in my Indiana Jones movie, but two. So disappointing when he can’t stop with the damned CGI. Completely against things he did when he was younger.

    Maybe Lucas should talk to Ernest and Julio Gallo so he can do commercials for them.

  13. Tony

    Wow, this might be one of the more irrational diatribes against Lucas I have read yet! So Lucas is a “jackass” for altering his own creation? Who has the copyright to the Star Wars saga? Lucas can do whatever he wants. If you and the rest of the cranks do not like it, then don’t buy it! Of course I am willing to be bet that you all think it’s perfectly fine for Jackson to alter Tolkien’s work to suit his taste. And please do not give me that “adaptation to film” non-sense. Changes are changes, period. You just happen to like how Jackson changed LOTR.
    Personally, I do not blame Lucas for giving the middle finger to some of the “Star Wars fans”. Their incessant whining has become a bore. I think that many of you forget that the Star Wars movies are made for kids. BTW, I believe that Lucas is referring to the Phantom Edit that was/is floating around.

    • EM

      I have not forgotten that the Star Wars movies were made for kids, for I am one of the people they were made for.

      I am shocked that Peter Jackson has destroyed the original Tolkien novels and refused to make copies available to the public. That is an outrage!

      Almost as outrageous are the irrational diatribes people make about George Lucas. Sometimes people will even claim that the legal right to do something necessarily entails its ethical rectitude—how hopelessly foolish and naïve! Or try this one on for size. The following quote was written by some guy whose favorite subject matter apparently is George Lucas. Lucas really ought to confront this guy:

      In the future it will become easier for old negatives to become lost and be ”replaced” by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.

      Really, what chutzpah!!

  14. Tony

    Wow, Lucas really is a terrible person! He committed ethical breaches by altering Star Wars!

    All of this talk of preserving our history is a red herring. My guess is that you all simply do not like the changes.

    Also, it does not matter what Lucas said or did not say 20 years ago. The issue is whether or not the argument that fans are entitled to a pristine copy of the original trilogy is valid.

    • EM

      The issue is a red herring. Given your disregard for ethical questions and consistency, my guess is that you simply are playing troll.