Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 10 Best Films Of 2001 The 10 Best Films Of 2001 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

George Lucas Says 'Red Tails' Is His Last "Blockbuster"; Plans To Focus On Personal & Experimental Films For The Rest Of His Career

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 17, 2012 at 2:29PM

Is George Lucas leaving "Star Wars" behind? It sure seems that way, as the writer, producer and director behind the biggest sci-fi franchise of all time and -- no matter what you think of him -- a massive influence on a generation of filmmakers and pop culture in general, is ready to draw down and take some risks.
8
George Lucas

Is George Lucas leaving "Star Wars" behind? It sure seems that way, as the writer, producer and director behind the biggest sci-fi franchise of all time and -- no matter what you think of him -- a massive influence on a generation of filmmakers and pop culture in general, is ready to draw down and take some risks.

In an extensive, fascinating profile in The New York Times, in advance of the release of the Lucas-produced "Red Tails," the bold claim is made that this will be his last multiplex hurrah. “Once this is finished, he’s done everything he’s ever wanted to do,” said his longtime producing partner Rick McCallum. “He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker.” The article goes on to state that moving forward, Lucas will be putting his attention toward films that are "..small in scope, esoteric in subject and screened mostly in art houses. They’ll be like the experimental movies Lucas made in the 1960s, around the time he was at U.S.C. film school, when he recorded clouds moving over the desert and made a movie based on an E. E. Cummings poem."

“I’m retiring,” Lucas said. “I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.” Of course, this isn't the first time he's said this. The director made similar statements years ago, only to return to the comfortable and lucrative well of the "Star Wars" franchise, knocking out three prequels in the process. And it was only a few years ago that he threw his pal Francis Ford Coppola under the bus for taking exactly the same approach, saying “Did you see it?” Lucas asked rhetorically. “Uh, no. Did you even know it came out?”

And even now, he's leaving a clause open to work on a fifth "Indiana Jones" movie. But now more than ever, Lucas has the ample financial freedom to do whatever he wants. But we wonder if he'll be able to park decades worth of franchise thinking.

As the Times notes, "Red Tails" has been in development for years, and the first scripts were grand in scope, with a film that would've tracked the development of the Tuskegee program, the dogfights in World War II and a bitter ending, with the pilots returning home to a south still ruled by Jim Crow. But Lucas knew his own limitations.

“I can’t make that movie,” Lucas said. “I’m going to have make this kind of...entertainment movie.” And thus, the focused shifted, with Lucas taking inspiration from the John Wayne film "Flying Leathernecks" (directed by Nicholas Ray) for the direction he wanted to go in. He also, quite boldly, says he wanted to make a patriotic movie for black teenagers, and thus, a big piece of entertainment would probably be the most engaging way to do it. And while he waits to see how his expensive gamble pays off, where he goes from here will be fascinating to see.

Saying that he's “retiring, in a way, from my past” it seems he's ready to take the kind of risks that projects that have $100 million budgets or legions of fans can't allow him to afford. But as for any other "Star Wars" movies? “Why would I make any more, when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?” he asks rhetorically.

You're not going to have George Lucas to kick around any more.

This article is related to: George Lucas


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates