George Lucas Says ‘Red Tails’ Is His Last “Blockbuster”; Plans To Focus On Personal & Experimental Films For The Rest Of His Career

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

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.

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Comments

Huffy

Sounds cool to me. I'm pretty ambivalent when it comes to Lucas (he's better than most give him credit for being but that isn't saying a whole lot) but I do think that THX is very underrated and still one of the most visually fascinating sci-fi films around.

Stephen B

"And even now, he's leaving a clause open to work on a fifth "Indiana Jones" movie."
This is the very reason he should retire; to be stripped of any creative input with regards to Indiana Jones.

Bill

George Lucas is totally done with Star Wars…. except for the next 6 years of rereleasing each film in 3D & a lengthy live action Star Wars TV Show.
The man is creatively bankrupt. Even the originally interesting sounding Red Tails has been re-fitted to look like Star Wars Origins: WWII Tales.

hank

Lucas sits on a "Pile of money" that he has pledged to give away the majority of in his own lifetime. So to say he throws it at the dung heap is just a good example of what he was talking about above. The man has always followed his bliss, done what he wanted to do and with a few exceptions financed it all himself, out of his own pocket. Whether the work was good or not is subjective but the man deserves some gratitude and respect.

Helgi

This is the one we all loved to kick around – deservedly. The man sits on a pile of money and throws it all at the dung heap. I respect him for American Graffiti and Star Wars, two total different universes, different time-zones. But since 1977 the gray-beard has not made anything of interest, except producing Tucker for Francis Coppola.

bobmorton

wouldn't it be great if lucas focused on the development of a viable online business model for small, personal films so that him and his pal coppola (among countless other indie filmmakers) could make their little movies and i wouldn't have to go to a festival to see them?

he is largely responsible for the current blockbuster mentality and the destruction of cinema as an art form… isn't it time he gave back? shouldn't he try to fix things so that we can enjoy the type personal filmmaking that we got during the 70s & 90s in america again?

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