Many fans were surprised when Lucasfilm founder George Lucas decided to sell his company and the Star Wars franchise to the Walt Disney Company, but the godfather of the galaxy far, far away had good reasons for moving on. While people are curious about his version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the rest of the sequel trilogy, as well as what he'd do with shows like Star Wars: The Mandalorian, he is only available for a cursory set visit and some cranky critiques. Lucas explained that it all comes down to family, and that he has new priorities for the future.
Lucas admitted that it was difficult to give up the reins on the Star Wars franchise, especially after his work crafting the prequel trilogy. But then he understood that he had a newborn child on the way, and the amount of time dedicated to the franchise would have taken away from that.
"At that time I was starting the next trilogy, I talked to the actors and I was starting to gear up. I was also about to have a daughter with my wife. It takes 10 years to make a trilogy – Episodes I to III took from 1995 to 2005," said Lucas in an interview for The Star Wars Archives: 1999 - 2005. "I’d still be working on Episode IX! In 2012, I was 69. 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 added, "I could have not sold Lucasfilm and gotten somebody to run the productions, but that isn’t retiring. On The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, I tried to stay out of the way but I couldn’t. I was there every day. Even though the people were friends of mine and they did great work, it wasn’t the same as me doing it. It was like being once removed. I knew that probably wouldn’t work again, that I’d be frustrated."
As many fans know, Lucas only directed the original Star Wars film before passing off the reigns for the sequels. He returned to the director's chair for the entire prequel trilogy, which received mixed reception upon release but has since been recognized for its cult popularity.
"I’m one of those micromanger guys and I can’t help it. So I figured I would forgo that, enjoy what I had and I was looking forward to raising my daughter," Lucas explained. "Also I wanted to build a museum, which I'd always wanted to do, so I was thinking, ‘If I don’t do this now, I’ll never get that done.’ I've spent my life creating Star Wars – 40 years – and giving it up was very, very painful. 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 the way you want it. Life is like that."
Lucas seems to have made peace with the fact that he's no longer in control of the franchise that made him a billionaire. And while fans might like to see him back in the driver's seat, the Maker has since moved on in his life.