After creating a global phenomenon with the Star Wars franchise, fans were shocked when George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney back in 2012, even if it meant more adventures would be developed for the galaxy far, far away, with Lucas detailing in the new book The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III 1999-2005 how his decision to step away from the series was so he could spend more time with his family. While the new book isn't yet available, author Paul Duncan took to Twitter to share an excerpt from it in which Lucas details his filmmaking style meant committing too much time to making more films when his priorities were with his family.
"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," Lucas shares in the book. "In 2012 I was 69. So the question was am I going to keep doing this for 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. I could have not sold Lucasfilm and gotten somebody to run the productions, but that isn't retiring."
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
He added, "On [Star Wars:] The Empire Strikes Back and [Star Wars:] 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."
These comments also make it quite clear that we shouldn't expect to see Lucas return to the franchise, given how much of his time any project eats up. However, he's also proven with each new adventure in the series that he can't entirely stay away, as he is often spotted making trips to sets for both movie and TV projects.
"I'm one of those micromanager guys, and I can't help it," Lucas continued. "So I figured I would forgo that, enjoy what I had, and I was looking forward to raising my daughter. 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 — 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 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."
The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III 1999-2005 will be released in 2021.