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"There Is Still Good in Him": George Lucas Retires

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | May 31, 2012 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | May 31, 2012 |

Ah, Lucas. You were the best of filmmakers, you were the worst of filmmakers. It’s hardly worth going through the story of the last thirty-five years, we’re all familiar with it. On the bright side, he gave us three Star Wars movies, three Indiana Jones movies, and Willow. On the bad side, he gave us three more Star Wars movies, another Indiana Jones movie, and Howard the Duck. As the Egyptians used to say, if your sins were heavier than a feather you were doomed for eternity, but luckily the feather was very heavy.

Said Lucas:

“I’m moving away from the company, I’m moving away from all my businesses, I’m finishing all my obligations and I’m going to retire to my garage with my saw and hammer and build hobby movies. I’ve always wanted to make movies that were more experimental in nature, and not have to worry about them showing in movie theatres.”

I don’t really believe for a second that we’ve heard the last of Lucas, even if he is walking away from Lucasfilm and all the other control and resources he has. Part of me wants to root for him, to congratulate a return to his roots, a return to the low budget brilliance of THX-1138. On the other hand I just want to throw my hands up in frustration because making something brilliant on a shoestring is a necessary evil, it’s what you do when you don’t have the resources to do more.

What I want Lucas to really do is use that power he has to fund the young filmmakers, to plaster the Lucasfilm logo over a half dozen $30 million sci-fi features each year instead of a single blockbuster pile of junk. Instead of just handing over Lucasfilm to the suits, he could make his legacy something truly transcendent. He could make Lucasfilm synonymous with science fiction films.

Walking away from power is the easy thing to do, and it’s a luxury that he can both afford, and arguably has earned. But using power wisely is the hard thing. So far Lucas hasn’t demonstrated the capability for it, generating a steady diet of blockbusters of diminishing quality.

But I wish that he’d remember the guy making science fiction with spare change back in the seventies that he used to be. If Lucas wants to make movies in his garage, more power to him, there have been fantastic things to come out of the garages of brilliant minds. But I don’t think the kid who dreamed up Luke Starkiller would have been content to just fade away, not when he could provide the backing to a new generation of dreamers.

(source: Cinema Blend)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.