George Walton Lucas, Jr. (born May 14, 1944) is an American film producer, screenwriter, director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm, with an estimated personal net worth of $3.2 billion. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones.
“I’m retiring,” Lucas said. “I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.” He was careful to leave himself an out clause for a fifth “Indiana Jones” film. But otherwise, “Red Tails” will be the last blockbuster Lucas makes.
Lucasfilm's primary creative assets have been the hugely profitable "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" film and TV properties. In a rare effort to move beyond those franchises, the studio in February released the Lucas-directed "Red Tails,"about a crew of African American pilots during World War II.
Back in the late 1970s, when Lucas was planning Skywalker Ranch, a studio about 10 miles west of Grady Ranch, he ran into similar opposition from homeowners... The company insists that Skywalker has been an exemplary neighbor and asset to the community, preserving 5,000 acres of woods and fields, establishing an 11-mile hiking trail, restoring a pond, helping wildlife to thrive and providing aid to the local fire and rescue squads, not to mention creating hundreds of jobs.
Back in 1988, in testimony before Congress, one of Hollywood's most successful, beloved and influential filmmaker-moguls [George Lucas] expressed deep concern for a disturbing trend sweeping the movie industry. "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians," this filmmaker said, "and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society."
In the last decade and a half, Lucas has given “Star Wars” several “final” cuts. For the 1997 special edition, he made Greedo, a green-skinned alien, fire his blaster at Han Solo because Han’s murdering Greedo in cold blood — as the 1977 version had it — struck him as a violation of his own naïve style. For the new Blu-ray version of “Return of the Jedi,” Lucas added Darth Vader shouting, “Nooo!” as he seizes the evil emperor in the movie’s climactic scene. Lucas made the Ewoks blink. And so forth.
The most successful Hollywood marketing franchise in history: A 35-year-long tale, it began with the 1977 original, now called Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope. Last year alone, the franchise raked in $3 billion in licensing revenue (the next most profitable licensed movie merchandise is that of Cars). From light sabers sold at Target to the more than 1.5 million devotees who have subscribed to the online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic since December to every little Yoda who shows up to your door on Halloween, Star Wars is as ubiquitous as ever.
It all began modestly. After his success with American Graffiti in 1973, Lucas wanted to make a Western set in outer space to refresh the genre. He was turned down by several studios... Fox let Lucas pass up an additional $500,000 directing fee in return for keeping licensing and merchandising rights for himself -- a decision that would cost the studio billions.
Just as Jim Stark reformed his ways in Rebel, whatever sense of seriousness and responsibility that stuck with George from his dad's strict upbringing manifested after the crash. Feeling more than a bit lucky to be alive, Lucas made a decision to straighten-up and focus on less dangerous career goals... Historical "what if's" abound, but the image of a small car wrapped around a Modesto tree stands out as a pivotal moment in the past without which the course of American film and popular culture at the turn of the 21st century may have been significantly altered.
Born and reared in Modesto, California, George Lucas first attracted attention for his filmmaking abilities as a student at the University of Southern California, when his short film, ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH THX 1138 4EB, won the top award at the National Student Film Festival. In 1971, using San Francisco production studio American Zoetrope and long-time friend Francis Ford Coppola as executive producer, Lucas transformed the short film into his first feature, the stunningly prescient THX 1138.
Along with his friend and occasional collaborator Steven Spielberg, George Lucas was the key figure behind the American film industry's evolution (or, according to most critics, de-evolution) from cinema to spectacle during the late '70s... Remaining at all times on the cutting edge of merchandising and technology, he forever altered the ways in which movies are perceived by audiences and studios alike.