- "The movie's in there—it's in the marble. I'm just the sculptor setting it free."
- ―George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. (born May 14, 1944) is a four-time Academy Award–nominated American film and television writer, director, and producer. He is best known as creator of the epic Star Wars saga and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones. From 1977 to 2005, he served as co-writer and executive producer of all six Star Wars films, as well as director for four of the films. He also appeared in a cameo role in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. He is famous for his advances in special effects and filming techniques.
George Walton Lucas Jr. was born in Modesto, California to George Walton Lucas, Sr. (1913–1991) and Dorothy Ellinore Bomberger Lucas on May 14, 1944. His father was mainly of British and Swiss-German heritage, and his mother was a member of a prominent Modesto family (one of her cousins is the mother of former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and director of UNICEF Ann Veneman) and was mainly of German and Scots-Irish heritage.
- "I thought it was too wacky for the general public."
- ―George Lucas on Star Wars
Lucas co-founded the studio American Zoetrope with Francis Ford Coppola—whom he met during his internship at Warner Brothers—hoping to create a liberating environment for filmmakers to direct outside the perceived oppressive control of the Hollywood studio system. Following the success of American Graffiti, Lucas proposed a new Flash Gordon film adaptation, but the rights were not available. Under the American Zoetrope banner Lucas developed Apocalypse Now to direct following work on Star Wars. As work on Star Wars dragged on, Coppola took over directing Apocalypse Now, leading to the breakdown of the American Zoetrope partnership.
In 1976, Lucas published a novelization of A New Hope, which was initially (like the film) titled just Star Wars. Although Lucas was credited as author of the book, it was later revealed that the book was actually ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, who would also write Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the first original Star Wars novel and, in many respects, the first Star Wars sequel.
On a return-on-investment basis, Star Wars proved to be one of the most successful films of all time. During the filming of Star Wars, Lucas waived his up-front fee as director and negotiated to own the licensing rights—rights which the studio thought were nearly worthless. This decision earned him hundreds of millions of dollars, as he was able to directly profit from all the licensed derived products created for the franchise. In 2006 Forbes Magazine estimated Lucas's personal wealth at U.S. $3.5 billion. In 2005 Forbes.com estimated the lifetime revenue generated by the Star Wars franchise at nearly $20 billion.
Some considered Star Wars to be the first "high concept" film, while others feel the first was Steven Spielberg's Jaws, released two years prior. In fact, Lucas and Spielberg had been acquaintances for some time and eventually worked together on several films, notably the first Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark, in 1981. Along with Spielberg, Lucas is credited with (and even blamed for) establishing the blockbuster approach to filmmaking.
The Directors Guild of America fined Lucas for refusing to have a standard title sequence in his Star Wars films. After paying the fine, he quit the guild. This made it hard for him to find a director for some of his later projects. According to some, he wanted his friend Spielberg to direct some of the later Star Wars movies, but as a member of the guild Spielberg may have been unable to do so. Spielberg has repeatedly stated that Lucas consciously did not let him direct any Star Wars films, despite the fact that Spielberg wanted to. Other directors Lucas pursued to aid him were David Lynch and David Cronenberg, both of whom declined.
On October 3, 1994, Lucas started to write the three Star Wars prequels, and on November 1 that year, he left the day-to-day operations of his filmmaking business and started a sabbatical to finish the prequels.
At some point, he wanted to produce a TV series about Star Wars, which would take place between episodes III and IV. Lucas purportedly also announced that he plans on making two additional Star Wars films that will take place after Return of the Jedi, but this rumor was debunked at Celebration IV in Los Angeles, California, in May 2007. When Stephen J. Sansweet, Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations at Lucasfilm, was asked about the proposed two films post–Return of the Jedi, he stated that it was a misunderstanding of what Lucas was explaining. According to Sansweet, Lucas was referring to the two Star Wars television projects then in production: Star Wars: Clone Wars, which is a CG animated show that debuted October 3, 2008, and a yet-to-be-titled Star Wars live-action show that was set to premiere in 2009, the development status of which is currently uncertain.
After The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm, Lucas provided story material for the seventh film, which would ultimately be titled Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Disney, however, ultimately chose not to use Lucas's story ideas in the final film. In interviews regarding the matter, Lucas stated that Disney "…looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans.' People don't actually realize it's actually a soap opera and it's all about family problems – it's not about spaceships. So they decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing so I decided, 'fine…. I'll go my way and I let them go their way.'"
On February 9, 2018, it was reported that Lucas had helped to direct a scene in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was released on May 25, 2018. This makes Solo so far the only Disney-helmed Star Wars film to have counted at least very little with Lucas' direct involvement.
Innovations in film
- "Well, I would argue that the prequels are — and Lucas in general is — the bedrock that all of this is built on. He is the first person that had digital photography, he was the first person to do completely CG characters. The whole notion of not having even a print [version of the film], of having everything be 0's and 1's, was all George. Not to mention EditDroid, which turned into Avid, Pixar was spawned out of their laboratories at Lucasfilm, so he is arguably the center of the Big Bang for everything that I'm doing. It's building on the shoulders of what he was able to innovate."
- ―Jon Favreau
Besides his directorial and production work on movies, Lucas is one of the most significant contemporary contributors to modern movie technology. In 1975 Lucas established Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) in Van Nuys, California, which was responsible for the invention of the special computer-assisted camera crane "Dykstraflex" that was used for most of the space fight sequences in the Star Wars movies (technology which was later adopted by most other visual effects production units, such as those responsible for Battlestar Galactica—considered very similar to Star Wars by many—and Star Trek: The Next Generation). Through ILM, Lucas spurred the further development of computer graphics, film laser scanners, and the earliest use of 3D computer character animation in a film, Young Sherlock Holmes. Lucas sold his early computer development unit to Steve Jobs in 1988, which was renamed Pixar. Lucas is also responsible for the modern sound systems found in many movie theaters. Though Lucas didn't invent THX, he is responsible for its development.
Lucas spearheaded digital photography for movies. Though personal digital photography is now mainstream, most movie studios still use traditional cameras and film for movie production. Lucas departed from this model by filming Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones completely digitally. He showed the result to a select audience of the Hollywood elite, before the movie's general release. For the presentation, Lucas used a special digital projection system. The attendees said the movie had the clearest and sharpest presentation they had ever seen.
The American Film Institute awarded Lucas its 2005 Life Achievement Award on June 9, 2005. This was shortly after the release of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, to which he jokingly made reference in his acceptance speech, stating that, since he views the entire Star Wars series as one movie, he could actually receive the award now that he had finally "gone back and finished the movie."
In 1969, Lucas married film editor Marcia Lou Griffin, who went on to win an Oscar for her editing work on the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. They adopted a daughter, Amanda (b. 1981), before divorcing in 1983. Lucas subsequently adopted two more children as a single parent: daughter Katie (b. 1988) and son Jett (b. 1993).
Short and student films
|Freiheit||1966||writer, director, and editor|
|Look at Life||1965||writer, director, and editor|
|The Bus||1965||production assistant|
|Grand Prix||1966||additional camera operator|
|Herbie||1966||writer, director, and editor|
|1:42:08||1966||writer, director, and editor|
|The Emperor||1967||writer and director|
|Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138: 4EB||1967||writer and director|
|Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town||1967||writer, director, and editor|
|6-18-67||1967||writer, director, and editor|
|Filmaker||1968||writer, director, and editor|
|Finian's Rainbow||1968||uncredited production assistant|
|The Rain People||1969||associate producer|
|Captain EO||1986||story and exec. producer|
|Star Tours||1987||characters, story, exec. producer|
|Rollin' with Saget||2006||cameo at 1:43|
|THX 1138||1971||director, story, co-writer|
|American Graffiti||1973||director, story, co-writer|
|Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope||1977||director, story, writer, exec. producer|
|More American Graffiti||1979||exec. producer, uncredited co-director|
|Kagemusha (a.k.a. The Shadow Warrior)||1980||international edition exec. producer|
|Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back||story, uncredited co-writer, exec. producer, uncredited co-director|
|Body Heat||1981||uncredited exec. producer|
|Raiders of the Lost Ark||story(with Philip Kaufman), exec. producer, uncredited second unit director|
|Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi||1983||exec. producer, story, co-writer, uncredited co-director|
|Twice Upon a Time||exec. producer|
|Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom||1984||story, exec. producer, cameo as "Tourist boarding plane"|
|Latino||1985||uncredited co-producer and co-editor|
|Howard the Duck||1986||exec. producer|
|Willow||story, exec. producer|
|Tucker: The Man and His Dream||exec. producer|
|The Land Before Time||exec. producer|
|Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade||1989||story (with Menno Meyjes), exec. producer|
|Hook||1991||cameo as "Man kissing on bridge"|
|Beverly Hills Cop III||1994||cameo as "Disappointed Man"|
|Radioland Murders||story, exec. producer|
|Men in Black||1997||uncredited cameo as "Alien on TV Monitor"|
|Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace||1999||director, story, writer, exec. producer|
|Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones||2002||director, story, co-writer, exec. producer|
|Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith||2005||director, story, writer, exec. producer, cameo as Baron Papanoida|
|Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull||2008||story, exec. producer|
|Star Wars: The Clone Wars||exec. producer|
|Red Tails||2012||executive producer, uncredited director reshoots|
|Strange Magic||2015||story, executive producer|
|The Star Wars Holiday Special||1978||story|
|Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure||1984||characters, story, exec. producer|
|Star Wars: Droids||1985–1986||characters, exec. producer|
|Ewoks||1985–1987||characters, exec. producer|
|Ewoks: The Battle for Endor||1985||characters, story, exec. producer|
|The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles||1992–1996||characters, stories, exec. producer|
|Just Shoot Me!: "It's Raining Babies"||2003||cameo as himself|
|Star Wars: Clone Wars||2003–2005||characters, executive producer|
|The O.C.||2005||cameo as himself|
|The Colbert Report||2006||cameo as green screen finalist "George L."|
|Robot Chicken: Star Wars||2007||voice of himself|
|Star Wars: The Clone Wars||2008–2020||executive producer|
|Star Wars: Underworld||TBA||characters, exec. producer|
|Star Wars: Detours||TBA||characters|
|Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization||1976||credited writer|
|Splinter of the Mind's Eye||1978||foreword to 1996 reprint|
|Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series||1999–2003||approved story|
|Shatterpoint||2003||prologue to paperback edition|
|Cause of Death: A Perfect Little Guide to What Kills Us||2008||concept, introduction|
|George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success||2010||concept, preface|
Lucas also served as a producer on the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and many Expanded Universe and fan productions have one form or another of the credit "Special thanks to George Lucas."
Appearances in Star Wars
In addition to his role as Baron Papanoida, Lucas has made two Expanded Universe appearances. His name was modified for Egroeg Sacul, a character paged on the Star Tours ride, and his likeness was used for a limited-edition action figure of a character called Jorg Sacul.
Lucas also appears twice in the Tag and Bink comics. He appears in Tag & Bink: Revenge of the Clone Menace in Dex's Diner and is depicted among the many characters chasing Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna on the back of the Tag and Bink Were Here trade paperback. Lucas also appears in the third part of the Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The Phantom Affair comic.
In Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, a bust of George Lucas is in the Jedi Archives.
In the non-canon special LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace, George Lucas makes an appearance, where he has to herd Darth Vader off screen after Vader interrupts scenes by inserting himself into them. He eventually tells Vader to get off of the set.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Jones, Jay Brian. George Lucas: A Life. Headline (2016).
- ↑ George Lucas. Forbes. Archived from the original on May 11, 2020. Retrieved on May 11, 2020.
- ↑ Goldberg, Matt (November 20, 2015). 'Star Wars': George Lucas Explains Why He and Disney Disagreed on New Trilogy. Collider. Archived from the original on December 28, 2015. Retrieved on November 21, 2015.
- ↑ Breznican, Anthony (February 9, 2018). Ron Howard: A Star Wars Story. Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 14, 2020. Retrieved on February 18, 2018.
- ↑ Trumbore, Dave (February 9, 2018). 'Solo: A Star Wars Story': How George Lucas Helped Shape a Scene Aboard the Falcon. Archived from the original on January 5, 2020. Retrieved on February 18, 2018.
- ↑ 2005 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to George Lucas on USA Network. AFI. Archived from the original on August 27, 2005.
- ↑ The Making of The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ The novel is credited to Lucas but was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, based on Lucas's story and screenplay.