Nerds across the universe exhaled a collective sigh of relief earlier this week when it was announced that Star Wars would be wrested from George Lucas’ steely grip and placed into the hands of the greatest propagandists in the history of the world. Word of Star Wars: Episode 7 lit a tiny fire in the collective hearth of the Comic-Con-loving peoples of many galaxies as hope spread that the franchise would be placed in the hands of more capable directors.
Lucas himself walked away in style, negotiating a cool $4.05 billion for his life’s work and maintaining creative consultancy over his brainchild while also becoming Disney’s second largest shareholder after the estate of Steve Jobs. Though universally savaged and derided for his Star Wars sequels, Lucas has more than compensated for his sometimes less than riveting storytelling over the course of his trail-blazing career.
Before becoming a filmmaker, George Lucas was a race car driver who nearly died in a car accident. His early love of car racing prepared him for the endless repetition and tight corners associated with film production. Like Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psychedelic Club before him, Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy introduced a whole generation of Western-educated moviegoers to Eastern religious philosophies using “The Force” as a vehicle in his samurai saga.
Lucas essentially founded Pixar and spearheaded the digital revolution in cinema with THX and Industrial Light & Magic, quite literally changing the way films are made. Fans railed against Lucas’ Jar Jar Binks character neglecting the fact that he was one of the first fully-realized computer-generated characters in the history of filmmaking.
Now Lucas is quietly settling into the role of emperor to oversee the next phase in the Empire’s expansion. Disney has already confirmed the upcoming release of three new Star Wars films beginning in 2015 and the long awaited Star Wars: Underworld television series featuring the corrupt mercenary underbelly of the Empire may finally see the light of day. Rumors about future releases are running rampant in light of the possibility of the industry’s best writers, directors and actors taking a shot at the franchise. The potential for a Spielberg or Fincher-directed space epic is enough to drive even the most jaded fan boys and girls back to a galaxy far, far away.