George Lucas' place in pop culture was long solidified when he introduced the world to Star Wars in 1977 starting with A New Hope. Five films later, he decided to leave it all behind selling his studio Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 trusting his legacy to a new generation of filmmakers. Chronicled in "The Star Wars Archives 1999-2005", author Paul Duncan interviewed him (via /Film) revisiting that decision eight years ago.
"It's better for me to get out at the beginning of a new thing and I can just remove myself," Lucas said in early 2015. "The time is more important to me than the money…The only thing I really regret about Star Wars is the fact I never got to see it — I never got to be blown out of my seat when the ship came over the screen. The next one, I'll be able to enjoy it like anybody else." The filmmaker came to a crossroads in his life to create the sequel trilogy or raise family and he ultimately decided on the latter. "It takes 10 years to make a trilogy," he explained, noting that he would "still be working on Episode IX" if he had gone ahead with the decision to get underway on those movies. "In 2012 I was 69," he says. "So the question was am I going to keep doing this 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."
Lucas admitted he gets too personally involved with the film regardless of who's directing. While ANH was written and directed by him, its sequels in Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) were directed by Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand, respectively. While creating the prequels starting with The Phantom Menace (1999), Lucas attempted to get others to direct them like Ron Howard, which he wrote Willow (1988) for, and his Indiana Jones franchise director Steven Spielberg. The creator ultimately took it upon himself to take to the helm of projects to mixed reviews.
Even with the sale, Lucas found he couldn't stay away trying to provide input to the new Disney ownership for the new films before ultimately being waved off. Disney and Lucas did share similar ideas like Luke Skywalker's end in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Both also had a female protagonist Jedi in mind as well with Lucas opting for Carrie Fisher's Leia in that role as opposed to Daisy Ridley's Rey. "I've spent my life creating Star Wars – 40 years – and giving it up was very, very painful," he continued. "But it was the right thing to do. I thought I was going to have a little bit more to 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 1999-2005" will be released on December 13.