Although it was just last week that George Lucas promised during a Daily Show interview that Red Tails is just the first part of a proposed trilogy, Lucas has already gone back and tweaked his original comments, correcting the tone and inserting new dialogue that puts Spike Lee or Lee Daniels in charge of any potential follow-ups, and which suggests that Lucas is leaving behind big-budget filmmaking. Lucas unveiled the Special Edition of his future in this New York Times interview, in which he laments the difficulties of getting Red Tails financed, then concludes, “I’m retiring. I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.” Aside from a possible fifth Indiana Jones movie, which is more or less handled by software these days, Lucas says he plans to follow his friend Francis Ford Coppola’s example and instead focus on making “more personal” films described as “small in scope, esoteric in subject and screened mostly in art houses”—and most importantly, away from jerks who don’t like what he did with Star Wars.
“Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?” Lucas grumbles of Star Wars fans, comparing their pleas to stop changing everything about the films they like to the dictatorial demands of the studios, as they both rob him of the important freedom to alter his past work to fit his every passing whim. And not that he has to explain his decisions to them, but still he graciously does—revealing, for example, that he changed it so Greedo shoots Han first because the original scene was “a violation of his own naïve style,” a commitment to moviemaking’s old-fashioned idealism and innocence that Lucas restored by grafting on an animated laser beam.
Lucas even dismisses Steven Spielberg’s recent claim that the “nuke the fridge” sequence in Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was Spielberg’s idea, saying, “He’s trying to protect me” (that being the sole instance when it appeared Spielberg actually was trying to protect him). In fact, Lucas said he had to go out of his way to convince Spielberg to put it in there by preparing a six-inches-thick “nuking-the-fridge dossier”—one that laid out the 50-50 statistical odds that a human could survive an atom bomb in a lead-lined fridge, and thus scientifically proved that it wasn’t a completely ridiculous, cartoonishly undignified way to start an Indiana Jones movie, because science. Anyway, fortunately Lucas won’t have to explain these sorts of things to you anymore.