George Lucas recently sat down with USA Today’s Brian Truitt to discuss his career—including his latest project, Strange Magic—but obviously, talk inevitably turned to Star Wars. Lucas discussed how, prior to handing over the franchise to Disney, he had originally intended to direct Episode VII himself for a 2015 release as part of the new sequel trilogy, then sell Lucasfilm. His plans were interrupted when Disney suddenly appeared (perhaps sensing a disturbance in the Force) and offered Lucas $4.05 billion to let it make the movie instead.
“It’s better for me to get out at the beginning of a new thing and I can just remove myself,” Lucas said, recounting his decision. (As he tells it, that decision was apparently not precipitated by a robed Disney executive waving his hand in the air and advising,“It’s better for you to get out at the beginning of a new thing; you can just remove yourself.”)
Since gaining—and giving away—more wealth than even Han Solo could imagine, Lucas has remarried and is now the father of a 17-month-old. And he confessed that his daughter was the primary motivation behind his changing priorities, saying, “By the time she’s 5, she’ll have her own career going and being in school and talking about her friends and her homework… right now, she doesn’t have much else to do but hang out with her father.”
Lucas also admitted his big Star Wars regret, which does not involve Jar Jar Binks, Greedo’s reflexes, or revealing that the great Anakin Skywalker was just a petulant teenager. “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,” Lucas said. “The next one, I’ll be able to enjoy it like anybody else.”