George Lucas To Retire?

Says Red Tails is his final blockbuster

Take this with a pinch of salt, since we can't imagine we'll really be saying goodbye to the great man anytime in the near future. But a lengthy and fascinating profile in the New York Times sees George Lucas claiming he's planning his retirement, now that Red Tails is almost done and dusted.

"I'm moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff," he says.

"All this kind of stuff" refers to the battle he's had to get his long-cherished WWII epic before the cameras. Turned down by every major studio, he's been forced to finance and publicise the film himself. Now he says, barring possible future Indiana Jones films, that he's withdrawing from blockbusters, and that any future projects will be small, experimental, "esoteric and screened mostly in art-houses."

Lucas also says he's weary of constant criticisms of his tinkering with the Star Wars saga, making the point that he chose a path of independence, but has ended up trading studio interference for fanboy hectoring. "On the internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made changes are completely changing the movie,” he says. “Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it. Why would I make any more [Star Wars movies] when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”

Recent comments by Rick McCallum however, do suggest that Star Wars has a future in some form, and we'd have thought Lucas would at least be pulling some of those strings...

"Now that he’s demonstrated his commercial moviemaking abilities, it's time to show his other side," says Francis Ford Coppola of his friend's retreat from the limelight. Do you agree? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

Red Tails, actually directed by Anthony Hemingway, is out in the States on January 20. Lucas' equivalent of Institute Benjamenta is, we guess, in development...