'83 interview reveals Lucas was relieved to be done with Star Wars

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

What with the prequels, the animated movie, the animated series, the forthcoming live-action series and enough toys and games to break all our piggy banks, it's hard to imagine George Lucas ever being tired of Star Wars. But, believe it or not, there was a time, right after the completion of Return of the Jedi, when he was all Forced out.

Around this time 29 years ago, Lucas was celebrating the completion of the trilogy that made him a household name. Star Wars had given him critical acclaim, made him rich and earned him an eternal place in cinema history. But when a Los Angeles Times reporter went out to his offices to interview him about wrapping Jedi, Lucas just seemed glad it was over.

"There hasn't really been one day in the last 10 years that I haven't had to wake up in the morning and say, 'God, I've got to worry about this movie.' Now I feel as if this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders .... If I had to do it all over again, I'd have to think about it, especially if I knew what I was going to have to give up in order to get it."

Lucas compared working on the trilogy to being stuck on a speeder bike that wouldn't stop, and going 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali after he'd already been knocked "across the ring and out the door and into the next field." But 15-round fight or not, he had no choice. He had to finish the trilogy while everything was still assembled.

"The reason I had to keep going on these three was because I had sets gathering dust, I was paying rent [on facilities], and my actors were getting older and were vulnerable to accidents. Over such a long period of time, anything could happen. So there was a lot of tension there -- all the time. Now I don't have that. I could start the next series two years from now, or 10 years from now. It's a whole new mind-set, starting from scratch. There's no strong pull. The film cannot demand my time any more. I will decide when I'm ready."

A decade and a half later Lucas returned to the Star Wars universe for the prequels, and a lot of fans probably wish he hadn't. Back then, though, Lucas was just grateful for the fan love and looking forward to a long break from the franchise that made him a star.

"I definitely would give back the success, or trade it, if it hadn't been for the joy that some people have gotten from Star Wars -- that's the valuable part. That part is worth whatever I had to pay. I want to trade all the money and fame and bull. Now I've done my little bit, and I get some time to myself. I hope I can get back some of the joy I managed to put out there."

(Via Hero Complex)