Last fall, my esteemed and wordy colleague Darren Franich posted an essay entitled “Stop hating George Lucas, and stop loving Star Wars so much: Why it’s time to grow up.” It was in reaction to the uproar surrounding Lucas’ decision to make Darth Vader say “Nooooo!” at the climax of Return of the Jedi, and it touched a nerve, inspiring mostly spirited and totally geeky online debate over whether Lucas’ many changes and alterations to the Star Wars films over the years had, in fact, ruined our childhoods.
Well, Lucas haters, you’ve gotten your wish: In a story appearing in the upcoming issue of The New York Times Magazine and posted online yesterday, the man who helped invent the modern summer movie blockbuster says he’s retiring from making big-budget feature films, including and especially any more Star Wars movies. “Why would I make any more,” he says in the story, “when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?” Yes, anonymous fanboy commentors, George Lucas has read your Han-Solo-shot-first! screeds, and he’s taken it kinda personally: “I’m saying: ‘Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.’”
Lucas’ no-more-Star-Wars-movies proclamation still leaves the door open (if just by a crack) for that fabled TV series spanning the years between Episode III and Episode IV. (Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum told EW last week that the wait could be four years or “even longer,” adding “I hope George does do it. I really do.”) But between the 3-D re-releases of the Star Wars hexology, the Clone Wars animated TV series, the countless spin-off comics, novels, videogames, and officially sanctioned spoofs, not to mention the Star Wars religion, I can’t be the only one who is relieved to learn that this fantasy universe does, in fact, have borders. And now that Lucas is turning his energies to other, more personal projects — like championing his African-American war hero epic Red Tails — he finally has the freedom to make movies the way he wants to make them without causing grown adults to fulminate over ruined childhoods and cineastes to opine about whether artists really own their art after they offer it up for public consumption.
But for those of you who have organized your lives around venting rage about George Lucas, don’t worry: He’s still threatening to make a fifth Indiana Jones movie.