Producer Rick McCallum — who was instrumental in the resurrection of the Star Wars franchise, from the “Special Edition” re-releases of the first trilogy to the prequel trilogy Star Wars films — is leaving Lucasfilm to pursue producing independent films. The announcement, made on StarWars.com, comes a month after the bombshell news that Disney is purchasing Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, with veteran Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy taking the helm of the Star Wars franchise as executive producer of a planned sequel trilogy.
“There’s only person in the world who could do this, and that’s Kathleen Kennedy,” McCallum said in the announcement. “There’s no one more suited who is able to bridge the worlds of elite filmmaking within a studio context. The Star Wars saga will always be taken care of under her leadership. She is truly one of the greatest producers in America as well as being a great friend.”
McCallum first joined the Lucasfilm fold as the producer of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which aired on ABC from 1992 to 1993, and the ill-fated madcap period comedy Radioland Murders in 1994.
“No matter how impossible I made the task, Rick was able to overcome the challenges,” George Lucas said in the announcement. “In addition to putting together great crews and working miracles with the budget, he was instrumental in helping push filmmaking into the 21st century. He has a larger-than-life personality and made this amazing 20-year journey with him a fun one.”