"You won't have Lucas to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."
Of course, we're paraphrasing Richard Nixon here, but the idea is still sound: George Lucas is "retiring," or so he says.
"I'm retiring," Lucas said. "I'm moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff."
Rick McCallum, who's been Lucas' producer on everything from "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" through the hugely successful/controversial "Star Wars" prequels, concurred. The journey to bring the black fighter pilot saga "Red Tails" to the screen has been fraught with difficulty, with even distributor 20th Century Fox refusing to actually pay for prints, which will come out of Generous George's pocket along with the entire $100-million-dollar budget.
"Once this is finished, he's done everything he's ever wanted to do. He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker," says McCallum.
Despite continuing to rake in a fortune through merchandising his six space operas, billionaire geek Lucas longs to return to his roots as a hippie-dippy experimental filmmaker in San Francisco during the 1970s. He will abandon the big spectacles for a series of small, self-funded art films much like the ones his friend/mentor Francis Ford Coppola has been churning out the last few years, which might be considered a threat if you've seen "Twixt" or "Youth Without Youth."
However, there is an "Indiana Jones 5" escape clause in this so-called swan song, even after 2008's "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" became a fanboy whipping post. Not only does the writer/executive producer of all four films insist on developing another possible chapter in the aging adventure series, he also says the infamous "nuking the fridge" scene was plausible.
"The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50," states Lucas, which coincidentally are also the odds this retirement will last. Expect phrases like "flying the Buick" or "atomizing the phone booth" to replace "nuke the fridge" in a few years.