When George Lucas sold his company along with the rights to the Star Wars franchise to Disney back in 2012, it certainly felt as if history had turned a page on the visionary who had given popular culture so much. However, the exact reasons he had washed his hands of the legendary sci-fi franchise that he built from the ground up has been a mystery for a while, largely attributed to motives ranging from simple fatigue to a loss of passion. However, in a recent comment, Lucas has revealed that another part of his reason was simply to speak to a younger, more female-centric audience.
At a recent New York screening for this week’s new animated release, Strange Magic - on which he served as executive producer - George Lucas revealed how the new film in part helped him leave the Star Wars franchise behind. After revealing that this project has been 15 years in the making (predating two of the Star Wars prequels), Lucas explained to Page Six how Strange Magic is somewhat of an inspirational successor to Star Wars. Said the filmmaker,
"I was thinking about Star Wars being designed for 12-year-old boys, and I thought maybe I’ll make a film for 12-year-old girls, because I have a lot of daughters. And girls go to the movies. I worked on it on the side for those years, and we finally got it done."
Somewhat of a low-key release, Strange Magic features an impressive array of voice talent, including Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Alfred Molina and Evan Rachel Wood. The story, which was pitched by Lucas himself, follows groups of goblins and elves within an overall theme of discovering beauty in strange places. Apparently inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it should be expected to contain its share of romantic folly and foibles, all while wrapped into a visual presentation full of fantastical creatures - along with what Lucas says will be "sword fighting and monsters and boy things" that should allow it to appeal beyond the aforementioned 12-year-old girls demographic.
Obviously Strange Magic wasn’t the sole reason he decided to move on from the Star Wars universe, but it is interesting that he had a desire to free himself from what can perhaps be considered the more annoying entanglements of his grand franchise. Plus, it’s a really good dad move to start making movies for your daughters, so it’s not hard to give him some extra credit in that department.
It’s been about a full decade since George Lucas last occupied a director’s chair while helming Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, but he hasn’t exactly been idle. In addition to his work on Strange Magic, he has served as a story adviser and producer on a number of Lucasfilm projects, including 2012’s Red Tails. That project, a sort of historical tribute to World War II-era African-American military pilots, seemed to show us a version of Lucas that enjoyed removing himself from the Star Wars galaxy and into projects that carried a different kind of meaning. With Strange Magic, Lucas’ words have clearly revealed it as being a passion project and reflects his desire to reach new audiences. He will get that chance when the film hits this Friday, January 23rd.