DMA Central


Is George Lucas Retiring?

It’s the question that’s on the lips of sci-fi fans across the world: Will “Star Wars” creator George Lucas retire? The iconic director of such films as “American Graffiti” turned 68 on May 14th of this year.

George Lucas on the set of “Star Wars” in 1976. 

The answer is…yes, it appears Lucas will “force” himself into retirement.

Lucasfilm, the studio founded by George Lucas, announced on Friday that the “Star Wars” creator will “move forward with his retirement plans.” Officials with the studio say Mr. Lucas will continue to serve as CEO as as he transitions out; replacing Lucas will be longtime friend and veteran producer Kathleen Kennedy. Kennedy already serves as a co-chair on the Lucasfilm board.

Lucas said he selected Kennedy as his successor for a very simply reason, “she’s someone with great creative passion and proven leadership abilities, but also someone who loves movies.” Kennedy is also extremely talented and has spent years learning how to make movies.

Kathleen Kennedy served as an executive producer on “Back to the Future.”

Who is Kathleen Kennedy?
Kathleen Kennedy is a legendary film producer; she first broke into filmmaking as a production assistant to John Milius who was working with Steven Spielberg on the film “1941.” Later, Spielberg hired her as a secretary but wasn’t a very good typist. Spielberg kept her on because he liked her production ideas.

Kennedy went on to serve as co-producer for “Poltergeist,” then as a producer on “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and a little film called “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The rest, as they say, is history. Kennedy’s film credits as a producer or executive producer reads like a Greatest Films of All Time list: “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “The Color Purple,” “Schindler’s List,” “Jurassic Park,” “Seabiscuit,” and the recent “War Horse,” just to name a few.

Currently part of the executive team at The Kennedy/Marshall Co., where she still continues to work with Spielberg to make blockbuster movies, Kennedy will step down to assume her new role at Lucasfilm.

The Future of the Force
It’s unknown if Lucas will serve in any capacity on future “Star Wars” projects. A live-action “Star Wars” television series is currently in development and the “Star Wars” franchise is a bazillion-dollar business. Which Lucas is notoriously picky about: “My movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.”


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Making Raiders of the Lost Ark & The Future of Indiana Jones

Earlier this week, Hero Complex (an affiliate site for The Los Angeles Times), hosted a special screening at L.A. Live of Raiders of the Lost Ark to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film. Tickets to the free event went fast – not only because it offered fans an opportunity to see a newly remastered version of the movie, but as an added bonus, because of the Q&A session following the presentation with director Steven Spielberg.

 ”I’m making ten pictures a year as a producer. What are you doing?” Spielberg addresses the crowd at L.A. Live. 

The event offered great insight into a number of things related to the Indy franchise, and a rare look inside Spielberg’s relationship with longtime best friend and industry colleague, George Lucas.

“George Doesn’t Text”
One incredibly interesting nugget of information from the event: Lucas, who helms possibly the greatest sci-fi franchise of all time (Star Wars), doesn’t use technology much in his daily life. “George doesn’t text or e-mail…ever,” said Spielberg. “He’s a phoner. With George, it’s either by phone or face-to-face.”

The two formed a friendship long before working on Raiders of the Lost Ark, but Lucas first pitched the idea for Indy to Spielberg when the two were vacationing in Hawaii during the opening weekend of the first Star Wars film in 1977.

Lucas was fearful that Star Wars would be a failure, so he escaped to Hawaii with Spielberg to wait out the box office results. “He sprung this concept that he had on me, called Raiders of the Lost Ark, about this intrepid sort of gravedigger/archaeologist going after somewhat paranormal antiquities from all over the world. He didn’t outline the story, because he didn’t really have the story. But he had the genre, he had the idea and he had the homage it would pay to all the old Republic serials. We made a deal right there on the beach to do this movie.”

Making Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn’t easy. This was a generation before CGI, but Spielberg also revealed the re-mastered print (and version soon to be released on Blu-ray) would not include computer effects or other computer-generated trickery, which is popular with filmmakers and those interested in learning digital filmmaking.

The Future of Indy
Raiders of the Lost Ark went on to become one of the greatest films ever. The movie starred Harrison Ford in his first major role since playing Han Solo in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and the film still continues to be popular today. Raiders will soon be re-released on video. Currently the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archeology exhibit in Montreal showcases props from the actual film, but also reveals the stories behind real archeological sites like Peru’s Machu Picchu and Cambodia’s Ankgor Wat.

In addition to objects from ancient Peru, Egypt and Iraq, the exhibit features the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders and the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, all at home together and on display in a Hangar 51/temple-inspired space.

But that’s not all Indy has up his sleeve. In conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the film and the Blu-ray release, Hasbro is also releasing a special collector’s pack of Indiana Jones figures. The Indiana Jones “Lost Wave” Collector’s Pack will unearth an entire set of “lost” fan-favorites, including Indy in German Disguise and Sapito (Alfred Molina’s first big-screen role). Don’t remember the character of Sapito? He was the the guy at the beginning that told Indy, “Throw me the idol — I throw you the whip!”

Back to LA Live, where Spielberg’s impression of Lucas was also downright funny. On the possibility of Indy 4, and working with George Lucas again, Spielberg had this to say, “We talk about it, yes. And we’re hopeful.”

We’re hopeful, too. Our favorite Indy flick? The original Raiders, of course. What’s yours?


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