George Lucas Explains Why He Didn't Direct The New Trilogy & Says Giving Up 'Star Wars' Was "Really, Really Painful"

George Lucas might have been the butt of a million jokes after the release of the “Star Wars” Prequel Trilogy in the early-2000s. He was parodied by just about everyone as someone completely out of touch with what makes a good “Star Wars” film. But now, after Disney wrapped up the Skywalker Saga last year, there are tons of fans that look back fondly on the Prequels and what was Lucas’ original vision for the franchise. And apparently, one of those people still is George Lucas himself.

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Writer Paul Duncan shared an excerpt from his forthcoming book (via Twitter) on “Star Wars” that featured a portion of an interview with George Lucas. In the interview, the filmmaker opens up and expresses his feelings about selling Lucasfilm to Disney and why he wasn’t involved with the Sequel Trilogy that just wrapped up last year.

“At that time I was starting the next trilogy; I talked to the actors and I was starting to gear up. I was also about to have a daughter with my wife. It takes 10 years to make a trilogy – ‘Episodes I ‘ to ‘III’ took from 1995 to 2005,” Lucas explained. “I’d still be working on ‘Episode IX!’ In 2012, I was 69. So the question was am I going to keep doing this the rest of my life? Do I want to go through this again? Finally, I decided I’d rather raise my daughter and enjoy life for a while.”

READ MORE: Rian Johnson Calls ‘Star Wars’ Prequels A “Gorgeous 7-Hour” Film About “Entitlement & Fear Of Loss”

“I could have not sold Lucasfilm and gotten somebody to run the productions, but that isn’t retiring,” he added. “On ‘The Empire Strikes Back‘ and ‘Return of the Jedi‘ I tried to stay out of the way but I couldn’t. I was there every day. Even though the people were friends of mine and they did great work, it wasn’t the same as me doing it. It was like being once removed. I knew that probably wouldn’t work again, that I’d be frustrated.”

Lucas continued, “I’m one of those micro-manger guys and I can’t help it. So I figured I would forgo that, enjoy what I had and I was looking forward to raising my daughter. Also, I wanted to build a museum, which I’d always wanted to do, so I was thinking, ‘If I don’t do this now, I’ll never get that done.’”

Of course, contrary to what some of the more harsh “fans” of the franchise might say after Lucas released the Prequel Trilogy, the filmmaker still has a lot of love for “Star Wars.” In fact, even though he clearly was at peace with the idea of selling Lucasfilm (and thus “Star Wars”) to Disney years ago, that doesn’t mean it was a decision that he felt great about.

“I’ve spent my life creating ‘Star Wars’ – 40 years – and giving it up was very, very painful,” Lucas admitted. “But it was the right thing to do.”

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And if you’re thinking that Lucas decided the best thing to do was to step away and let Disney take the helm of the “Star Wars” ship, you’re actually not correct. Even though Lucas was not the owner of the franchise, he still planned on being involved…a little bit, at least.

“I thought I was going to have a little bit more to say about the next three because I’d already started them, but they decided they wanted to do something else,” he said. “Things don’t always work the way you want it. Life is like that.”

READ MORE: Luke Skywalker Also Died In George Lucas’ Original Treatment For ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’

Now that ‘Rise of Skywalker‘ has been released and it’s been nearly a year since Lucasfilm (run by Disney) finished its Skywalker Saga that Lucas began decades prior, this chapter in the “Star Wars” franchise is behind us, officially. And like it or not, whether you’re George Lucas or someone who doesn’t have a 40-year history with the franchise, it’s time for us all to look ahead to whatever “Star Wars” has in store for us in the decades to come. We can’t sit here and wonder “What if?” all the time. Because clearly, things could have gone very, very differently if Lucas didn’t make the decision he did almost a decade ago.