This Is The 'Passion Project' George Lucas Is Releasing Out Of Nowhere Instead Of Making More 'Star Wars'

George lucas strange magic press conferenceKirsten Acuna/Business InsiderGeorge Lucas with artwork for his new movie, ‘Strange Magic.’

Next weekend George Lucas will be releasing a new film, but it won’t be to a galaxy far, far away.

Instead, “Strange Magic,” a fairytale musical about fairies, goblins, and elves, will be the “Star Wars” creator’s first full-length animated feature. 

The film seemed to come out of nowhere when Disney announced its January release in November 2014; however, it’s a project Lucas has been working on for at least 15 years.

At a press conference for the film Friday afternoon, Business Insider asked Lucas why he would turn down working on more “Star Wars” movies to focus on an animated feature about fairies.

Lucas shared that the movie is really about his three daughters, Amanda, Katie, and newborn Everest, whereas “Star Wars” was about his sons.

He also explained that when he began working on the film, he hadn’t sold his company Lucasfilm yet to Disney. After purchasing the company from Lucas in Oct. 2012 for $US4 billion, Disney put up the rest of the money to finish Lucas’s passion project while Disney took over the reigns on “Star Wars.”

Here’s Lucas’s explanation in full to us. It has been slightly edited for clarity. 

Well, originally I had two daughters, and eventually, another daughter. ‘Star Wars’ was for 12-year-old boys. I figured I’d make one for 12-year-old girls. You know, the 12-year-old boy one worked for everybody from eight months to 88 and boys, girls, dogs, whatever. It really worked. So, I said, well, maybe I can do one like this, but it’s slightly more female-centric. [In ‘Strange Magic,’] we still have sword fighting, we still have things, but truly a story that hopefully will work for everybody. But, what’s really something, I said, well, maybe I’ll do this.

And, I just wanted to have fun. I was directing ‘Star Wars’ while I was doing these. I’d go out and shoot and this movie we’d put it on the shelf for a while, and the guys would kind of work. I had a little group of guys and girls that were working on this thing. 

It’s a project that I’ve been doing for a long time, and then, when it came to sell the company I realised that it wasn’t completely finished, but I said, well, I still want to retire. I’m not going to wait this out. I want to retire now. Time is more important to me than money. And, so, I just did it and hoped that Kathy [Kennedy] and everybody who has been working on the film and everything would follow through and Disney would put up the money to finish it. I mean, it was mostly done, so it wasn’t like they had to put up a whole bunch of money to finish it. It turned out extremely well. It’s what I envisioned, but, I know it’s been … maybe two years since I sold the company, but time moves very slow in animation. 

George lucas daughter katieJoe Scarnici/WireImage via Getty ImagesGeorge Lucas with his daughter Katie Lucas at the 2013 Women In Film’s Crystal + Lucy Awards.
Amanda lucas george lucas daughterKazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty ImagesGeorge Lucas’s daughter Amanda Lucas promoting ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace’ in Tokyo March 4, 2012.

“Strange Magic” is in theatres Jan. 23. 

You can watch the trailer below.

 

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