George Lucas details plans to make, but not release, two new films

Jan. 16, 2015 | 3:33 p.m.
George Lucas in 2009. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

George Lucas in 2009. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

George Lucas co-wrote and executive produced the new animated tale “Strange Magic,” which arrives in theaters Jan. 23.  The musical romp, directed by Gary Rydstrom, takes very loose inspiration from Shakespeare, telling the story of a monstrous Bog King (Alan Cumming) who finds unexpected love in a magical realm of elves and fairies.

But it isn’t the only new movie Lucas has on the horizon.

The 70-year-old “Star Wars” creator currently is writing two new features, both experimental movies that hearken back to his student days at the University of Southern California. However, he has no plans to ever release either project publicly.

“The way [the films] are, they’re not really movies that can be released,” Lucas said of his upcoming projects during a recent phone call from New York City, where he was promoting “Strange Magic.” “They’re movies more for myself and maybe I’ll show them to some of my friends.

“It costs more to put them out there than it does to make ’em,” he continued. “These are movies that are never going to make any money or anything.”

Long before he embraced the mythic storytelling style of the “Star Wars” films, Lucas excelled at creating non-narrative tone poems such as “Herbie” and “1:42.08,” and the new movies promise to return to that approach.

“They’re like things I did in school or movies I produced, like ‘Koyaanisqatsi,’ ‘Powaqqatsi,’ things like that,” Lucas said. “But it’s different because they’re dramatic films. It’s very hard to explain because it’s never been done yet.”

After selling his company Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 for roughly $4 billion, Lucas has been focused on plans for his proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, with a planned location in Chicago, and caring for his 18-month-old daughter with wife Mellody Hobson.

His time frame for the new films is vague.

“I’m busy on things, but I’m not quite sure when I’ll actually get to start shooting some of these,” he said.

— Patrick Kevin Day | @patrickkevinday

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