George Lucas

Jan. 21, 2015 | 4:00 p.m.

George Lucas works ‘Strange Magic’ with new animated film

Bog King (Alan Cumming) is fiercely opposed to a powerful potion created by the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth) in "Strange Magic." (Lucasfilm)
Forget Joseph Campbell and “The Power of Myth.” The inspiration for “Strange Magic,” the new animated feature co-written and produced by “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas, was Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to make the movie using existing music and find lyrics from the songs to actually tell the story,” Lucas said recently during a phone conversation from New York City. “I was trying to take my archive of music that continues long after I did ‘American Graffiti’ and go through it.” Opening Friday, “Strange Magic” centers on the unpleasant Bog King (Alan Cumming), a tragic figure ruling over his dark forest with a foul temper and a distaste for anything related to love. That is, until he meets Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood), a fairy princess who has also soured on love, and many […]
Jan. 16, 2015 | 3:33 p.m.

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

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 […]
Nov. 11, 2014 | 10:36 a.m.

‘Strange Magic': Lucasfilm musical based on ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Bog King (Alan Cumming), Griselda (Maya Rudolph) and Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) are part of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps in "Strange Magic." (Lucasfilm)
“Strange Magic,” a musical animated feature film inspired by William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” is coming to theaters in January, Disney announced Tuesday. The news comes after much speculation that the film would be a sequel to Disney’s record-breaking blockbuster “Frozen.” The rumor mill appears to have gotten it wrong, with nary a snowman in sight. Instead, the project — from Lucasfilm and Touchstone Pictures — is inspired by Shakespeare’s magical comedy and based on a story by “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas, and will feature modern-day pop songs (Electric Light Orchestra, anyone?). Here’s the official description from Disney: “Strange Magic” is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked […]
Oct. 03, 2014 | 12:15 p.m.

‘Star Wars Rebels': Ralph McQuarrie legacy on view in animated series

Lothal's cities in "Star Wars Rebels" draw their inspiration from Ralph McQuarrie's Alderaan. (Lucasfilm)
The sun was shining brightly on one recent afternoon at Skywalker Ranch, George Lucas’ lush yet cozy retreat in Marin County. But Kilian Plunkett, art director for the new animated series “Star Wars Rebels,” was not outside enjoying a stroll through Lucas’ vineyard or taking a dip in the waters of Lake Ewok. He was inside, in the dim light of the Lucasfilm archive, holding a bit of cinematic history in his hands. At just 18×41 centimeters, artist Ralph McQuarrie’s gouache concept paintings for the original “Star Wars” trilogy are smaller than expected, but then again, so is the Mona Lisa. Physical size bears no relation to the impact these paintings have on pop culture. “I always assumed these things were giant movie poster size,” Plunkett said as he pointed out the finer details of McQuarrie’s style. For “Star Wars” […]
June 24, 2014 | 5:18 p.m.

No force for Los Angeles: The George Lucas museum goes to Chicago

In a galaxy far, far away in the Midwest, one known as Chicago, a grand institution will be built… George Lucas has chosen the Illinois metropolis as the location for his museum, according to a Lucas spokesman as well as a spokeswoman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The city beat out San Francisco, New York, and of course, Los Angeles. Rest assured that Los Angeles made overtures, and not shy ones either, to claim the filmmaker’s museum, which will officially be called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts. According to our sister blog, Culture Monster, none other than Mayor Garcetti himself reached out to the “Star Wars” creator. In a letter that he posted on his website, Garcetti tentatively proposed the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, located near USC, which is where Lucas studied film in the 1960s. From Culture Monster’s David Ng: “The plan would be […]
May 16, 2014 | 9:59 a.m.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII': J.J. Abrams film heads into production

“Star Wars: Episode VII” has gone into production, and a photo to celebrate the occasion arrived overnight via Twitter on the Bad Robot account. The highly anticipated film is being directed by J.J. Abrams, with a cast that includes Adam Driver, best known for his role in HBO’s “Girls,” and Oscar Isaac, who won considerable acclaim for his turn in the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” as well as John Boyega, known for his work in the fan favorite film “Attack the Block,” and newcomer Daisy Ridley.   #dayone pic.twitter.com/18jtSH7xYM — Bad Robot (@bad_robot) May 16, 2014   Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, performance capture expert Andy Serkis and venerable Swedish thespian Max von Sydow are also set to star alongside the principal actors from George Lucas’ original saga — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker — who will […]
May 04, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

May the Fourth Be With You: ‘Star Wars’ fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

"Star Wars" fans gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. Here, some fans pose for cameras last week in Tunis.  (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)
Finally, after months of conjecture, “Star Wars” fans learned last week precisely which actors will have a role in “Star Wars: Episode VII,” the film that will return George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away to the multiplex Dec. 18, 2015. Adam Driver, best known for his role in HBO’s “Girls,” and Oscar Isaac, who won considerable acclaim for his turn in the Coen brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis,” will appear alongside Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, performance capture expert Andy Serkis and venerable Swedish thespian Max von Sydow in director J.J. Abrams’ new film. John Boyega, known for his work in the fan favorite film “Attack the Block,” and newcomer Daisy Ridley, also will star, and the principal actors from Lucas’ original saga — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker — are set to return […]
March 07, 2014 | 8:30 a.m.

‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars': Dave Filoni on Ahsoka’s fate, Master Yoda

Jedi Master Yoda in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." (Lucasfilm)
“Star Wars” fans let out a collective howl of anguish last year when it was announced that one of the casualties of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm was the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” The fan-favorite series was canceled without a satisfactory conclusion, yanked from the schedule of Cartoon Network, where it had aired since 2008. That ultimately made way for a new series, “Star Wars Rebels,” set to premiere on the Disney Channel before moving to Disney XD. So, when word came that the final 13 episodes of the show’s sixth season would become available to fans on Netflix, the news was met with good cheer. As of Friday, viewers can check out “The Lost Missions,” which will join the previous five seasons on the streaming video service, including some director’s cuts of those earlier episodes. “The Lost […]
Oct. 12, 2013 | 3:09 p.m.

‘Star Wars Rebels': Dave Filoni reveals the Inquisitor, talks up series at NYCC

The Inquisitor is the new bad guy from the animated series "Star Wars Rebels." (Lucasfilm).
Say hello to the Inquisitor. “Star Wars Rebels” executive producer Dave Filoni introduced the first new character from the upcoming animated series in a video appearance at New York Comic Con on Saturday, and he’s quite the fearsome-looking foe. But the image of the villain isn’t the only new artwork available from the show that is set to pick up the “Star Wars” animated mantle from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which aired on Cartoon Network but was canceled earlier this year. Hero Complex is pleased to debut an exclusive piece of concept art featuring some spacecraft that will look familiar to any fan. Check it out below. Set 14 years after “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” “Star Wars Rebels” will center on a core group of characters — with the Inquisitor serving as a major […]
Aug. 23, 2013 | 2:20 p.m.

‘Star Wars’ cinematographer Gilbert Taylor dies at 99

“Star Wars” cinematographer Gilbert Taylor died Friday at the age of 99, leaving behind a rich cinematic legacy. His wife told the BBC that Taylor died at his home on the Isle of Wight. Over the course of an impressive, decades-long career, Taylor amassed a lengthy résumé that included a number of landmark films, including Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion,” Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy.” He also served as the cinematographer on the Beatles’ film “A Hard Day’s Night,” Richard Donner’s horror film “The Omen” and 1979’s “Dracula” starring Frank Langella and Laurence Olivier, in addition to working with George Lucas on the original “Star Wars” film. Lucas and Taylor didn’t always see eye to eye on the set of the production. “George avoided all meetings and contact […]
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