After Snuffing Hundreds Of Stormtroopers, George Lucas Looks To The Future

A film and TV show will follow 'Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,' but that fourth 'Indiana Jones' movie will have to wait.

After 30 years, six movies, hundreds of dead stormtroopers and an unfathomable number of zeros tacked on to the end of his bank-account balance, George Lucas is finally ready to put "Star Wars" to bed. At Sunday's Vanity Fair Oscar party, the 60-year-old science-fiction legend insisted that he couldn't be happier.

"It'll be nice to get things finished," Lucas said while standing on the red carpet (see "The Oscars Party: An Inside Look"). As "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" prepares to hyperdrive into theaters on May 19, the mind behind the franchise that boasts four of the 25 highest-grossing domestic movies of all time is putting the finishing touches on the installment he claims will be the last in the series (see "George Lucas Declares 'Star Wars' Over After 'Revenge Of The Sith' ").

"The film is finished, basically," reported Lucas. "We just finished the music last week, and I'm going to mix it next week. In a month, it will be pretty much finished."

Last month, Vanity Fair magazine promoted Lucas' upcoming release via an Annie Leibovitz photo spread that featured the writer/director/producer posing with stars and characters from all six films. These days, any question about Jar Jar, Midi-Chlorians or Greedo shooting first might mark the last time he has to address such geek-boy concerns. Lucas insists that he hasn't had to face those tearful final moments yet, but expects them to come along soon enough.

"I'm just chugging along like I normally am," he said. "We're getting very close now, but we're still working away like crazy. It's hard to stand up, breathe and realize it's all coming to an end."

Working in the present to put the past behind him, Lucas is keeping his energy level up by looking toward the future. "I'm going to produce a film called 'Red Tails,' about black fighter pilots during World War II," he said. "I'm going to produce a couple TV shows, then I'll think about when I'll direct again."

Oh, yes, there is one other project on the man's calendar: something involving an archeologist adventurer with a predilection for whips and fedora hats. "We're working on scripts," Lucas says of a fourth "Indiana Jones" adventure, "but we're not going to do it until we get a script we're happy with."

Interviewed earlier this month on the set of his upcoming "War of the Worlds" (see "Set Visit: 'War Of The Worlds' "), Steven Spielberg claimed he had been prepared to pursue the long-awaited "Indy" sequel before "Worlds," but was forced to change his plans when Lucas put the project on hold. "We go through the whole development process all the time," Spielberg said, "and sometimes you're really intent to make a picture, like I was with 'Indy 4,' in which case my producer didn't like the script as much as I did. My intention was to make 'Indy 4' a year-and-a-half ago — it didn't work out, and now I'm hoping to make it a year-and-a-half from now, maybe less."

Lucas, while eager to reunite with Spielberg and star Harrison Ford, said that the group will continue to wait as long as it takes to shoot a film worthy of the name "Indiana Jones." But he's vague when asked for the plot points that the script he's got in mind will contain: "A movie that moves forward, is entertaining, and has an interesting story to tell."

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