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George Lucas to donate most of his money earned from the Disney-Lucasfilm deal to education charity

11.01.2012

George Lucas and Disney 1

Taking a moment out from the extensive STAR WARS speculation running rampant the last few days...

So far as I understand, there's one thing George Lucas dislikes on a level far higher than anything else in his life: studios meddling with his vision, intention, and method. Studio merchandising desires transformed his previous plans for RETURN OF THE JEDI into a more marketing-friendly product, which in turn led Lucas to vow to himself that he would never again be pushed around into making a film in any way other than his own.

Now while he has since taken the Star Wars brand to previously unheard of heights in the world of cross-promotion, and earned a boatload (Death Star load?) of money in the process, it is a fundamentally sound line of reasoning and worthy of commendation. It's just unfortunate that one of the results of Lucas ensuring that nobody meddled was that there wasn't anybody able or willing to question the track he took with the Prequel Trilogy. A series of movies which, as you can well imagine, earned Lucas equally unheard-of sums of money. But contrary to popular belief, Lucas isn't swimming in all of that money Scrooge McDuck style.  He has actually donated a great deal of his fortune to charity, and to The George Lucas Educational Foundation in particular. Which is exactly what he's going to do with the $4.05 billion he recently received from the Disney-Lucasfilm deal.

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And yes, I said he received. Lucas is the sole and single owner of Lucasfilm, a position of power that he has (on the whole) used primarily for good. Back in 2010, Lucas said the following in an outline of his main interest these days with regards to his time, energy, and money: “I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future—and the first step begins with social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide to our children. As humans, our greatest tool for survival is our ability to think and to adapt—as educators, storytellers, and communicators our responsibility is to continue to do so.’”

Which is, if you'll pardon my language in the context of this news, f**king AWESOME. He's right about what's important, he's right about how important it is, and he just became my hero again for thinking so. And for not just thinking so, but acting on it besides. You can check out the 2010 letter he wrote explaining his perspective and purpose in full here. Now, to this greater end, a spokesperson for Lucas has shared the following: "George Lucas has expressed his intention, in the event the deal closes, to donate the majority of the proceeds to his philanthropic endeavors.” We've all been talking as though the deal has already closed, but I really think there's little doubt that it will go through. The possibilities, for all involved, are too expansive, lucrative, and exciting to be passed by.

Which means that it's now time to get right on back to that STAR WARS speculation.

George Lucas and Disney 2

Extra Tidbit: I would have paid a lot more attention in certain classes if certain Star Wars characters were my teachers.

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