March 29, 2012 at 11:47 AM ET
Are you a "Star Wars" fan who still holds out hope that Episodes VII, VIII and IX will someday hit theater screens? Don't count on it.
On Wednesday, George Lucas blasted away any chance of ever seeing a new birth of the “Star Wars” franchise when TMZ briefly caught him leaving a Hollywood restaurant.
Asked when the newest installment of “Star Wars” would be, Lucas was blunt: “Never,” he said, adding "I'm retired."
It appears to be Lucas’ latest film venture that turned the prolific filmmaker off moviemaking. After spending 23 years developing and fighting studios to produce “Red Tails,” the first all-black action film, which hit theaters in January, Lucas told the New York Times he was done making action movies.
“I’m retiring,” Lucas said. “I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.”
Times reporter Bryan Curtis did point out, however, that Lucas was “careful to leave himself an out clause for a fifth 'Indiana Jones' film.”
Talk of three more "Star Wars" films has been floating around almost since the first film came out in 1977. Unlike the prequel trilogy, these films, it was said, would take up the action after the end of "Return of the Jedi," with a sixtysomething Luke Skywalker included. Lucas told "Star Wars Insider" in 1997, " I really don't have any notion other than, 'Gee, it would be interesting to do Luke Skywalker later on.' It wouldn't be part of the main story, but a sequel to this thing."
Of course, “Star Wars” fans can look forward to the re-release of all six original films in 3D -- one per year. “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" came to theaters in the extra dimension this February, to fairly negative reviews. "No movie that has cost so much to make should be so hard to see," wrote a Newsday critic, complaining about the 3-D film's darkness.
But to fans, the series will live on even if another big-screen film never appears. A TMZ reader writes, “”Star Wars” will never be dead ... Look at the original “Star Trek” franchise: It was on television in the late 60s and early 70s and there are still people who love those shows. ... Some shows will never die.”
Can you envision three more films, or is it best that Lucas walk away now? What would happen in three more films? Tell us on Facebook.