“He looked at us as hardware”: What George Lucas Did With Pixar to Save Himself from Divorce Settlement is Worse Than His Star Wars Prequel Idea

George Lucas' Selfishness With Pixar is Worse Than His Decision of Creating the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy

george lucas, star wars, pixar
credit: Wikimedia Commons/torfilm

SUMMARY

  • Pixar Animation Studios originally used to be a part of the Lucasfilm Computer Division called Graphics Group which was owned by George Lucas.
  • Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith's pitch to the Star Wars creator on CG animation fell on deaf ears.
  • George Lucas ended up selling the Lucasfilm Computer Division out of purely selfish reasons which was acquired by Steve Jobs for $10 million.
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The globally celebrated icon who spawned the gargantuan Star Wars franchise has always been hailed as a visionary of the utmost eminence, and his work attests to the same. But even a filmmaker as established as George Lucas was pilloried for the infamous Star Wars Prequel trilogy which became a mere laughing stock for the public.

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Star Wars
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) (Credit: Lucasfilm)

But if there’s one decision that Lucas has made that perhaps rivals his dreadful Star Wars Prequel idea, it would be his selfish dealings with Pixar.

A Glance at the History of Pixar Animation Studios

The studio recognized for hatching movies after magnificent animated movies like Toy Story and The Incredibles, first started as a part of the Lucasfilm Computer Division called Graphis Group back in 1979. Before they found Pixar Animation Studios, Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith were recruited by Lucasfilm owner George Lucas to join forces (via Pixar Animation Studios).

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But while Catmull and Smith envisaged a future propped up on computer graphics, the pair told Variety how even the Indiana Jones creator seemed skeptical at best about it.

“George Lucas looked at us as hardware. But that was his mistake.”

Star Wars creator George Lucas
George Lucas (Credit: Joey Gannon)

Contemporary animation differs drastically from how it used to be back in the ’70s (for obvious reasons). In the absence of cutting-edge technology coupled with the presence of monetary hindrances, the success of CG animation seemed like a distant dream to them. But Catmull and Smith weren’t devoid of hope.

The Pixar co-founders – who are currently retired from their posts – eventually found an ally in John Lasseter, the former Chief Creative Officer of the studio, who shared Catmull and Smith’s vision for three-dimensional animation on computers.

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But just as their devoted efforts were starting to bear fruits as Paramount approached Lucasfilm with two VFX projects, Lucas did the unthinkable.

George Lucas Kicked Pixar to the Curb Out of Selfishness

Back when the Paramount assignments came in, the 80-year-old producer was enmeshed in the lengthy process of a divorce and needed money for a settlement. So, Lucas decided to sacrifice the Lucasfilm Computer Division for wholly personal reasons.

The THX 1138 director put it up for sale at $30 million but Apple co-founder Steve Jobs bargained to buy it for $5 million. Helpless yet dedicated, Smith and Catmull pinned their hopes on Disney, praying the studio would buy half the unit since it also comprised Pixar’s forefather Graphics Group, but in vain. In the end, Jobs managed to obtain it for a sum of $10 million.

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Toy Story
Pixar’s Toy Story (1995) (Credit: Pixar Animation Studios)

While Smith and Catmull would eventually hold the positions of Pixar founders and Disney would ultimately acquire the studio in 2006, Lucas did forsake professionalism out of selfish motives.

The present-day CEO and President of Pixar Animation Studios is Jim Morris and Pete Docter, the CCO.

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Written by Khushi Shah

Articles Published: 819

With a prolific knowledge of everything pop culture and a strong penchant for writing, Khushi has penned over 700 articles during her time as an author at FandomWire.
An abnormal psychology student and an fervent reader of dark fiction, her most trusted soldiers are coffee and a good book.