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'Star Wars' Producer Rick McCallum Leaves Lucasfilm to Make Eastern Europe Indie Films

By Michael Arbeiter, Hollywood.com Staff

""I have a Russian film about the Babi Yar Massacre in development that is being directed by Sergei Loznitsa."" The guy who produced Star Wars said that. And that's awesome.

Rick McCallum, a Lucasfilm mainstay since the days of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, has reportedly announced his plans to leave the billion dollar company to focus on projects independently. Having served as executive producer on all three Star Wars prequels (and the rereleases of each of the movies in the original trilogy), The Clone Wars series, and this year's historical drama Red Tails, McCallum has enjoyed a long and profitable partnership with George Lucas. McCallum's departure from Lucasfilm, as reported by the Star Wars franchise's official website, StarWars.com, comes at a particularly interesting time — at the dawn of the company's obtainment by Disney and, more importantly, immediately after the announcement of the final three Star Wars movies.

With McCallum out of the picture for Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, we're looking toward a set of Star Wars movies likely to be very different from the prequel series that launched in 1999. With plot rumors (and wishes) ensnaring everything from the children of Han Solo and Princess Leia to the adventures of Boba Fett, we've been left to wonder exactly what we'll see in Lucas' next trilogy. Now, an additional mystery attaches to the vision and mood of the movies — in the absence of McCallum, we aren't likely to see the new trilogy adopt the habits of his polarizing prequels. Could the next Star Wars ventures more closely resemble the sentiment of A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi? Or are we destined for something else entirely?

McCallum leaves the creative direction of the Star Wars future in the hands of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, calling her the ""only person in the world who could do this."" McCallum's departure appears to be completely amicable, as he expresses a fondness for his time collaborating with Lucas and his well wishes for the future of the company and the Star Wars titles: ""George never let the limits of reality constrain his vision, so the challenge to production was always to find ways to make anything possible, while being respectful to the fact that he was financing his own movies ... I have nothing but the biggest faith and trust that where Kathleen is going to take Star Wars will be a bold, exciting, and daring future that will be worthy of all your incredible passion and loyalty for all these years. It will be awesome.""

As for the EP himself, he'll be looking toward his own slew of independent projects. In addition to the aforementioned Russian picture to which McCallum has attached his name, he is ""also working with Tomás Masín on a Czech story about two brothers who escaped Czechoslovakia during the Cold War while being chased by 28,000 Soviet soldiers in what is still the largest manhunt in history,"" and ""a film with Laurence Bowen about the Boy Soldiers of Sierra Leone."" McCallum also briefly mentioned to StarWars.com ""a film with David Oyelowo."" So one might say that he's leaving Indy films for indie films! ... but one probably wouldn't say that.

[Photo Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.]

More:

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