This article was published in the New York Times in May 1976. Thus, it was written and researched prior to George Lucas becoming famous primarily for his Star Wars projects. The first paragraph of the article states, "[he is] in the middle of shooting Star Wars, a 6.5 million dollar space adventure spectacular for Twentieth Century Fox." It is astounding to think that the original Star Wars was budgeted at 6.5 million. This article provides a view - at a moment in time - of the director of one of the industry's most successful movie concepts.
In the article, Lucas states that his intent following the success of American Graffiti was to retire. This is an interesting statement given Lucas' even greater success with Star Wars, post American Graffiti. Since American Graffiti, Lucas has gone on two make a two part trilogy of the Star Wars films (six films), becoming one of the most successful directors and producers of all time. George Lucas has earned millions from the Star Wars films and all their merchandising. As a result of the phenomenal Star Wars success George Lucas created his own production and special effects company on his own compound. It is amazing to think that midway through the first installment of Star Wars, Lucas was ready to throw in the towel.
I suppose it is admirable that George Lucas wanted to retire and do a lot of experimental work that no one would ever see. His love of film is for the sake of the art, not the business or the money. That is why he proclaims that he has no desire to make eighty films or any more "big studio pictures." All of this is admirable, but the bottom line is that he went on to make five more Star Wars movies.
After producing American Graffiti, which Lucas targeted to a sixteen year old audience, he made Star Wars, which he saw as "pure fun" and targeted a fourteen year old audience. He sought to produce a film of pure fantasy that audiences would enjoy at a relatively superficial level.
I believe that this article was used to generate publicity for Star Wars. The article gives a concise summary of the film and its characters. It provides a preview of the film with the intention of peaking the reader's interest and leading him to the theater. An inside look at the movie making process is another aspect of this article. It also provides insight into the mind of a developing filmmaker. In the aftermath of American Graffiti's success, people wanted understand the director and his thought process. They wanted to get closer to the source. This article accomplishes that for its readership and provides the insight that will bring people in to see the next George Lucas movie - Star Wars.