Rick McCallum fades out of Star Wars universe

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Rick McCallumMany questions remain about the future of the Star Wars brand and other Lucasfilm properties under Disney’s management. We know that Kathleen Kennedy, brought on board by George Lucas earlier this year to run the company as he began talking about retirement, will serve as a producer on new films — and so, now, apparently will Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg, who are attached to Episodes VIII and/or IX as writers.

Where does this leave Rick McCallum? For those not familiar with the name, he’s the man who produced the Star Wars Special Editions and prequel trilogy, and was for a long time more visible and vocal about the projects than George Lucas himself. He collaborated with Lucas on many projects, from TV’s critically acclaimed but troubled Young Indiana Jones Chronicles to the hilarious film Radioland Murders and the recent Tuskegee Airmen historical action movie Red Tails.

The answer appears to be: Out of the picture.

On the Halloween episode of the ForceCast podcast one day following the announcement of Disney’s acquisition of the Lucas Empire, Lucasfilm’s director of content management and fan relations, the noted collector Steve Sansweet, said McCallum is “retired from Lucasfilm.”

Out with a whimper?

As recently as May, before the general public knew about the Disney deal and Episode VII, McCallum was still involved in a long-planned live-action Star Wars television series. That TV series, in light of Disney’s bullish plans for two to three live-action Star Wars movies per year, now seems to be in doubt if not delayed, despite claims of up to 50 hours of material already being scripted. But only time, and official announcements, will tell …

Say what you will about the Special Editions and Episodes I-III, but the all-digital production process that they ushered in owes much to McCallum’s direct oversight, and is now being used as inspiration if not a direct template for many other productions.

(Flickr image from Pop Culture Geek)

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