· Born in Modesto, Calif., on May 14 to George Walton Lucas Sr., a stationery retailer and walnut farmer, and Dorothy Lucas.
· Lucas is seriously injured in a car crash, which puts a serious damper on his auto-racing aspirations.
· Enters Modesto Junior College, where he befriends lenser Haskell Wexler, who encourages him to pursue filmmaking.
· Enters U. of Southern California, receiving a BFA in film three years and about a half-dozen short films later.
· Begins stint as assistant editor for U.S. Information Agency, but also logs time as camera operator on John Frankenheimer’s “Grand Prix.”
· Futuristic short “Electronic Labyrinth THX1138 4EB” receives grand prize at National Student Film Festival.
· During an internship at Warners, Francis Ford Coppola brings Lucas on as catch-all assistant on “The Rain People,” for which Lucas films doc about the making of the pic, “Filmmaker.”
· Lucas works as camera operator on Maysles brothers’ Rolling Stones doc “Gimme Shelter.”
· Marries film editor Marcia Griffin (they divorce in 1983).
· Named VP of Coppola’s new American Zoetrope production company, based in San Francisco.
· Incorporates Lucasfilm Ltd.
· Coppola helps set up Lucas’ first feature at Warners, an expanded version of his award-winning student film: “THX 1138.” It is a B.O. disappointment.
· Directs, co-produces and co-writes “American Graffiti” at Universal (with Coppola onboard as exec producer and Wexler lensing); Lucas receives first Oscar noms in all three categories for pic, a smash hit that tops the century mark in global B.O. Screenplay wins laurels from the N.Y. and National Society crix.
· Lucas begins writing what would become “Star Wars” (aka “Episode IV — A New Hope”).
· After failing to find takers, Lucas persuades Alan Ladd Jr. at Fox to back “Star Wars”; filmmaker cuts fabled deal ensuring himself 40% of pic’s profits as well as all merchandising revenue in exchange for forgoing a higher upfront helmer’s fee.
· Industrial Light & Magic, a special f/x subsid of Lucasfilm, is created explicitly to come up with effects for the new pic.
· “Star Wars” released in May; pic grosses over $300 million in initial run, earns six Oscars (including an editing laurel shared by Lucas’ wife) out of 11 noms including picture, director and original screenplay.
· Toy licensee Kenner, surprised at massive response to film and without a single toy ready for market, sells empty boxes with attached IOUs to redeem for action figures, which are on the shelves by Christmas.
· Lucas forms Sprocket Systems, a research and post-production company, which is later renamed Skywalker Sound.
· He is credited as “presenting” Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s “Kagemusha: The Shadow Warrior” in its U.S. release. Begins construction of 3,000-acre Skywalker Ranch campus in Marin County, Calif.; it’s completed in 1985.
· “Star Wars” sequel “The Empire Strikes Back” released; Lucas farms out helming duties to Irvin Kershner, but retains complete creative control. Pic’s reviews match or surpass those for ’77 pic — some cite contribution of co-writer Lawrence Kasdan.
· Lucas writes story for and exec produces Lucasfilm-Par’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” a collaboration with director Steven Spielberg and writer Kasdan that is a blockbuster and spawns a pair of sequels (1984 and 1989).
· Serves as uncredited exec producer on Kasdan’s directing debut, “Body Heat.”
· First of Lucas’ three adopted children — Amanda — is born; she will be followed by Katharine (1988) and son Jett (1993).
· Lucasfilm’s first ani feature, bizarre tale “Twice Upon a Time,” is released to little fanfare.
· Videogame arm LucasArts created primarily to design “Star Wars”-themed titles.
· “Return of the Jedi” (helmed by Richard Marquand) completes original trilogy. As with first two pics, it’s the No. 1 B.O. attraction of its year. At this point, domestic take for “Star Wars” trilogy is well north of $700 million.
· Lucasfilm’s theater sound-system format THX unveiled in two theaters showing “Jedi”; over next 20 years, that number would swell to over 4,000.
· Lucasfilm unveils EditDroid, a pioneering nonlinear digital film editing system. SoundDroid, which similarly altered sound-editing process, is created around same time. As with THX, both become industry standards.
· Second Indiana Jones pic, the darkly violent “Temple of Doom,” spurs successful push for new film rating — PG-13.
· Exec produces Paul Schrader’s “Mishima” and lends an uncredited assist to Walter Murch’s Disney pic “Return to Oz.”
· Produces and writes Michael Jackson 3-D pic for Disney theme parks, “Captain EO,” helmed by Coppola.
· Lucasfilm’s comicbook adaptation “Howard the Duck” lays egg, one of the ’80s most notorious flops. Lucas’ collaboration with Jim Henson, “Labyrinth,” fares better.
· Sells Lucasfilm’s Pixar computer graphics division, created just a year earlier, to Apple’s Steve Jobs for $10 million to raise funds for other company units.
· Ron Howard’s fantasy pic “Willow” — a Lucasfilm production — is first pic to feature ILM’s new morphing f/x technique. Film is a solid but unexceptional B.O. performer.
· Lucas produces former benefactor Coppola’s biopic “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” Pic is critically hailed but a B.O. nonstarter.
· Indiana Jones trilogy wraps with “The Last Crusade”; talks persist 15 years later of a possible fourth pic.
·Lucas founds nonprofit George Lucas Educational Foundation to document and distribute successful educational tools and innovations. Project later launches a Web site and magazine Edutopia.
· First foray into series TV results in Emmy-winning adventure skein “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” (ABC). A series of Young Indy TV movies would be produced for cable’s the Family Channel.
· Receives Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
· He sells EditDroid to Avid Technology Inc.
· Lucas effectively gives himself the greenlight to begin production on long-gestating “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, which he plans to write and direct.
· Produces minor feature comedy based on his idea, “Radioland Murders.”
· Lucas Online, an information and e-commerce Web site, is launched.
· Lucas and Fox release slightly altered special editions of first “Star Wars” trilogy, showing pics still have life in them (the 1977 pic ranks as the year’s No. 5 draw at the wickets)
· Despite nasty reviews, “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” is year’s top blockbuster, raking in over $400 million domestically and nearly $1 billion worldwide.
· BAFTA honors Lucas with Stanley Kubrick Award for excellence in film
· “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” is released, the first feature to be shot and edited entirely in the digital format. Combined with overseas biz, it rakes in about $650 million globally.
· Lucasfilm spins off THX into independent company.
· Lucas plans to consolidate his various businesses and relocate much of Lucasfilm to a $350 million campus named the Letterman Digital Arts Center at former Presidio in San Francisco by 2005. (The name refers to a Civil War surgeon whose name graced a military hospital formerly on the site.)
· Lucas Animation is launched; in 2004, a Singapore outpost of the division is announced.
·“Revenge of the Sith” shatters several box office records in its opening weekend, raking in more than $300 million worldwide.
Major sources: Lucasfilm’s StarWars.com, IMDB.com Academy of Achievement