George Lucas will forever be best known as the creator of Star Wars. For four of the six Star Wars movies that were made Lucas is credited as both the writer and director of four of them with only The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi being directed by other people. However, even though George Lucas has never directed a non-Star Wars movie since the first film was released in 1977, that never had other stories to tell. While they may not be as popular as Star Wars, there are still quite a few movies that came from Lucas even if he wasn’t in the director’s chair. For most of the movies on this list, Lucas received a “story by” credit meaning that he wrote the story, but someone else was credited as writing the actual screenplay and dialogue for the film.
Indiana Jones series
The second most popular project that George Lucas was ever involved in was undoubtedly The Indiana Jones series. Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was released in 1981, between the releases of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, was the first non-Star Wars project that Lucas is credited with working on. He developed the story for the film with his friend Steven Spielberg, and the project was eventually handed over to Lawrence Kasdan to write a screenplay from their story. Lucas would go on to receive a story credit on each of the first four Indiana Jones movies, with The Dial of Destiny being the first movie in the series to seemingly have no input from Lucas on the story.
With Star Wars being Lucas’ tribute to science fiction stories from his childhood, Willow was his take on the fantasy genre. Based on an idea that Lucas first conceived of back in 1972, though according to him, he had to wait until the technology was advanced enough to be able to make the movie the way he wanted to. Lucas developed the story and asked Ron Howard to direct the movie which was released in 1988. The movie wasn’t as well received as either of the other projects that Lucas had worked on, though he still clearly felt strongly about the project. While the response to the film in 1988 couldn’t justify a sequel to the movie, Lucas outlined a story for a trilogy of sequels that would take place about fifteen years after the events of the movie. Throughout the 1990s, Lucas would work with novelist Christ Claremont to turn the story into a trilogy of books called the Chronicles of the Shadow War. The relationship between the story of Willow and the later trilogy was compared to that between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy that followed.
Probably one of the most obscure movies to ever get a story credit by George Lucas was Radioland Murders, a 1994 comedy thriller set in a radio station in the 1930s. The movie is an homage to the old slapstick comedies of the 1930s as well as the old time radio style of storytelling that was popular in the same era. Like many of Lucas’ other story ideas, this one was originally developed in the 1970s. After the success of American Graffiti, Lucas gave Universal a first look deal for two projects, one being Radioland Murders and the other being an idea that would eventually go on to be Star Wars. Universal chose to move forward with Radioland Murders, and at one point Steve Martin and Cindy Williams were originally attached to star before the movie fell into development hell for two decades before finally getting made in the 1990s. The movie received poor reviews and bombed at the box office. Of all the movies that Lucas ever developed the story for, this one is probably the one that the fewest people know about.
The most recent movie on the resume of George Lucas, this is the only film that Lucas has a credit on since the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney. The animated film, which is loosely based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was based on an idea that Lucas had started to develop around the time he was working on the prequels. The idea was to create a fairy tail with creatures such as goblins and elves as the main characters. The movie also focused strongly on the soundtrack, something that Lucas had done in his earliest days of filmmaking with American Graffiti. In a way this movie’s relationship with the soundtrack echo’s Lucas’ earlier film.
George Lucas didn’t like writing scripts. So while he wrote the scripts for his first two feature films, THX-1138 and American Graffiti, after the success of Star Wars, he didn’t write any more scripts for any of his projects other than the Star Wars films that he directed. That’s why he got a story credit instead of a screenplay credit on all of the other titles on this list, because while he came up with the story, it was someone else who did the actual writing of the screenplay. The only exception to this, was the science fiction musical short film Captain EO. The film was written by George Lucas, directed by Francis Ford Copola, and starred Michael Jackson, and was created as an attraction at Disney World. The film was only seventeen minutes long, but the budget for the film got close to $30 million making it the most expensive film per minute of all time when it was released. Captain EO played until 1994 when it was replaced by Honey I Shrunk the Audience. While the film did return for a little bit after the death of Michael Jackson, to date there has been no official release on home video making it impossible for interested viewers to watch. The only thing close to a home release was when a 2D version of the film was aired once on MTV in 1996. Bootlegs of that airing, and of people in the theater when it was originally available at Disney, are the only way a curious fan can see one of the oddest entries on this list.