The long-awaited “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters Friday, December 20.

“Star Wars” Filmmaker George Lucas almost didn’t become rich or famous, though – at least by Hollywood standards.

He dreamed of being a race car driver, but that all came to a halt after a car crash, according to a 1979 profile of Lucas in The Atlantic. Inspired by a cinematographer he had built a racing car for, Lucas enrolled in film school.

He went on to helm one of the biggest franchises of all time – “Star Wars” – and co-create another box-office franchise, “Indiana Jones.” The director, screenwriter, and producer has been nominated for an Academy Award four times. He’s also accumulated an estimated net worth of $6.4 billion, according to Forbes.

Lucas is currently married to his second wife, Mellody Hobson, with whom he has one biological child. He also adopted three children during his first marriage and as a single parent.

Lucas has a reputation for being quiet on the media front, so not much is known about how he spends his fortune. However, he has cultivated a California real-estate portfolio, including Skywalker Ranch, and donates a lot of his money to charity. A representative for Lucas declined to comment on Lucas’ personal finances when reached by Business Insider.

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Here’s how Lucas, now semi-retired, accumulates and spends his billions.


Filmmaker George Lucas has an estimated net worth of $6.4 billion, thanks to his creation of two entertainment franchises with cult-like followings.

Foto: sourceMichael Tran/Getty Images

Source: Forbes


In 1971, George Lucas launched his production company, Lucasfilm, and with it, his claim to fame.

Foto: sourceWally Fong/AP Images

Source: Forbes


The following year, Lucas directed coming-of-age film “American Graffiti” — one of the most profitable movies of all time. Made on a budget of $777,000, it earned $140 million in revenue.

Foto: sourceAP Images

Source: Pajiba via Business Insider


But Lucas is most well-known for creating the “Star Wars” trilogy. The first installment, “A New Hope,” was released in 1977. It’s grossed a total of $621 million worldwide.

Foto: sourceAP Images

Source: Box Office Mojo


The second installment, 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back,” grossed a total of $457 million worldwide.

Foto: sourceLucasfilm

Source: Box Office Mojo


And the third installment — “Return of the Jedi,” released in 1983 — grossed a total of $418 million worldwide.

Foto: sourceDisney

Source: Box Office Mojo


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Lucas returned to “Star Wars” with a prequel trilogy: “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones,” and “Revenge of the Sith.”

Foto: sourceLucasfilm

Source: Box Office Mojo


Collectively, the “Star Wars” prequel movies grossed a total of $2.4 billion worldwide.

Foto: sourceLucasFilm/Disney

Source: Box Office Mojo


And these figures are only for the original films. The original, special editions, re-issues, or 3D versions of the “Star Wars” franchise have collectively grossed a total of $9.4 billion worldwide. That’s an average of $558 million per movie.

Foto: sourceLucasfilm Ltd.

Source: Box Office Mojo


But the cinematic arm of the “Star Wars” franchise isn’t what really made Lucas rich.

Foto: sourceGerardo Mora/Getty Images

Convinced the original “Star Wars” would be a flop, Fox (the film’s distributor) let Lucas give up an additional $500,000 in directing fees in exchange for ownership of licensing and merchandising rights.

Foto: sourceJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: The Hollywood Reporter via Business Insider


That turned out to be a strategic move for Lucas. In 1978, the year following the first “Star Wars,” more than 40 million “Star Wars” figures sold for gross sales of $100 million-plus.

Foto: sourceAP Images

Source: The Hollywood Reporter via Business Insider


In 2011, a year in which there was no new “Star Wars” movie, “Star Wars” toys brought in more than $3 billion.

Foto: sourceKena Betancur/Getty Images

Source: The Hollywood Reporter via Business Insider


As of February 2012, the “Star Wars” series had earned $20 billion in merchandise and $3.8 billion in home entertainment products.

Foto: sourceDylan Martinez/Reuters

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


But “Star Wars” isn’t the only movie franchise Lucas is known for — he also created the “Indiana Jones” series with his good pal and fellow filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

Foto: Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.sourceJason Kempin / Getty Images

Source: Vanity Fair


Released from 1984 to 2008, the series consists of four installments: “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

Foto: sourceParamount

Source: IMDB


Collectively, they’ve grossed a total of $1.9 billion worldwide.

Foto: sourceABC

Source: Box Office Mojo


“Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” both spawned TV spinoffs, on which Lucas worked as a producer.

Foto: sourceERIC RISBERG/AP Images

Source: Business Insider


Lucas has also expanded his scope outside the two franchises. He has a number of other producer credits, from Jim Henson’s “Labyrinth” to the animated film “The Land Before Time.”

Foto: sourceUniversal Pictures

Source: Business Insider


He’s also helped Lucasfilm pioneer techniques in special effects, sound, and computer animation, from THX Ltd. and Skywalker Sound to Industrial Light and Magic. The latter is one of the most successful companies in the industry.

Foto: sourceGetty Images

Source: Business Insider


Lucas owned 100% of Lucasfilm until 2012, when he decided to semi-retire and sold it to Disney for $4.1 billion in stock and cash.

Foto: sourceGetty Images

Source: Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter


But Lucas’ fortune keeps on growing. In 2018, Forbes named Lucas America’s wealthiest celebrity.

Foto: sourceMatt Sayles/AP Images

Source: Forbes


He’s also one of the richest people in Silicon Valley.

Foto: sourceGetty Images

Source: Business Insider


But Silicon Valley isn’t the only place where Lucas spends his time. He owns several properties in California, including a beachfront property in Carpinteria on Padaro Lane that he purchased in 2010 for $19.5 million, according to public records.

Foto: sourcetrekandshoot/Shutterstock

Source: The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal


In late 2019, he purchased another Carpinteria beachfront property right next door for $28 million, creating a compound. It’s two acres and reportedly includes a guesthouse, treehouse, and barn.

Foto: Views from Padaro Lane (not Lucas’ house).sourceGoogle Maps

Source: The Wall Street Journal


North of San Francisco is the famous Skywalker Ranch, which sits on 4,700 acres.

Foto: sourceGoogle Maps

Source: Business Insider


Lucas has spent $100 million developing the property since 1978, but has only built on 15 acres of the land. But Skywalker Ranch isn’t Lucas’ home.

Foto: sourcevia Google Maps

Source: Business Insider


He uses the land as a retreat, and as work and studio space — it includes the 153,000-square-foot Technical Building, which features 10 stages, multiple design and editing suites, and a 300-seat theater.

Foto: sourcevia Google Maps

Source: Business Insider, Lucasfilm


The property’s 50,000-square-foot house is designed to look like the 1869 Victorian home of a cattle rancher.

Foto: sourceWikipedia

Source: Business Insider


The estate includes a fitness center with racquetball courts and a swimming pool. There’s also a movie theater, several screening rooms, and mostly underground parking.

Foto: sourcevia Google Maps

Source: Business Insider


Skywalker Ranch even has its own fire brigade to protect the estate. The brigade is an active part of the Marin County Fire Mutual Aid program.

Foto: sourcevia Google Maps

Source: Business Insider


From 2008 to 2010, Lucas owned a Hollywood house Bette Midler previously lived in. In June 2019, it was put on the market for $4.3 million.

Foto: sourceMaks Ershov/Shutterstock

Source: The Washington Post


In 2012, Lucas donated land he owned in San Anselmo to the San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce. It was turned into the 8,700-square-foot Imagination Park, which features statues of Yoda and Indiana Jones.

Foto: sourceJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Patch


In 2017, he purchased an 8,932-square-foot Bel Air estate for $33.9 million.

Foto: sourceSundry Photography/Shutterstock

Source: Variety


Known as “Mi Patria,” it has nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms. It also has a library, courtyard, gourmet eat-in kitchen, and tropical gardens.

Foto: sourceGetty Images

Source: Variety


Since semi-retiring, Lucas is focusing on experimental movies, he told The Telegraph. “I’m finishing all my obligations and I’m going to retire to my garage with my saw and hammer and build hobby movies,” he said.

Foto: sourceDavid McNew/Reuters

Source: Forbes, The Telegraph


But he’s also focusing more on his philanthropy efforts. In 2012, he announced that he planned to donate most of the $4 billion Disney sale to charity for education.

Foto: sourceGerardo Mora/Getty

Source: Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter


The move wasn’t a surprise, considering that Lucas has always been philanthropically inclined. He signed The Giving Pledge in 2010, promising to donate the majority of his wealth to improving education.

Foto: sourceERIC RISBERG/AP Images

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


His George Lucas Family Foundation is endowed with more than $1 billion.

Foto: George Lucas and daughter Katie Lucas.sourceMichael Kovac/Getty Images

Source: Forbes, Inside Philanthropy


In 2015, the foundation donated more than $64 million to over 200 organizations, from wildlife initiatives and refugee aid to inner-city youth support and various museums.

Foto: sourceGetty

Source: Inside Philanthropy


Lucas has also given to other charities, such as the Film Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Foto: sourceTed S. Warren/AP Images

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


He also makes grants through the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which he founded in 1991. He’s donated $175 million to his alma mater, USC.

Foto: sourceAP Photo/Reed Saxon

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


Lucas gave $1 million to help build the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington DC.

Foto: sourcePablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images

Source: Business Insider


In 2017, Lucas announced plans to build the $1 billion non-profit Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. That includes building costs, his art, and a $400 million endowment.

Foto: sourceBrandon Williams/Getty Images

Source: Los Angeles Times


The 300,000-square-foot museum will feature Lucas’ collection of art, including “Star Wars” related items.

Foto: sourceDylan Martinez/Reuters

Source: Los Angeles Times, Lucas Museum


It will also feature daily film screenings in two theaters, a free public research library, and hands-on and digital classrooms.

Foto: sourceDamian Dovarganes/AP Images

Source: Lucas Museum


It’s currently under construction and will create 1,400 jobs. It’s slated to open in late 2021.

Foto: sourceDamian Dovarganes/AP Images

Source: Lucas Museum


Lucas has a reputation for being media-shy, according to an interviewer who described him as communicative. Jim Windolf of Vanity Fair called him “a very soft-spoken billionaire.”

Foto: sourceGamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Source: Empire, Vanity Fair


He’s well-respected and has received many awards and honors. In 2005, he received the Life Achievement Award in 2005 from the American Film Institute.

Foto: sourceBob Galbraith/AP Images

Source: Business Insider


In 2008, he was named one of the 100 “Greatest Americans” by the Discovery Channel.

Foto: sourceMichael Hickey/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


But he was never in it for the fame or the money. “After interviewing him twice and watching his movies repeatedly, I’m convinced he’s driven by a huge, restless imagination,” wrote Windolf.

Foto: sourceImage Group LA/Getty Images

Source: Vanity Fair