If you’re looking to become one of the wealthiest people in the world, it’s simple: just create one of the most lucrative and famous franchises of all time and then sell it to one of the biggest companies in existence. Piece of cake, right?
Well, that’s what George Lucas managed to do and he has now topped Forbes’ list of America’s wealthiest celebrities.
According to Forbes, the man behind the entire Star Wars franchise has a net worth of $5.4 billion. They claim he earned the top spot largely in part to the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, which happened back in 2012 for $4.1 billion.
Since making the big sale, Lucas hasn’t been heavily involved in the Star Wars world, which has been branching out exponentially since the purchase. In addition to the current main trilogy, which became the first since Lucas helmed the Star Wars prequels between 1999 and 2005, there have already been multiple stand alone films (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Solo: A Star Wars Story). There are plenty more projects in the works, including multiple live action television series from the upcoming streaming service, Disney+. Lucas’ name is attached to most of these projects with a writing credit for creating the characters, but otherwise, he’s not expected to be involved.
Lucas first introduced the world to what would become one of the biggest franchises in history back in 1977. Once Star Wars was released, it became a consistent staple in pop culture for 40 years.
Lucas comes out ahead of Steven Spielberg, who made the Forbes list at number two with $3.7 billion. Lucas and Spielberg have been working together for many years, most notably on the Indiana Jones films. In fact, Spielberg is tapped to return as director for the fifth installment to the Harrison Ford-led franchise. While Lucas will once again be credited for his work on creating the characters, it’s unclear if he’ll have further involvement in the film.
Following behind the directors on the Forbes list are Oprah with $2.8 billion and Michael Jordan with $1.7 billion. According to the publication, “America’s 10 wealthiest celebrities hold a combined fortune of $18.7 billion.” This is their third annual ranking of wealthy famous people, and the total amount is up 4% from last year.
Other upcoming Star Wars projects include The Mandalorian, an untitled series about Cassian Andor, and an untitled Rian Johnson trilogy.
Star Wars: Episode IX will finally hit theaters on December 20, 2019.
By Jamie Jirak