With the news that George Lucas is selling Lucasfilm to Disney for a reported $4.05 billion, there's been plenty of speculation over who will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VII and what Lucas, who owns 100 percent of Lucasfilm, will do with all that cash. Will Jar Jar Binks return? No plans for the film have been shared, but a spokesperson for Lucasfilm told The Hollywood Reporter that most of the money will go toward an education foundation.
Lucas' commitment to education is nothing new. Over 20 years ago Lucas established the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which is "dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process by documenting, disseminating, and advocating for innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives." In part, the foundation runs the nonprofit website Edutopia, which produces the excellent profiles of innovative, effective schools in their "Schools That Work" series.
And in 2010 Lucas also signed on to Warren Buffet and Bill Gates Giving Pledge, which asks extraordinarily wealthy individuals to give the bulk of their money to philanthropic causes. At the time Lucas released a statement saying he was "dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education," because "it is the key to the survival of the human race." Lucas continued, "we have to plan for our collective future—and the first step begins with the social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide to our children."
Whether Lucas will pour more resources into GLEF and Edutopia, or fund other initiatives around the country—similar to how the Gates Foundation has become a major player in the education space—is anyone's guess. But with Lucas' interest in whole child-based, innovative education practices and the integration of the arts in schools, it's pretty exciting to imagine what kind of shifts in our education system could result.