Why didn’t George Lucas direct and screenwrite The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi? This seems to be in conflict with how protective George Lucas is about his “baby”. Is there a reason why he gave up a lot of his
Sith artistic powers for those movies?
Lucas revealed in several interviews at the time that he was fed up with directing.
In 1977, on the set of Star Wars, he told American Film:
"I come from the filmmaker's school of doing movies, which means I do everything myself...If I left anything for a day, it would fall apart...Whenever there is a leak in the dam, I have to stick my finger in it. I should learn to say, 'Somebody else go plug it up.'"
In 1983, he said:
"I dislike directing. I hate the constant dealing with volatile personalities. Directing is emotional frustration, anger, and tremendously hard work - seven days a week, twelve to sixteen hours a day. For years my wife would ask why we couldn't go out to dinner like other people. But I couldn't turn it off. Eventually, I realized that directing simply wasn't healthy for me."
Apparently he got nostalgic for it, though, after a long absence; in a 1990 intervew he said that he wanted to get back into directing:
"It's not that I prefer producing, that's just where I find myself these days. It wasn't something I did by choice. I was just more effective in the producing area, which is where the opportunities have presented themselves in the last few years...Ultimately, I'm a director. I've done many things, but that's where my heart is...I just want to get back to what I started doing.