George Lucas, whose headstone will surely read, “I created Star Wars…and Greedo shot first,” has announced that he will be retiring from big-budget movies in order to make smaller art-house films.

The New York Times wrote,

“I’m retiring,” Lucas said. “I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.”

The decision came on the heels of the snub of his latest film, Red Tails (which opens on January 20), a movie that Lucas produced (for $58 million) and distributed (another $35 million) himself when studios wouldn’t finance a film with an all-black cast.

Fans of Lucas’ first Star Wars trilogy were also vocally less enamored of his prequel trilogy.

But extremely ardent fans of Lucas (like me) know his other, more intimate works. His first film, THX-1138, was an abstract yet slyly humorous work. His second film, American Graffiti, was a sweetly nostalgic slice of teen life circa 1962. And then there’s the 1994 Radioland Murders, a murder mystery with 1930s screwball aesthetics.

None of these movies plugged themselves directly into the pleasure centers of our brains as the Star Wars saga did. But they were all good in their own right.

Although Lucas will be putting down the lightsaber, he may not hang up the bullwhip: he’s left himself open to returning to major-league cinema for a fifth installment of the Indiana Jones series.