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George Lucas, planning retirement, picks Lucasfilm co-chair

The "Star Wars" creator chooses longtime Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy to share leadership duties at his giant entertainment company.

New Lucasfilm co-chair Kathleen Kennedy

The original release of "Star Wars" was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (the 1970s), and ever since, George Lucas has been constructing his huge empire at Lucasfilm.

But now, in "an effort to move forward with his retirement plans," Lucas has hand-picked longtime Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy to become the co-chair of Lucasfilm, according to a press release today. Lucas will stay on as co-chair and CEO.

"I've spent my life building Lucasfilm and as I shift my focus into other directions I wanted to make sure it was in the hands of someone equipped to carry my vision into the future," Lucas said in the release. "It was important that my successor not only be someone with great creative passion and proven leadership abilities, but also someone who loves movies."

Kennedy is currently a principle at The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Her career includes seven Academy Award nominations and stints as producer on mega-franchises like Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones" and "Jurassic Park" series, as well as many other hits including "War Horse," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Seabiscuit." She has worked alongside filmmakers like Peter Jackson, Martin Scorsese, Barry Levinson, Robert Zemeckis, David Fincher, and Clint Eastwood.

"George's prescience is once again proven by his choice of my longtime producing partner...Kennedy to co-chair Lucasfilm," Spielberg said in the release. "Kathy has been a member of both of our families going into a fourth decade, so it does not feel like she is going to another galaxy far far away. She will get just as much support from me with Lucasfilm as George has given both of us all these years."

Lucasfilm did not give any time frame for Lucas' eventual retirement.