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Lucas To End Star Wars Series

January 5, 1999 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ The force may be with Luke Skywalker, but George Lucas says his is running out.

The creator of the Star Wars movies told Vanity Fair he plans to call it quits after the much-anticipated three part prequel to his blockbuster space trilogy. The long-standing perception has been that the complete Star Wars saga would be nine parts.

``I never had a story for the sequels, for the later ones,″ he said in the Jan. 4 edition of the magazine. ``And also, I’ll be to a point in my age where to do another trilogy would take 10 years.″

Lucas, 55, said he would ``probably not″ be open to letting someone else make Star Wars movies.

The first new movie in the new series, ``Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace,″ is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 21. The film stars British actors Liam Neeson as a Jedi master and Ewan McGregor as a young Ben Kenobi.

Plot details remain largely under wraps, but Lucas said the new films will include the tale of how Anakin Skywalker, father of Luke and Princess Leia, became Darth Vader, the villain behind an eerie black mask.

There will also be a host of new aliens, including a computer-generated sidekick for Neeson’s character.

``I’ve gotten much better performances out of my aliens this time,″ Lucas said, who cites the relative backwardness of computer-imaging technology in the early 1980s as one of the reasons he had stopped making Star Wars films.

Episodes II and III are promised for the years 2002 and 2005, Lucas said.