George Lucas is best known for being the imagination behind the incredible Star Wars universe, which has generated billions of dollars through a series of movies, TV shows, and a seemingly endless line of merchandise.

Lucas came up with the idea in 1971 as an aspiring director in Hollywood with just two films to his name.

Following the success of his movie American Graffiti, Lucas got the chance to direct Star Wars and made a tidy $500,000 for the project.

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This was seen as an incredibly generous offer by the execs at 20th Century Fox.

It is widely acknowledged there was a distinct lack of interest in the movie and that people within the company didn’t think it would make any money.

However, Lucas displaying both business acumen and incredible belief in his idea, made a counter-offer.

He offered to keep his pay as $150,000, which would surely have delighted the bosses at the movie production giant.

Instead, he asked to retain all the merchandising rights and the rights to any sequels.

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At the time, sequels, particularly trilogies, were rare, and the bosses happily signed off his requests, having been burned by previous movies and their lack of merchandising success.

Star Wars is now the highest-grossing film of all time, and the franchise has now generated around $27 billion from the box office, DVD and VHS sales, toys, books, and a wide range of other official products.

Lucas sold the entire franchise to Disney for $4 billion in 2012 and is now thought to be worth about $5.1 billion.

Not a bad return for a man who only directed six movies in his entire career – four of which were Star Wars.

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