Was “Star Wars: Episode VII” almost directed by George Lucas?

According to a new USA Today interview with the creator of the popular science fiction franchise, he was developing a new trilogy and planning to release the first installment in May of this year before putting his company on the market. But then Disney approached him with $4 billion for Lucasfilm.

“It’s better for me to get out at the beginning of a new thing and I can just remove myself,” Lucas said while promoting “Strange Magic,” an animated fairy tale he executive produced.

The trilogy the 70-year-old filmmaker envisioned would have taken another 10 years of his life, he estimated, and “the time is more important to me than the money.”

As TheWrap previously reported, author Dale Pollock —  who wrote unauthorized Lucas biography, “Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas” — said Lucas’ outlines for Episodes 7, 8 and 9 were “the most exciting” in the series.

“It was originally a 12-part saga,” Pollock told TheWrap shortly after Disney bought Lucasfilm with the intention of milking “Star Wars” for all its worth. “The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.'”

Instead of worrying about what Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia are up to in a galaxy far, far away, he’s enjoying fatherhood again by raising his 17-month daughter, Everest, with wife Mellody Hobson, while J.J. Abrams finishes up “The Force Awakens.”

Disney is releasing “Strange Magic” on Jan. 23. The tale about goblins, fairies and imps meeting for the first time features the voices of Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, Elijah Wood, Kristin Chenoweth and Maya Rudolph.

With “Star Wars” in the rear view mirror, Lucas says he’ll focus on writing what he calls small “experimental” films, and finally enjoying the universe he created when it returns to theaters on Dec. 18.

“The only thing I really regret about ‘Star Wars’ is the fact I never got to see it — I never got to be blown out of my seat when the ship came over the screen,” Lucas said. “The next one, I’ll be able to enjoy it like anybody else.”