George Lucas never had a problem with the vision he was trying to put on film and he never lost confidence in his ability to bring that story to life. He didn’t, however, have the same confidence in the people working for him and when it looked like A New Hope would not be released George Lucas took control of every aspect of the movie’s production from special effects to doing the editing himself. Lucas was smart enough to know that the studio executives had absolutely no confidence in his new movie so he took that opportunity to have them sign over all rights to any Star Wars movies, and their merchandising, to him for almost nothing. They thought A New Hope would flop and they didn’t want to be stuck with the rights to a flop along with any toys they may have made to promote the movie. But Lucas knew better and the movie was a huge success and he got to keep every penny the movie made after he paid back the expenses to the studio. He also created movie merchandising the likes of which no one had ever seen before and soon Star Wars toys were so hot that parents had to give their kids what amounted to IOUs from the toy company at Christmas in 1977 because they couldn’t make the toys fast enough and couldn’t ship until February of the following year. George Lucas was a genius and he used that genius to break away from the Hollywood machine and make his Star Wars movies the way he wanted to make them and only George Lucas benefited from them in every way.
Today A New Hope still stands as one of the greatest movies ever made and the mythology around it, and the characters in it, that all seemed so silly at first in 1977 have gone on to become a part of modern pop culture. So pervasive is the influence of Star Wars that Jedi Knight is an officially recognized religion in Australia. Take that Captain Kirk.