Lucas to Marshal Rose Parade

George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars franchise and founder of Lucas Animation, has been named grand marshal of the 2007 Tournament of Roses in Pasadena. The announcement was made Tuesday at the Tournament of Roses headquarters, where the fanfare included appearances by Chewbacca and an Ewok. Following in the footsteps of last year’s marshal, Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Lucas will hold court at the 118th annual event on New Year’s Day.

Lucas is also making headlines with his $175 million donation to the University of Southern California, which served as a springboard to his own film career. The largest donation in USC’s history, the funds will be applied to its endowment and rebuilding its School of Cinematic Arts, the oldest film school in the U.S. Lucas began honing his filmmaking kills there as student in the 1960s.

Having completed his six-part Star Wars film saga, Lucas is continuing the battle between the Jedi and the Sith on television with a live-action series and a CG-animated show focusing on the Clone Wars. Most of the animation and effects work will be produced at Lucas Animation’s facility in Singapore.