George Lucas, the man who gave the world “Star Wars,” apparently felt betrayed by what Disney planned to do with his brainchild after they acquired it in 2012.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed in his memoir, “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company,” that George Lucas originally had the next three “Star Wars” movies outlined when Disney purchased the franchise in 2012; the company, however, chose to go its own way.
“[W]e decided we needed to buy them, though we made clear in the purchase agreement that we would not be contractually obligated to adhere to the plot lines he’d laid out,” Iger wrote in his memoir regarding Lucas’ outlines.
Iger also claimed that George Lucas got “upset” upon discussing the franchise’s trajectory with Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams. He also expressed regret for not handling the situation better.
“George immediately got upset as they began to describe the plot and it dawned on him that we weren’t using one of the stories he submitted during the negotiations,” Iger wrote. “George knew we weren’t contractually bound to anything, but he thought that our buying the story treatments was a tacit promise that we’d follow them, and he was disappointed that his story was being discarded. I’d been so careful since our first conversation not to mislead him in any way, and I didn’t think I had now, but I could have handled it better.”
“George felt betrayed, and while this whole process would never have been easy for him, we’d gotten off to an unnecessarily rocky start,” Iger added.
Apparently, the situation only got worse when Lucas saw a screening for “The Force Awakens,” during which he lamented that the film covered no new territory. “There’s nothing new,” Lucas allegedly said. “There weren’t enough visual or technical leaps forward.” In response, Iger suggested that Lucas did not appreciate the “the pressure we were under to give ardent fans a film that felt quintessentially ‘Star Wars.'”
“We’d intentionally created a world that was visually and tonally connected to the earlier films, to not stray too far from what people loved and expected, and George was criticizing us for the very thing we were trying to do,” Iger said.
The “Star Wars” franchise has been in a freefall since “The Last Jedi,” which has steadily angered fans due to its social justice, primarily feminist, messaging by making the title character, Rey, a Mary Sue with virtually no flaws and no discernible hero’s journey. This fan dissatisfaction came to a head for Disney when the movie “Solo: A Star Wars” story drastically underperformed at the box office. Iger did not address any of this in the book, though he did tell The New York Times over the weekend that the initial plan to release a “Star Wars” movie once a year is hurting the franchise.
“I just think we might’ve put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast,” said Iger. “I think the storytelling capabilities of [Lucasfilm] are endless because of the talent we have at the company, and the talent we have at the company is better than it’s ever been, in part because of the influx of people from Fox.”