Oh boy. It sounds like George Lucas isn’t exactly thrilled with ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ no matter that the film has made over $1 billion in record time. He got honest about why he decided to sell ‘Star Wars’ to Disney and what he thinks of ‘The Force Awakens.’
George explained how he ended up selling the ‘Star Wars’ franchise (actually all of Lucas Films) to Disney in the first place.
I looked at the future, I looked at the fact that I was going to have a baby, I looked at the fact that I was married, and I looked at the fact that I wanted to build a museum, and I looked at the fact that I wanted to make experimental films. So, my life was going on a different track. I noticed the last few movies that I’d made were costing the company a lot of money and I didn’t think that was fair to the people that worked there or the company. So, I made a decision to move ahead on the next Star Wars series and we were starting to do that.
“We were working with a writer—it wasn’t quite working out—but I was also…you know, I was also stepping away a little bit and turning things over to Kathy Kennedy.”
He was sharing his thoughts about retirement to Disney’s Bob Iger, who told him:
‘If you really want to sell it, we’re very interested.'”
That put the sale in motion.
I had the story treatments outlined and we were working on scripts. So, I sold it, but I knew when I sold it, I said, ‘I’ve tried to make movies where I step away—Empire and Return of the Jedi—and after about a couple weeks I knew I couldn’t do that. I had to stand over the shoulder of the director, help him, whisper in his ear constantly, ‘No, do this. Do that.’ And be there to help guide it. It was much harder than if I had just directed it myself.”
Apparently, however, the idea of George staying involved- or perhaps the ideas he had for the stories- made Disney “a little nervous,” according to the ‘Star Wars’ creator.
One of the issues was the first three movies had all kinds of issues. They looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for that fans.’ I said, ‘All I wanted to do was tell a story of what happened.’ You know, it started here and it went there. It’s all about generations, and it’s about the issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers. It’s a family soap opera. I mean, ultimately. We call it a space opera but people don’t realize it’s actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems. It’s not about spaceships. They decided they didn’t want to use those stories. They decided they were going to go do their own thing, so I decided, ‘Fine.'”
George admitted that Disney wasn’t “that keen to have me involved anyway.” Ouch. So instead he treated the sale like a breakup.
At the same time I said, ‘I’m not gonna…If I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble because they’re not going to do what I want them to do and I don’t have the control do that anymore, and all it would do is muck everything up.’ So I said, ‘OK, I will go my way and let them go their way.’ And it really does come down to a simple rule of life, which is when you break up with somebody, the first rule is no phone calls. The second rule, you don’t go over to their house and drive by to see what they’re doing. The third thing is you don’t show up at their coffee shop or their thing like you’re going to run it. You just say, ‘No! Gone! History! I’m moving forward.’ Because every time you do…something like that, you’re opening the wound again, and it just makes it harder for you. You have to put it behind you, and it’s a very, very hard thing to do. But you have to just cut it all off and say, ‘OK, end of all game. I’ve got to move on.'”
Given the creative disagreements, that was probably the best approach for him to take, don’t you think?
George shared his conflicted feelings about selling the ‘Star Wars’ franchise.
Everything in your body says, ‘Don’t. You can’t.’ These are my kids. I loved them. I created them. I’m very intimately involved with them.”
Yet he did sell them. He said:
I sold them to the white slavers that take these things, and…”
Oh my. George does sound very conflicted. He also opened up about his thoughts on ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ admitting it wasn’t what he would have done.
J.J. Abrams, he’s a good director, a good friend.
“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie, I worked very hard to make them different. I made them completely different—different planets, different spaceships to make it new.”
I think that’s a fair comment to make about ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: it does feel very much like ‘Star Wars Espisode IV: A New Hope’ rather than an original movie, per se, although it’s still an incredibly fun film to watch! It is a reboot with the next generation of characters. I’m curious about what George would have done, but I’m a bit fearful, too: I’m one of the people who wasn’t a big fan of the prequels. The idea was interesting, but the stories just didn’t quite work. I can’t imagine what it must be like for George, though, as the creator, watching your story go on without you. Four billion dollar sale or not, it’s gotta be tough. I don’t know if the success of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ makes things better or worse.
Photos by FAMEFLYNET