Disney CEO Bob Iger’s newly published book ‘The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO Of the Walt Disney Company’ has shed some interesting light on the company’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the ‘Star Wars’ franchise recently. While it is relatively well-known that George Lucas, the creator of ‘Star Wars,’ has not been all that happy with the sequel trilogy that Disney has produced, it turns out that part of the reason why he is unhappy has to do with some confusion he had with the deal he made with the company, thinking that they were going to be following his story ideas going into Episodes 7, 8 and 9.
Apparently, that was never something that Iger or anyone at Disney agreed to when the deal was made. They bought his story drafts and listened to Lucas’s ideas to have them on hand for inspiration in case needed, but it seems George Lucas made a lot of assumptions based on those actions, thinking that by listening to his sequel trilogy pitches and buying his drafts, they were agreeing to follow his plans.
In Iger’s words from the book:
“I promised that we would be open to his ideas (this was not a hard promise to make; of course we would be open to George Lucas’s ideas), but […] we would be under no obligation…he thought that our buying the story treatments was a tacit promise that we’d follow them.”
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Iger went on to say that once it became clear that the company was going to make the ‘Star Wars’ sequel trilogy their own way, with stories developed by the talent Lucasfilm hired:
“…he [George] was disappointed that his story was being discarded.”
Which of course explains the later story of Lucas’s disappointment when he finally saw ‘The Force Awakens’ in a private screening in 2015, which Iger also details in the book:
“Just prior to the global release, Kathy [Kennedy, producer] screened ‘The Force Awakens’ for George. He didn’t hide his disappointment. ‘There’s nothing new,’ he said. In each of the films in the original trilogy, it was important to him to present new worlds, new stories, new characters, and new technologies…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.”
It seems George Lucas and Iger (and Disney) just did not see eye-to-eye on what the point of ‘The Force Awakens’ and the rest of the sequel trilogy was trying to accomplish. For Disney, it was about wrapping up the Skywalker story for the fans, telling a somewhat nostalgic story while introducing a new generation to the concepts of the franchise, and prepping them for other stories set in that universe, which is a very business-like way of looking at it, because Disney wants to see a return on the investment, and see ‘Star Wars’ movies go on for some time, which ultimately is what the fans want.
While Lucas was always focused on one movie at a time, making it the best it could be (to him to least, which admittedly is wildly different from the rest of the world’s opinion of a good ‘Star Wars’ movie), he was always trying to push the limits both visually and creatively. However, it was a bit naive of him to think that after selling the franchise they would still go forward with his plans, especially without it being implicit in a contract. I would hope after some time he has learned to just let it go and enjoy his money and retirement knowing that he did the best he could with the franchise while it was his.
What are your thoughts on the current state of ‘Star Wars?’ Do you think Lucas’s sequel trilogy would have been better, especially since it is rumored to have been heavily focused on midi-chlorians? Are you excited for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ and to see how Disney and J.J. Abrams wrap it all up? Feel free to share your ideas and opinions in the comments below!
Source: Screen Rant