George Lucas made no secret of the fact that he was upset that the new sequel trilogy did not use some of his story ideas, but the truth of the matter is that he sold his company Lucasfilm LTD and the rights to all of its movies to Disney outright, so he has no say in such matters. Following the release of ‘The Force Awakens’ Lucas voiced his displeasure, although it was less of an angry tirade and more whiny sulking.
Disney CEO Bob Iger dredged this up again in his recent memoir saying that when Disney bought Lucasfilm, including some treatment ideas that Lucas had dreamed up, Lucas seemed to be under the impression that they planned to use them. They didn’t. (Among Lucas’ ideas was to build the new trilogy around children. Not twentysomethings like Daisy Ridley, more like Anakin in ‘The Phantom Menace’… y’know because that worked so well.)
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As Iger chronicled:
“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.”
Now that Iger’s book has reopened this wound, Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm LTD’s president, has commented with her thoughts. In a profile in Rolling Stone she said:
“I think there’s plenty of examples where people create something that is fundamental to who they are, where it’s difficult letting go and watching that become something different. So I think initially, that was difficult for George — I don’t think he anticipated how hard that would be. And [director] J.J. [Abrams] came into it with such enthusiasm and, frankly, reverence for ‘Star Wars’ and for George, and had to find what was personal for him. He had to make it his own. Every director who comes into a movie has to make something their own; they have to find themselves in the storytelling. And then that’s going to become a different point of view. And I think that’s all George was reacting to.”
She stated that Lucas wasn’t unhappy with everything, saying:
“He may not agree with every choice J.J. made. He may not agree with every choice [‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ writer/ director] Rian [Johnson] made. But he appreciates the filmmaking. That I know. And he so appreciates, for instance, what ILM [Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm’s visual-effects arm] has done in the work of these movies. I mean, that’s a company he created. And he just continually tells me how astounded he is by how far things have come and how now whatever comes into your mind can be achieved.”
Some people may not be happy with the current state of ‘Star Wars’, but I don’t think making them into “family movies” with kids in the central roles is the way to go.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see how Lucas reacts to ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ when it opens on December 20.