Back in 2012 when Disney acquired Lucasfilm for a staggering $4 billion, the prospect of a new Star Wars trilogy was profoundly exciting leading us all to believe that we would get to see our favourites from the original trilogy reunited alongside new characters. Seven years later and two films in, the new entries in the Skywalker Saga were never going to impress or satisfy everybody, least of all Lucas himself.
In his new memoir, Disney CEO Bob Iger claims that George Lucas felt ‘betrayed’ by Disney’s intentions for the new instalments in the franchise. Iger revealed that Lucas had three story treatments outlined, intended for use by Disney.
‘Alan Horn and I read George’s outlines and 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 said in his book The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.
When Lucas met with Disney as a consultant to discuss the direction of the new trilogy with Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm President) and J.J Abrams (Director of The Force Awakens), he soon realised that the studio would not be using any of his story treatments.
Iger added: ‘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. […] In the first meeting with him about the future of Star Wars, George felt betrayed, and while this whole process would never have been easy for him, we’d gotten off to an unnecessarily rocky start.’
When The Force Awakens was released in 2015, Lucas was critical of it for having ‘nothing new’, branding J.J Abrams’ sequel a ‘retro movie’.
‘In each of the films in the original trilogy, it was important to [Lucas] to present new worlds, new stories, new characters, and new technologies.’ Said Iger. In this one, Lucas felt, 'There weren't enough visual or technical leaps forward.'
Iger defends the film by saying ‘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’.
Lucas did however praise Rian Johnson’s highly polarising The Last Jedi, calling it a ‘beautifully crafted film’.
The final instalment of the sequel trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker arrives on the 19th of December this year.
Let’s hope it satisfies us all.