George Lucas Felt “Betrayed” By Disney’s Star Wars Decisions

George Lucas

by James White |
Published on

Disney CEO Robert Iger has a new memoir out, and it's the sort of tome you might expect from someone who is leaving his job, especially since it covers all sorts of potentially controversial topics. One such is how George Lucas reacted to parts of the deal for Disney to buy Lucasfilm and develop their own new Star Wars movies. In case you're wondering? Not well.

As part of the deal struck in 2012, Disney agreed to purchase Lucas' outlines for three new Wars films, to show good faith towards the man who had brought the galaxy far, far away into existence in the first place. "We decided we needed to buy them,” the chief exec says in his book of the decision made alongside Alan Horn, according to The Hollywood Reporter "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."

The rest, of course, is history: Disney hired JJ Abrams and others to develop what became The Force Awakens and used nothing of Lucas' concepts for the eventual new trilogy. "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 says. "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."

As for the finished product, Iger reports that Lucas wasn't all that thrilled with The Force Awakens. “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. In this one, he said, 'There weren’t enough visual or technical leaps forward. He wasn’t wrong, but he also wasn’t appreciating the pressure we were under to give ardent fans a film that felt quintessentially Star Wars."

According to the Reporter, Lucas won't comment on the book, but he certainly hasn't been shy about his opinions in the past. As for Iger's book, The Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years As CEO Of The Walt Disney Company is on sale. Next week: Iger reveals how Zazu told him to "sod off"...

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