Disney CEO: Star Wars creator George Lucas 'felt betrayed' by sequel approach
Bob Iger's memoir reveals how Lucas really felt about the first in the franchise's sequel trilogy.
Jennifer BissetFormer Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Now, four years later, Disney CEO Bob Iger is reliving Lucas' disappointment all over again. Lucas "didn't hide his disappointment" over The Force Awakens, Iger said in his autobiographical memoir Iger's The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, released Monday.
Lucas felt there was "nothing new" about the sequel directed by J.J. Abrams.
"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. In this one, he said, 'There weren't enough visual or technical leaps forward,'" Iger said.
But now we also know how Iger feels about Lucas' take.
"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.
"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."
Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 billion. In 2015, The Force Awakens arrived and mostly fared well with critics and fans. However, some found it derivative of the original trilogy, and Lucas apparently had his own issues with it.
"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 wrote. "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."
Added Iger: "George felt betrayed, and while this whole process would never have been easy for him, we'd gotten off to an unnecessarily rocky start."