George Lucas, the famed creator of the iconic Star Wars franchise, had some harsh words for the company that now owns his “kids.”
Speaking to Charlie Rose in an interview this week, Lucas said that his films are his “kids,” adding that he “loved them and created them.” Rose pointedly responded, saying “and you sold them.”
“I sold them to the white slavers that take these things and, and uh,” Lucas said, cutting himself off and laughing.
Although Rose then took the interview in another direction, it’s believed that Lucas was referring to Disney (DIS), the company that he sold Lucasfilm to for $4.05 billion in 2012. The acquisition included the rights to Star Wars.
Lucas’ comments with Charlie Rose stand in stark contrast to what he said about the Disney deal in 2012. Indeed, his comments at that time suggested he believed Disney was a far cry from “white slavers.”
“I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come,” he said in a statement. “Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
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Lucas’ comments at the time seem prescient now. The Disney-produced Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become a huge success, generating over $1.2 billion in revenue in just two weeks. It’s well on its way to becoming one of the biggest films of all time.
Lucas told USA Today in January 2015 that he had started developing the third trilogy in the Star Wars franchise and wanted to sell his company after the first film was released. However, he told USA Today that Disney’s offer allowed him time to spend with family, ultimately helping him decide to step away from the franchise.
“It’s better for me to get out at the beginning of a new thing and I can just remove myself,” he told USA Today. “The time is more important to me than the money.”
In another interview with CinemaBlend earlier this year, Lucas revealed that he had developed several ideas on how The Force Awakens story should go. Ultimately, he claims, none of those ideas were used in the film.
“The ones that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn’t really want to do those,” Lucas said of his ideas. “So they made up their own. So it’s not the ones that I originally wrote.”
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Lucas alluded to that difference of opinion in his interview with Rose, saying that Disney wanted “to make something for the fans” and ultimately decided to “go do their own thing.”
“They weren’t that keen to have me involved, anyway,” he told Rose. “But if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do.”
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Lucas’ comments illustrate how messy a media merger can be, and perhaps more importantly, show how strongly he feels about the world he created. Still, it’s hard to argue with the results. The latest Star Wars film has been widely lauded by critics and fans, alike. While it’s unknown what Lucas’ ideas were and how they may have played with audiences, it appears those that Disney went with have worked.
Still, Lucas is a revered figure in the Star Wars universe and he still has a loyal following among the franchise’s legion of fans. Debate rages, however, over whether Star Wars is better off with him or without him. Based on his latest comments, Lucas obviously believes it’s the former.
Disney did not respond to a request for comment on Lucas’ comments.