The CEO of Disney has admitted George Lucas “felt betrayed” by plans for the new Star Wars trilogy.
In his recently released memoir The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger told how discussions about the rebooted trilogy with the Star Wars creator grew complicated when the Disney board decided to err slightly from George’s initial ideas about what the trilogy should look like.
This followed Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm back in 2012 and the company buying George’s plot. “At some point in the process, George told me that he had completed outlines for three new movies,” Bob wrote.
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“He agreed to send us three copies of the outlines: one for me; one for [Walt Disney Company Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary] Alan Braverman; and one for [Co-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney Studios] Alan Horn, who’d just been hired to run our studio.
“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.
“He knew that I was going to stand firm on the question of creative control, but it wasn’t an easy thing for him to accept.
“And so he reluctantly agreed to be available to consult with us at our request. I promised that we would be open to his ideas (this was not a hard promise to make; of course we would be open to George Lucas’ ideas), but like the outlines, we would be under no obligation.”
Recalling breaking the news to George that they were going down a slightly different route in a meeting, Bob 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.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a release date of Friday, December 20 in the US.