Disney CEO Bob Iger has talked about how Star Wars creator George Lucas felt “betrayed” when he heard Disney’s plans for the new Star Wars trilogy.
In his newly-released memoirs, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Iger wrote about how, back in the early days of the acquisition, the company’s relationship with Lucas grew strained once he learned of Disney’s intentions with the franchise.
George Lucas’ production company Lucas Film was famously sold to Disney in October 2012 – and with it, the rights to Star Wars – for $4.05 billion. Disney released the first film in their rebooted Star Wars trilogy – Star Wars: The Force Awakens – in 2015.
Iger explains: “At some point in the process, George told me that he had completed outlines for three new movies.
“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 [George] 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.”
According to Iger, when Lucas found out that Disney was going in a slightly different direction with the trilogy, he was clearly “upset”. Iger writes: “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.”
The third movie in the rebooted trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker flies into theaters everywhere December 19, 2019. Check out the official teaser trailer below.
Bog Iger’s The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company is out now.