Disney CEO Admits Star Wars Creator George Lucas Felt "Betrayed" Over Deal
Disney CEO Bob Iger opens up about the company's purchasing Star Wars in his new book.
Disney CEO Bob Iger is revealing some very interesting information about the company's dealings in his new book, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Among other more interesting tidbits is the deal the company made with Star Wars creator George Lucas to buy the franchise.
It was a deal that, according to Iger, left the film director feeling "betrayed." This much is revealed in a preview of the book, shared by The Hollywood Reporter. As Iger explained in his book, Disney's deal with Lucas included outlines for a trilogy of movies. However, the CEO noted, "we made clear in the purchase agreement that we would not be contractually obligated to adhere to the plot lines he'd laid out."
Still, when Lucas found out Disney was going in a different direction, he wasn't pleased. "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 recalled. "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," Iger continued, noting that the entire process of making a deal with the director hadn't been easy. Once it was made, however, things didn't necessarily improve. Upon seeing a cut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, his didn't hold back in his criticism.
For Lucas, it sounds as if the first film in the new trilogy, was too much of a rehash of what came before. "'There's nothing new,'" Iger remembered the director saying. "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.'"
As Iger explained, Lucas had a point. However, "he also wasn't appreciating the pressure we were under to give ardent fans a film that felt quintessentially Star Wars." He continued, "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."
In the end, the Star Wars franchise is still going strong. The final film in the new trilogy--The Rise of Skywalker--arrives in December. Before that, the live-action series The Mandalorian will premiere on Disney+. Additionally, Star Wars-themed lands have opened at California's Disneyland and Florida's Walt Disney World Resort.
Iger's book, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, is available now.