The release of Disney CEO Bob Iger's memoir revealed that Star Wars creator George Lucas wasn't entirely thrilled with the sequel trilogy of films not following his original plans, with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy noting that the comments were inspired more by the difficulties of handing over his creation to anyone, regardless of the direction that creation was taken. Lucas wrote and directed the debut film, but handed over directorial duties to other filmmakers for its sequels, with the prequel trilogy seeing Lucas serve as both writer and director of all three installments. In that regard, it could be said that his final years with Lucasfilm saw him more invested than ever in the franchise.
"I think there’s plenty of examples where people create something that is fundamental to who they are, where it’s difficult letting go and watching that become something different," Kennedy shared with Rolling Stone. "So I think initially, that was difficult for George — I don’t think he anticipated how hard that would be. And [director] J.J. [Abrams] came into it with such enthusiasm and, frankly, reverence for Star Wars and for George, and had to find what was personal for him. He had to make it his own. Every director who comes into a movie has to make something their own; they have to find themselves in the storytelling. And then that’s going to become a different point of view. And I think that’s all George was reacting to."
At various points throughout his filmmaking career, Lucas claimed he had conceptualized the whole franchise as consisting of nine episodes, yet made it clear he had no interest in actually making the final three. Despite not being as invested in their creation, Lucas shared his ideas with his vision of the final three films, which Disney deviated from. Iger noted, "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.”
Understandably, such a reveal ruffled a few feathers among fans, yet Kennedy pointed out that, thanks to the decades of friendship she shares with Lucas, she knows that he appreciates what the new films have accomplished, even if he was disappointed to see his ideas left behind.
"He may not agree with every choice J.J. made. He may not agree with every choice [Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/ director] Rian [Johnson] made. But he appreciates the filmmaking," Kennedy clarified. "That I know. And he so appreciates, for instance, what ILM [Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm’s visual-effects arm] has done in the work of these movies. I mean, that’s a company he created. And he just continually tells me how astounded he is by how far things have come and how, now, whatever comes into your mind can be achieved."
She added, "And he came down, for instance, on The Mandalorian to see what we were doing — he’s worked a long time with [director] Dave Filoni. And he’s known [series creator] Jon [Favreau]. And he was just like a little kid on that set when he was watching what we were doing. So I see him get caught up in this again, and I think there’s a little bit of regret that he’s not on the stage and directing movies and in it still. And that may filter into it as well. I can’t really speak on behalf of what George is feeling all the time. But I know that he’s very, very proud of what he created. And to see people go on and enjoy this now into almost 2020 is pretty remarkable."
The final entry in the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, hits theaters on December 20th.
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