Lucasfilm Loses Lawsuit Over Failed 'Star Wars' Screening Event

With Star Wars being one of the most popular brands in the world, Lucasfilm can be quite protective over how the series is depicted. Additionally, the studio has deep pockets thanks to their countless successes, which means the company can spring into legal action to protect their image. The studio isn't infallible, however, and recently lost a lawsuit over the broadcast of footage from a Star Wars convention, having to pay organizer Marc John more than $50,000 for preventing the broadcast of his footage.

The For the Love of the Force convention took place in December of 2015 and featured a variety of guests from the Star Wars saga. One of the most notable attendees was David Prowse, who starred in the original trilogy as the man in Darth Vader's suit.

Footage from the convention and an exclusive interview with Prowse was set to be broadcast on more than 1,200 screens shortly before the release of The Force Awakens, with Lucasfilm intervening to prevent the unapproved screenings. With their new film being the first sequel to Return of the Jedi, the studio wanted to control the first big screen events of the brand, while John had hoped to capitalize on the saga's popularity with the event.

John claimed that the event would have earned him at least $1 million, possibly more. Lucasfilm felt as though this number was "extraordinarily speculative" and claimed that he would have been lucky to have turned any profit.

Judge Veronique Buerhlen QC shared, "I have come to the conclusion, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr. John would have made a film of the convention but for Lucasfilm's interference."

Rather than a seven-figure sum, Buerhlen ruled that the film had a high likelihood of being streamed on 150 screens and would have earned John a "small profit."

Lucasfilm was ordered to pay John £39,504, which is roughly $56,000 USD.

Possibly complicating matters was the involvement of Prowse, who regularly expressed his disappointment with Lucasfilm's decisions to replace his voice for the Star Wars films, as well as having another actor play the unmasked Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi.

In 2010, Prowse revealed that he was banned from all official Star Wars events for having "burnt too many bridges." The documentary I Am Your Father chronicles the actor's journey while also allowing him to recreate Vader's death scene from Return of the Jedi.

2comments

Do you think Lucasfilm should have allowed the screenings to take place? Let us know in the comments!

[H/T BBC]