Star Wars creator George Lucas was not in attendance during Monday’s Hollywood premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth and final episode of the “Skywalker Saga.” The star-studded blue carpet premiere, attended by ComicBook.com, did feature appearances from some of Lucas’ most famous creations — droid duo C-3PO and R2-D2, Chewbacca, and other famous faces — alongside stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and more. Despite the absence of Lucas — whose disappointment with the Star Wars sequel trilogy was most recently relayed by Disney CEO Bob Iger in his book — writer-director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president and producer Kathleen Kennedy paid tribute to Lucas during an introduction to the film:
“We wouldn’t be standing here without him,” Kennedy said. “His vision of Star Wars hanged cinematic history, and we honor his legacy tonight.” Added Abrams, “Without him, I wouldn’t have had a childhood. It’s been a privilege to work in a galaxy he created.”
Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio earlier revealed he and Abrams met with Lucas to engage in a “philosophical discussion about the nature of the Jedi and the nature of the Force.”
“I don’t even know if George knows to what extent we wrote down and conferred about and really tried to understand the spirit of what he said,” Terrio told Rolling Stone. “As far as the specific story goes, who knows if George would agree with it, but I hope that philosophically he’ll feel we understood the spirit of what he was doing.”
In his book, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Iger admitted Lucas felt upset and betrayed when he learned now Disney-owned Lucasfilm elected to abandon his three-movie plots included in Lucasfilm’s sale to Disney in 2012.
“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,” Iger wrote. “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.”
Iger added Lucas was “disappointed that his story was being discarded,” admitting, “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. I should have prepared him for the meeting with J.J. and Michael [Arndt, co-writer, The Force Awakens] and told him about our conversations, that we felt it was better to go in another direction. I could have talked through this with him and possibly avoided angering him by not surprising him.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens Thursday. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.