After George Lucas sold off Star Wars to Disney in 2012, he still stayed on as a creative consultant. However, he ended up being disappointed when Disney opted not to go with any of his ideas. Lucas has previously talked about his vision for the new trilogy, which includes Luke training a new Jedi, an in-depth exploration of the Midichlorians and Luke training Leia. As we’ve seen in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, clearly Disney decided to go in a very different direction.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has a new book out now titled The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Someone on Reddit recently posted a number of quotes from the book in which Iger discusses why they decided to discard George Lucas’ ideas, as well as Lucas’ disappointment in The Force Awakens.
“Early on, Kathy [Kennedy] brought J.J. [Abrams] and Michael Arndt up to Northern California to meet with George at his ranch and talk about their ideas for the film. 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.
The truth was, Kathy, J.J., Alan [Horn, Disney’s film chief], and I had discussed the direction in which the saga should go, and we all agreed that it wasn’t what George had outlined. 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.”
Honestly, considering how brilliant the new trilogy has been thus far, I’m glad that the likes of Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams decided to put aside George Lucas’ ideas and walk the path they ended up walking. Exploring the midichlorians again? No thank you.
In regards to what Lucas thought of The Force Awakens, Iger said:
“Just prior to the global release, Kathy screened The Force Awakens for George. He didn’t hide his disappointment. “There’s nothing new,” he said. 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.”
He wasn’t wrong, but he also wasn’t appreciating the pressure we were under to give ardent fans a film that felt quintessentially Star Wars. 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. Looking back with the perspective of several years and a few more Star Wars films, I believe J.J. achieved the near-impossible, creating a perfect bridge between what had been and what was to come.”