Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed why she believes George Lucas expressed dissatisfaction towards Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Kennedy’s comments come after Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed in his new book that Lucas was dissatisfied with The Force Awakens.
“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.”
He would add:
“The truth was, Kathy, J.J., Alan, 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.”
Now, Kathleen Kennedy confirms Lucas was disappointed with The Force Awakens and explains why she believes he was in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt asks Kennedy, “Thanks to Bob Iger’s new book, we now know in some detail about George Lucas’ dissatisfaction with The Force Awakens. What are your feelings about that?”
Kennedy responds by first detailing her 35-year relationship with Lucas.
“Personally, I’ve had a relationship with George going back to all of us meeting before making Raiders of the Lost Ark. So this is a long, 35-plus years that I’ve known George, and I continue to be very, very good friends with George.”
She then explains that Star Wars was hard for George Lucas to let go because it’s fundamental to who he is.
“And 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. So I think initially, that was difficult for George — I don’t think he anticipated how hard that would be.”
She then details that George was reacting to J.J. Abrams making Star Wars his own.
“And J.J. 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.”
I’m not really sure if J.J. Abrams really put his own touch on Star Wars with The Force Awakens. The film was almost a beat for beat carbon copy of the original Star Wars film.
Kennedy also states that she believes Lucas wants to be back on set and directing, citing his visit to The Mandalorian set.
“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.”
A behind-the-scenes video released earlier this month shows Lucas’ set visit to The Mandalorian and discussing the show with Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau.
Kennedy then details that she can’t speak on behalf of George Lucas, but does note that he’s proud of creating Star Wars.
“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.”
While Kennedy detailed that she believes George Lucas might harbor some regret by not directing Star Wars, she doesn’t believe he could ever be lured back to work on Star Wars.
“I doubt it. But listen, I think that would be fantastic, if he would be interested in doing that again. But I doubt it. He’s loving doing his museum [Los Angeles’ the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art] right now. That’s a huge project, which is going to be absolutely fantastic. It’s a narrative museum, so it really keeps him engaged in storytelling. I think he’s loving that and he’s loving his little girl [six-year-old daughter Everest]. So he’s pretty fulfilled.”
There is a rumor that Lucas was actually lured back to Disney and Lucasfilm, and worked on rewrites for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker even adding in a “secret Skywalker.” However, he has previously referred to Disney as “white slavers.”
He told Charlie Rose, “I sold them to the white slavers that takes these things, and…”
Lucas would apologize with a statement:
“I want to clarify my interview on the Charlie Rose Show. It was for the Kennedy Center Honors and conducted prior to the premiere of the film. I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and for that I apologize.
I have been working with Disney for 40 years and chose them as the custodians of Star Wars because of my great respect for the company and Bob Iger’s leadership. Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise. I rarely go out with statements to clarify my feelings but I feel it is important to make it clear that I am thrilled that Disney has the franchise and is moving it in such exciting directions in film, television and the parks. Most of all I’m blown away with the record breaking blockbuster success of the new movie and am very proud of JJ and Kathy.”
What do you make of Kennedy’s comments?