It must suck for someone like George Lucas, who is still clearly dealing with separation anxiety from selling Star Wars to Disney, to have to discuss it all of the time right now. But that's what happens when Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has made well over a billion dollars and is already #8 all-time, is on everybody's mind. His comments make it clear the pain he's feeling is still pretty raw, and a few days ago while speaking with Charlie Rose he made an unfortunate analogy about Disney and "white slavers"...
“I sold them to the white slavers that takes these things...", he said before trailing off and trying to correct course. He also talked about how Disney made a "retro" movie that he didn't support at all, leading to his decision to break up from the creation he loved so much....
"They looked at the stories, and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans'....They decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing....They weren't that keen to have me involved anyway — but if I get in there, I'm just going to cause trouble, because they're not going to do what I want them to do. And I don't have the control to do that anymore, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, 'Okay, I will go my way, and I'll let them go their way. They wanted to do a retro movie. I don't like that. Every movie I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new."
Well that break up led to a an $4B windfall for Lucas so he still got something amazing out of the deal. Still, he must have known there'd be some blowback about his comments, and so he released a statement through Disney to help smooth things over.
“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.”
So, it's all water under the Death Star now, right? Probably. It doesn't do Disney any good to get into a public spat with Lucas who, whether his reputation has been tarnished or not, is still considered by Star Wars fans to be something less of a god but more than a man. He might have just had an off day when talking with Rose and his resentment got the better of him. Whatever, it's over now and everyone is making serious bank on Star Wars and will for a long time. Lucas included.