9/24/2019

Disney CEO Admits Moving Too Fast In Expanding 'Star Wars', Reveals George Lucas' Early Disappointment


When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas, they launched into an ambitious plan, one that would see new films each year along with many spinoffs. For a while things went great; The Force Awakens was a huge hit, and so was The Last Jedi despite it dividing up fans. Most importantly, Rogue One was a big success, proving the spinoffs could definitely work. And then Solo happened, and suddenly the Star Wars plans have been scaled back, with some of it moving over to Disney+.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has written a new book, and in it he talks a lot about Star Wars and their handling of it post-Lucas. Not only does he reveal Lucas' disappointment with the direction they took, but he cops to maybe trying to do too much too fast. He tells the New York Times...

"I just think that we might’ve put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast. I think the storytelling capabilities of the company are endless because of the talent we have at the company, and the talent we have at the company is better than it’s ever been, in part because of the influx of people from Fox."

Another who was less than thrilled by Disney's take on Star Wars was George Lucas, but it's not for the reasons you think. Sure, Lucas had his own plans for the new trilogy that Disney largely ignored, but what really made him upset by The Force Awakens was that JJ Abrams played it too safe. An excerpt from Iger's memoir via Comicbook.com...

"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."

That The Force Awakens leaned too hard on nostalgia became a common criticism, but let's be honest, that's exactly what the first movie in years needed to be. As for Disney's decision to move away from anything Lucas might have done, that was probably a smart move given what he did with the previous trilogy.