When Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012, they also purchased outlines for three new STAR WARS movies which George Lucas had been working on, but as we know, Disney chose to go in a different direction with their STAR WARS Sequel Trilogy. In his recently published memoir, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that Lucas felt betrayed by this move as he believed that Disney would be using his outlines as a guide for the new movies.
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. 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. 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.
“He may not agree with every choice J.J. made. He may not agree with every choice Rian made. But he appreciates the filmmaking. That I know,” Kennedy added. “And he so appreciates, for instance, what ILM [Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm’s visual-effects arm] has done in the work of these movies. I mean, that’s a company he created. And he just continually tells me how astounded he is by how far things have come and how, now, whatever comes into your mind can be achieved… 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.“
I’ve only had gratitude for George. It’s probably a complicated thing for him. To decide you’re going to sell this thing that you created, that was your baby, to anyone — that must be more complicated than signing a check and smiling about it. But he’s been incredibly gracious. He’s been super-generous. He came over, we had a meeting when we first started working on this [new movie], talked through a ton of different ideas and stories, and heard from him what was important. And we’ve done nothing but try and adhere to some fundamental aspects of the story. It wasn’t a difficult thing to try and do. And again, he was really gracious. So I’m only grateful. Do I wish that [Force Awakens] had been his favorite movie of all time? Yes, I only wanted to do well by him. I would just say that I have nothing but profound respect for the guy and am still truly, even more so now, working on these movies in awe of what he created.
Kathleen Kennedy was also asked whether or not there’s any chance of Lucas returning to the franchise in some fashion. “I doubt it. But listen, I think that would be fantastic, if he would be interested in doing that again. But I doubt it,” Kennedy said. “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.” STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER will hit theaters on December 20, 2019.