George Lucas is no great fan of the current state of the Star Wars franchise.
Having sold his company Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 for just over $4 billion, he was reputedly vocal behind the scenes with his criticism of the current trilogy.
In Disney boss Bob Iger's recent book, he explained that Lucas 'felt betrayed' when he realised that the new custodians of Lucasfilm weren't using any of the ideas he'd put forward for the J.J. Abrams-directed The Force Awakens.
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“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,” Iger wrote. “Now, in the first meeting with him about the future of Star Wars, George felt betrayed. And while this whole process would never have been easy for him, we’d gotten off to an unnecessarily rocky start.”
Iger also said that after being given a screening of the film before its release, Lucas 'couldn't hide his disappointment, and told new Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy: “There's nothing new.”
Now, speaking about Lucas's current relationship with Star Wars, Kennedy has said that she feels the director and producer's criticisms come from the fact that he can't let go of the franchise.
She told Rolling Stone: “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.
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“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 [Johnson, director of The Last Jedi] made. But he appreciates the filmmaking. That I know.”
She went on: “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. 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.”
All that said, Kennedy also says that Lucas came to the set of new Star Wars spin-off show The Mandalorian, and was ‘like a little kid on that set’, so he must still find the enthusiasm somewhere, however deep in might be buried.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the last in the current trilogy, directed by Abrams, lands in the UK on December 19.