The Sequel Trilogy has divided fans and critics as never before. Lucas himself has never spoken openly about it, but the head of Disney just revealed exactly how badly the creator of Lucasfilm reacted to the new films. Many fans started a backalsh, especially after Episode 8. They felt the films were disrespecting all that came before in the franchise, betraying the life work of George Lucas and the devoted dedication of the core fanbase. Lucas, himself, had other major issues with the new films.
Bob Iger was head of Disney when the studio bought Lucasfilm in 2012.
Part of the deal was a guarantee to make one more trilogy and complete the projected nine-movie Skywalker saga.
In his new memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Iger bluntly described just how badly Lucas created when he finally saw what Disney had done with his plans.
Iger wrote: “(He) didn’t hide his disappointment… George was criticising us for the very thing we were trying to do.”
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Iger revealed things had started out badly at an early meeting and just got worse “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.
“The truth was, Kathy(Kennedy) JJ (Abrams), Alan (Horn) 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.
“I’d been so careful since our first conversation not to mislead him in any way, and I didn’t think I had now, but I could have handled it better. George felt betrayed, and while this whole process would never have been easy for him, we’d gotten off to an unnecessarily rocky start.”
In the end, Lucas was most upset by how faithful E[pisode 7 stayed to what had come before. Many have criticised it for just retreading A New Hope. It seems Lucas agreed.
Iger said: “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 criticising us for the very thing we were trying to do.
“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.”
The irony is that so many fans ended up criticising the films for not staying faithful to the past.