George Lucas caused heads to turn yesterday when an interview between the Star Wars creator and Charlie Rose hit the Internet. In the interview, Lucas had questionable words for the approach that Disney was taking with his "kids" - the Star Wars franchise and its characters. In the conversation, the filmmaker criticized Disney's retro approach in Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens, which he claimed was the safe call and didn't "take chances" like he did with the previous six films - all of which, he suggested, pushed the boundaries of the cinematic world in diverse ways. Most controversial was his comparison of the sale of Star Wars to Disney as selling his children to "white slavers," a strange (if not harsh) comparison at best.
But now it seems that the Internet may have taken some of George Lucas' words out of context, or maybe he was just having a bad day. In any event, Lucas added a few words to contextualize his statements.
George Lucas issued a statement, via The Wrap, in which he apologized for his "white slavers" remark and reiterates excitement that Disney is in charge of the franchise.
Check out the full response below:
“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.”
Of course, this could just be George Lucas smoothing out with a PR nightmare he sparked. Lucas doesn't actually retract his criticism of the studio's retro approach in the statement but he does make it clear that the interview took place before The Force Awakens premiered in theaters. Perhaps Lucas had a chance to see it with a crowd and changed his mind?
George Lucas admits that he doesn't often clarify past statements (he's known to speak his mind), but the fact that he did so here may indicate that he's legitimately happy that Star Wars is in Disney's hands. Despite George Lucas' general distrust of film corporations, he admits that Disney was the best fit for his franchise. And honestly, what other major film corporation would have been better? So perhaps when we heard that Lucas "really liked" the new film, it was true.
That said, The Force Awakens did take a much different direction than Lucas had planned. It definitely relied on nostalgia and homage more than boundary-pushing innovation (some might argue that's why Star Wars 7 was a return to form). A return to the classic may have been exactly what we needed right now - and, given the record-breaking success of Episode 7, Disney was very likely right. Thankfully, we have a new Star Wars film coming every year, so there's plenty of time to explore new boundaries in the future.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now playing in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: The Wrap