It’s only three months until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released to audiences and ends the space saga once and for all. The franchise has undergone a number of changes from trilogy to trilogy, but no film has ever achieved the popularity and critical acclaim of George Lucas’s first three films A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Two decades after the third instalment, the prequels were released, which suffered against the almighty success of the first trilogy. But now Disney CEO Bob Iger has claimed it was A Force Awakens, which was directed by J.J. Abrams, that got the strongest reaction from Lucas.
Apparently, the original filmmaker was “disappointed” by the film, and was concerned not enough change to the format had been made.
In his latest book Iger’s The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, the boss shared the memory.
Iger said Lucas complained because there was “nothing new” about the film which excited him.
Iger explained: “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,” Iger explained.
“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,” the Disney boss added.
Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for George Lucas.
Iger assured he was thrilled with the result of The Force Awakens however, which kickstarted a whole host of new characters including Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
The CEO was supportive of Lost creator Abrams, praising him for doing the “near-impossible” with the film.
Iger went on to say: “George immediately got upset [in a meeting] 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, [The Force Awakens writer-director] J.J., Alan, 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,” Iger continued. “And I didn’t think I had now, but I could have handled it better. I should have prepared him for the meeting with J.J. and Michael and told him about our conversations, that we felt it was better to go in another direction.
“I could have talked through this with him and possibly avoided angering him by not surprising him … 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,” the former CEO added.
The Mandalorian TV series debuts on the streaming network in the months to come.
Fans will have to wait and see if Lucas shows his support for the series and the other projects to come.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released in cinemas December 20.