George Lucas Apologizes for Calling Disney 'White Slavers' After 'Star Wars' Sale
By Meredith B. Kile
UPDATE: After George Lucas' comments went viral, the director issued the following statement to ET:
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. _______________________________________________________________
Disney acquired Lucasfilm for over $4 billion in 2012, but it seems George Lucas still isn’t thrilled with the sale.
The 71-year-old director recently sat down with Charlie Rose to discuss, among other things, the media giant’s acquisition of and vision for the Star Wars franchise. Lucas, who is well-known for being protecting of the iconic sci-fi franchise -- often referring to the films as his “kids” -- told Rose he “sold them to the white slavers that take these things, and…” before trailing off and laughing nervously.
Lucas and Disney were apparently split on their decision for the franchise’s future, and while the director declined to say what his plans for the next Star Wars installment would have included, he did tell Rose how the media giant nixed his ideas.
“They looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’” he said. “They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing.”
Disney’s “own thing” became The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the Star Wars franchise, which has already grossed over $1 billion worldwide since its Dec. 18 release.
“They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway — but if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do,” Lucas said of Disney. “And so I said, ‘OK, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”
While Lucas may not have been thrilled with Disney’s vision for the franchise, he did give the personal thumbs up on The Force Awakens to director J.J. Abrams.
“Of course I was nervous knowing he was going to see the film. But the fact is, that it wasn’t until after he’d seen it and gave his thumbs up that I felt the relief,” Abrams admitted to ET before the film’s release. “I didn’t know I was going to be as relieved as I was.”
[Original story published December 30, 2015, at 6:03 p.m. PST]