According to The Hollywood Reporter, in Disney CEO Bob Iger‘s new memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Iger writes that Lucas, 75, felt “betrayed” by the company’s plans for the franchise.
The filmmaker’s company, Lucasfilm, was acquired by Disney in 2012. In the deal, Disney also purchased Lucas’ outlines for three new Star Wars movies — what would be the third trilogy in the series, following the original trilogy (released from 1977 to 1983) and the prequel trilogy (released from 1999 to 2005).
However, Iger reportedly writes in the memoir, “we made clear … that we would not be contractually obligated to adhere to the plot lines he’d laid out.”
During a meeting where they began to discuss the first movie in the third trilogy, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Iger, 68, writes that Lucas “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.”
“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,” the CEO continues, according to THR. “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.”
Iger continued: “George felt betrayed, and while this whole process would never have been easy for him, we’d gotten off to an unnecessarily rocky start.”
After Lucas saw the The Force Awakens in a private screening, Iger reportedly writes, he “didn’t hide his disappointment.”
“‘There’s nothing new,’ he said,” Iger writes. “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 continued, according to THR: “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 criticizing us for the very thing we were trying to do.”
Disney has released two Star Wars films: The Force Awakens, followed by Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017. The last movie in the trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is scheduled for release later this year.
Even more Star Wars content is in the works at Disney+, the company’s upcoming streaming service, including an Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off series and the highly-anticipated series The Mandalorian, which stars Pedro Pascal.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on Dec. 20.