Thanks to Disney CEO Bob Iger's memoir The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, it has now been revealed that creator George Lucas was displeased over the direction Disney wanted to take Star Wars after purchasing Lucasfilm.
It's interesting news for fans who've been divided on movies such as The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, as Iger admits that, while Disney bought plot outlines from Lucas, the company wasn't obligated to use them, which is what eventually drew his ire.
"At some point in the process, George told me that he had completed outlines for three new movies," Iger said. "He agreed to send us three copies of the outlines: one for me; one for [Walt Disney Company Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary] Alan Braverman; and one for [Co-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney Studios] Alan Horn, who'd just been hired to run our studio. Alan Horn and I read George's outlines and decided we needed to buy them, though we made clear in the purchase agreement that we would not be contractually obligated to adhere to the plot lines he'd laid out."
Iger indicated with creative control no longer in Lucas' hands, when Disney first met to discuss the future of the franchise with Lucas, director J.J. Abrams, screenwriter Michael Arndt and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy at Skywalker Ranch, he expressed disappointment "that his story was being discarded." Lucas even balked at the lack of originality in The Force Awakens, making it clear this isn't what he had in mind.
"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," Iger continued, revealing Disney did end up taking influence from his outline for characters like Rey, Kylo Ren and a Luke Skywalker, old and exiled. The CEO did confess, though, that Disney could have prepared for the meeting better and warn Lucas the direction was going to be different from his vision so as to smoothen the process.