George Lucas released the first Star Wars film—now subtitled A New Hope—in 1977, breaking new ground and pushing the boundaries of cinema in astounding ways. Even more importantly, Lucas captivated viewers by crafting a hero’s journey that was as resonant as it was entertaining. Building upon concepts popularized by comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell, Lucas delivered a story that redefined “possible.” And it continues to bring in new fans.
Now, though, George Lucas says he lost control of his brainchild. According to Bounding Into Comics, the esteemed Star Wars creator compared his original vision to Disney’s wildly different take, saying, “I kind of lost control of Star Wars, so it’s going off in a different path than what I intended.”
George Lucas made these comments in an October 2020 Virtual Speaker presentation for The East Harlem School At Exodus House. He included these statements in a response to a seventh grader’s question about the franchise. Lucas expanded on this a bit, saying, “But the first six [Star Wars films] are very much mine and my philosophy.”
That is true. Say what you will about the prequels, but they felt more like a cohesive story than the sequel trilogy ever did. And honestly, Revenge of the Sith holds up remarkably well. The original trilogy is pretty perfect, but that almost goes without saying. Whether or not the same can be said of Disney’s recent trilogy will be a matter left up to time.
George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney in October 2012, so Disney is within its rights to take the franchise in any direction it pleases. But since the acquisition, Lucas has expressed his disappointment in Disney’s supposed refusal to use him as a creative consultant. He also called selling it “very, very painful,” and judging from his comments in the aforementioned interview, it appears that he is still grappling with some feelings about how it all went down. He expected a bit more involvement in the development of the ever-evolving Star Wars story, which is understandable. It is, after all, his baby. One that almost killed him to make.
Disney, meanwhile, seems to be all over the place with its approach, and George Lucas has definitely picked up on that. That’s not to say they don’t have a solid plan, because those of us not at Lucasfilm headquarters every day really have no clue what they are up to. It is to say, however, that to Star Wars fans following contradictory news stories and hearing unfounded reports have every right to be confused and concerned. Especially considering the fact that Lucas had an incredibly clear way he wanted to continue the story past Return of the Jedi.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of this. Disney could absolutely catch wind of this – if they didn’t hear about it already – and offer up their side of the story. However, they really don’t need to respond at all. They have complete control over Star Wars, and while George Lucas may still be quietly upset about a possible lack of transparency on the Mouse’s part, there is very little he can do at this point.