These Star Wars stories are starting to give me whiplash. Only yesterday Carrie Fisher was retracting her earlier comment that she would definitely be returning for Episode VII, claiming it was “a joke” and that nothing was official yet. Here we are less than 24 hours later and now George Lucas himself says that the big three — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill — are more or less signed for the new Star Wars film.
Speaking to Business Week, Lucas reveals that he called the three actors before the Disney/Lucasfilm deal was even finalized. Lucas says:
We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.
That’s not quite an official Disney press release, but it’s pretty clear confirmation that Ford, Fisher, and Hamill’s return has been planned from the get-go. That’s not a surprise at all, but it is nice to get a clear, direct answer to the question. The return of the big three has been more or less inevitable, barring some unforeseen circumstance.
The article also provides a few more interesting details about how the Disney deal went down. Lucas was considering settling into a comfortable retirement, but then Disney approached him about the prospect of purchasing Lucasfilm. He still wanted to take on a lesser role, so Kathleen Kennedy came on as the head of Lucasfilm. Here’s Lucas again:
When Kathy came on, we started talking about starting up the whole franchise again. I was pulling away, and I said, ‘Well, I’ve got to build this company up so it functions without me, and we need to do something to make it attractive.’ So I said, ‘Well, let’s just do these movies.’
Lucas describes his current role with the franchise as, “I mostly say, ‘You can’t do this. You can do that … There’s a million little pieces. Or I can say, ‘He doesn’t have the power to do that, or he has to do this.’ I know all that stuff.”