1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Lucas felt betrayed by Disney

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by KING_KENOBI, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. superstardestroyer-1

    superstardestroyer-1 Jedi Grand Master star 3

    May 20, 2002
    The whole thing is interesting to me. I'm also in the camp that believes that George sold the company. He made his $4 billion. If the story treatments or the direction of the franchise meant that much to him, he should have gotten certain assurances in writing. The fact that he didn't, leads me to believe he didn't care that much at the time. I think it's only since he's seen the new movies on the screen that his pride has kicked in.

    But, I think it's fair to discuss how we got here. By the late 2000's, you had George, as a filmmaker, beaten down into semi retirement. Despite the revisionist history on the internet, the PT was just as divisive in the late 90's to mid 00's as the ST is now. You had fewer outlets for fans to weigh in, but I was on this message board and I honestly don't see much difference between the reaction now vs. then. You had actors multiple actors in the saga pushed to mental breakdown over the way their characters were savaged.

    That's why I have a hard time with fans online acting shocked and outraged towards Disney based on what's in Iger's biography. I've seen grown men weeping in youtube videos talking about how Disney did George wrong. I've seen some say things like "time has vindicated the prequels." I'm sorry, but that's pure backpedaling to me. I've said it in other places, but I firmly believe that the stylistic choices in the ST were a direct response to the prequl backlash.

    So, with the true reactions to the prequels in mind, why would Disney want to commit to using George's treatments? I remember the day Lucasfilm was sold and the celebration online. The number of posts saying "Disney makes great movies. Look at Marvel. It's time to get some fresh blood in there. Time has passed George by..." If you'd asked me back then, I would have been shocked had they used George's complete treatments. I would have argued they'd do exactly what they've done: use bits and pieces here and there.

    Bottom line: we've gotten the sequel trilogy we deserve....for better or worse. I've thoroughly enjoyed the sequel trilogy, but we've influenced the stylistic choices they've made every step of the way. The Prequels weren't well received. So, we got TFA as a nostalgia piece that in many ways is a reimagining of A New Hope. When that was pointed out, we got something more intentionally divisive for the second act. Now, the 3rd act may be a course correction again based on fan response.
  2. Outsourced

    Outsourced Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2017
    Quoting, because just liking it wasn't enough.
  3. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    I agree with a lot of what you say (the extreme reactions from fome of the fans are so predictable that they seems childish), but specially with this part.

    For years (between 1999-2011 mainly) Luacs openly dismissed any idea of the ST, claiming that they never existed in the first place, and that the story ended with Episode 6. While that clearly was not the case back in 1977-1980, I fully believe that Lucas embraced the idea of a six-part Saga when he created the PT and saw how well it worked as the first half of a story about "the fall and rebirth of Anakin Skywalker".

    So, for years Lucas had no interest in doing any ST, and actually denied its existence. That shows to me that the man had not any real interest in continuing the story with a new generation of Skywalkers.

    I fully believe that the idea of making the ST came AFTER he decided to sell the company. I know the details are a bit murky here, but I think that's the only logical explanation. It doesn't make sense that Lucas had a sudden blast of inspiration in 2011-2012, and started writing a story he felt was really interesting and essential to the Saga, ONLY to sell it to Disney immediately. If he had a real desire to make the ST he could've done it. He could've acted as an executive producer if he didn't want to direct them. But to actually sell the company before making the ST has no logic.

    That's why I think it's the other way around: in 2011 Lucas felt that he was done with SW and filmmaking in general (thanks to the bashing from fans, in part), and wanted to ensure the continuation of his company and his SW legacy by selling it to Disney. But of course, he can't sell Lucasfilm with a firm veto on any new live-action SW films (he had previously claimed that there would be no live-action SW movies other than the main six). He needed to sell something that Disney could use. So, he decided to crack down a story for a possible ST. But the story didn't interest him enough to make it himself in any case.

    Now, he sells the company and says that he wants to enjoy the new films as a fan, and have other people make them (without his supervision). Of course, that's easy to say, but not easy to do. He described the process as a "divorce", and I think it's a very good description. Lucas can't avoid feeling disappointed that the movies are different from what he would've done, and can't avoid feeling sad that his stories weren't considered good enough. It's a natural reaction. But the man has been supportive of the ST, and hasn't been openly criticising it, other than the very honest interview he gave when VII came out.
  4. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 12, 2017
    Lucas denied there would be new Star Wars films all the way up to his interviews for Red Tails in early-2012. Lucas did a round of interviews to promote the release of Red Tails that included late night tv. During the interviews, he got asked about the potential for new SW films. His response was nay.

    As we know, everything changed in October 2012 with the sale to Disney. However, 2012 was already a "SW Renaissance Year." The sale to Disney was really the capstone to everything that came out in 2012. I have that Lucas denied there would be new SW films from 2005 (ROTS release) to early-2012.

    The real question is whether G. Lucas's Story Treatments for the Sequel Trilogy were different than the Script/Story Treatments that Michael Arndt drafted for Episode 7. Michael Arndt is credited as a writer for Episode 7. His contributions to writing started before JJ Abrams was confirmed as director. The key difference is that the documents Disney *purportedly purchased from Lucas may have contained story material for the Sequel Trilogy while Michael Arndt's work only involved Episode 7.

    So was Michael Arndt's writing an extension of Lucas's story treatments that got sold to Disney? I am under the impression that Lucas should have gotten a "Story Credit" for Force Awakens but perhaps not a "Written by" credit.

    (Purportedly according to Bob Iger in his new book... I write purportedly because these story treatment documents are likely kept under lock and key so few have seen them if they do exist.).
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
    indydefense likes this.
  5. Thrawn082

    Thrawn082 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 11, 2014
    He donated that all to charity BTW.
  6. KyleKartan

    KyleKartan Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Feb 4, 2004
    Yeah I had the same experience! I felt disappointed back when they started the markting of TFA and the whole practical effects talking was all over the place ("A real dessert!"). That for me was the big kick in Lucas' butt jumping on the "Prequels were all CG!" bandwagon which of course is stupid!

    The next was the Charie Rose Interview where we learned that TFA was not crafted with Lucas' Treatment..again I felt kind of disappointed and I really had a bit of difficulty watching TFA the first time with all that in mind.

    I've made my peace a long time ago though. I've accpted that its a story told by other people and it had to happen some day or we never would have more movies/TV Shows. Rogue One and TLJ too made me very very happy and Iam now very very excited for Ep IX.

    I find it funny how the Disney Critics inside the fandom jump on those news to proof how bad Disney is. Iam very sure alot of those people were among the fans who celebrated when Lucas out of the picture finally and who where those who bashed him online constantly. It's hypocritical to use the "new" informations against Disney now just because they did not get what they wanted. Here are the facts: a a part of the fandom HATED on Lucas since 1997 or at least 1999. Every decision he made was wrong in their eyes, he could not do right or please them. They were a part of the reason he sold in the first place ("Why would I do anymore if everyone tells you what a terrible person you are?!"). They wanted him to retire and let other people make new "better" SW. It happend. But with Lucas out of the picture it was clear that the focus of SW would change.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  7. Outsourced

    Outsourced Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2017
    Because Lucas is beyond money. The guy is worth 5.9 billion even with the money he gave away. Yeah, it's great that he donated all that money, but it's not like he drove himself into poverty. He still has a dragon's hoard of wealth just sitting around.
  8. indydefense

    indydefense Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 2, 2019
    It burns me up when people say there wasn't much of a prequel backlash! I've been told this countless times online, and it makes me feel like I'm in 1984 where the past has been "erased." And they always follow it up with "Well I always liked the prequels, so I don't know what you're talking about." I've even had people ask me for proof! They get even more incredulous when I tell them that TCW was considered a joke at best. (Fans didn't latch onto that until it had been on Netflix for a few years.)
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  9. superstardestroyer-1

    superstardestroyer-1 Jedi Grand Master star 3

    May 20, 2002
    It boggles my mind when people say there was no prequel backlash. I was one of only a couple people in my circle that liked and defended the prequels. Most called them stiff, wooden, cgi trash. I always disagreed.

    Sent from my SM-A102U using Tapatalk
    Shadao, RayO1, Deliveranze and 5 others like this.
  10. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    I wasn't overly fond of TPM but it isn't bad. I liked AOTC the most, and then RoTS.
    RayO1, Sith Lord 2015 and Darth Smurf like this.
  11. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 12, 2017
    I thought that Lucas and company hit their stride with Attack of The Clones and maintained momentum into Episode III. If there had been a made for television film set in the Prequel era to help George get back into the groove, that would have helped. Phantom Menace will always be like a made for t.v. movie to me. In the 90's, George needed to step back into the director's chair and get "in tune" with his audience again. That does not happen with a single film.

    The Prequel backlash was strongest towards the release of Phantom Menace. Attack of the Clones also got critical derision and then Lucas's ability to create box office was questioned. There was less critical derision towards Episode III.

    A director cannot get "into tune" with their audience if they are not "in tune' with themselves to begin with. And so, Phantom Menace was that way for George. He could have introduced the new era with a two-hour network television special similar to the Ewok films. This would have allowed specific characters and actors to be "tested" for public reception. Also, his CGI ideas could have been tested this way in a Star Wars environment.

    Essentially, I am a fan of the Holiday Special and its concept. SW was trying to find grounding in the television medium. Lucas should have been testing out more of his ideas in television on the frontend rather than re-iterating them on the backend after he finished each trilogy. We got that re-iteration with both the Clone Wars and earlier with the Ewok films. Television was a medium where SW could take chances on network television.

    For example, the pod racing sequence in Phantom Menace would have been great as a network television sequence before Episode I was released.

    Lucas has a right to express feelings of betrayal by anyone. His position in the bargaining with Disney was much stronger than he realized. I also disagree that Disney is the perfect company to own Lucasfilm. No one should be intimidated from expressing negative views against Disney in all of its areas of business (because that's how democracy works). As I write this, the wheels of democracy continue to roll.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 7

    Oct 4, 1998
    I have nothing to contribute to this discussion, but I have to say this thread has the most clickbait-y title ever.
  13. EntechednReformatted

    EntechednReformatted Jedi Master star 2

    Oct 17, 2009
    This is such a key point.

    BREAKING NEWS: Sequel trilogy is not like the sequel trilogy that George Lucas decided he didn't want to make.

    It's his prerogative to like them or not like them, but if he wanted to control them, he certainly could have, but didn't want to. The man's retired, apparently voluntarily. It's entirely appropriate that the directors and writers who are doing the work are making the creative decisions, and I don't see much reason to wonder "what would GL have done?"
    What he would have done is what he did do, namely, hand it over to other artists, and those other artists need to trust their instincts and not feel overly beholden to the retired guy.

    Because ultimately the best creative decisions are likely to come from people who are in the trenches every day, and not just handed down from on high by someone who wants someone else to make his movies for him. And whether the sequel trilogy is good or bad, it isn't good or bad because of how closely it follows or doesn't follow what GL hypothetically would have done if he hadn't decided that he didn't want to do it.

    Look, I don't want to just dump on GL, because I have a ton of respect for what he's done, but at the end of the day, you're in or you're out.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  14. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    Totally agreed.
    Fans who don't like the ST are using Lucas' disappointment (and the fact that they deviated from his plans) as an "objective reason" to explain why the ST is bad. The truth is, we can't know who it would turn out if Lucas had done it.
    As I've said many times, the fact that Lucas CHOSE not to make the ST himself is a very clear hint that he didn't have a strong interest in it, to begin with (which is consistent with his absolute refusal to make any more films after Sith).
  15. StarYogi

    StarYogi Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 18, 2005
    Sad as it may be to admit that George dropped the ball, these responses are spot on.
    superstardestroyer-1 likes this.
  16. Darth Dnej

    Darth Dnej Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 27, 2013
    I don't really have any sympathy or empathy for George Lucas. He seems to have a phenomenal life. However, I do like hearing his thoughts. He created Star Wars, and was the big driving force behind it for a long time. I really want him to write memoirs, and I also want to see his outlines for the sequel trilogy.
    It doesn't surprise me that he has some disappointments. No matter how good or bad the sequel trilogy could be, there would always be things he'd disagree with.
  17. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 12, 2017
    George licensed out the sequel era with the Expanded Universe. He opened the door to a wash of redundant story elements rather than succinctly conveying what happened after ROTJ in his own words. He farmed and incubated ideas through licensing rather than commit to his own story. Lucas missed his chance in the 80s and 90s when the public was ready (demanding) for him to continue the story.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  18. Gai' Phó

    Gai' Phó Jedi Padawan star 1

    May 2, 2018
    Could just be the art of misdirection. As this article reminds, even the original and prequel trilogies had to improvise based on unforeseen realities, and the basics of the sequel trilogy seem to follow Lucas's outlines, if not to the letter.
    superstardestroyer-1 likes this.
  19. Alexrd

    Alexrd Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 7, 2009
    They objectively do not. It's funny how people keep making that claim after all the evidence that was provided so far. For starters, there were no Empire wannabes in George's ST. That simply factor completely changes the backdrop of the story and the galaxy in the ST. Since there was no Empire wannabes, there would no Empire defect (Finn). Luke would have started training the protagonist in Episode VII, and would have died only in Episode IX. As opposed to being completely absent in the first movie, and being a reluctant, non-sensical vagrant in the second where he died. Luke would pass on his Jedi teachings as oppose to passing none to anyone. The mythology is completely absent from the ST where it was central in George's ST.

    As for George feeling betrayed, well, it's only natural. He was betrayed.
  20. Oissan

    Oissan Chosen One star 7

    Mar 9, 2001
    What is really funny is you admonishing others for their believe in what is going on (which they have no real proof for), only to turn around and make claims of your own for which there is no proof whatsoever as well. You have absolutely no idea what the specifics of Lucas' plan were, so stop acting like you do. Right now, all you are doing is making up what you think Lucas would have done, which is nothing beyond your own thoughts mixed with your interpretations of vague statements made by Lucas and Iger.

    And no, Lucas wasn't betrayed. Betrayal happens when someone does something even though he promised to do something different. That is clearly not the case. Disney never promised Lucas that they would use his story, therefore there was no actual betrayal. "Feeling betrayed", however, is a different matter. For while Disney didn't do anything they said they wouldn't do, Lucas clearly thought that they would use his outlines. A person can (rightfully or wrongfully) believe something and be disappointed if it doesn't happen, without there being an objective case for an actual betrayal. Unless Disney promised Lucas in the terms of the sale that they would use his outlines, there is no betrayal that took place. People having a differing understandings of what they were discussing is hardly a new concept, it happens all the time. For a betrayal you need an active act of willingly and knowingly misleading a person.
    Gai' Phó, Outsourced and KyleKartan like this.
  21. DarthPhilosopher

    DarthPhilosopher Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 23, 2011
    Yeah, I really think people should stop declaring that they know what similarities there are or aren't with GL's treatments apart from in the vaguest terms.
    Outsourced and KyleKartan like this.
  22. Ananta Chetan

    Ananta Chetan Force Ghost star 5

    Aug 11, 2013
    I still can't believe (at some level) that the one who crafted a saga about the rise of power, the balance of darkness and light and all of the other universal eternal themes would sell his company (for whatever reasons ultimately) to the largest Multimedia Empire the world has every known. Seriously, sometimes the irony of that is just too painful for me to ponder for very long or even bear.
    Wanda likes this.
  23. Gai' Phó

    Gai' Phó Jedi Padawan star 1

    May 2, 2018
    It actually was part of Iger's terms that Lucas's outlines would be used, but I'm sure that didn't dictate to what extent. During development, problems and ideas emerge that have no reason to surface at earlier stages. The philosophical undercurrents are there in the ST, but each movie has been the vision of an individual filmmaker. Perhaps they're disjointed without a single creative to guide them, but I think we'd be wise for the next film to come out before judging if they go against the saga's spirit.
    To be fair, he tried to sell Star Wars to Disney in the mid-1970s.
  24. Wanda

    Wanda Jedi Youngling

    Oct 25, 2019
    I agree with the general consensus here, there can really be no sympathy for George here. He sold the company and took the risk.

    That being said, Disney did have a decent track record of retaining previous projects, plans, and scripts after buyouts, George shouldn't have been so trusting, but they did follow a similar pattern with much success, a pattern they broke with Star Wars.
  25. Alexrd

    Alexrd Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 7, 2009
    Wrong. There is a lot that has been revealed about what is in Lucas' treatments and what didn't come up from them. All of the things I've listed have been confirmed by various people, from Pablo Hidalgo, to Hamill, Abrams, Kasdan, Lucas, Iger, etc...

    No, that is clearly the case.

    From the beginning, the idea (and what was advertised) was that Lucas' stories were to be followed through:

    "At first Lucas wouldn’t even turn over his rough sketches of the next three Star Wars films. When Disney executives asked to see them, he assured them they would be great and said they should just trust him. “Ultimately you have to say, ‘Look, I know what I’m doing. Buying my stories is part of what the deal is.’ I’ve worked at this for 40 years, and I’ve been pretty successful,” Lucas says. “I mean, I could have said, ‘Fine, well, I’ll just sell the company to somebody else.’ ”

    So the adaptation of Lucas' sequel stories were central to the sale.

    And again, Iger expressed interest and gave positive feedback on them:

    "When Iger finally got a look at the treatments, he was elated. “We thought from a storytelling perspective they had a lot of potential,” he says."

    Something he confirms again in his own book:

    "Alan Horn and I read George’s outlines and decided we needed to buy them,"

    And now, the caveat:

    "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.”

    Funny. He made it clear not in conversations with Lucas, not in friendly talks, but in the purchase agreement. Had he said he was going to discard the stories, Lucas wouldn't have sold the company to him. So he got away by nodding to Lucas "off the record" while covering his back on the contract by stating in the deal that Disney would have final say on things.

    But even after the sale, they sold us the idea that George's stories were being adapted and that he would be a consultant on the movies, helping and approving things. At least until we discovered years later, and conveniently only a few months before the release of TFA, that George's stories had been discarded very early on and that because of that decision, he wasn't involved in any creative capacity.

    Betrayals are not illegal. That Iger made sure solely on the contact that Disney wasn't legally bound to anything doesn't mean there wasn't a betrayal. Having final say on what you own is expected. But there was a trust that was broken, an indication that wasn't followed through. Iger gave all the right signals to George (and us, even after the sale happened). This is beyond explicit, even from Iger's testimony alone.