EDITORIAL: George Lucas Versus “The White Slavers” (AKA Disney)

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While recently on The Charlie Rose Show, George Lucas took time to continue his public war with Disney calling them white slavers in regards to how they have handled his franchise.

George Lucas: These are my kids.

Charlie Rose: All those Star Wars films.

George Lucas: All the Star Wars films.

Charlie Rose: They were your kids?

George Lucas: Well, they are. I loved them, I created them. I’m very intimately involved in them. And, obviously, to sell them off—

Charlie Rose: And you sold them.

George Lucas: I sold them off to the the white slavers who take these things and…[laughs]

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In the last few months, Lucas has had no problems slamming Disney and The Force Awakens. Any good relationship that they had after the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney is gone.

Lucas has said a lot of nasty things about Disney and his relationship recently comparing their relationship to a breakup:

George Lucas: “When you break up with somebody, the first rule is no phone calls. The second rule, you don’t go over to their house and drive by to see what they’re doing. The third one is you don’t show up at their coffee shop and say you are going to burn it . . . You just say, Nope, gone, history, I’m moving forward.”

The other thing with a breakup that George doesn’t get is you don’t keep talking about it either. If anything it shows that he is still hurt and he is having more problems with the breakup then the other party.

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The problem with George Lucas is he is acting like a spoiled little brat. I had respect for Lucas in the past and have held off from saying exactly how I feel about him in regards to his public blasting of Disney but to call Disney a bunch of “white slavers” is wrong and very irresponsible on his part.

Hey George, if you consider the Star Wars films your children, not only would you never have sold them to “white slavers”, you would have never sold them period. How can he expect people to feel any pity for him knowing that he got 4 billion dollars? Did he need the money? Nope. To be honest, he did donate a large percentage of his proceeds to charity. I just think he is getting carried away trying to make Disney look like the bad guy and that he was the poor innocent victim.

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The main reason Disney purchased Star Wars was to make money. At the end of the day, Disney is a business and a businesses’ ultimate goal is to make as much money as possible. Are they going overboard marketing and merchandising Star Wars? I’d say so, but again they are in the business to make money. But I also think they are going out of their way to make sure that no harm comes to The Star Wars Franchise that George created. So many people love Star Wars and they are hiring the best people and consultants to make sure they don’t screw things up.

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The problem really started when Lucas decided to bring back more Star Wars film in the form of The Prequels. In the past when he worked on The Original Trilogy, he had help from people working with him about the story and what was told what seemed to work and what didn’t. The Prequels may have been a financial success but for the most part they were blasted as inferior movies.

The public began to lose faith in George as a good storyteller and movie maker. I can somewhat understand how he feels because he created Star Wars. Lucas must have felt very hurt that something that wouldn’t have existed without him, was better off without him in the eyes of the public. There are many Prequel haters out there, myself included. There are some good scenes in The Prequels, but very few and very far, far between. The writing is horrible, the films were boring, the acting was terrible, the CGI was more distracting than good and it was all due to George Lucas being a control freak and not wanting any help with the movies.

Lucas’ problem is he just doesn’t understand why people don’t like them. I could sit down with him for 5 minutes (although I could probably spend several hours) and explain to him why people don’t like them.

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It was one thing to ruin The Prequels but did he really have to go back and continually mess with The Original Trilogy by making changes that offended fans of The Original Trilogy? The one scene that give most fans a conniption fit is Lucas changing the scene in A New Hope where Han shot Greedo first. Lucas’ mentality was that he was concerned that by Han shooting first it would tarnish his good guy image. He even went as far to say that Greedo always shot first in The Original Trilogy but the camera angle captured it wrong. No one bought that.

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My problem lies in Return Of The Jedi in which he changed the Force Ghost of Anakin Skywalker from original actor, Sebastian Shaw, to Prequel actor, Hayden Christensen. I’m OK if others love The Prequels. Let them enjoy them and more power to them, but I don’t like The Prequels and don’t need to be reminded that they exist, if I don’t want to, especially while watching The Original Trilogy.

Many fans complained that they did not like the changes Lucas made and that they wanted the unaltered version of The Original Trilogy back. Lucas’ answer to the fans was that while making The Special Editions, he used the original negatives and basically destroyed parts of The Original Trilogy that he took out. Basically saying, you have to like my new versions because that’s the version I like. The Original Trilogy gave it’s life so that The Special Editions could live.

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Getting back to The Force Awakens, Lucas had not seen the movie until a week or two before the release. Disney and Kathleen Kennedy had been asking Lucas to view it for some time to get his opinion of their work. Before the film’s release, Steven Spielberg had seen the movie three times but Lucas had difficulty finding time to see it just once? For Lucas to go out of his way to avoid seeing it was just showing that he was pissed off that Disney and Lucasfilm did not rely on him for input while the film was being made. And knowing Lucas, I am sure he wanted Disney to use “all” of his ideas. My personal opinion is that The Force Awakens may not be a perfect movie, but it is a great Star Wars film and it’s the “Gone With The Wind” of Star Wars films if you put it against any of The Prequel films.

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The person I feel bad for is Kathleen Kennedy, who Lucas hand chose to succeed him as head of Lucasfilm. She is stuck right in the middle. Kennedy has been long term friends with Lucas but also works for Disney. I am sure she understands why Disney did not want Lucas’ treatment to be part of the film because, like most people, she understands why people did not like The Prequels. Let’s not forget what he also did to Indiana Jones with his treatment for the last movie. Because George wasn’t willing to say it himself, Kennedy was asked whether Lucas finally saw the film and she gave the diplomatic answer saying that George saw the film and he liked it. But then a few days later George was asked to elaborate on what he liked about the film and he said:

George Lucas: “I think the fans are going to love it. It’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”

That’s basically saying, I didn’t like it, but fans, who are not as at my level of thinking, will.

George has been on record saying that his ideas for Episode VII would be totally different:

George Lucas: “The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, “We want to make something for the fans.” So, I said all I wanted to do was tell a story about what happened. It’s called space opera, but people don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems—it’s not about spaceships. So they decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing so I decided, fine…. I’ll go my way and I let them go their way.”

Sorry George, but with your track record I’d rather spend my money on a movie that I am going to enjoy, even if it similar to previous Star Wars movies, then to spend money on something that is completely new but not enjoyable at all to watch.

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While I was writing this article, Lucas came out and said that he didn’t mean to call Disney white slavers.

George Lucas: “I want to clarify my interview on the Charlie Rose Show. It was for the Kennedy Center Honors and conducted prior to the premiere of the film. I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and for that I apologize.”

“I have been working with Disney for 40 years and chose them as the custodians of Star Wars because of my great respect for the company and Bob Iger’s leadership. Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise. I rarely go out with statements to clarify my feelings but I feel it is important to make it clear that I am thrilled that Disney has the franchise and is moving it in such exciting directions in film, television and the parks. Most of all I’m blown away with the record breaking blockbuster success of the new movie and am very proud of (J.J. Abrams) and (Kathleen Kennedy).”

“Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise. I rarely go out with statements to clarify my feelings but I feel it is important to make it clear that I am thrilled that Disney has the franchise and is moving it in such exciting directions in film, television and the parks.”

It sounds to me that George thinks he can use a Jedi mind trick and hope that we forgot all of the things he said in the past about Disney and The Force Awakens. Well, he did apologize, but he seriously needs to just let it go. Still not sure if his comments are sincere or just damage control. Only time will tell and I hope he has learned a lesson and starts to work with Disney and Lucasfilm instead of against them. Hopefully he will personally apologize to Bob Iger and maybe they can work in bringing Lucas back as a consultant.

It’s a new year, George. Do your best to let go of your hate because you know what that leads to if you don’t.

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About the author

Joe Hogarty

Joe moved from New York to Florida back in 1997. He currently resides in St. Petersburg and visits the parks frequently. His first visit to the Magic Kingdom was when he was 8 years old back in 1974. Joe originally originally started as a photographer for WDWNT and is now the host of WDWNT: Nerd Alert, our movie reviewer and reports the news for WDWNT. You can contact Joe through email at [email protected]

14 Comments

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  • Editorial-
    noun
    1.
    an article in a newspaper or other periodical or on a website presenting the opinion of the publisher, writer, or editor.

  • It’s worth noting Lucas’ shrugging, egotistical, ungrateful response to being a Kennedy Honoree in the context of this discussion as well. Lucas appears to be headed to the dark side.

  • His “issue” and what I keep going back to, is the line where he says Disney just “wants to make something for the fans”. Well yeahh, isnt that the point??? With out the fans, there would be no need to make a movie. Think of fans, or any ticket holder for that matter, as a business’s customer. As such, shouldn’t he strive to give the product that the market wants? Many a business have failed otherwise.

    • Very true Ken. Lucas is an artist that could care less about making money but he wants to be able to tell “his” story. That is great but the story has to be good and enjoyable for the fans, not just the artist. Star Wars has become a global phenomenon to the point that yes it is his creation but the stories and characters are very important to so many people’s lives and we never want to see them mishandled.

      Look at those Transformers movies. They stink but they make billions of dollars each time they are released. I wouldn’t mind the production company making all of that money if those movies were good. I’m glad Disney is making a ton of money from The Force Awakens because they gave us a really good movie. We got quality for a change. They deserve it.

      I have seen The Force Awakens four times and it gets better each time. That is what people want to see. Something that they enjoy and can continue to enjoy for many years to come.

      I’m just glad that I can enjoy a good Star Wars movie again. It’s been a long time since I could say that.

  • Like it or not, the Prequels are Star Wars. It’s just not the Star Wars we saw as kids. Different time, technology and of course, age. I don’t hate the PT. It’s not as good as the OT, but it has it’s place. Sounds like the writer needs to let go of his hate too. Move along. Move along.

    • I know The Prequels are Star Wars. Doesn’t mean I have to like them. And if you like them, I cant take that away from you. My point was Lucas called Disney “white slavers” and has been bad mouthing Disney for months because he was pissed that they didn’t use his ideas for Episode VII. The Prequels are bad to me and I know I am not the only one. People lost faith in Lucas’ storytelling. I am sure if Lucas’ stories were good Disney would have used them, but they were probably just like The Prequels and Indiana Jones And The Chrystal Skull. If Lucas wants to talk crap about Disney he has every right to but dont take it public and definitely dont tell the press. That was his big mistake.

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