STAR WARS & DISNEY: Questions of Creative Control
Businessweek.com has posted an in depth article that traces in detail the evolution of the sale of Lucsfilm to Disney. The piece features interviews with all the major players, including Disney's Bob Iger, Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy.
Perhaps most interesting - and of keen interest to the fans - was Lucas' concern about creative control of the storyline for the next trilogy, even after the sale. That's conveyed in the following excerpt from the piece:
"Lucas had paid close attention to how Disney had handled Pixar, which he still refers to as 'my company.' He founded it as the Lucasfilm Computer Division in 1979, and sold it to [Steve] Jobs six years later. He calls Disney’s decision not to meddle with Pixar 'brilliant.' If he sold Lucasfilm to Disney, he figured there might still be a way to retain some influence over his fictitious universe. Much would depend on who ran Lucasfilm after he retired."
That person, of course, was Kathleen Kennedy, who immediately accepted the offer. Details the story, "'When Kathy came on, we started talking about starting up the whole franchise again,' he [Lucas] says. '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 and Kennedy hired screenwriter Michael Arndt, who won an Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine, to begin work on the script for Episode VII. They enlisted Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the screenplays for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, to act as a consultant. Lucas started talking to members of the original Star Wars cast, such as Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, about appearing in the films. In June 2012, he called Iger. In the five months of negotiations that followed, Lucas argued that the best people to make the next Star Wars trilogy would be his longtime Lucasfilm executives. 'I had a group of very, very talented people that had worked for the company for many, many years and really knew how to market Star Wars, how to do the licensing and make the movies,' Lucas explains. 'I said, "I think it would be wise to keep some of this intact. We need a few people to oversee the property, you know, who are just dedicated to doing that, so we’re sure we get this right.”
"Iger understood Lucas’s concerns. 'George said to me once that when he dies, it’s going to say "Star Wars creator George Lucas,"' he says. Still, Iger wanted to make sure that Lucas, who was used to controlling every aspect of Star Wars, from set design to lunchboxes, understood that Disney, not Lucasfilm, would have final say over any future movies. 'We needed to have an understanding that if we acquire the company, despite tons of collegial conversations and collaboration, at the end of the day, we have to be the ones who sign off on whatever the plans are,' says Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios.
"...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."'
"Once Lucas got assurances from Disney in writing about the broad outlines of the deal, he agreed to turn over the treatments—but insisted they could only be read by Iger, Horn, and Kevin Mayer, Disney’s executive vice president for corporate strategy. 'We promised,' says Iger. 'We had to sign an agreement.'
"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."
For MUCH more, just click on the link in the usual place.
: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct
. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE