George Lucas has apologised for remarks he made in a recent interview with Charlie Rose, in which he described the new Star Wars film as too "retro" for his taste and jokingly compared the Walt Disney company – which bought the rights to the franchise in 2012 – to "white slavers" who had bought his children.
After his comments were widely reported, Lucas said in a statement, “I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy, and for that I apologise.” The hour-long interview, broadcast on December 25th and released online this week, focused on Lucas’s legacy, which was celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors this month.
But he was harsh in criticising the film industry for focusing on profit over storytelling.
Lucas said that filmmakers in the Soviet Union had more freedom than their counterparts in Hollywood, who, he maintained, "have to adhere to a very narrow line of commercialism". Lucas appeared particularly unhappy with the direction the Star Wars franchise had taken since he sold the rights to it, along with Lucasfilm, his company, to Disney for $4 billion.
He compared the sale to a divorce. "These are my kids. All the Star Wars films," he said. "I love them, I created them, I'm very intimately involved in them." He added: "And I sold them to the white slavers that take these things and..." before trailing off with a laugh.
Lucas said that he had begun working on another Star Wars film before the sale, including preparing story treatments and "working with a writer". But, he said, Disney was not "that keen to have me involved".
The film that Disney made, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has grossed more than $1 billion since its release on December 18th and received mostly positive reviews from critics.
But on Rose’s show, Lucas criticised the producers and writers of the latest film for emphasising familiar elements of his previous work over innovation and storytelling of their own.
Lucas said that he was thrilled about Disney’s plans for the franchise. “Most of all, I’m blown away with the record-breaking blockbuster success of the new movie,” he said. – (The New York Times News Service)