Lucas sorry for Disney criticism

George Lucas.
George Lucas.

NEW YORK • Star Wars creator George Lucas apologised on Thursday for remarks he made in a recent interview with journalist Charlie Rose, in which he described the new film as too "retro" for his taste and jokingly compared Disney, which bought the rights to the franchise, to "white slavers" who had bought his children.

After his comments were widely reported, he said in a statement: "I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and, for that, I apologise."

The hour-long interview, broadcast on Dec 25 and released online this week, focused on his legacy, which was celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors last month.

He criticised the film industry for focusing on profit over storytelling, saying film-makers in the Soviet Union had more freedom than their counterparts in Hollywood who "have to adhere to a very narrow line of commercialism".

He 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 US$4 billion in 2012. 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.

He said he had begun working on another Star Wars film before the sale, including preparing story treatments and "working with a writer". However, 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 US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) since its release on Dec 18 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.

"They wanted to do a retro movie," he said. "I don't like that. Every movie, I worked very hard to make them different, make them completely different, with different planets, different spaceships, to make it new."

In his statement on Thursday, Lucas said he was thrilled about Disney's plans for the franchise. "Most of all, I'm blown away by the record-breaking blockbuster success of the new movie," he said.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2016, with the headline 'Lucas sorry for Disney criticism'. Print Edition | Subscribe