At this point, it’s definitely safe to say that a lot of people are happy with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The J.J. Abrams-directed sequel to George Lucas’ seminal space opera series has bulldozed every box-office record in sight, earning nearly universally glowing reviews (currently, it sits at a 93 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). And, after “an unprecedented outcry” from members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the film has even been named as a last-minute 11th nominee (out of 10) for this year’s Critics’ Choice Award for best picture.
In all of this, though, there has still been a question about what Lucas himself thought of the new movie.
The answer, apparently, is maybe not quite as much as everybody else.
In a 55-minute interview with Charlie Rose, touching on everything from Lucas’ desire to focus on more experimental, personal films to the mythical underpinnings of the Star Wars universe, the 71-year-old writer-director-producer opened up about “The Force Awakens.”
After comparing his decision to sell his company, Lucasfilm, to Disney for $4 billion in 2012 to a bad breakup or a divorce, he said of Abrams’ film, “(Disney) wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie, I worked very hard to make completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, to make it new."
He also mentioned that Disney was not “keen” to have him involved on the new movies, saying, the producers wanted “to make something for the fans” and “do their own thing.”
“I said, ‘If I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble because they’re not going to do what I want them to do, and I don’t have the control to do that anymore, and all I’m going to do is muck everything up,’ so I said, ‘OK, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”
On Dec. 31, Lucas issued a statement to clarify some of his remarks, including one “very inappropriate,” as he put it, analogy in which he compared the Star Wars movies to his kids and Disney to “white slavers.”
He also elaborated somewhat on his view of Disney’s handling of the series he created, saying (via USA Today), "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 (Disney CEO) 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.”
As of right now, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has grossed more than $750 million in the U.S. for a worldwide box office totaling just more than $1.5 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.
Disney's next movie set in Lucas' galaxy far, far away, Gareth Edwards' “Rogue One,” starring Felicity Jones, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk, opens Dec. 16.
Jeff Peterson is a native of Utah Valley and studied humanities and history at Brigham Young University.