So, let’s just recap where we’re at. In February, we heard a lot of chatter about the original “Star Wars” cast returning for “Star Wars: Episode 7” with Harrison Ford reportedly confirmed, Carrie Fisher seemingly saying she was back too (though her rep now says she was joking) while Mark Hamill stated he actually hadn’t signed yet. All of this talk was further buoyed when more news surfaced that said the trio were indeed coming back, and the plot for ‘Episode 7’ would center on their children. In short, there have been a lot of signs suggesting they’ll be back, but not much in the way of official word. Well, George Lucas himself has now commented.
Bloomberg Business Week has a feature article on Disney‘s purchase of Lucasfilm and the “Star Wars” franchise, and they manage to get some time with Lucas. They ask him straight out if Hamill, Fisher and Ford will be back. “We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ ” he said. “Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.”
Indeed, it’s already known that Lucas had met with at least Hamill and Fisher prior to the Disney sale, but he won’t go so far as to reveal if they really will be involved. “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not,” he adds.
And while “Star Wars” fans everywhere are excited for the franchise to be moving again, there was a time when Lucas had enough of lightsabres and Death Stars, and it had to do with the reception to his prequels. “It was fine before the Internet,” he told BBW. “But now with the Internet, it’s gotten very vicious and very personal. You just say, ‘Why do I need to do this?’ ”
But as always, Lucas can’t help but still be involved with the “Star Wars” universe. The story goes that as he was considering retirement, Disney approached him with the idea to purchase Lucasfilm, and his interest perked back up again. While he still wanted to step away, Kathleen Kennedy was hired to chair Lucasfilm and produce. “When Kathy came on, we started talking about starting up the whole franchise again,” he 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 was involved with Pixar, before it was sold to Steve Jobs (who then sold the animation powerhouse to Disney), and he liked that the mouse house gave them autonomy to pursue their projects. And while the $4.05 billion dollar deal included the company’s Holocron — an exhaustive database of 17,000 characters in the “Star Wars” universe — as well as Lucas’ all-important input, Disney stresses that any “Star Wars” decisions now belong to them. “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,” Walt Disney chairman Alan Horn said.
As it stands, everything else about the future of the franchise is under lock and key, but Lucas — who has delivered treatments for all three sequels — is continuing to consult. “I mostly say, ‘You can’t do this. You can do that,’ ” he explains. “You know, ‘The cars don’t have wheels. They fly with antigravity.’ There’s a million little pieces. Or I can say, ‘He doesn’t have the power to do that, or he has to do this.’ I know all that stuff.”
Meanwhile, Iger confirms Disney wants to expand merchandise sales, and does say that Lucasfilm and ABC are indeed talking about a “Star Wars” TV show, something that surfaced back in January. Yet for all this wheeling and dealing, Lucas claims he’s just a moviemaker. “I’ve never been that much of a money guy,” he said. “I’m more of a film guy, and most of the money I’ve made is in defense of trying to keep creative control of my movies.”