We like to hold the things we make near and dear, treating them as if they were our babies. It's no different with George Lucas and Star Wars.
As you might know, Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney in 2012—and so was Star Wars. Right now, a third trilogy in the Star Wars film series is planned, and it'll be directed by JJ Abrams.
Having the whole thing actually happen, however, required negotiations between Lucasfilm and Disney about the future of the series. According to a recent article by Businessweek, those negotiations were kind of tricky. First, Lucas wanted to make sure that some of the people who had worked on Star Wars before would still be able to do so in the future.
A simple and understandable request. Disney agreed to ample collaboration even if "Disney, not Lucasfilm, would have final say over any future movies."
Once work started on the new movies, things got a little dicier:
The reality of giving up control weighed on him, though. At the end of every week before she flew home to Los Angeles, Kennedy says, she asked Lucas how he was feeling. Sometimes he seemed at peace. Other times, not. "I'm sure he paused periodically to question whether he was really ready to walk away," she says.
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.' "
It was only after Disney agreed that solely a few select people could see the treatments that Lucas actually turned them over. Then came sealing the deal—signing papers and whatnot.
At the end of October, Iger arranged for Lucas to fly down to Disney's Burbank headquarters and sign the papers. He thought Lucas seemed melancholy. "When he put that pen to the piece of paper, I didn't detect a hesitation," Iger says. "But I did detect there was a lot of emotion. He was saying goodbye."
When you consider that Lucas previously controlled "every aspect of Star Wars, from set design to lunchboxes," his reaction makes sense. Of course saying goodbye wasn't easy. Still, ouch. Hopefully Disney does something worthwhile with the property.
How Disney Bought Lucasfilm-and Its Plans for 'Star Wars' [Businessweek]