Original Star Wars Cast On Board, And More Amazing Lucasfilm-Disney Sale Details
“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.”
Oh, George Lucas. Even though he's no longer actively the head of Lucasfilm, and has handed over the development and direction of future Star Wars films to other people, the man who invented Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi still has a ton of knowledge, and not as much hesitation to share it as the tight-lipped Star Wars Episode VII director J.J. Abrams. Near the end of a fantastic Business Week article about how Disney bought Lucasfilm, Lucas confirms what we kind of already knew: he was on the phone with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill before the deal went down, he wants them in future films, and even though nothing is official yet, they're almost certainly coming back.
That's just one of the many fascinating tidbits about how this massive deal happened, with remarkable access to Disney CEO Bob Iger and Lucas, including the details of the first breakfast meeting where Lucas suggested he was finally ready to retire and sell his company. "Fresh from his daily workout, Iger ordered a yogurt parfait. Lucas treated himself to one of the Brown Derby’s larger omelets." Later the two went on to a public ceremony celebrating the re-opening of Disney World's Star Tours ride, and "then it was time for the two to arm themselves for a mock light saber battle to open the attraction."
For the less silly stuff, you can also learn how difficult it was for Lucas to hand over the reins, to the point that when it came time for the Disney people to talk seriously about mapping out the next three Star Wars films, Lucas wouldn't hand over the treatments he'd written. Once he did, he only allowed the studio's top executives to read them, and forced them to sign an agreement that they wouldn't share them. And there's also more detail on how Kathleen Kennedy, now the CEO of Lucasfilm, convinced J.J. Abrams to take over the directing job, essentially completely reversing his initial decision to turn it down.
Star Wars is obviously an enormous business, even more so than a series of stories, and these kinds of articles focus more on the dollars and corporate strategy than the actual film products (there's even a chart that shows the movies as the least profitable of the Star Wars ventures).
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