Star Wars Flies to A Different Galaxy


Disney, after purchasing Star Wars from George Lucas in 2012, produced a number of movies and video games (Courtesy of Twitter)

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, it came with an expectation. George Lucas was past his filmmaking career and wanted to place his franchise in the hands of someone who could build upon its legacy, with no one better to do so than Disney. Initially, it all seemed well and good, with Disney to reignite the Star Wars flame through new films, merchandise, video games, television shows and more.

However, since these initial promises were made, this relationship has degraded. That initial deal, in which Lucas was to play a major role moving forward, has drastically changed. The handshake deal in which Disney would use Lucas’ scripts for its future films in the Skywalker saga was put aside. The eighth film in the Skywalker saga, “The Last Jedi” was met with tremendous controversy, and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” failed significantly at the domestic box office.

Struggles to transcend the films as Star Wars: Battlefront II” faced one of the biggest video game controversies in history and produced the most downvoted comment on Reddit, and the massive Galaxy’s Edge theme park is at a point of desperation just a few months after its opening.

The Star Wars name is not what it used to be. While the prequel films have continued to gain popularity as fans age and the beloved originals have maintained their charm, people are becoming increasingly disinterested, some frustrated — for reasons both justifiable and others completely absurd — with the “Disney Star Wars.”

However, in the past few months, things have seemed to turn in a positive direction. J.J. Abrams’ final film in the Skywalker saga, “The Rise of Skywalker,” has been met with intrigue, “Star Wars: Battlefront II” has become a wonderful experience for fans of all eras, and another video game, “Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order,” is set to release in November along with the television show “The Mandalorian” on the new streaming platform Disney+.

Also coming to Disney+ is the phenomenal television show “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” for its long-awaited conclusion along with multiple shows with characters ranging from the fan-favorite Obi-Wan Kenobi to Cassian Andor. Furthermore, a man lauded for his work with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Kevin Feige, has agreed to produce a Star Wars film. With his presence, a few of the beloved MCU actors have expressed interest in making their appearance in the Star Wars universe as well. Disney has seemed to gain a greater understanding of the variety that exists within the franchise, aiming to deliver content from all eras of “Star Wars” and for all generations of fans.

It is this optimistic future, along with the incredibly important Episode IX just a couple months away from its theatrical release, that makes the comments in Bob Iger’s recently released autobiography, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” even more bizarre.

Iger’s memoir discusses his career and the effort it took to build Disney into the global giant it has become. Within it are numerous details of Disney’s business dealings that were previously unknown, such as their thoughts about buying Twitter or Iger’s own thoughts about running for president of the United States, which he relates to George Lucas and “Star Wars.”

Iger discusses the initial purchase in 2012, specifically that the deal was broken twice before being made official. There was agreement on price but contention over Lucas accepting a diminished role within the franchise. Iger spoke with an entitlement to the license, as if Lucas had not been the one who created it in the first place.

“It was difficult for [Lucas] to cede control of the ongoing Star Wars saga, and it made no sense for us not to have it,” said Iger.

It was as part of this struggle that Disney agreed to purchase Lucas’ three scripts for a final trilogy in the Skywalker saga as part of the deal, and while there was no official agreement, Lucas thought the company was going to follow his story. Those stories were instantly thrown into the trash can.

As a result, Iger states that“George felt betrayed” by the ways in which Disney treated him and his franchise. When Lucas discovered that Disney ignored his stories, he was not pleased saying that there was nothing new within “The Force Awakens” after seeing the film for the first time.

While some may criticize Lucas’ work with dialogue, his ability to create unique worlds and characters is one of the best, and that skill has thus far been lost in Disney’s continuation of the saga.

This disappointment was so considerable that Lucas did not even want to attend the premiere of the film something that Disney viewed as essential, ultimately convincing Lucas to attend with a smile on his face. Along with the first reviews of the film being largely positive, all seemed to be thriving between Lucas and Disney when, in reality, this was not the case.

As any CEO would do, Iger defends the decisions of his company in its direction for the Star Wars saga, but also admits some faults, primarily in its decision to release a film every calendar year. While Iger can admit his mistakes, nothing can change what has come from Disney so far, something with which many fans are not too pleased.

As Disney tries to sell an already weary fanbase on its latest film, its betrayal of the admired creator of Star Wars will certainly not help its cause. As people think about purchasing their tickets to the next Star Wars film, it would be foolish to believe they would not keep this fact in the back of their minds and approach the future with a great sense of doubt and apprehension.

Despite all the drama surrounding Star Wars and the timing of Iger’s comments, most important is the quality of what comes next, of the exciting possibilities that lie ahead for fans of all kind. Star Wars would not be what it is without an essence of hope like that instilled by Episode IX and Disney, but it is understandable why many do not hope after what has come before. It has become increasingly difficult to defend Disney, and if this upcoming film and opportunistic future fails, then the future of the franchise will be even murkier.