Yes, YOU! You there with your internet connection and your dislike of Jar Jar Binks and monotonous pod races. YOU caused this!
Bloomberg Businessweek has published an in-depth look into the lead up to, and then final sale of the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas to Disney. The rather lengthy but highly engaging article has a handful of revelations and surprises in it. Apparently Lucas sold the beloved future films after seeing how Disney handled the purchase of Marvel and Pixar (that is, didn’t change a damn thing and kept cashing the moneychecks.) Oh and the whole J.J. Abrams as director of Episode VII? Apparently new LucasFilm boss Kathleen Kennedy practically stalked him till he signed up. Also, Lucas didn’t want Disney’s people get their mousy little paws all over his precious plots for the next trilogy:
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.'”
What counts as the saddest thing I have read all day (like ‘three legged kitten trying to climb stairs’ sad) is that when it came time to finally sign the deal, Lucas was “melancholy” and as Disney CEO Robert Iger said in his own words, “was Darth Vader.” – DAMN IT, Now I have the image of a sad-sack George Lucas all depressed. His neck pouch half inflated as he signs away not only our childhood but his life’s work. I’ve spent the past decade and a half filled with nerd rage over what the prequels wrought only to have those flames doused by the thought of a single tear rolling down his plump and swollen cheek.
On the topic of all the ‘net based hate we have all tossed in Lucas’ vague direction for what he did 14 years ago, apparently we were what made him so sad that he sold off Star Wars without much of a fight:
The criticism got to Lucas. He found it difficult to be creative when people were calling him a jerk. “It was fine before the Internet,” he says. “But now with the Internet, it’s gotten very vicious and very personal. You just say, ‘Why do I need to do this?'”
What they failed to report is that afterwards Lucas put in a Sarah Mclachlan CD and just sat in the dark for a few hours…
If you want to read the whole thing (and you should since it’s a great read) head over to Bloomberg Businessweek.