George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, has apologised for using a “very inappropriate analogy” after he described Disney as “white slavers” when talking about its purchase of the film franchise from him.
He has now backtracked on comments he made to the talkshow host and journalist Charlie Rose, in which he said he had sold his “kids … to the white slavers that take these things”.
“I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy, and for that I apologise,” he said in a statement, in which he went on to say that he had chosen Disney as the “custodians” of Star Wars because of his great respect for the company.
“I rarely go out with statements to clarify my feelings, but I feel it is important to make it clear that I am thrilled that Disney has the franchise and is moving it in such exciting directions in film, television and the parks.”
Lucas also said he was “blown away with the record-breaking blockbuster success” of the new film and was very proud of its director and producer, JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy.
The statement, issued on Thursday, was markedly different in tone from the interview which took place before the 14 December premiere of the film, where the Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger thanked Lucas for his “sheer genius” in creating Star Wars.
The seventh episode of the Star Wars saga is on track to become the most successful film of all time, concluding a record-breaking year for the movie industry. It has become the fastest film to reach $1bn (£677m) at the international box office and, after less than two weeks, it has taken a spot in the all-time UK top 10, beating all Batman and Hobbit films. The $200m budget adventure is now chasing the global champion Avatar, which made $2.7bn in 2009.
Lucas, who oversaw both the groundbreaking original Star Wars trilogy, which appeared in cinemas between 1977 and 1983, and the much-maligned 1999-2005 prequel trilogy, said in the interview that Disney had not wanted his involvement in the new instalment.
“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that,” he said.
“They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway, but if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control to do that any more, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, ‘OK, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”
Lucas sold his company, Lucasfilm, to Disney in 2012 for just over $4bn. Disney has plans for two more Star Wars films and three anthology films set in the Star Wars universe over the next few years.
The commercial success of The Force Awakens, which brings back the original cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher and introduces characters played by Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, has been matched by universally strong critical support, with the movie touted as a possible awards contender.
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