George Lucas is apologizing, but it may be too late. Like Pinnochio, Lucas’ signature creation grew up and left him. Sure, he got a huge lump sum payment from Disney to part with Total Control of Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean the separation doesn’t sting.
Worse, fans are elated with the change. Even die-hard Star Wars fans hated the prequel trilogy, with its clunky dialog, poor plotting, and ridiculous CGI – all hallmarks of Lucas’ direct involvement.
But now the latest iteration of the mythos is out, this time completely under Disney’s control, and fans love it. SW: The Force Awakens earned over a billion at the box office in record time…apart from Lucas’ “genius” and it seems the guy can’t quite handle the truth.
The entertainment media went wild recently when, in an interview, a clearly put out Lucas compared Disney to “white slavers” and then went on to pan the new movie. Based on the reaction of fans, nobody was picking up what Lucas was putting down. They love him for creating Star Wars, but he is quickly becoming reviled for both what he allowed it to become (see the “updated” re-releases of the Original Trilogy) and for his current crankiness about the success of the latest movie.
After massive international fan uproar, Lucas tried to stop the bleeding with an apology: “I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and for that I apologize … 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 directors in film, television and the parks.”
Yes, clearly, Lucas is sorry, not sorry. He still hates losing control, but he would hate losing all the cash Disney is making him as they resurrect the brand he pushed wildly off course.
On one hand, it’s understandable. As Lucas aptly said: “These are my kids. All the Star Wars films. I love them, I created them, I’m very intimately involved in them.”
At that point, everyone was nodding, completely understanding. That’s when Lucas came out with the “white slavers” remark. He then added, “They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie, I worked very hard to make them different, make them completely different with different planets, different spaceships, to make it new.”
And here is where Lucas fails most in understanding the world. Fans don’t necessarily want “new” and “experimental.” Bands make that mistake all the time. Sure, you own the idea, but when something is this loved, your fans “own” it too. You need to take that into consideration. When they want Han and Luke and Vader, don’t give them Jar Jar Binks.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of NY based Public Relations company 5WPR. 5W Public Relations has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Denver.