George Lucas says selling Lucasfilm to Disney was 'very, very painful'

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·3-min read
Kennedy Center Honoree and filmmaker George Lucas walks the red carpet before the Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center in Washington December 6, 2015. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
George Lucas walks the red carpet before the Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center in Washington December 6, 2015 (Credit: REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan)

While George Lucas netted a cool $4.05 billion when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney, the director has said that selling his company was 'very, very painful' nonetheless.

Lucas sold the company behind movies like the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises in 2012, for $2.2 billion in cash, and a further $1.85 billion in stocks.

It meant relinquishing the studio he founded in 1971, and allowing Disney to forge ahead with a new trilogy of Star Wars films.

Watch: Why was it so hard for George Lucas to sell Lucasfilm?

In quotes emerging from the Star Wars Archives 1999-2005 book, recently published by Taschen, Lucas says in an interview that at the time he began to mull selling, he was starting a new trilogy of movies himself.

“I talked to the actors, and I was starting to gear up,” Lucas says.

“I was also about to have a daughter with my wife. It takes 10 years to make a trilogy – episodes 1 to III took from 1995 to 2005... In 2012, I was 69, so the question was am I going to keep doing this the rest of my life? Do I want to go through this again? Finally, I decided I’d rather raise my daughter and enjoy life for a while.

Read more: George Lucas pays tribute to Dave Prowse

He goes on to say that he's 'one of those micromanager guys', and that 'on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi [directed by Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand respectively] I tried to stay out of the way, but I couldn't. I was there every day'.

Star Wars creator George Lucas (L) and director JJ Abrahms pose at the premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Hollywood, California December 14, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
George Lucas and director JJ Abrams pose at the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Credit: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian TPX)

“I’ve spent my life creating Star Wars – 40 years – and giving it up was very, very painful,” he continues. “But it was the right thing to do. I thought I was going to have a little bit more to say about the next three because I’d already started them, but they decided they wanted to do something else. Things don’t always work out the way you want it. Life is like that.”

Lucas was not happy with the sequel movies, however.

Read more: Why The Mandalorian is the best thing to happen to Star Wars in years

In Bob Iger's book The Ride of a Lifetime, he describes Lucas walking out of a special screening of The Force Awakens, complaining 'there's nothing new', and later told US interviewer Charlie Rose that he felt like he'd sold his children to 'white slavers'.

However, Lucas later apologised to Iger, saying: “I was out of line, I shouldn't have said it like that. I was trying to explain how hard it is to let this thing go.”

Watch: Darth Vader actor David Prowse dies