How Star Wars Was Sold to Disney


Mon, Mar 18th, 2013 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Devin Leonard of Bloomberg Businessweek has this lengthy article that explains how Disney bought Lucasfilm -- and its eventual plans for the new Star Wars movies. Clearly, not an easy decision for Lucas, who you almost feel for when you realize just how hard the criticism he received online got to him.

The reality of giving up control weighed on [George Lucas], though. At the end of every week before she flew home to Los Angeles, Kennedy says, she asked Lucas how he was feeling. Sometimes he seemed at peace. Other times, not. “I’m sure he paused periodically to question whether he was really ready to walk away,” she says.

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.’ ”

Once Lucas got assurances from Disney in writing about the broad outlines of the deal, he agreed to turn over the treatments — but insisted they could only be read by Iger, Horn, and Kevin Mayer, Disney’s executive vice president for corporate strategy. “We promised,” says Iger. “We had to sign an agreement.”

When Iger finally got a look at the treatments, he was elated. “We thought from a storytelling perspective they had a lot of potential,” he says.

At the end of October, Iger arranged for Lucas to fly down to Disney’s Burbank headquarters and sign the papers. He thought Lucas seemed melancholy. “When he put that pen to the piece of paper, I didn’t detect a hesitation,” Iger says. “But I did detect there was a lot of emotion. He was saying goodbye.”

Iger, on the other hand, was giddy. The day after the deal closed he went trick-or-treating with his family. “I was Darth Vader,” he says.



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