One day after an interview aired in which Star Wars creator George Lucas critiqued the franchise's latest film, the filmmaker is backpedalling on some of his controversial comments.
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In a wide-ranging interview with U.S. talk show host Charlie Rose, Lucas suggested he doesn't like the "retro" feel of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opened to rave reviews and massive box office success.
Lucas had no creative involvement in the flick after selling his rights to the much-loved saga in 2012 to Disney for a whopping $4 billion.
"They wanted to do a retro movie. I don't like that," Lucas said. "Every movie, I worked very hard to make them different. I make them completely different, with different planets, different spaceships — to make it new."
Lucas also suggested Disney wasn't "that keen to have me involved anyway," and compared his selling of the rights to selling his children to "white slavers."
But multiple media reports said Lucas apologized for those comments Thursday in a statement released through Disney.
"I want to clarify my interview on the Charlie Rose show. It was for the Kennedy Center Honors and conducted prior to the premiere of the film. I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and for that I apologize," the statement said.
"I have been working with Disney for 40 years and chose them as the custodians of Star Wars because of my great respect for the company and Bob Iger's leadership. Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise."
Lucas oversaw both the original trilogy, released between 1977 and 1983, and the prequel trilogy, between 1999 and 2005. But when the time came to close out the blockbuster series — it was always intended to be a three-act project — the 71-year-old filmmaker said he made the conscious decision to step back, adding he recognized the final trilogy would be a 10-year undertaking he might not be able to see through.
"I made that decision because I looked at the future, I looked at the fact that I was going to have a baby, I looked at the fact that I was married, and I looked at the fact that I wanted to build a museum, and I looked at the fact that I wanted to make experimental films," Lucas said. "My life was going on a different track."
Lucas also said he's at peace with his decision, calling the new director, J.J. Abrams a "good director" and "good friend." He suggested Disney and Abrams simply wanted to take the series in a different direction.
"They looked at the stories and they said: 'We want to make something for the fans,'" he said. "All I wanted to do was tell a story of what happened, it started here and it went there. It's all about generations, and it's about the issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers.
"They decided they didn't want to use those stories," Lucas said. "They decided they were going to go do their own thing. So I decided, fine."
Lucas compared his Star Wars departure to a breakup or a divorce. "You have to put it behind you, and it's a very, very hard thing to do."
The Force Awakens blends the old with the new by having original actors Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher reprise their roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia respectively. But it also brings forth a new generation of talent, including Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn) and Oscar Isaac (Po Dameron).
Released less than two weeks ago, the movie has already brought in more than $1.2 billion worldwide and is currently the fifth-largest-grossing movie of all time in North America.