And fans were even more excited about getting episodes VII, VIII, and IX because George Lucas wouldn't be behind the new movies.
Instead, his title on the new projects is a vague "creative consultant" role.
However, it turns out we may very well be seeing Lucas' visions (in some form) for the trilogy on the big screen.
Basically, Lucas laid the foundation for the future "Star Wars" films out for Disney before any negotiations.
Prior to Iger and Lucas discussing the Disney deal, Lucas already had talks with Kathleen Kennedy to head Lucasfilm, "The Empire Strikes Back" screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was called upon as a consultant, and preliminary talks with the original cast to appear in the future films took place.
Yes, it's looking more and more likely that all of those rumors about the original cast of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford joining the new trilogy is indeed true.
Lucas let a little bit slip in his interview:
“We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation," said Lucas. "So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ … Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.”
So, when Lucas called Iger in June 2012, one of the primary reasons behind the Lucasfilm buy was to attain rights to Lucas' rough sketches for the movies.
After Disney purchased Lucasfilm, Lucas gave those treatments over to the Mouse House with very specific instructions.
From Bloomberg Businessweek:
"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 Horn and Kevin Mayer, Disney’s executive vice president for corporate strategy. ‘We promised,’ says Iger. ‘We had to sign an agreement."
Now, Lucas' role as a "consultant" on the film makes perfect sense. The story outlines for Episodes VII, VIII, and IX are essentially his own.
Let the Lucas legacy live on.
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