Just 13 days into its release, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already a critical and commercial hit, earning over $1.2 billion worldwide and scoring an impressive 95% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While fans around the world are praising director J.J. Abrams' new adventure in a galaxy far, far away, most will admit that it isn't a "perfect" film by any means. Yesterday, Star Wars creator George Lucas had some interesting things to say about the new movie in an extensive, hour-long interview with Charlie Rose, where he called Disney "white slavers." The interview has created plenty of controversy since it was released, but now George Lucas issued a statement to The Wrap, where he apologized for his remarks.
"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. 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. 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 directions in film, television and the parks. Most of all I'm blown away with the record breaking blockbuster success of the new movie and am very proud of J.J. (Abrams) and Kathy (Kennedy)."
After George Lucas sold his LucasFilm empire to Disney for $4 billion in 2012, it was believed that he wouldn't be directly involved with the filmmaking process, but he was expected to serve as some sort of consultant. The filmmaker did have stories outlined for a new trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX, but he has revealed several times, including the Charlie Rose interview, that Disney wasn't interested in telling his stories, stating Disney, "wanted to do a retro movie." The "retro" aspect of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been a point of contention with some fans, who think the blockbuster was too similar to the one that started it all, 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.
Still, George Lucas did say earlier this month, a few weeks before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters, that fans will "love" this new adventure. He also said after the premiere that he "really liked" the movie, which is one of the reasons many were so surprised by his comments in the Charlie Rose interview. Regardless of the filmmaker's thoughts on the movie, or the direction Disney is taking the franchise, George Lucas isn't directly involved in the process, which some fans see as a blessing, and others do not.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is expected to crack $700 million domestically over the weekend, only the second movie ever to pass this box office milestone. Barring a sharp decrease in the weeks ahead, Star Wars: The Force Awakens could break the all-time domestic record of $760.5 million set by Avatar. That record took 34 weeks to amass, while Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just entering its third weekend. What do you think about George Lucas' apology? Chime in with your thoughts, and, in case you missed it, take a look at the filmmaker's interview below, with the "white slaver" remarks coming at the 2:01 mark.