3:52pm PT by Austin Siegemund-Broka, Kim Masters
George Lucas to Attend 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Premiere: "He Really Liked It" (Exclusive)
The Force is still with George Lucas — or at least he's apparently on board with The Force Awakens.
According to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Lucas, who sold his company to Disney in 2012 and was not involved in the new Star Wars film, will attend the premieres this month in Los Angeles and London. Lucas has seen the film, Kennedy tells The Hollywood Reporter, and "he really liked it."
Lucas has expressed some ambivalence about the direction of the new films. In an interview with CBS in November, he said he submitted ideas for the new films but "ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" Lucas said. "People don't actually realize it's actually a soap opera and it's all about family problems — it's not about spaceships. So they decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing so I decided, 'fine. ... I'll go my way and I let them go their way.'"
Kennedy says it's been tough for Lucas, who was intimately involved in the first six Star Wars films, "watching this go on without his direct involvement. At the same time, he really wanted to step away."
She adds: "If there's one thing I've learned about George is it's that he's never, ever held back. Having him 100 percent on board is up to him and he can't do that unless he's running everything."
Because he wasn't involved in the film's creation, there has been speculation in the Star Wars fan community about whether Lucas would publicly endorse Force Awakens, the first in a planned once-a-year series of Star Wars sequels and spinoffs from Disney and Lucasfilm.
He told the Washington Post earlier this week that he hadn't seen the film and was better off having not been involved. “There is no such thing as working over someone’s shoulder,” he said. “You’re either the dictator or you’re not. And to do that would never work, so I said ‘I’m going to get divorced.’ . . . I knew that I couldn’t be involved. All I’d do is make them miserable. I’d make myself miserable. It would probably ruin a vision — J.J. [Abrams] has a vision, and it’s his vision.”
On watching The Force Awakens, he told the Post, “I gotta go to the wedding. My ex will be there, my new wife will be there, but I’m going to have to take a very deep breath and be a good person and sit through it and just enjoy the moment, because it is what it is and it’s a conscious decision that I made."
Now that Lucas has seen The Force Awakens, he has joined an exclusive circle that includes star Harrison Ford, friend and collaborator Steven Spielberg and top Disney executives. (Even Star Wars spinoff directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow have said they haven't seen the film, and Episode VIII filmmaker Rian Johnson and Star Wars: Rogue One's Gareth Edwards only have viewed a rough version).
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by Abrams from his and Lawrence Kasdan's script and starring original franchise stars Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher and newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, opens Dec. 18.