George Lucas Says 'Star Wars' Returns for Hamill, Ford and Fisher Almost Finalized
The franchise's creator says he began discussions for the original stars' return; plus, Disney's Bob Iger reveals the harsh emails he got from Steve Jobs.
Another day, another Star Wars rumor -- though this one is more trustworthy than most.
In a new profile in Bloomberg Businessweek, George Lucas and Disney executives discuss the long road that led to the purchase of Lucasfilm in October. Of particular interest for fans of the movies is the fact that Lucas confirms that he had begun talks with original Star Wars stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford to have them return to the franchise for its new films -- before he had even begun the process of the corporate offloading.
"We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison -- or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation," Lucas told the magazine. "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-dee-doo, but we were negotiating with them. … I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not."
The comments mirrored those made by Hamill last month, when he said he had discussed a return to the role of Luke Skywalker but was waiting to hear from new Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and Michael Arndt, the screenwriter hired to write the first new film, Episode XII.
"I can tell you right away that we haven't signed any contract," he said.
Elsewhere in the Businessweek story, it's revealed that Lucas carefully guarded the outlines he had written for the next three films and required Disney CEO Bob Iger and several others to sign secrecy agreements in order to read them. "We thought from a storytelling perspective they had a lot of potential," Iger said of the outlines.
Now, Lucas doesn't have final say over the films; that falls to Kennedy, as well as Episode XII director J.J. Abrams. But he still gets to contribute.
"I mostly say, ‘You can’t do this. You can do that,’ ” Lucas said. "You know, 'The cars don’t have wheels; they fly with antigravity.’ There’s a million little pieces. Or I can say, 'He doesn’t have the power to do that, or he has to do this.' I know all that stuff."
One other notable nugget: Steve Jobs, who sold Pixar to Disney and became the company's largest single stockholder, liked to poke fun at Iger.
Said Lucas, "Jobs would email Iger, taunting, 'Hey, Bob, I saw the movie you just released last night, and it sucked.' "