NEW YORK — George Lucas apologized Thursday for comparing Disney to “white slavers” during an interview in which he criticized the latest incarnation of “Star Wars,” the movie franchise he created.
In a statement, Lucas sought to “clarify” his remarks.
“I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and for that I apologize,” Lucas said.
He said that Disney, which bought the rights to “Star Wars” from Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, “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 directors in film, television and the parks,” Lucas said.
The clarification comes after comments Lucas made during an interview this month with Charlie Rose. In the interview, Lucas likened Disney’s purchase of the franchise to a “break up.”
“These are my kids. All the Star Wars films,” Lucas said. “I love them, I created them, I’m very intimately involved in them.”
“I sold them to the white slavers that take these things, and…” he added with a laugh, leaving the sentence incomplete.
Disney’s reboot of the franchise, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” was directed by J.J. Abrams and opened to tremendous fanfare on December 18. It has gone on to make more than $1 billion and shatter box office records. It has also drawn a warm reception from critics.
But Lucas told Rose that he didn’t much care for the movie.
“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that,” Lucas said. “Every movie, I worked very hard to make them different, make them completely different with different planets, different spaceships, to make it new.”
Lucas also said in the interview that Disney was not “that keen” to have him involved on the “Force Awakens.”
But in his statement on Thursday, Lucas spoke glowingly of the company that acquired his franchise, as well as its CEO, Bob Iger.
“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,” Lucas said. “Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise.”