UPDATE: George Lucas has released a statement regarding his comments about Disney and Star Wars that ruffled some feathers in a December 25 interview with Charlie Rose. Here it is in full:

“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 JJ and Kathy.”

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PREVIOUS, WEDNESDAY, 4:32 PM: Star Wars creator George Lucas sat down with Charlie Rose to talk about the franchise’s legacy — and he appears to be a little bitter with what Disney did with it. Late in the interview, when the filmmaker was musing about the protocols of “breakups,” he let slip — and quickly laughed off — a line that has raised a few eyebrows and rankles. After agreeing that the first six Star Wars films are his “kids,” Lucas referred his $4 billion deal with Disney: “I love [the movies], I created them, I’m very intimately involved in them, and I sold them to the white slavers that take these things and …” — with a rather nervous laugh, he trailed off.

Rose lets him off the hook and moves on. (That awkward moment is at the two-minute mark of the clip above and at about the 50-minute mark in the full video posted below.)

Star Wars logo featured imageAbout a minute later, Lucas said of Disney: “They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. I like — every movie, I worked very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships — you know, to make it new. … You do end up with this thing, which is, you know, you gotta live with it. People are gonna talk about it and all that kind of stuff. It’s like talking about your divorce or something. It’s just awkward, but it’s not painful.”

Earlier in their interview, Lucas laments about “two things that got abused” with the original Star Wars film from 1977. “One, when Star Wars came out, everyone said, ‘Oh it’s just a silly movie with a bunch of space battles and stuff. It’s not real. There’s nothing behind it.’ And I said … ‘There’s more to it than that. It’s much more complicated than that.’ But nobody would listen. … So the spaceships and that part of the science fantasy, whatever, got terribly abused. And of course, everybody went out and made spaceship movies. And they were all horrible, and they all lost tons of money. … The other thing that got abused — naturally in a capitalist society, especially in American point of view — the studios said, ‘Wow, we can make a lot of money. This is a license to kill.’ And they did it. And of course the only way you can do that is to not take chances. Only do something that proven.”

Here’s the full interview: