George Lucas sorry for 'white slaver' comment
George Lucas has apologised for remarks he made in an interview in which he referred to Disney as "white slavers".
Lucas, the creator of the original Star Wars films, sold the franchise to Disney for $4.05bn in 2012.
Last week, the filmmaker told US TV host Charlie Rose he had sold his "kids... to the white slavers".
In a statement issued on Thursday, he said he "misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy". He added that he had "great respect for the company".
The latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens - a sequel to the original trilogy and directed by JJ Abrams - was made by Disney.
"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, in his statement.
"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."
In the hour-long interview, broadcast in the US on Christmas Day, Lucas appeared to question Disney's choice of direction with the new film.
"They wanted to do a retro movie. I don't like that," he said.
"Every movie, I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new."
He added: "They weren't that keen to have me involved anyway, but if I get in there, I'm just going to cause trouble, because they're not going to do what I want them to do. And I don't have the control to do that any more."
"When you break up with somebody... You have to put it behind you and it's a very, very, very hard thing to do," Lucas told Rose.
"These are my kids... All the Star Wars films. I loved them, I created them, I'm very intimately involved in them. I sold them to the white slavers that take these things."
The Force Awakens premiered in the US and Europe earlier this month, and is currently the ninth highest-grossing film of all time, even before its nationwide release in China on 9 January.
The film, whose cast includes original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, as well as British leads Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, became the fastest film to take $1bn (£674m) at the global box office last weekend.