George Lucas has issued an apology for calling Disney "white slavers" while discussing the sale of Star Wars.

"I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and for that I apologize," Lucas said in a statement obtained by Deadline. "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."

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The controversial remark was made during Lucas' interview with Charlie Rose on December 25. During the conversation, Lucas referred to the first six Star Warsfilms as his "kids," explaining: "I created them, I'm very intimately involved in them, and I sold them to the white slavers that take these things and..." Rather than finish his thought, Lucas awkwardly laughed and moved on to another topic.

"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," Lucas clarified in the statement, despite speaking at length during the Rose interview about how he didn't enjoy what Disney did with The Force Awakens. "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."