Disney took one step further to global domination with the acquisition of Star Wars, but despite now swimming in money from the property, several authors, most notably Alan Dean Foster, are accusing the company of withholding royalty payments for novelizations.
Foster is a prolific writer who penned the novelizations of the original Star Wars and The Force Awakens, as well as being responsible for The Approaching Storm (a prelude to Attack of the Clones) and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, a sequel to Star Wars envisioned to be adapted into a low budget movie, only for the notion to be abandoned when the original became such an unexpected smash and a far more expensive follow-up was crafted.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Foster has stated that since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, he stopped receiving royalty payments for the books, which for the previous 35 years had arrived regularly. He also says that payments for his novelizations of the Alien movies, now also within the remit of Disney since their acquisition of 20th Century Fox, have similarly dried up.
Foster isn’t alone in his accusations, either, with other authors, including the writers of the book versions of Indiana Jones and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, also claiming they stopped receiving payments. Foster is currently taking steps to rectify the issue, although was required to sign an NDA before Disney’s representatives would speak to him, meaning specifics are unlikely to be forthcoming until the situation is resolved.
The life of a professional writer is one where income can be highly irregular depending on book sales and a host of other factors. While it’s unclear why Disney are withholding payments for Star Wars novels, the amount of money will be a drop in the ocean compared to the billions the franchise has already made them, so it shouldn’t be an issue for them to pay authors what they’re owed.