Disney And The Author – The Dispute With Alan Dean Foster

Disney And The Author – The Dispute With Alan Dean Foster

Alan Dean Foster, sci-fi writer, including many Star Wars titles, is claiming that Disney owes him unpaid royalties.

If you haven’t heard the name of Alan Dean Foster, even as a sci-fi fan, you may have read one of his books without realizing.

Foster has of course written his own novels including his long-running Pip and Flinx series, however, this is not how I came to realize his work.

I first picked up a second hand copy of Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, written by Foster as a sequel to the original Star Wars film, long before the release of The Empire Strikes Back. It was revealed that this was written as a story which would be a cheap to produce film if the original Star Wars had only been a moderate success.

Also, trivia fans, did you know that even though the original novel of Star Wars is accredited to George Lucas, the book was actually ghost-written by Foster.

Through the years, if there were films I could get not get access to for whatever reason, I would turn to the novelization. It turns out that this was one of Fosters fortes.

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Alan Dean Foster

Alan Dean Foster

Just look at his novelization listing on Wikipedia. You’ll find the Alien, Star Trek and Transformer franchises as well as many standalone films including Krull, The Last Starfighter and even a novel based on Lucasarts adventure game, The Dig.

Now as you’re aware, back in 2012, Disney purchased the entire Lucasfilm company, which meant many of the books that Foster had written now fall under their ownership. This ownership spread its wings further when Disney successfully bought 20th Century Fox, now the Alien novelizations of books now belong to them.

Herein lies the problem. These books are still being sold today. The profits are flowing back to the Disney coffers, but the royalties aren’t making their way back to Foster. He has tried to negotiate with via legal representation but Disney want an NDA signed before those even begin. Something that has never been asked of him before.

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Foster has contacted the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for help in this matter who held a press conference on the 18th of November. You can watch that on their official site.

Alan is now in his seventies and was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, his wife is now also facing serious medical issues. He is only asking for what is rightfully his.

Disney have seemingly not responded to any requests from the mainstream media in regard to this matter. They only state that they have inherited the rights from previous companies but not any obligations to contracts. Therefore, they can continue to print books without paying the authors. In my and nearly everyone else’s opinion, this simply isn’t fair.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have also started #DisneyMustPay trending on Twitter in support of Alan Dean Foster.



John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves film, and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990s. Whilst that website became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. He's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.