He said they're his babies, he loves Star Wars deeply. He gave up creative control because he felt unfit to continue the sequels after what happened with the prequels and felt confident that Disney would do them justice given how they treated their prior acquisitions, and their money power. But it turned out to be a complete disaster, to the point that he decided to "get back with his X" to fix things. I'm using his own metaphores.
It's not that it's easy to talk afterwards, the situation was aweful. The fans care, and it's not unhealthy at all. Thanks to them, Disney has decided to wake up and fix their problem. Thankfully the fans are there, and after this, I am certain that if another prequel situation happens again, they will thank Disney with glee that they fixed things. Because the sequel situation and the prequel situation are two different beasts, and the gap is huge. If they fixed the situation to a prequel level of quality, fans will be thankful.
Everything is rumor right now, but some rumors are more substantiated than others. I would say with high confidence that:
This is coming from reporters who are close to the sources.
Exactly. The sequels were so bad, they destroyed their whole toy business, which if you heard Lucas, was his bread and butter.
I think that may just be a theory of why he sold it to Disney. In his own words it appears to be primarily because he wanted Star Wars to live on beyond his lifespan, and wanted to set up the transition while he is still alive and able. He was 68 years old when he penned the deal.
“I felt that I really wanted to put the company somewhere in a larger entity which could protect it. Disney is a huge corporation. They have all kinds of capabilities and facilities, so that there’s a lot of strength that is gained by this…I’m doing this so that the films will have a longer life, and so that more fans and people can enjoy them in the future. It’s a very big universe I’ve created and there are a lot of stories that are sitting in there.”
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime."
It's easier to criticize how someone else is handling it, if you don't put yourself in the line of fire. Is he willing to potentially do worse than Rian Johnsson? If he really passed off the series due to criticism over the prequels then maybe not.