Monday, November 12, 2012

Disney purchases Lucasfilm

One of the best things about being a geek is that people come to you when they hear something on the news. For example, when people heard that Disney bought Marvel, people came to me for what I thought about it. That’s happened more and more frequently with DC rebooting its universe, a gay Green Lantern, a black Spider-Man, and Disney buying Star Wars.

I love Star Wars.

While I fully acknowledge that the prequels mostly sucked, I didn’t want Star Wars to go away. To Lucas’ credit, the prequels made a ton of money and because the movies weren’t well-received, he didn’t make more. He could have pumped out more movies and made a lot more money but he preferred quality to quantity. Lucas didn’t set out to make the prequels suck but once the first one was done, he had to finish that trilogy whether the story was sub-standard or not.

I’m excited about Disney’s purchase of Star Wars for a few reasons.

First, Disney has access to a lot of great writers who can craft well-told stories. Say what you want about John Carter, the movie was fantastic. I don’t think the previews did the job of selling the movie to audiences and the only reason I saw it was because a friend really wanted to see it. Oh, and Disney hired Joss Whedon to write and direct The Avengers – ‘nuff said (as Stan Lee would say).

Second, Disney has proven longevity which is great for a number of reasons. Not only do they have the ability to put the next three movies out, one day I have no doubt they’ll redo the original trilogy. I know this won’t be a popular opinion but I’d love to see Luke, Han, and Leia in a reboot of the original trilogy with the story updated. I’d love for the prequels, the original trilogy, and the next three movies to be completely done by Disney. I know Harrison Ford, Mark Hammil, and the rest are willing to come back for a new movie, but I don’t want to see them. I want a fresh start for the trilogy and if we’re talking about a new movie every two years, it would take almost twenty years to tell that story so they should start now!

Third, the new movies will doubtlessly introduce new characters and those new characters will be immortalized as action figures – figures I might have to own if they’re cool enough. Of course those new characters may also find their way into comic books, video games, and the novels. I’m anxious to meet new characters.

Fourth – and this is someone else’s observation (I can’t remember where I read it) but we can look forward to Star Wars cartoons that look like Disney animated films. Imagine retelling the original Star Wars movie in a more lighthearted way with animated Luke and Leia singing about swinging across the chasm. And…Princess Leia joins Disney’s other female characters (as pictured below).

But the best part of Disney buying Lucasfilm is the continuation of the Star Wars Universe. I agree that the prequels sucked and Lucas had essentially retired and wasn’t going to do anything but the Clone Wars cartoon and occasionally letting Family Guy or Robot Chicken do Star Wars themed episodes. I wasn’t ready to live in a world where there was no more Star Wars films to look forward to and now I don’t have to.

Now for what I’ll miss about George Lucas: he rewards his fans. A movie like Fanboys doesn’t exist without George Lucas sanctioning the film. Lucas was one of the first to use fan films as an opportunity to encourage people to play with the characters in his universe and was known to recruit people from those films. The most famous might be Kevin Rubio who filmed “Troops” which was a parody of Cops and he went on to write lots of stuff for Lucasfilm. And who can forget Steve Sansweet, a fan who had amassed an impressive amount of Star Wars memorabilia who would go from fan to the Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations of Lucasfilms.

And who can forget Katie Johnson? When the founder of the 501st Legion’s little girl was dying of brain cancer, the fans build a pink droid and called it R2-KT. Lucas sold a limited run of the action figure for charity and the droid appeared in the film Star Wars: Clone Wars. As much as we’ve been impacted by Lucas, he’s been impacted by the fans and he hasn’t been completely deaf to fandom.

Now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, I’m guessing we won’t have a lot of great stories about fan interaction. Despite the fact that Dark Horse Comics has been putting out some of the most innovative and entertaining stories over the 20+ years they’ve had the property, I’m guessing that Marvel Comics will be taking the reigns of that Universe now.

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