Binary Sunset

Disney buys Lucasfilm: A new hope or phantom menace? Share your feels

So a guy walks into a bar and orders a beer, the bartender says, “what’s that iguana doing on your shoulder?” The man replies, “I don’t know, but Disney just bought Lucasfilm for four billion dollars.”  — Your right, that’s not a joke, because it is actually happening.

The news is already all over the web, so I did what every blogger does and rushed out to post the news slept on it. A few hours removed from the situation, and here’s my take, this will be great news for Star Wars fans in the long run. Here’s the thing, Disney plans to release a new trilogy starting with Episode 7 in 2015, a new films every 2-3 years or so after that. Already, a need is being met. Let’s take a closer look.

In your anger… you killed him

It’s not like fans were particularly overwhelmingly stoked with the most recent trilogy anyhow. Fan anger essentially drove Lucas to get out of the major motion picture game. And for everything you may dislike about the man’s decisions, he’s got the wherewithal to recognize that it’s time to turn the franchise over to the next generation. We’ve already seen flashes of brilliance in recent years through Robot Chicken and Family Guy, and the maturation of the Clone Wars has really put the series on par with past storytelling it its own right. For a guy everyone loves to dig on, Lucas still packs the room for panels, and gets thunderous applause when he appears on the Daily Show. He has approved and advised the aforementioned projects along the way, and will continue to serve as creative consultant on the next trilogy, so I think it’s time to cut the guy a break, good things are coming.

There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow

Some have worried that Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm will result in some Disney / Star Wars mash-ups. I’ve got news for you, that day came a long time ago when Star Tours landed in theme parks. We have already seen action figures of the Mouse dressed in Jedi robes and Rebel pilot suits. There’s a set of action figures casting the Muppets as Star Wars characters, and a painting of Kermit sitting next to Yoda on the banks of Dagobah (it’s not easy being green). This didn’t happen overnight, it’s been a long time coming. That’s progress for you. 

And for what it’s worth, this acquisition might do better in improving Star Wars presence at Hollywood Studios. Seriously, out of an entire era of Star Wars stuff the best we can get at a Disney park is a single ride and gift shop? Have you seen the impact Harry Potter has had on Islands of Adventure? How about an entire area dedicated to Star Wars featuring a Cantina with a Bith band, a Jedi temple for kids to explore with their parents, an underwater adventure in a Gungan Sub? Just imagine what could be built with more than 2 minutes of brainstorming.

A new hope or phantom menace

The new trilogy is said to follow the stories of Luke, Han, and Leia beyond Jedi, which raises some interesting quandries: notably, who is going to play these characters? Your guess is as good as mine (and if you have a guess, I’d like to hear it in the comments). The keen eye might also notice that many of these stories are fleshed out in the EU, so there is some canon that needs to be considered in the plot.

So let’s see what we’ve got so far: characters that have been well established, a movie that has to deal with narratives that already exist, and a die hard fan base that grew up loving the franchise? Yep, I’m talking about… The Avengers. Consider another well known company recently acquired by Disney, that seems to be doing ok for itself right now: Marvel. I seem to remember that Avengers flick doing pretty well. The gears should now be turning over in your head, not about what you should dread, but what might actually be possible. Imagine getting through Ep. 7-9 and then having concurrent one-off movies in the Star Wars universe that center on other popular characters (Mara Jade anyone?).

Let me submit another example: The Muppets. One could make the argument that this franchise would be collecting dust right now if not for the acquisition of Disney. Instead, our beloved Muppets are making a revival of sorts, with a successful movie faithful to it’s roots, another movie on the way, and some funny appearances on late-night tv. That’s not to say that Star Wars would be collecting dust if Lucas didn’t decide to sell it… but what about Indiana Jones? That the fourth film was  forgettable. Unfortunately, the chances of Shia LaBeouf being forgotten will likely not increase, however.

Once upon a time: Disney has a new princess

OOOooohhhh… I bet that headline just makes your skin crawl. After all, Leia is a princess and Amidala is a Queen. And we all know how Disney loves their princesses. Worries about seeing Leia next to Princess Aurora or Bell should be shelved until it actually happens. But in the interest of imagining the way-out-there possibilities of this acquisition, here’s another idea: Once upon a time. 

Hear me out, that show has been better that originally expected, and new characters are written into the series all the time, some (Dr. Whale) not really making as much sense as others (Killian Jones). So why run a storyline with characters in Storybrooke who just happen to be named Luke and Leia, and just happen to come from a realm completely unknown so the fairy-tale characters. Just as Gold and Whale butt heads over Magic vs. Science. So too can these new characters explore the interplay between Magic, Science, and the Force. Just spitballing here.

Share your feels

I think we should keep our pitchforks in the barn for now. The Star Wars horizon was already looking pretty bright with the likes of Clone Wars, 1313, and Detours. We should be looking forward to what is possible with the acquisition by Disney, using the resurgence of The Muppets and The Avengers as a reference point for the future of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. While there are many questions still yet to be answered, I’ll be standing on a sandy dune of Tatooine staring out at the Sunsets looking toward the future.

Share your feels in the comments below, and may the Force be with you, always.

Scott

Hi, I’m one of the founders of Nerd Appropriate and the Rated NA podcast. I like good and bad sci-fi films and tv, pho, and the retrofuture. I am primarily an Xbox gamer, but also do some PC and Wii U gaming as well. By day, I am a research scientist, mostly in topics related to human-computer interaction and user experience. Before all this, fellow NA co-founder Matt and I played music together in various bands. I also used to make "comedy" videos for my high school morning news program before there was a place to post them online. Favorite Star Wars character? Admiral Ackbar. Best Bond era? Timothy Dalton (Craig a close second). Game of all time? Maybe System Shock 2. Thanks for being a part of this labor of nerdy love with us.
  • Fluidfyre

    There’s a huge potential for it to be amazing or horrific – I don’t really see a middle ground. Maybe I should. Lucas is remaining a ‘creative consultant’ on the films. Though maybe this is like when you give a present to a toddler at a birthday party so they don’t go and rip open all the actual presents?

    I really like the idea of a Star Wars theme park. There I said it. And then I am increasingly jealous that two of you (right?) are closer than me to where it would potentially be. Just think, I could have my arm cut off in said cantina!

    As a fan of the EU, I’m curious to see if they do anything with that. I also heard someone else mention they were worried about the more mature aspects of some things (1313 anyone?) and whether Disney would be trying to kibosh them.

    • (Ash) – The optimist in me feels as though this could be a very positive thing. Star Wars is so much more than “the vision of George Lucas.” While the man had creative input on a lot the franchise, it really was the collective work of hundreds of creative people. Lucas knows he’s old and will not live forever, and he’s already gone on record stating that he wants the Star Wars franchise to live on forever… Disney is the company to do that. Also…. the EPCOT ball will become the Death Star… You heard it here first.

  • Trey Ferber

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    work with ?