Based on my interactions with friends, students, and fans, at conventions, meetups, and in general social situations, I’ve come up with the following list of Dos and Don’ts for networking within the industry. While a lot of this is common sense, I’ve found that our field seems to be a place where enthusiasm (or general awkwardness) often trumps formality. If you’ve been looking for a push in the right direction – and want to ensure you’re seen as the potential colleague, rather than the creepy fan or friend-wannabe, check out the tips (inside).
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.