It’s hard to come up with an original title for a story 24 hours old.
Disney bought Lucasfilm. There are so many reactions to this that within minutes of word hitting the Internet, the traffic made hurricane Sandy seem like a Spring shower. The funniest reaction I came across was easily, “Disney is going to merchandise Star Wars like crazy. It’s going to ruin it!” I really hope that was in jest. Yes, merchandising is a big Disney practice, which is why we have Cars 2 and Monsters University and not Incredibles 2 WHICH EVERYONE WANTS. However, if I were Disney looking at Lucasfilm for purchase, I would say $4 billion of the $4.05 billion price tag was the Star Wars property and its merchandising behemoth that has been around since the first crawl.
If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, chances are good that you were a fan of Star Wars. I didn’t mind the first re-release, I thought some of the additions were pretty cool. They weren’t obnoxious and helped create that other-worldly feel. Then Phantom Menace came out. Other than Darth Maul and Liam Neeson, I can’t find anything redeemable about that film. From that point on it was pretty clear Lucas had lost it long ago.
Disney announced yesterday that the sequels that were talked of when the prequels were announced are finally being made with the first slated for release in 2015. There was mention of films coming out every 1-3 years, depending on the source, after that, but I can’t tell if that meant films 7-9 in the series or more to come once those are in the can. There is more than enough Star Wars lore to make more films with sources coming from books and comics. (Personally, I want to see Luke wrestle with the Dark Side, but I hear it’ll be about Han and Leia’s kids.) The best bit of news, as far as the films are concerned, is that Lucas won’t write or direct them. Even Star Wars fans that became estranged from the franchise due to the prequels should be cheering about that. Yeah, he’ll be around as consultant, but that’s just a title. Everyone is anxious to hear who takes the helm of this juggernaut, but hopefully whoever made the brilliant move to bring in Joss Whedon to direct The Avengers is pulling the strings on that one (unless that was Marvel’s call, then there’s reason to panic).
There has been buzz about a live-action television show for the past few years and Disney certainly has the power to bring that to reality. They have a series based on S.H.I.E.L.D from The Avengers franchise coming down the pipeline. I’m not sure what the plans were for the animated Clone Wars series, but I’m sure whatever ties Cartoon Network has to it can be bought up so Disney can air it on their Disney XD station along with their Marvel animated series.
Dark Horse Comics may be getting screwed the most in this deal. They’ve had a great relationship with Star Wars for over 20 years now and Disney’s pet Marvel could throw an adamantium wrench in the works. It’s hard to say what will happen at this point. I have problems with Marvel Comics anyway, so I’m pulling for Dark Horse in this.*
Overall, this is a big plus for Star Wars and other Lucas properties (keep crystal skulls away). Disney has had a long-standing relationship with Star Wars in their theme parks and due to a few uber fans I follow on Twitter, I know just enough about Star Wars Weekends to be able to include them in this. Worst case scenario, Disney decides to take the most annoying ride in existence, It’s a Small World, and replicate it as an Ewok themed “Yub Nub” abomination.
Quite often very little changes when a company buys another. It allows one to add the other to their net value, or they take a loss and get a tax break. Is it disturbing that Disney has it’s fingers in so many pies in the entertainment industry and is one of a handful of corporations that control all media in this country? Fuck yes. But, I’m going to let someone more knowledgeable tackle that. One day, a millennium from now, Lucasfilm may have no value whatsoever and Disney decides to kill it off. But who cares? We’ll all be dead anyway.
Just a quick aside:
Disney’s latest grab doesn’t bother me as much as their purchase of The Muppets in 2004, that was a real blow to my childhood. But maybe we’ll get to see a Muppets/Star Wars mash-up and Kermit Skyhopper and Gonzolo will become a thing.
* More on Dark Horse Comics’ and Star Wars’ future.