We’re through the looking glass people.
A small portion of hell has frozen over. As of Tuesday, October 30 2012, we live in a world where George Lucas no longer controls Star Wars. Take that in for a minute. Lucas NO LONGER controls Star Wars. He’s gone and pretty much called the Internet on their dare. He’s handed his baby over to someone else to raise. After years of saying it was his way or no way when it came to the films.
But now, he’s stepped back, and given control to someone else. That someone else being Kathleen Kennedy and the folks at the Walt Disney Company. A monolith took down a titan. Hours after the announcement, we know more details of the acquisition:
- Disney now controls Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and other Lucasfilm properties Howard the Duck, Willow and Red Tails.
- Lucasfilm will continue to run on their own in the way Marvel continues their day to day operations under the Disney banner.
- Disney also controls all of Lucasfilm’s facilities, including Skywalker Sound, LucasArts, and of course Industrial Lights and Magic
- ILM and Skywalker Sound will continue to work for companies outside of Disney and is business as usual.
- Expect merchandising to be revamped under Disney. While Star Wars continues to be a major toy and merchandise juggernaut, under Disney, expect to see more. Also expect a few independent license, like the comics, to come to Disney when their options are up. There’s a very good chance that Marvel will take over publishing Star Wars comics in the future
- Episodes 7, 8 & 9 have been plotted out already. Lucas had given the initial story and has had undisclosed screenwriters working on them for a while now.
- Expect a new Star Wars film about every 3 years. After the new trilogy, and onward
- Don’t expect a new Indiana Jones anytime soon.
- Fox controls the distribution for the original films still. Don’t expect a blu-ray with the original cuts any time soon.
- Any new films however, will be under Disney, and more than likely, no more Fox Fanfare in the opening.
- Expect expansions of Star Wars in the theme parks.
- Most importantly, George Lucas will not be involved in writing or directing any of the new films. He has stated, for all intensive purposes, he’s retired.
Those are the facts as we know them at the moment.
So what happens now? Well, first of all, the Summer of 2015 is looking to be one of the biggest of all time. Lined up at the moment are Avengers 2, a potential Justice League film and now, a new Star Wars film. 3 films over what will probably be 3 months. Unbelievable.
Had this gone down 15 years ago, I think there would have been good reason to panic. Before Disney ousted Michael Eisner and purchased Pixar, they were notorious for being nothing more than a corporate machine spitting out whatever to make a buck. Since the Pixar merger, things have changed. While Disney is still a titan in the industry, they have become more akin to the house of ideas that Walt had established all those years ago. Under John Lasseter, things have turned around. Quality in their films has gone up> They no longer come off a micro managing misers. And they have proven, for the most part, that they actually care again.
Star Wars has found the perfect home if you ask me.
As Lucas stated, Disney has the utilities to keep Star Wars alive, and thriving. Disney will stop at nothing to maintain the popularity that Lucas started over 35 years ago. Let’s admit it, Star Wars has seen a loss in fandom lately. The majority of fans these days are a bit older. There are many more options out there for kids to get into. Harry Potter being the best example. Disney has been attempting to replicate the magic that Lucas cast for years, most notably with attempts at Tron and most recently John Carter. Sadly, both films failed to accomplish what they set out to be: The new Star Wars. In fact, I would put two dimes down that John Carter’s failure at the box office might be indirectly responsible for this merger. I can almost hear an executive saying “Damn, we didn’t get shit from John Carter. This was suppose to be our fucking new Star Wars” Cue other exec “Why don’t we just BUY Star Wars. I’m more than sure we got that kind of money laying around somewhere. We’re Disney, we wipe our butts with $100 bills”
And here we are.
Pixar, the Muppets, Marvel and now Star Wars. Some might say that’s too much. But I say nay. Nay in that while one company controls all these properties, the confidence to let them run themselves so far has proven a fruitful one. Pixar has become bigger and better under Disney. Marvel, a little over 3 years out of being purchased by the Mouse, has grown tremendously. I would dare say that under Disney, Marvel is more popular than it has ever been. Lucasfilm, with it’s history with both these companies, is in good hands.
But lets look at the bigger picture: The return of Star Wars to the big screen. What we have here is something I honestly thought I wouldn’t see until I was old and disheveled and living under a trailer in Nevada somewhere. A Lucas free Star Wars film. There was no way in hell Disney was going to plop down 4 billion dollars and let George tell em ” You can do what you want, just don’t make any movies. I kinda got the carte blanche on that”. This is why Disney paid 4 (B)illion dollars for this property. New films. Why? Gotta sell figures. And lets be honest, there are parts of the prequels that are nothing but reasons to make toys.
Instead of a 16 year gap between trilogies, it’s every 3 years. The most exciting prospect is that it’ll be under writers and directors who are FANS of the series. 90% of people under 40 working in Hollywood today are influenced in one way or another by Star Wars. Many would have sold their first born for a chance to tell their Star Wars story. Now they can. I’ve already seen everyone’s stupid wish list of who should direct the next Star Wars. Nolan, Spielberg, Del Toro, Vaughn and Paul WS Anderson are on them. They’re on EVERYONE’S LIST! Let’s be real though. Disney still wants to make money. Forking down $200 million every 3 years to big name directors might diminish their returns. I see them taking a Marvel style route. New faces for every new film. Young and upcoming filmmakers who have vision, style, and want to take Star Wars in new directions as opposed to telling the same stories over again. What if Josh Tank get’s a crack at Star Wars? Or Rupert Wyatt? There are a slew of filmmakers out there that have only begun their career that I bet could make a Star Wars film that rival the original if given the chance.
Stories? There are more than enough to tell til the end of time and the next universe begins. I’m dying to see a proper Old Republic film. I want another PG13 Star Wars film that dares to be a bit darker. But after that, I wouldn’t mind something a little more balanced and full of fun and fare like Jedi. Hell, we could see a Boba Fett centric film by 2020! The possibilities are endless. As long as they keep making money, Disney will keep making them.
I already hear some snarky comments about how this is just the continuation of Hollywood out of ideas. I say shut up. Ideas have been dead for years. Hell, Star Wars is nothing more than old samurai and western films mixed with sci-fi. It’s how their told that makes them worth watching. I honestly think Disney can breath new life into a series that many have loved yet cursed for so long.
What’s sad is that this is the face of a new reality. If you watch the announcement video below, you can see it in Lucas’s eyes. He’s getting old. He’s 68 now, and you can see the years stacked on him. He knows he’s only got so many years left, and he wants to do something with them other than take whippings of anonymous nerds from behind their key boards. The man that was a visionary at one point has been snuffed out. Sure, part of it was wallowing in his own crapulance, but the rest had definitely come from a group of people that once loved him much like a father, and bitterly turned on him when he couldn’t meet their own standards that they had put so far up on the pedestal that a giraffe on a construction crane couldn’t reach. He wants to do something that he can be proud of again before he leaves this world. It isn’t Star Wars anymore.
It’s a grim reality. The men we have hoisted up on our shoulders almost as gods are showing their mortality. Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese, Scott, the men who made the 70s and 80s a revolution in film, are entering their twilight years, and in Lucas’ case, are pondering how to keep their legacy going long after they’re gone. I applaud George for this decision. It was probably one of the hardest he’s ever had to make concerning his career, but in the end, I think he believes he’s made the right choice.
We look forward now. To the future. To an unprecedented age where stories we’ve only dreamed of as fan fiction can now become reality. An age of super heroes, space adventures, and giant robots that none of us thought would ever happen. I like this time. I like it a lot.