Thursday, November 1, 2012

Disney + Star Wars = Best Day Ever

Apparently it takes a 4 billion dollar deal to get me blogging. That’s okay, though, because if the news of Disney buying Lucasfilms can’t do it, I may as well close up shop.

So yeah…

Disney inked a deal to buy Lucasfilms for 4.5 BILLION dollars. That purchase includes Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound. Lucasfilms, in case you don’t know, is the studio that has the creative rights to Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

As you can imagine, as a Disney fan, I believe this is the awesomest thing in the history of awesome things. Both film franchises feature original trilogies that are easily among the 5 best trilogies in film history. Not only are they awesome, but they’re also insanely profitable. In fact, maybe 4.5 billion dollars isn’t enough money to pay George Lucas.
So yeah, Disney can’t lose.

But what do I say to all of the obsessive Star Wars fans who are afraid that Disney will ruin the legacy of The Force?


First, let me defend my beloved Disney against all of this “Disneyfied” nonsense. I’ve seen around the internet this idea that suddenly Disney is going to somehow over-commercialize or over-cutesy the Star Wars creative property.

Um… Have these people seen the Star Wars legos, and video games, and toys and toys and toys? George Lucas was the all time greatest ever at wringing out every tidbit of cash out of literally ever corner of his kingdom. My long-time buddy, The Scary Pinecone used to collect the Star Wars figures, and there were tons of figures of characters I had no recollection of from movies I’ve seen dozens of times.

George Lucas created Ewoks. George Lucas created Jar Jar Binks (for Pete’s sake!) He forced poor little innocent Jake Lloyd to shriek “Yippee!”. Do they really want to get into this “Disney=Cutified” thing?

Anyway, here are my points in favor of the deal:

1) As many others have pointed out… There’s absolutely no risk from either side of the deal. Disney will make boatloads of cash no matter what, and they’ll also have the extremely valuable studios of ILM and Skywalker Sound. Lucasfilms risks nothing in terms of quality, because let’s face it… The last good movie to come out of Lucasfilms was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989. The last good Star Wars movie was in 1983. I was 3 years old. I will be 33 in February. The recent Star Wars movies have been worse than mediocre, and my preference is to just forget that Indy 4 never happened at all. Disney can’t make it worse. There’s only one direction to go, and that’s up.

2) George Lucas conceptualized Star Wars as a 9 Part Story, and only 6 parts have been created. He’s openly said that he’d never make Episodes 7 to 9, and that’s a shame, because if they use the Timothy Zahn “Heir to the Empire” trilogy as a basis, the fans are truly missing out. Those stories are awesome, and they introduce some spectacular characters, aliens, and worlds. It could be awesome, and Lucas doesn’t have the creative juice to do it. Even if he did, let’s just be honest and admit that the biggest problems with the recent films is that he had too much control. Disney is arguably the only studio to have the bandwidth, talent, and funds to do it right. I’m excited. I say give the reins to J.J. Abrahms or Rian Johnson or Joss Whedon and sit back and enjoy the ride.

3) Disney, with their enormous scope, can offer the Star Wars fans an opportunity to love their stories for years to come in dozens of different medias. I’ve already heard talk of Star Wars themed attractions at the parks. New movies. New cartoons. It’s a way to keep the stories alive and bring them to even more audiences. I mean… who wouldn’t love to go to Disney World at ride the hot new roller coaster “The Millenium Falcon and the Kessel Run”? (That’s my idea, Disney… HIRE ME!)
4) Nobody’s really talking much about the Indy movies, and maybe that’s because Harrison Ford is old, Shia LeBouf is… unsuitable to take over the franchise, and you can’t really do “Indy” without “Indy”. That’s fair, but a buddy of mine asked me about Disney’s track record with Sci-Fi, and I have to admit, it’s not that great. Action/Adventure, however… I’d venture to say that the best Action/Adventure movie of the past 10 years is the first Pirates flick. The Avengers is pretty good too… I’d be interested to see what Disney does with a property like Indiana Jones… Can they go in a different direction without Harrison Ford in the spotlight?

5) Speaking of “The Avengers”, I think that perhaps this is the best example of why a Disneyfied Lucasfilm is going to be awesome…

Disney bought Marvel a couple of years ago, and every comic book fan boy freaked the hell out. “Oh no! The Hulk will have Mickey Ears! They’ll be “baby” versions of Iron Man and Captain America.”

That hasn’t happened. Disney’s done a great job of keeping true to the Marvel stories and characters. I realize that there’s only been a small samples size to this point, but The Avengers was stupendous. They did it right. They hired respected “Geek Insiders” like Joss Whedon to write and direct. They made sure the effects were tight. They treated their stars right, so we know they’ll be back. It was masterfully done, and nobody can complain. Maybe someone doesn’t love the plot, but all-in-all, it was an enormous success. Also they made 1.5 Billion dollars.

Look… There are no guarantees, but Disney is the one company out there that combines the technical prowess, the creative talent, and the ridiculously deep pockets to do it right.

Let me put it this way…

If we knew that Lucas wasn’t going to be available to make another Star Wars movie, but we knew there would still BE a Star Wars movie… what studio do you want taking over?

Disney is it.


  1. Um, for #2 did you mean to say if they DON'T use "Heir to the Empire" trilogy for the basis that the fans would miss out? Those books were the first written to expand on the Star Wars universe and are what kicked off the jillions of books afterwards. That's what I read when I was 14 and constantly rocking a fussy baby sister. Timothy Zahn turned me back on to the SW universe and that was when my true devotion was born. I was excited to hear Disney would make a 7-9 but then sad when "Heir" wouldn't be used. Now I'm just luke warm about them.

  2. Ha. Yes... I did mean "If they DON'T" use them. I was also bummed when they went another direction since they're essentially canonical at this point, but I'm still excited. I don't think Disney is taking it lightly.