Elen sila lumenn omentielvo!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Mouse and the Lightsaber: Random Thoughts on the Disney-Lucasfilm Deal

When I got home from work today, I walked in the door, took care of the mail, unpacked my lunchbox, changed my clothes, and checked the news...to learn that George Lucas has sold Lucasfilm to Disney...including Star Wars. This news really stunned me at first, but as I thought about it, some things crystalized in my head.

:: For years I've read and heard people pining that the Star Wars franchise would go the way of James Bond, with different directors getting cracks at it. That seems pretty possible now, for better or for worse.

:: I don't really have a problem with Disney owning Star Wars or taking the franchise into the future. I think that Lucas has long made it clear that he's made all the Star Wars movies he wants to make, but that doesn't rule out the idea of any new ones being made at all. That's a big universe he's created there. Why not?

:: For all the complaints heaped upon Disney over the years, fact is, they're still responsible for an awful lot of really good stuff.

:: I've got to think that Disney will be a lot less reticent about the whole "releasing the original versions on DVD" thing than Lucas himself was. I've never been one of those fans, but they're out there, and boy, are they vocal.

:: This also pretty much guarantees that the last set of changes to the Original Trilogy are almost certainly the last set of changes to the Original Trilogy, doesn't it?

:: For all that...this idea of a new Star Wars movie every few years feels kind of odd to me. One of the big appeals to me about Star Wars is that it's always been a single story (at least as far as the movies go), this tale of the two generations of the Skywalker family and how one fell into darkness and found redemption at the hands of the next. By necessity, now, the story will become more than that, and with each new tale, that original story becomes a smaller piece of a greater whole. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

:: I had a conversation on Twitter a week or two ago with a friend who had decided that all the various new Star Wars products just weren't for him anymore, and as a result, his fandom was waning. The point that I made is that Star Wars has become so large in terms of product that one can literally decide what kind of fan one wants to be. That seems very cool to me. I adore Star Wars, but my fandom turns out to be very limited: it pretty much starts and stops with the six existing movies. I read the 'Expanded Universe' novels when they started coming out (and I still have quite a lot of love for the Timothy Zahn books, as well as quite a few of the comics, with special love reserved for the Marvel Star Wars title that ran from 1977 to 1987), but I've long since stopped following all of that. And I've never really gotten around to watching much of The Clone Wars beyond the first couple of episodes (which I actually found pretty solid pieces of entertainment).

Why is this? Well, mostly I suppose it's because I'm so scattershot in my various fandoms. I'm easily distracted by The Shiny, and I want to fill my life with as much Shiny as possible. I'm just not wired to focus my energies on any one particular variety of The Shiny. But there's just too much Star Wars out there for me to keep track of, and it's aimed all over the map. There's Star Wars for grown-up readers, and there's Star Wars for kids. Which is why, for me, I've pretty much stopped at the movies. I'll watch what comes, as an observer. And I'll almost certainly see new movies.

:: I don't hate the guy. I really, truly don't. But if Hans Zimmer ever writes the score for a Star Wars movie, I will show up at the theater, consume an entire large popcorn, and then wash it down with ipecac.

:: This isn't really relevant to the topic at hand, but...f*** Red Letter Media.

:: Some small part of me -- the part that's the writerly equivalent of the kid playing pick-up baseball on the sandlot with a couple of buddies, whispering "It's the bottom of the ninth in Game Seven...we're down by three, bases are loaded, two outs and I step up to the plate...." as he awaits the pitch from his older brother -- has lazily daydreamed about getting Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title) published, and then a sequel, and then turning the following universal acclaim into being asked by George Lucas to personally write Star Wars Episode VII. That dream has now been taken from me. Sigh....

:: No matter the result, the fact that George Lucas is willing to let Star Wars go, after it's been the labor of his life, is really something. If it wasn't obvious, I love this guy and this just helps that right along. What a great thing to do.

:: Speaking of which: as a Buffalo Bills fan, the symbolism of an amazingly rich man selling to someone else the thing that brought him untold riches, that its future might be assured and in good hands, is not lost on me. I hope someone at Ralph Wilson's house leaves a newspaper on the table, turned to this story....

:: SamuraiFrog has some thoughts, as I figured he would. So does John Scalzi, but when it comes to George Lucas and Star Wars he's pretty much full of bird poop, so 'tis best to set your phasers (wrong franchise, I know) to 'ignore'.

:: All that said...I'm really not sure how ready I am to see Princess Leia included amongst the lineup of Belle, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and all the rest!


Call me Paul said...

Re: your point about the "six" movies - didn't George once state that he originally envisioned a nine movie story arc? Maybe Disney is the one to finally bring balance to the force.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Yes and no. The 'nine movies' trope referred to a third trilogy that Lucas hypothesized after his original story resulted in just two trilogies. So when he says that his original idea was always for six, he's right.

Buffalopundit said...

I like Star Wars, and Disney does good work. I have no problem with any of this, and I can't imagine sitting on a franchise like Star Wars and keeping that lightning in a coffee can in perpetuity.

csmith2884 said...

I was shocked to learn not just the Star Wars rites, but all the wonders of Industrial Lights and Magic were sold. For good or for bad, it was his to do with as he wished. Now and before, btw.
I would say as a fan I start and end with the six films. For many of the same reasons as you, it is just so vast. Doctor Who is my shiny right now, but maybe before Christmas I could look at Clone Wars again.

Call me Paul said...

Hmm. I'm not sure how to interpret the quotations in the older article to which you linked above. It still seems to me that he envisioned a larger narrative in which the story continues after Return of the Jedi, even if only as backstory for his own reference. And if, as stated, Lucas will be involved as some kind of consultant in further films, perhaps some of that story arc may yet be forthcoming. That's a possibility that excites this Star Wars fan.