May the Mouse be with you
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 13:10
While the main focus of this section has been campus events and student profiles, the world of entertainment manages to do something momentous enough to briefly distract from that criteria.
And boy did they go all out for this one.
Not even 24 hours ago, The Walt Disney Company announced their $4 billion/40 million stock purchase of Lucasfilm, Ltd., home of, among other properties, the Star Wars franchise. Within that same span of time, the electronic outcry has surpassed even news of Hurricane Sandy — that fact in itself is ridiculous.
Much of this fanboy chagrin is a result of the additional announcement of Disney head honcho Robert Iger, co-chair of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy and the originator himself, George Lucas, to not only release “Star Wars Episode VII” by 2015 but subsequent Star Wars films “every two to three years.”
Not surprisingly, this doesn’t sit well with many diehard and even casual fans of the legendary sci-fi series. The most common complaints can be summed up as,
1. it shouldn’t have gone to Disney in the first place;
2. Disney will tarnish the Star Wars legacy; and
3. why make more Star Wars films when the prequels weren’t even good?
These are all valid points — if your common practice is to base opinions on hyperbolic emotions and knee-jerk, unchecked responses.
Now, in no way is this a piece born from naive optimism; there are going to be problems and missteps with this model.
Such occurrences are inevitable, though, no matter who acquired Lucasfilm. Disney purchased the whole enchilada, which includes video game developer Lucas Arts, movie special effects titans Industrial Light and Magic, the seemingly omnipresent Skywalker Sound and a potential list of other high-grossing properties, many of which are distributed by multiple owners.
While Disney isn’t likely to immediately cancel or repossess all these properties, the gradual phase out process is inevitable. The incredible “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” will leave Cartoon Network; Dark Horse Comics will either complete or cancel their excellent run of Star Wars books; the next “Knights of the Old Republic” video game may have a bit more of Square Enix “Final Fantasy” aesthetic.
The important thing to note, however, is that all of these properties, should they continue, will have a home abundant with resources for them to grow.
Is it unfair that 20th Century Fox, the familiar home of the Star Wars films, was reportedly in the dark about this year-and-a-half long negotiation? Yeah, but at the same time there’s really no better place for all these properties to go in terms of potential expansion.
Disney can incorporate virtually every property into virtually every medium. And they will do so intelligently and respectfully.
The company’s 2006 purchase of Pixar and 2009 purchase of Marvel Comics show they have a solid record of not messing with a good thing. If the worst things to have come out of each respective purchase are “Cars 2” and yet another Deadpool ongoing, then Disney is not the Death Star people make it out to be.
If anything, Disney will protect the Star Wars legacy for generations to come, ensuring we can argue with our grandchildren about whether Han or Greedo shot first.
Even more importantly, Disney will allow the Star Wars film franchise to evolve.
While the masses complain about the sub-par quality of the prequels (an argument for a completely different article), those films still made obscene amounts of money and provided starting grounds for some of the best stories of the Star Wars universe.
There are problems with every Star Wars film, most of which can be attributed to Lucas, who holds onto those things with a Vader-esque Force grip. With Disney’s upcoming inaugural Star Wars film, however, Lucas will reportedly take a mere creative consultant role. To what degree his consultation will go is unknown, but even the prospect of a Star Wars movie not written by Lucas is intriguing.
Those wary of a cartoonish, musical version of the Skywalker clan should note that the company can produce more adult-oriented fare, such as the ever popular Pirates of the Caribbean films and the underappreciated “John Carter.”
Additionally, much of the Star Wars universe’s best stories come from other storytellers. There is a nearly endless amount of stories both in and out of continuity for filmmakers to explore, and an infinite amount of stories yet to be discovered. Handing the reins to a new voice won’t guarantee quality, but it does promise something different.
It may be this fear of change inspiring all the Internet animosity and frustration, but this fear likely comes from a deeply entrenched love of the fantastic magic and unanimous joy this franchise inspires. It is better to focus on this love and give this change a chance.