Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Star Wars. Disney. Insert 2¢. Press button. Await opinion.

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Breaking news, Oct 30th 2012.
>Disney acquires Lucasfilm.
>Star Wars Episode VII slated for 2015.

In answer to your question, I don't know.

I'm pretty much trying to stay out of the discussion until the dust settles (despite this blogpost), as the geekier side of the internet combusts in what is mainly opinionated speculation (from what I've seen, anyway). I've already seen enough kneejerk Lucasbashing and witty 'putting Mouse Ears On A Star Wars Thing™ because that's what everything will be like from now on' pictures to keep me out of it.

The bottom line is:
• George Lucas handed over the LFL reins to Kathleen Kennedy back at the start of June, prior to his 'retirement'. We knew something big was on the cards then.

• This breaking news has been known at Lucasfilm also since June. Now that the news has gone public, that staff at LFL seem fairly happy, as well as other other influential media types. It'll be interesting to see which high-profilers aren't happy with it, of course (not you, Pegg, you've already burned your flag).

• Lucasfilm and Disney have a partnership going back to 1987 with the Star Tours ride, and they've been producing cross-over merchandise (yes, Mouse Ears On A Star Wars Thing™) for their on-park stores for years now.

• Disney also bought Marvel. Back in 2009. Avengers turned out alright though, didn't it? Potential Movie-of-2012 material, if we're being honest. That's because although Disney own Marvel, they let Marvel run Marvel. Disney are a business, and they see the opportunity to let Marvel carry on being itself and making money for them. I have no reason to believe that the Lucasfilm deal is any different. Buying into one of the most powerful and long-lasting marketing franchises in history, and then changing that would be monumentally stupid. And you don't have to like Disney, but they're not stupid.

• Yes, it is all about money. Sorry to burst that bubble. I know many people believe the entertainment industry is built on kittens, clouds and lollipops, but I'm afraid that isn't the case. And yes, I suppose the slew of merchandising around the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy really does piss all over the sanctity of your childhood Star Wars figures. Duvet covers. Pencil cases. Toothbrushes. Tape dispensers. T-shirts. Rub-on transfers. Badges. Soundtrack albums. Marvel comics. Multiple video releases of the same three films. Dairylea tie-in promotions. Burger King tie-in promotions. You get my drift.

So while I'm cool with the business changing hands at the top-level, and I'm certainly cool with 'increased output' in the theatrical and home markets, I have to admit I'm extremely hesitant about Episode Seven. Irrespective of what George Lucas said back in the day about nine/twelve movies, you've got to admit that Return of the Jedi is kind of a great ending point to the cinematic saga, chronologically speaking. As a devoted reader of the comics and novels, I can confidently say that the next 30-40 or so years after RotJ is pretty much mapped out in terms of the central characters. Now, Episode VII doesn't mean that all the existing Expanded Universe material couldn't just be scrapped/rebooted, and it also doesn't mean that the story can't focus on secondary/tertiary/unknown characters in the GFFA (Boba Fett movie, anyone?). Alternatively, you could just set the story several hundred/thousand years in the future, but how tight can you make the episodic connection then? (The MORPG The Old Republic is set around 3500 years before the first Star Wars, which is fine, but it isn't called Episode -1)

The fact is, Episode VII won't be easy to implement smoothly, but then, it isn't my job to make sure it is. And if I don't like the direction Star Wars goes in, it won't diminish my love for what we've had so far. We'll* just have to wait and see, won't we*?

In short:

Am I happy that there's a future for Star Wars?
Yes (there always was anyway).

Am I okay with Disney owning Lucasfilm?

Am I pleased about more Star Wars TV/movies?

Am I stoked that Episode VII is heading up that roster?
I don't know. But hey, always in motion, is the future.

Thank you for reading this.
My name is Ian, and I'm a boy that loves Star Wars.
You can read about how and why here.
These are just my opinions, yours will vary. I hope.


• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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