My Thoughts on Star Wars and Disney
My initial reaction was diluted by the amount of information we got in October. Lucasfilm was bought by Disney and George Lucas wrote a treatment for 3 MORE STAR WARS MOVIES. Sorry. I didn’t mean to yell. That little fact, is actually the one that I’ve had the hardest time getting my head around. But I think I’ve got it square now.
So, let’s talk Disney. Disney is a giant corporation. They own a tremendous amount of media, many of which don’t have the Disney branding (things like ABC, Miramax, ESPN, and the History Channel. Oh, and Marvel). And like any major corporation they’re going to do everything they can to make sure Star Wars and its characters are fully saturated into pop culture (as if they weren’t already). They’re also going to make sure that we get regular injections of Star Wars movies. So they can maximize profits.
Lucasfilm was always a kind of scrappy underdog. Saying “scrappy underdog” might sound weird for a company that has only produced blockbuster films, but they were. At their core the Lucasfilm made independent films financed out of pocket by the producer/director. You don’t get any more independent than that. Fox distributed Star Wars, but they didn’t pay a dime to make them. George Lucas made the prequels exactly how he wanted them and was beholden to no one. That’s impressive.
Initially I was afraid that we might get over-saturated by Star Wars, that Disney ran the risk of making too many films. I don’t want Star Wars to become like the Bond franchise before the reboot in 2006. There are a LOT of bad Bond movies from 1979 - 2002. And the last thing that I want, or anyone wants, is for Star Wars to get rebooted.
But the more I talked about Star Wars, the more I started thinking about what’s going on in Hollywood right now. I don’t mean the content, I mean the people. People making feature films right now grew up when Star Wars was new. And they are either fans, or they aren’t.
If they are fans they are going to put special care into the writing, directing, cinematography… you name it, it’s getting special care. If they’re not fans, they aren’t going to work on the movie. It’s that simple.
Weather he intended too or not, George Lucas just handed the keys to the Star Wars kingdom over to the fans. As fans we’ve talked a big game about what we would have done, how we would have changed things and about what we would do if we were the ones making new Star Wars movies. We get that chance now.
No director who hates Star Wars is going to sign on to the film. The public scrutiny over the director choice is going to be overwhelming. If he/she isn’t a fan, we are all going to know it, and the internet is going to explode.
Disney has already promised three films, which they are calling Episodes 7, 8, and 9. That kind of leads me to believe that they will be connected to the existing 6 Star Wars movies. After which we’ll get more films every few years.
The treatment for 7, 8, and 9 was written by George Lucas himself. Which actually get’s me a little more excited (if that’s possible). As much as I trust this generation of filmmakers I don’t think I’m ready for Star Wars without George. Say what you want about the prequels, but he wrote the treatment for Hope, Empire, and Jedi. That’s what he’s best at. Big picture story and building the universe. He’s doing that and handing it over to someone else.
So while part of me is nervous that Disney is going to suck the life out of Star Wars, I don’t think the humans that work on it are going to let that happen. There’s no existing model for this, there’s nothing any studio has ever done that is like what Disney wants to do with Star Wars. Not even what’s currently happening with Marvel right now.
So I’m not worried. We’re about to enter into a era where the fans are going to be in control of Star Wars. And that’s really the most exciting part.
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