Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nerd Rage #12a: The Pros of Disney Buying Star Wars

I started writing this a long time ago but I was distracted by that whole “NaNoWriMo” thing. So technically I’m a little late to the party on this one. Take in mind that I wrote this  originally when the new first broke weeks ago.

Honestly I'm mainly upset by Darth Goofy's lack of pants
I assume most of you have heard this but for those of you who somehow managed to successfully be a hermit Disney announced that they had bought Lucasfilms. This includes all smaller companies under the Lucasfilm umbrella, including Lucasarts, Industrial Light Magic, Skywalker Sound and, of course, the entire Star Wars brand. Everything related to the franchise (books, video games, etc.) now are part of the Disney machine and George Lucas no longer has a say in the franchise he created and built his life around. It was sold for $4.5 billion, which I think feels a little low for Star Wars, and it was immediately announced that production of Star Wars: Episode VII had begun with a release date of summer 2015. This may be the biggest nerd oriented news in at least ten years.

This is the exact type of news where many nerds go insane over with declarations of “EVERYTHING IS RUINED”. It’s very similar to when Marvel Comics was bought by Disney a few years ago in terms of potential rage, but on a grander scale. And yeah, I too can’t help but raise an eyebrow over this whole mess but I think we need to all step back, breathe, and consider the pros and cons of the situation. Now you might be saying “Beta, didn’t you wash your hands of Star Wars a while ago? Didn’t you basically write a whole blog about it?” And I’d reply “Shut up, asshole.” And afterwards I’d explain that despite some loss of faith Star Wars was still a huge part of my life since I was a baby up until about 1999 and even since then I still maintain a great admiration of the world building that goes into it. I feel that I, like so many other folk to there, have a stake in this development.

Let’s weigh the “Good” and the “Bad” after the jump, shall we?


-We WILL Get a New Star Wars Film 

Time to make some more room on the posters, I guess
You may love the video games, the books, the cartoons and the comic books but let’s not kid ourselves; all that stuff is just what we watch and play and read to help us get over the lack of new feature films. But, sadly, the chances of a new film was always very low. Lucas himself had said in many interviews that he felt the movie’s story, which were based around the life of Anakin Skywalker, was done and that he didn’t feel he needed to do anymore. Every couple of years rumors pop up that Lucas is secretly working on a new trilogy but they never turn out to be true. However now, without a shadow of a doubt, we know that a brand new full-length Star Wars movie will hit theaters in the next few years [EDIT: Also it turns out that Lucas was indeed secretly working on a new trilogy. How ‘bout that?]. Even if Disney doesn’t make their 2015 deadline it WILL STILL HAPPEN SOONER OR LATER. We’re going from “Probably Will Never Happen” to “It Will Happen and Here’s When”. That’s fantastic.

And yeah, a lot of people are saying that Disney may ruin the franchise or at least the timeline but I say we don’t know that they will do anything to hurt things or make them better. It’s too soon to know either way but I do know that with Lucas out of the picture Disney can hire some of the best screenwriters and directors in Hollywood to take the reins…and a lot of those guys grew up watching Star Wars and have a great love for it. I’m excited over the possibilities.

Besides, Lucas didn’t exactly make the best Star Wars movies himself when he did the second trilogy. The bar is already kind of low.

-This Isn’t Disney’s First Rodeo

Disney bought Lucasfilms, this is true, but the likelihood of them taking over every aspect of the company’s inner workings is relatively low. They may dictate some leadership changes at some point but I expect them to be pretty hands off. Why? Because that’s exactly what happened with Marvel when it was bought by Disney. They’ve seem to pretty much left Marvel do its thing and they’ve made a ton of money as a result (how much did the Avengers make again?) and stand to make even more down the line. So the people who have been nurturing the franchise this whole time will likely continue to do so. The biggest change, aside from the green light to make Episode VII, is that George Lucas no longer has the power to veto ideas he doesn’t like, which will probably prove to be both a good and bad thing. For example he once banned any new creations of Wookiee Jedi but with him out of the picture who’s to say we won’t see any in the any forthcoming material?

F**k yes, Lowbacca!
Anyway I’m sure Disney is smart enough to let the experts to do their thing so long as they get to wet their beaks.

-George Lucas Will (Probably) Never Direct Another SW Film 

This may not sound like a Pro to some of you but I’m basing this on simple logic. Three of the four Star Wars films he personally directed were widely considered bad (though I think Revenge of the Sith’s major problem was the ending and that most of the film is “okay”). I take it further and say the original Star Wars is only a good film in context of 1977 and doesn’t hold up the same way The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi do. So perhaps Lucas isn’t the best choice to direct his own films. Now granted I think Lucas is one of the greatest world builders in the history of fiction but as a director he seems to focus a bit too much on spectacle on not enough on character depth, which you can easily say was the number one problem with the second trilogy. Lucas is in the process of retiring and it’s safe to say he won’t be directing another Star Wars film. Even if he wanted to Disney can just say “Sorry, but you’re services aren’t required.” Right now he’s involved as a creative consultant who has a lot of input in the story…which is exactly the perfect role for him. He needs to help build the story, which is best strength, and then allow fresher minds to handle the heavy lifting of putting it all together on screen.

Speaking about new people…

-Star Wars Can Only Benefit From new Blood 

Isn't that the face of a dude you'd want writing Star Wars? No? Oh well
 As can any decades long franchise. Sometimes, and I think this may have happened with Lucas, it can become hard to come up with fresh, quality ideas for something when you’ve been working with it continuously for years. You can either soldier on and continue with it and risk coming up with stuff that will almost certainly be below your normal standard or you can take a step back and let other, younger, hungrier minds tackle the problems (and maybe even come back to it later after you’ve worked on some other projects). Lucas is finally doing the latter. Episode VII will likely be handled by much of the same people who have been working at Lucasfilms for years now but by the time we hit Episode IX it could be a completely different base of people with new and exciting ideas. It’s just a good call to shake things up every once and while, even there’s always a risk of people f**king it up (See: the Great DC Reboot of 2011). Hell, Michael Arndt who wrote Toy Story 3, a movie that had me openly weeping in the movie theater, and Little Miss Sunshine, which won him a damn Oscar (great flick, by the way), is working on a script treatment as we speak. He’s a writer who is absolutely excellent when it comes to writing character depth (which I again think is one of Lucas’ weak points) and seeing him work on Star Wars is an interesting mix that we likely never would have seen if Disney hadn’t bought Lucasfilms. I’m not saying he’ll turn out something amazing, but he has turned out heartwarming works in the past. So basically Episode VII now has at least a chance to be amazing…it’s a small chance but 10% [EDIT: And growing] is still better than the zero we had before this purchase.

-We May finally Get That Star Wars TV Show 

For years George Lucas has been talking about doing a live action Star Wars TV show, set between Episode III and Episode IV, that would have had a darker tone and involve pretty much no Jedi. That sounded awesome, but unfortunately it has yet to materialize likely for a lot of reasons. However now Disney might try to give it a shot and since they own about 8,000 television networks they won’t have to worry about shopping it around. A year ago I would have said it may still never happen but then Joss Whedon got tagged to create a show about SHIELD spun out form his Avengers movie. If we can have SHIELD: The TV Series we can damn sure have Star Wars: The TV Series. It still might never happen but I think that Disney would have a much easier time getting it on the air than Lucasfilms have had because, you know, they’re Disney.

Samuel L. Jackson can be on both shows!

I was going to do the Cons today as well but looking at the word count (nearing 3,000 words) I figured it'd be a little easier on you guys if I split it up. So check back here on Friday for Part Two when I discuss what about this new arrangement scares me.


  1. I'm glad there's SOMEONE who can see the pros and has some hope. (Not to say that there are no negatives at all, though). One thing that I really have zero hope for, though, is that Disney also now owns Indiana Jones.

    1. That's a good point. To be fair though I didn't have a whole lot of hope for the Indiana Jones franchise beforehand.