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RevolutionSF Watercooler : Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Internet Cracks In Half
© RevolutionSF
November 08, 2012

RevolutionSF gathers around our fictional watercooler to discuss the only important issues of our day: Namely, the fate of Star Wars as part of Disney.

Mark Finn Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe I will be, and it'll be the start of a creative renaissance in popular culture the likes of which we've never seen before. But this being Disney, the company that perfected marketing to children, I kinda doubt it. For every brand that they elevate (Marvel Comics, for example), they also denigrate another for petty, personal, number crunching, infighting reasons (John Carter).

I do not want another Star Wars movie, not not really, not after all of the substandard garbage and bile-spewing I've participated in and in turn, endured. Would I want to see an AMAZING Star Wars movie? You betcha, but I honestly do not trust anyone on the Left Coast to get it right. It's too pregnant with expectations, baggage, and bullshit. Let it die. In that, of course, it will never die. But you know what I mean.

Marvel was papering the Joe Simon estate into oblivion over Captain America before Disney stepped in. Just like DC/Time Warner is doing to Superman's creator's families now. With all of these things under the control of the Disney machine, it sets a terrible, potentially dangerous precedent. And it puts a lot of disparate elements in the hands of one person. Sure, we all like John Lasseter now, but there have been studio chiefs we've hated. When Lasseter goes, the next guy might be a bean counter who knows nothing.

I'm telling you, this is forty years of darkness, in a big can of ass.

Dave Farnell Moar Disney Princesses!

Deanna Toxopeus FUCK NO

Disney and their marketing department suck the moxie out of their Princesses and turn them into Toddlers and Tiaras tribute.

Mulan is a warrior, but her doll, is all about the wedding look.

Merida is all about not being forced to be a girlie girl, but her doll is all about looking pretty in a dress.

With that track record, Leia will be an Amidala clone, with a closet full of outfits to wear as she overthrew the empire.

Sarah Arnold I can't see this being a good thing in any instance. Disney is a huge company that is much more concerned with the bottom line than putting out quality movies from a franchise that they've bought. If Disney knows that they could have huge box office numbers with something along the lines of Episode One every two years, they will do it. So how the heck am I suppose to explain this to my future kids?

"You see, Timmy, there were these three great movies, and then many years later, three meh movies and then even more years later after everyone accepted that was it, and started debating what order to show your generation the movies, Disney rolled up and made everyone a Disney princess. I know you love your Lego Star Wars and that Luke Skywalker is a well balanced father figure, who keeps talking about his childhood on a farm, Timmy, this is not what Star Wars was for Mom and Dad.

Jayme Blaschke It's cyclical. Eisner ran Disney with a fixation on the bottom line and destroyed much of their talent infrastructure and burned bridges in the process. The current regime has corrected that. Mending fences with Pixar and even bringing them into the fold with extensive influence was the first and biggest sign of that. Lassiter's a great creative force, but I'm not one to believe he can walk on water. He's behind CARS, after all.

John Carter was botched at every level. Petty in-fighting doomed the film, but that script was bloated and never should've gone into production as it was. Ditto for Tron Legacy, even The Muppets, fun as it was, struck me as uneven.

I'm hard pressed to identify another studio I'd rather have Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Willow at than Disney. 20th Century Fox mangled a bunch of genre properties of late. Paramount ran Star Trek into the ground, and while the Abrams reboot was dazzling, like every other JJ Abrams project it gets very, very rickety once you look beneath the gloss.

I can't think of any studio I'd "trust" more with these properties than Disney (although I use "trust" in the lowest common denominator sense).

If Lucas is going to sell, this is the best-case scenario. And once again, he contradicts himself (1978: "I'm doing NINE movies", 1998: "What are you talking about, there have always been six films, because it's all about Darth Vader"). I'm curious to see the final (not really, but you know what I mean) trilogy that Lucas promised way back at the dawn of time. Scads of treatments and outlines exist for these, and Lucas' early drafts for the original Star Wars, he threw all kinds of crazy ideas out all over the place that eventually coalesce into something coherent with a strong guiding hand.

Once Lucas got too powerful for anyone to tell him "No" is when the train jumped the track. Case in point: The prequels. A mess overall, but gosh, there's a great story in there desperate to get out. Lucas just beat it back because he was too fixated on tangential ideas and details.

Star Wars works best when others have been given the keys to the kingdom. I've never been convinced the long-promised live-action series would work, but I suspect that under Disney we'll see it hit ABC prime time for good or ill, whereas with Lucas it would never amount to more than vaporware.

Under Disney, I expect it to have a 50/50 shot at being decent. Not Firefly or Farscape good, but then what is?).

Star Wars is too valuable to every let go fallow. Nobody is going to leave that much money sitting around, untapped. Will Disney produce some shitty Star Wars entertainment? Certainly. There have been awful James Bond, Star Trek, and Godzilla films, sometimes many in a row, but each rebounded with excellent. Should Star Wars ride off into the sunset? Yeah, but it ain't going to happen.

I'm astonished that nobody has picked up on the real reason for this acquisition: Reuniting HOWARD THE DUCK with the rest of the Marvel universe.

Jason Myers: Premature Ejacuspeculation is something that's been on my mind for a while.

As silly as I think it is for fans to wet themselves in anticipation of something that hasn't even gone into production yet, doing the opposite of that is no more illuminating or worthwhile. Geeks are too often abandoning snark in favor of snide nerd rage, dog-piling on predictable targets Lucas, Disney, SyFy, Twilight, etc, etc. with a level of fury that can't be good for anyone's blood-pressure. It's certainly not good for mine. If that's the type of interaction I was looking for, I'd be a sports fan.

Civility is a combination of dishonesty and kindness, and I wish I more often saw people abandoning the former without abandoning the latter. It makes me sad that I've had to add Star Wars to the list of things not to bring up in polite conversation, right up there with religion and politics. Maybe fandom has always been like this, I just didn't notice it as much before.

I know a lot of people are nostalgic for when it was about the magic rather than the money and merchandizing. Like back when we were kids, and our parents could pay to get a picture of the Star Wars toys that we'd get a month or two after Christmas day.

I'm nostalgic for the days when people actually went to see a movie, and then reviewed the movie, rather than reviewing it based on a costume publicity photo, a candid on-set snapshot, or the trailer. A lot of this has to do with the nature of the Internet, which eats its own tail every three seconds in an effort to be on the bleeding edge. Which is why my relationship with the internet is also so on-again off-again.

Of course, I'm also nostalgic for the time when I saw two movies a week rather than counting myself lucky if I could get to six a year.

Strictly speaking, I bear guarded optimism that a live-action Star Wars TV show could be kick-ass. Star Wars has the potential to become like Sherlock Holmes and Batman and Dracula, open to wildly different interpretations, varying wildly in quality, living beyond their creators in ways that are sometimes disappointing, sometimes breathtaking.

Every time there is news about Star Wars, it becomes an occasion to trot out old expectations, baggage, bullshit, and wounds. When it comes to the point where people are saying "George Lucas raped my childhood" in utter seriousness, it would be nice to declare a moratorium on the whole universe for a decade or two. I wish, probably in vain, for a time when, at Halloween, the girl dressing up like Amidala doesn't assume the risk of being mocked by the girl dressed up like Leia, or by the parents of the girl dressed up like Leia.

I don't blame Jar Jar or Lucas for this. I blame the fans. People feel really deeply about Star Wars, too deeply if they're at the point of waging holy wars about it.

I say this as someone whose favorite movie of all time is a Star Wars movie. Star Wars is just a metaphor for the whole fandom shebang, and why I've become disillusioned with it, and less enthusiastic about devoting my time to it. I don't particularly care for Twilight or The Vampire Diaries, but hats off to the people who do, even more so if they're willing to admit it in front of the snobby cool kids.

I'd tell you which of the Star Wars movies is my favorite, but I know I'll be 'boo'ed.

Okay, it's Return of the Jedi. Wicket rules! I didn't realize that Ewoks weren't cool until I was told. REPEATEDLY. And you know what, they are cool. It's just some people don't realize it.

Mark Finn: Jason, I agree with your soapbox rant, even as I'm sticking darts in my old copy of Dynamite Magazine with the Ewoks on the cover.

I'm really not that upset at the creative decision. I mean, I have been waiting rather patiently for some years now for that phone call: "Finn, Lucas needs you. He's given up. We need a new Chocolate Master." And then I get into the glass elevator and . . . well, you know.

In its current configuration, there will be some great, expertly managed, marketed, and merchandized Star Wars Product(tm) put out there. And it'll probably be very well received, because the Mouse's PR Machine is a mighty, mighty thing, indeed.

The main thing that squeezes my cheese is the gathering of all this IP under one roof. It's dangerous, potentially stultifying, and sets a bad precedent. I deal with DisneyCorp(tm) when I run the theater. They are a Great Satan. Their business practices are sketchy, they only care about the bottom line, and this maneuver is an attempt to squeeze the competition out of the nest. I have a problem with everything cool that I like under the Disney umbrella. When Walt wrote "It's a Small World After All," I don't think this is what he had in mind.

Jason Myers:

A good portion of Disney's "I Hunger" intellectual property-devouring Galactus nature is a direct outgrowth of Walt. Part of his original vision was to have a monopoly on our childhoods, since he invented, as far as I know, "you saw the movie, now ride the ride!", as well as the idea of people paying to enter a space designed specifically to guide them toward buying more stuff, and an artificial environment geared toward getting people to feel nostalgia for a past that never existed outside of our collective imagination.

I've no illusions about Disney being a charitable avuncular repository of our childhoods. That said, sometimes I like to ride the ride. And if the Mouse didn't exist, neither would more than a dozen of my favorite movies.

Disney is also a sore spot with me because I've had to endure many ridiculously unsupported arguments ("The Lion King is Racist", "Gaston is being put forward as a male role model", "The Emperor's New Groove promotes misogyny") in which people nod along blithely, because it's Disney, so why bother with a chain of evidence and logic when you can coast on people's general distaste for the Disney corporation?

Jayme Blaschke: I disagree. I think Walt was more like Lucas, determined to do his own thing, damn the critics (and he had a LOT of them back in the day that questioned his ever move).

The massive, ongoing property grab is a fear-induced echo of the 1970s-80s when pretty much everything Disney touched turned to shit and the studio was a marginal player verging on collapse. Eisner saved them, no doubt, but ever since, they've obsessed over diversifying (often to a ludicrous degree to guard against ever being in so weakened a position again. It worked, but now that Disney is an 800 pound gorilla, they just can't stop themselves. It's become a reflexive action.

Jason Myers: I whole-heartedly agree with that. Walt was a visionary genius, but reading about the way he put the studio and theme-park together, I see mechanisms being put into place that were ever so easy to make use of, and that make me feel like Walt missed his calling as a Mad Men style marketing exec.

I don't blame Walt for Octo-Disney any more than I blame Lucas for the Battleship, but I do feel like one thing led easily (though not inevitably) to the other.

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