Disney buys Star Wars: One fan’s perspective

Slow news day.

As we are all still reeling in the east coast from Hurricane Sandy, and seeing the devastating aftermath, there is no logical reason at all to get worked up over an announcement of yet another corporate acquisition. Millions of people are without power, Thousands are without homes, and many people have lost their lives… how important is one media company buying another in such a context? Not very.

Except… it’s Star Wars.

It shouldn’t matter. Again, more pressing and important matters are before us as a nation. But… as a geek… the idea of the Walt Disney Company buying Lucasfilm and all its assets and intellectual property (which includes not just Star Wars, but Indiana Jones, Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts, Lucas Games, and Skywalker Sound)… well, that’s huge. And looking at the reaction of my fellow geeks on Twitter, Fark, and other sites, I see I’m not the only one who is processing the news with mouth agape.

Not only are they buying Lucasfilm, but Disney is working on a new Star Wars MOVIE. Correction: THREE new movies, the ones that fans have wanted since 1983.

Episodes 7, 8, and 9.

If you live in Southern California and listened closely when the news broke this afternoon, you could have heard the mini-sonic boom caused by Mark Hamill rushing to the phone to call his agent after the announcement.

So, my initial “reax” (as they say in the “biz”)? Cautious optimism. Disney has done a great job letting the creators of both Pixar and Marvel be autonomous and creative, and the sense I get from reading the announcement is that Lucas will “consult” on the new movies, and that’s it: no directing, no writing. He’s basically retiring, passing the torch onto the next generation of filmmakers. So the creative force behind the prequels won’t be piloting the Star Wars ship anymore.

Which is exactly what Star Wars needs.

Star Trek, my favorite SF franchise, got a huge shot in the arm when fresh blood came in for the reboot/sequel/prequel directed by JJ Abrams. As we have seen from the positive fan reaction to the Clone Wars cartoon, fresh blood and new ideas can make Star Wars exciting again for viewers. And now, the circle is complete. Lucas is doing what all creative people should do: Step aside when your day is done, and let others gave their day in the spotlight. George and company has created a huge playground for someone to play in, and as a certain Vulcan once said, “There are always possibilities.”

Speaking of possibilities, let me have some random fanboy thoughts and suggestions to Disney about their newfound acquisition (and yes, I know Disney will NEVER read or listen to any of my advice. but meaningless advice is FUN):

  • Disney, don’t let Kevin Smith anywhere NEAR Star Wars. Period. Same goes for that Verbinski fella.
  • Let Joss Whedon do WHATEVER HE WANTS with Star Wars. If Joss isn’t interested, Call Brad Bird. Or Neill Blomkamp. Or John Lasseter. Or Christopher Nolan. Just don’t let George near a Director’s chair again.
  • Reboot Indiana Jones. Recast him. Make it like the James Bond series. That way you can recover the fans that you lost from the last movie. Oh, and no flying saucers.
  • Release the original trilogy on blu-ray… remastered, with no new effect or sound mix. It’s a license to print money. Heck, Release the Star Wars Holiday Special too while you’re at it.
  • Get Timothy Zahn and lock him in a room. Have him take the first cut at adapting the Thrawn trilogy and make that Episodes 7, 8 and 9. Or 10, 11, and 12…
  • Build out the area between the Indiana Jones Stunt Show and Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and make it “Lucasfilm Land.” Add two more rides there, one based on the Clone Wars and another based on Howard the Duck (kidding). Make it special… just don’t overdo it in other parks (like Epcot).
  • Finally, don’t pander to kids – make movies like Empire, not like Phantom Menace.

It’s up to you, Disney. The lightsaber has been passed, and you can either make Star Wars relevant and vital again to more than just the hardcore fans, or you can drop that lightsaber and cut off your own heads.

May the Force be with you.