The Internet has been ablaze with this news: Disney purchased Lucasfilm for just over 4 billion dollars. Episode VII is go for 2015. Crazy!
The fan outcry has been amazing to watch. GGC reader Jenn W saw images of Leia as a Disney princess, and found it "so wrong. She's above that!" Jim M immediately wondered if George Lucas "has six months to live and wants to spend it roaming the earth righting wrongs and saving orphanages." In all seriousness, though, everything is going to be OK.
Most people I talked to, self included, are excited. Reader Viki G says, "this is thrilling... I can't think of any other corporate entity that could manage a franchise like Star Wars." Here are a few positive reasons for Disney to take the reins:
- Creative quality - Disney is generally awesome at fantasy, action, and animation. They turned the dated Pirates of the Caribbean ride into a successful film franchise. Pixar movies contain some of the most emotional storytelling ever seen in cinema. The acquisition of Marvel has been positive, too. GGC reader TamTu pointed out that "The Star Spangled Man scene in Captain America was written specifically by Alan Menken, mastermind of many Disney classic songs." ...and do I even need to mention The Avengers and Joss Whedon?
- Merchandise - The Star Wars merch market is saturated with action figures and LEGO bricks. I'd love to see the kind of stuff available at the Disney Store- more Star Wars housewares, for example. Disney has also had a lot of guest artists draw their princesses, which could mean gorgeous new interpretations of favorite SW characters.
- Female Role Models - As much as I loved Disney Princesses growing up, I didn't aspire to be them. Instead, I idolized Leia, who was good with a laser gun, defended what she believed in, and put Han in his place whenever he was a jerk. Leia, Ahsoka, Aayla, Shaak Ti, Barriss, and the other ladies of SW are strong role models for little girls. ...OK, maybe not so much Padme. ;)
- This relationship already exists! - Star Wars already has a large presence at Disney theme parks. Star Wars Weekends happen every year. The Star Tours ride was recently updated. There's already Disney/Star Wars mashup products; I have Jedi Mickey and R2-MK on my desk at work, and one of my favorite toys is the Disney-exclusive Amidala dress-up set.
- And finally, things can't get much worse than they've been. - George Lucas overdid the special effects, directed a chemistry-lacking love story, and was the mastermind behind Jar Jar Binks. "His name is synonymous with the franchise," admits GGC reader Stephen P. While Lucas will remain a Creative Consultant, reader Philip G is looking forward to some story continuity with someone else as the Big Boss. If we're lucky, Star Wars can start creating consistency between all of those "distinctive eras in the timeline" and odd levels of canon.
Admittedly, change can be scary. It's easy to imagine Disney as a hungry behemoth, swallowing up properties. In the end, though, Star Wars will survive- even thrive. More artists, writers, and directors can contribute to a universe they love. Like James Bond or Doctor Who, the heroes from that galaxy far, far away can live for generations!
May the Force be with Disney!