Monday, November 5, 2012

Lucasfilm LTD, A Disney Company?

Lucasfilm LTD, A Disney Company?
I guess when George Lucas says he's retiring he means it, because last week he sold it all to Disney for $4.05 Billion (yes Billion with a B). Part of the deal includes 3 new Star Wars movies (VII, VIII, IX). WTF?!!?!?!?!??!?!???!!!?!!? My world was turned upside down! New Star Wars without The Lucas? How can that be? It would require a fundamental shift in The Force. The Force is out of balance again! How is it gonna fix itself this time?! Obviously killing Younglings is out of the question! Or is it? We really don't know at this point, so how about some speculation? OK you talked me into it.
The Company

I think Disney will pretty much let Lucasfilm and it's subsidiaries continue business as usual and not take a heavey handed approach to this buyout. After all, it has worked to spectacular results with the buyout of Marvel.  The fact that Disney has kept its word in reguards to a hands off policy with Marvel really gives me hope for the new relationship between Disney and Lucasfilm.
The Franchises
Indiana Jones:  Let's face it, Disney really can't screw up Indiana Jones any more than Lucas and Speilberg themselves did with "Indiana Jones and the Space Aliens From Uranus" (AKA Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).  Can they?  With that said, lets look at the underlying theme of the Indiana Jones series:  Religion. This is a subject that I think Disney really doesn't want to explore too deeply.  OK admittedly there were some religious references to God and gods in "Marvel's The Avengers", but thats a long way from looking for the Ark of the Covenant. So this either means no more Indy Films, or a shift in what the theme(s) of the films would be.  In the words of Short Round "Cover your heart, Indy!!" 
Star Wars:  Alright we already know that 3 more Star Wars films are in the works, but what does that really mean to the franchise? Disney has already said they are not bound by what has come before, so while they are currently calling the movies VII, VIII, and IX we are potentally looking at what has become a Hollywood staple:  REBOOT.  Logically speaking (to borrow from that other great Sci-Fi series), Disney wouldn't do that in order to keep the loyal fanbase from staging a rebellion of their own. Right?  Wrong. They are right now looking at the fact that the Reboot of the Star Trek franchise in 2009 was the most successful Star Trek film to date at the box office.  However, Abrams called it an "alternate timeline", thereby managing to modernize and revitalize the franchise for a new generation of fans while at the same time saying "I'm not invalidating what you know as Star Trek".  While this approach might be fun for alternate endings in Star Wars video Games (who can forget the alternate ending to the ep III game!), it will be damn near impossible to make that work in a movie.  In Star Trek,  alternate universe's had already been established.  Not so in Star Wars (although it would bI nice if Ep. I wasn't part of the 'real' universe). Pay attention Disney! A reboot of Star Wars will be a catastrophe (I'm 99% sure anyway).  But, with no reboot where does that leave us? Anakin turned back to the light.  The Jedi have returned.  The Emporor has been killed and his Empire defeated.  Wrong! At least according to the expanded univers of novels and comics.  If we go with an adaptation of a novel, which one?  The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn certainly comes to mind.  The drawback to that is the fact the original actors are too old to reprise their roles (and Harrison Ford would never play Han Solo again).  That pretty much means "Star Wars:  The Next Generation".  Wil Wheaton could be a young Jedi genius and Patrick Stewart could be his venerable Jedi Master/father figure on a big ass starship!!!  Yes I know Wil Wheaton has been called the JarJar Binks of the Star Trek Universe!  All joking aside, we probably will be looking at the children or grandchildren of the Skywalker/Solo clan in the next set of movies.  Does that mean goodbye to the continuity of the expanded universe with the movies? Probably.
Moving on to animation.  This is where Disney can  really shine.  If they follow the formula Warner Brothers is using in its DC Universe line of direct to video animated movies.  Take a really good story that fans are familiar with and adapt it into an animated feature.  We may never have a live action adaptation of the Thrawn Trilogy, but why not an animated one?  Harrison Ford may even be open to just voicing Han Solo too!!  Thats a ways off though, of more immediate concern is "Star Wars:  The Clone Wars".  Originally the series was planned to go on for approximately 100 episodes, which by my guesstimation would be about 5 seasons. Cartoon Network is currently airing season 5 of the Clone Wars.  Is going to end now? Is it just going to move to Disney XD?  Its really hard to say. Cartoon Network has a history of cancelling shows in the 3+ season range, no matter how successful.  So it's destiny is clouded.  But as Yoda said, "Difficult to see, always in motion is the future."
Now remeber this article is all opinions and speculation, so remember that if you go to comment because anger leads to hate and hate leads to the dark side.

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