Once upon a time and a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, everyone lived happily ever after. And while they were all so happy they didn’t realize they were being slowly assimilated by the evil Empire.
You might have missed it in light of coverage of Sandy today, but the big industry news is George Lucas finally is letting Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound–the whole shebang–go, for the paltry sum of $4 billion–the same price Disney paid for Marvel Comics in 2009. Yep, $4,000,000,000. You can just hear that THX sound logo make a giant flushing sound. Heck, I bet that was Lucas’s profit last year in action figure sales alone. What’s he thinking? The man whose kids I (OK, my parents) put through college through the purchase of ten thousand action figures, several hundred comic books, every book, soundtrack, poster, drinking glass, key ring, Halloween costume, spaceship, Hallmark ornament, giant inflatable landspeeder, talking Yoda, remote control R2-D2, and even more action figures, is calling it quits? Say it ain’t so. And he is selling it to who? Disney????
Is anyone keeping track? Disney owns ABC, Marvel Comics, Pixar, ESPN, a myriad of TV stations and cable networks, Hulu, even the Muppets! Where will this end? Like the future world of Demolition Man had Sandra Bullock repeating the mantra “in the future, all restaurants are Taco Bell”–in the future, we will all be owned by Disney. Can anyone say… time for a federal antitrust review? Notice how the Disney spin doctors are already trying to blind us with promises of Star Wars Episode VII (we’ll subtitle it for them: The Hunt for Your Last Dollar) hitting theaters in 2015 and a new Star Wars movie every two years thereafter. Someone pass the Kool-Aid. And check out this interview commentary from Lucas from YouTube:
“I’m doing this so that the films will have a longer life…. I sort of look forward to it. It’s a lot more fun actually, than actually having to go out into the mud and snow.” You’re not kidding anyone George. It’s OK! We know you just want the four billion bucks. We’d like to have that much money, too. The only truth of what you said is probably your use of the words “sort of”.
But it’s not like he did what the old guard of fandom wanted him to do with the prequels. Lucas always needed some confidant to edit his great vision and he never gave up the little control needed for some self-imposed quality control. At least he gave us the experience of waiting in mega-long lines for the new movies. No doubt there was some real fun to be had. And there’s no doubt he built the best science fantasy world ever. But this isn’t the answer. Why? Because it’s Disney. This isn’t Walt’s DisneyCo either despite all the cheery happy Disneyana-goodwill carefully, subversively built up over the years starting with kids when they’re the most impressionable. Disney is the new Empire. And don’t lull yourself into thinking just because they got The Avengers right that everything will be OK. Remain calm…all is well. Sleep. Sleep.
Where was I?
1. Princess Leia and Padme are added to the Disney line of dolls with Ariel and Belle and Cinderella. I bet they give Leia her own mirror and white pony.
2. Han, Luke, and Leia played by an entirely new crew of actors as in Star Trek 2009. ’nuff said.
3. Any Star Wars animated movie–not something somewhat cool like Clone Wars or Star Wars Legos series, but a shiny happy full-length cartoon movie.
4. Direct-to-video Star Wars live action or animated movies. You just know Disney will churn out a lotta garbage with the Star Wars logo on it and people will buy it.
5. Cartoon series: Star Wars Babies. Just like Muppet Babies. But with cute little Emperor Palpatine. Isn’t he so cute?
Things we want to see (if we’ve had a little too much Bantha juice):
1. The landspeeder ride at Disney World. And no fake wheels. Make that baby float on air!
2. Jedi Cinderella action figure. Comes with lightsaber and grappling hook. And Ken is her padawan.
3. Sandpeople makeover dolls. This one is a no-brainer.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean sci-fantasy crossover where Captain Jack Sparrow visits the swamps of Dagobah. Yoda and Jack share a bunch of laughs and conspire against some new character played by Bill Nighy.
5. Empire on Ice. Just like Disney on Ice but with dancing snowtroopers. Robot Chicken was prescient.
I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking Yoda is rolling over in his grave about now.