Thursday, 1 November 2012

Disney acquires the sh*t out of Lucasfilm

Disney have bought Lucasfilm. I don't understand the broad strokes of how the payment breaks down but what I do understand is this: Disney now owns the rights to make a 'Star Wars 7', and Disney now owns the rights to the Star Wars Universe and can do with it as they please.
In some capacity George Lucas will still stay on as a creative consultant, which makes sense since he has been with the Star Wars Universe since day one, steering things seems to make sense canonically. What he won't be doing is writing or directing the future movies, and this is the most important part of the whole deal for me.

First off, no deal of this scale is simple, while Disney now owns Lucasfilm and its franchises, existing contracts between Lucasfilm and other companies can't be easily settled.

Forbes has an interesting article on why this won't mean new Indiana Jones movies any time soon.

Hollywood Reporter has an article on why this won't mean old Star Wars movies will get decent treatment in this whole affair- basically these films will act as the children is a marriage that's suddenly broken apart.

Basically the articles boil down to that while Disney own creative right to Indiana Jones Paramount still own the distribution rights to future Indiana Jones movies, so Disney aren't going to be in a rush to make a films for Paramount to distribute - even if it is the long-awaited actual fourth Indiana Jones movie.

Fox still own the rights to all past Star Wars movies. They permanently own the distribution rights to "A New Hope", and own all of the sequels under contract until 2020. Up until, and probably past, this point there's no way of knowing how ownership of all past films will pan out. Let's hope they all realise how little money there is in the back-catalogue.
I'm not sure where this leave the 'Ewoks: The Battle for Endor', but lets hope no one claims ownership of this and it just naturally disappears from print and memory.

To me, I'm not so concerned with the ironing out of previous contracts, Disney owning Lucasfilms now means the possibility of a new Star Wars film NOT written or directed by George Lucas. Let that idea sink in.

Using only the most generous words to describe Lucas' input: from a creative standpoint he was poison to the Star Wars franchise.

All of the great recent Star Wars stories now were told without Lucas' direction or writing. "Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic" games & the "Star Wars: Clone Wars" cartoon mini-series, show this clearer than anything. They have interesting characters, epic plots, great action.
The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy were terrible - I don't want to go into too much about this now, so much has been written about how bad they were, why they were bad, the contributions of bad story/ plotting/ writing/ directing to the near over-whelming atrocity of film-making that they were- I don't have the time. 
Suffice to say that when you have things like the computer games, the expanded universe books, and cartoons showing more creativity and attention to detail than their supposed source material then there's clearly a problem.
H*ll in its short mini-series run 'Star War: Clone Wars' had better characterization for the prequel trilogy cast than the actual trilogy of films.

My hope is that Disney address these concerns and work outside of George Lucas' all-controlling-I-know-best-for-Star-Wars-ego to bring some of these peripheral ideas and contributions together to make something that will really please the fans.
Now it can finally happen and we can finally look forward to future Star Wars releases rather than dreading new "Special Editions" or 3-D re-issues.

Afterthought: A problem that I do have with Disney buying Lucasfilm (& by association LucasArts) isn't what movies will come out, it's what movies won't come out.
Namely "The Secret of Monkey Island" since Disney already essentially made something too 'similar' to it to ever revisit that franchise - Pirates of the Caribbean.

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