Aside from Hurricane Sandy, perhaps the second most shocking event of the month is the announcement that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion—a deal which includes Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, and video game manufacturer, LucasArts. Congratulations, Lucas grandchildren! You are now modern-day pharaohs and may choose the slaves with whom you will be buried under the Lucas pyramids Grandpa George has undoubtedly built on the ranch. Of course, I have no way of knowing. My invitation to Skywalker Ranch has somehow been delayed in the mail.
Fans of the blog have known that my love/hate relationship with both Lucas and Disney have been fodder for my maniacal musings (love the alliteration, people!). I’ve mocked their mutual love of secrecy and their common addiction to control. I’ve been impressed by Lucas’ obsession with perfection, and Disney’s uncanny ability to predict the future as though Walt’s disembodied frozen head is offering oracle-like predictions from beneath Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Don’t pretend it hasn’t occurred to you, too...
Lucas putting young Anakin Skywalker into Return of the Jedi as a ghost is a lot like Disney working Captain Jack Sparrow into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Make something new happen as though it was always there... evil revisionists!
Now, we’re left to wonder what happens when the Dark Empire meets the Happiest Place on Earth. Do we feel fear or joy? Or is it just a moment of, “meh.”
Yoda says, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
While I’m the last guy to argue with Yoda, I think he may have it backwards—that suffering might actually lead to hate. Case in point: after suffering through The Phantom Menace, I’d say that was when my Lucas hate kicked in. Nevertheless, there may be more to enjoy than fear when considering this mega-merger of cosmic forces.
Part of me marvels at the hilarity that Carrie Fisher is now a Disney Princess! Think about it, people! Carrie Fisher may be the first Disney princess to publically acknowledge drug and alcohol abuse (though I think a few princesses have tried apples, potions, and spinning wheels against our better judgment). Fans of Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show might appreciate her strategic use of profanity, unbecoming a mistress of the realm. I, for one, like a little sass in my princesses, though I’m not sure little girls should be encouraged to don a Halloween “Slave Leia” costume as they would Ariel or Jasmine costumes.
Nevertheless, as the last princess of Alderaan, Leia really beats out Pocahontas for the most tragic princess, doesn’t she? Leia’s dad wanted to rule with his son, not his daughter. Major sexist diss! Leia should have some serious issues after Episode VI, and who would blame her? Hey, maybe that could be the plot for Episode VII – Lady Vader’s Revenge. Whoop! There it is!
How do I start my Lady Vader’s Revenge Website now?! Hands off. I call the idea as my own. I’m working on the screenplay already, people, and I’m setting aside my other masterpiece – Supermodel Astronaut. Now that I think about it, there may be a place for Supermodel Astronaut in the new “Disney Wars” Universe. Hmmmm.... Maybe I could clone her... The dark side is so seductive!
Who knows? The Disney connection may have been pondered all along by the evil genius of Lucas himself. Jar-Jar Binks is slightly reminiscent of Goofy. Even Luke Skywalker had hints of Eeyore when he complained about living on the planet farthest from any bright center of the universe, or whining about going to the Toshi station to pick up power converters. Just watch Episode IV. Luke Skywalker whines like Minnie Mouse. Man up, son of Vader! No one likes a Jedi whiner. A vengeful Leia? Think about it. It has legs, people!
I can see new possibilities for mash-up movies, too: Snow White and the Seven Droids; Winnie the Hut; The Arisitosith; The Emperor’s New Groove (no title change, but a totally new meaning)!
Even Pixar can get some mash-up action – Droid Story or Wall-E Strikes Back… The juices are flowing, folks!
While the initial thought of these two cultural juggernauts blending to create a megalithic Empire may give some folks pause, the 11 year-old boy in me who saw Star Wars: A New Hope at the Topanga Mall thinks this makes some sort of cosmic sense.
Selling Lucasfilm to Disney may have been the most humane thing Lucas has done with his franchise since the first trilogy (the real one, people, from 1977). While Disney-fying sci-fi films may create concern for some, I’ve been admittedly happy with what Disney has done for the Marvel franchise movies. If they can bring the same serious decorum, fun, and special effects restraint and subordinate the glitz of CGI to real STORY in the Star Wars franchise as they’ve done for Marvel, we may have some awesomeness ahead. They can do this!
Do or do not. There is no try.
With Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill too old to pick up the story where Return of the Jedi left off (or maybe too old to pick up anything), we’re left to wonder if other actors will play those roles or if new characters will now populate the Star Wars world of the future. I’m excited at the thought of a new Star Wars ride at the theme parks, too—just, please, no virtual shake-and-baking like the current Star Tours ride. Star Tours at Disneyland usually leaves me with nausea and a headache (and that’s just from the line and the price of admission!) Insert drumroll and cymbal crash hereà X.
Disney and Pixar driving the deep, layered world of the Empire may be something brilliant to behold. Or, it could just mean more Jawas falling off giant lizards, Greedo shooting first, or the wrong Anakin ghost waving goodbye at the end of it all.
Either way, they’ve got my attention and probably a zillion other people’s—and that just may be worth the $4 billion they paid.
© 2012, Herb Williams-Dalgart