Its a few days late, but I’ve been busy, sue me…..
Ill be honest, my knee-jerk reaction to the news that valley native George Lucas (thats right, I work in Modesto, past home to Georgie Lucas and setting of American Graffitti) had sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 BILLION was “oh, ok whatever”. Then it became “goddammit! now the movies are going to get worse!”, and finally its become somewhere in between. Lemme esplain…..
On the one hand, I grew up on a dirty version of Star Wars, one where Han shoots first and flips the barkeep a chit, Jedi shamelessly remove limbs from surly bar patrons, gang bosses keep personal slaves on shackles, poorly performing naval officers are chocked to death on the spot without guilt, friends are still possibly enemies and a pirate is ONLY out for himself. It was overall a darker, grittier universe where salvation, justice and redemption came out of very personally rewarding behavior. The return of Han and Chewie at the end of Episode IV was only successful because Han spent the entire film prior to that being completely self-interested and selfish and the payoff was the surprise run in at the trench, saving Luke’s butt. Lucas would go on to re-edit Ep IV so that Greedo shoots first and insert a bunch of other comedically cuddly antics in the cut scenes of Jawas on Rontos and other nonsense….
I guess what Im saying is, if Lucas is doing that to his own work, what in the hell do you think that Disney will do to it? The SW universe will become more glossed over, evil will be more generically evil, good will become more saccharine and cloyingly ‘good’ and there really wont be much unexpected happening. Anyone who has read a few books or watched a few decent films will be able to guess what “twists” will happen. Applied to Ep’s 7-9, what are they going to do? If they follow much of the established, published literature, there are a lot of great characters to use and build from, but they will lose much of the depth that was present in the writing because they were more morally complex that Disney can really deal with. One might argue that the Pirates of the Caribbean was full of moral pitfalls and complexity, but those films enjoyed the pretext that they were Pirates, and such, already morally dubious so as long as they finished or hinted at a morality that developed an inch or two towards the ‘good’ end of the spectrum they were safe. TheGood vs Evil nature of the SW universe however, makes it easy for Disney to foul it all up.
On the other hand now…..am I going to throw my money at the projection screen and go see the new movies? OF FUCKING COURSE I AM YOU DUMMIES! Are you kidding me? Even after they’ve proven that they fouled the entire thing up, Ill still see the films at least. On top of that, there is one thing that Disney does exceedingly well: develop intellectual properties that sell well to the entire family without losing their kid-friendliness. (See the Pirates franchise, the Marvel films minus Sony’s Spiderman, Haunted Mansion to a lesser extent). I have no doubt that if I had not grown up a Star Wars kid, my kid will now undoubtedly grow up as one , connecting to the new series, which will give me something to bond with him over (not to mention a reason to force feed him the classic, unedited versions of 4-5-6)
Perhaps you can see now why I’m on the fence about this whole thing? I can say this: at the very least Lucas has done some good with this transaction because he is set to donate the proceeds from the sale to an as of yet unnamed (although there are educated guesses) to children’s education.