The Force

What can be said about the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm that hasn’t already been said?

Sure, it’s a great deal for Disney, even at 4.05B. And there’s no “George Lucas Media” waiting to sue over the rights. It’s a great deal for Lucas, who owned the company all out and didn’t want to endure any more criticism over his movies.

[update: Lucas will apparently donate much of his wealth to charity, making Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc… even the critically panned installments, some of the most socially redeeming entertainment of all time… Well done!]

It’s probably a good deal for his employees, since Disney has better pay/benefits/stock, last I checked. And they have the bandwidth to keep the factories humming for eternity + 50 years, which is how long copyright will last, as long as Disney has any say in it.

It’s an unknown future for Star Wars fans, since Disney has proven they can be both much better and much worse than Lucas himself at making great movies. For me, no Disney film has ever reached the emotional quality of episodes IV and V, even as a kid (these are, after all, my #1 and #2 favorite movies). But most Disney films, especially the more recent ones, have far exceeded the plot, character and tone of episodes I, II and III. And I’m including The Black Hole.

At least we get to find out, with more movies now being planned. I’m excited and optimistic, esp. if they do what they’ve done with the Marvel universe. Perhaps they’ll even re-do the prequels, with a Star Trek-like reboot that forgets all about metachlorians and trade disputes with quasi-racist cartoon characters…

What I’m most excited about is the potential fusion between ILM, Pixar, and Disney R&D, assuming there isn’t some deal to split the Lucas properties before sale. If Disney does at least as well to integrate the companies as they did with Pixar, I think this would become the biggest wonderland among all high tech creative places to work.

Here’s the lost opportunity though: Lucas supposedly loved the fan-made works in his universe (if not the critics). What would have happened if Lucas had crowd-sourced and then produced the next Star Wars film instead? Who better to protect the franchise than the fans? It’s a pipe dream, I guess.

There’s one thing that’s virtually guaranteed now. Star Wars will be going in and out of “The Vault” every 6-10 years. Disney has perfected the art of drumming up nostalgia by withholding your “precious” until you beg for it at any price.

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