Disney and Star Wars: a Match Made in…

The way that title ends depends on who you talk to.

I will admit, I was a Star Wars fanatic back before any talk began of the prequel trilogy. Back in college, we played in the role-playing system that utilized the Star Wars universe, we listened to soundtrack highlights from the films made back in the 70’s and 80’s, we speculated about Anakin Skywalker’s lava-induced downfall, about which little authentic information really existed at the time. I had fabulously talented friends who painted speculative illustrations on the Star Wars Universe. People looked at us like we were crazy for digging into the minutia of films made twenty years ago (at the time), but we still dug with glee.

Then The Phantom Menace released in 1999, and while I found it reasonably entertaining and was happy to get a dose of big-screen Jedi, the pleasant feeling didn’t last. The next two Star Wars movies to be made elicited performances from otherwise excellent actors that were about as dynamic as a half-eaten bowl of oatmeal that’s been left out all day. (I won’t even dignify Jar-Jar Binks with further mention of him beyond this parenthetical.) My romance with Star Wars was officially over, and I became about as pleasant as a woman scorned when the subject arose.

As many of you have likely heard, in a four-billion-dollar transaction, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm last week. Memes of Leia ‘tooned up like a Disney Princess, long social media rants, and squealing geek-outs ensued. As an ex-Star Wars obsessor, I do agree with one meme I saw.

It pictured the holographic projection of Princess Leia that Luke discovered while cleaning R2, and it read: “Help me Joss Whedon, you’re my only hope!”

That little piece of snark actually gave me a glimmer of hope. Joss Whedon (in case you’re scratching your head saying, “Who?”) is the genius responsible for The Avengers screenplay this past summer. When it comes to writing for an ensemble, there’s nobody like him in today’s cinema world. (Something Firefly fans have been trying to say for the past decade.)

At first, I threw my hands into the air and said, “What? Disney? Is this a joke?” But the more I thought about the Marvel franchise, also owned by Disney, the more a glimmer of hope grew in my soul. As much as George Lucas got a phenomenon rolling, and we do owe him much for the vision he had for the Star Wars universe, it’s no secret that some fresh vision for the concept is desperately needed.

There are people all over the film industry who deeply love the core concepts in the Star Wars mythos. The right combination of these people, coupled with Disney’s buying power, have the potential to breathe some life back into a universe that clearly has enough material out there to build an even bigger entertainment empire, but needs a deft hand to re-hab it.

The fact of the matter is, the Star Wars franchise has good bones, but Disney bought a four-billion-dollar fixer-upper.

So what do you think? Disney fueling the continuation of Star Wars films–a good treatment plan for what ails the franchise, or a recipe for disaster?

About Rebecca Minor

Rebecca P Minor draws perspective from her pursuit of various art forms, including writing, drawing, and music (singing mostly, though there was a time when a trombone figured in.) A 1997 graduate from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Becky earned a BFA in animation. Since then, she has worked as a character animator, a freelance artist, an art teacher, and most importantly, a wife to her husband Scott and mother of three boys. She is in the process of republishing her current body of work. The first installment of The Windrider Saga, Divine Summons, is available as an ebook novella on Amazon. She also has short stories available under the umbrella of The Windrider Canticles.

5 comments on “Disney and Star Wars: a Match Made in…

  1. I liked Anakin Skywalker the little kid. I did NOT like Anakin Skywalker the know-it-all, self-absorbed (and selfish) almost-adult. I didn’t want my kids to have anything to do with him for much the same reasons a friend of mine didn’t want her child to see any episodes of Arthur on PBS that heavily featured D.W.!

    I wasn’t sure why anyone absolutely had to have another two films featuring him going bad like that–

    I liked Jar-Jar–He’s really very funny in a way that really resonates with me as an MK! Maybe it’s that third-culture funny-bone I’m stuck with?

    I think Leia will make a fantastic Disney Princess (hey, anything is better than that horrible Frog Princess awfulness or Pocahantas–P-C-haunt-us, as my son likes call to it)! I can’t wait to see them turn her storylines into cartoon movies for little girl-children to go gaga over! –oh, but wait–didn’t someone already do something like that? I recall seeing cartoons somewhere…

    Otherwise, if they hire Joss Whedon to turn it around and make it work, yeah–Disney could be a very good thing for Star Wars. I do hope so–

    I agree that Joss Whedon could really make something good of the Star Wars fixer upper. I love what he did with the Avengers–that was fantastic.

  2. How ironic. While speaking with a fellow geek, upon learning that Disney acquired Lucasfilm, I also quipped that the only way I’d watch another Star Wars film was if Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay and directed.

    Geek minds think alike, eh?

  3. Wow Becky, I think you exactly described my own Star Wars fandom’s wax and wane. I got into it when we got one of the old X-wing games, and the strategy guide was actually a novel. I remember getting on the fledgling internet and finding theforce.net, and being so excited. Then the prequels came out. The first one was okay (except almost all the visuals were ripped off the Dinotopia novels, which offended my artistic sensibilities, Naboo = Waterfall City, the podrace parade being all dinosaurs with their tails chopped off, etc.)

    After Episodes 2 and 3, I pretty much swore them off. The kids won’t be allowed to watch them until they’re old enough to know who Jesus is (because I don’t want them thinking the Force is real). Although Episodes 2 and 3 do improve vastly with the addition of a RiffTrax. My favorite line ever is now, “I love the water!”

    But yes. Glimmers of hope now. Joss Whedon would be very interesting, and so would JJ Abrams (look at his Star Trek reboot).

  4. What about Nolan? He could probably do some pretty good stuff in SW.
    What SW need (And needed) was someone who actually knew what they were doing to write the script and direct. Neither of which Lucas does, and both of which Lucas said he hates doing.

  5. Based on their record, not convinced that Disney is the best for Star Wars. They have dropped the ball on big budget, live-action franchises before. They got cold feet with the Narnia films being to expensive (Fox took over). The Pirate movies went out of control. The blew it with they way they handled John Carter (which was good, but little hope for sequels now). They may own Marvel, but many of those films (up to the purchase of Marvel) had been in the hands of other studios. Don’t get me wrong, I like Disney and the other side of the coin is that Lucas hasn’t given up all input, so hopefully he’ll guide the ship. Time will tell.

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