Is the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm good for fans? We say yes.
With the huge news yesterday of Disney buying Lucasfilm (and thus Star Wars), fan reaction seems to be mostly positive with a little worry and a lot of jokes. Yes, we know Leia is now a Disney Princess. But why exactly can the buyout be a good thing? We've thought of a few reasons.
STAR WARS EPISODE VII ON THE WAY
Think this one is a bad idea? Why? Are you worried Disney would put cheesy, nonsensical characters spouting foolish dialogue all based around marketing toys into the movie? I shouldn't need to explain the irony here. Seriously, after the prequels, there is no place to go but up, which brings us to the next item.
LUCAS NOT IN CONTROL OF FRANCHISE
It's pretty much beating a dead horse at this point and some may roll their eyes at this one, but the fact remains that Lucas did not do a great job with the prequels, especially considering the material he had to work with. Those of us that have watched the progress throughout all six movies definitely saw the change in style as Lucas asserted his own desires more and more as success fed his ego. For fans that see giant corporations owning properties like this as a negative because of the overwhelming focus on licensing, Lucas has been the standing counterpoint. Being the sole owner of Lucasfilm and it's properties, we've seen Lucas make creative decisions throughout the movies that had less to do with story and more to do with what kids will fixate on the most.
And honestly, the prequels have not aged well either. I was talking with my kids last night, 15 and 13 now, who grew up on the prequels and not the originals and enjoyed them at the time. The bad dialogue, writing and cheesy characters haven't held up as they've aged. The originals were something that stayed with people throughout their lives. If the prequels fail to do so as well, then that's a huge loss with a 'world' as rich as the Star Wars galaxy.
DISNEY HAS A PRETTY GOOD TRACK RECORD
Disney is no stranger to licensing and kid appeal, but, unlike Lucas, they have shown that they can create products that appeal to directly to children but can still be entertaining to adults and therefore hold up over time. They have also shown that they can recognize the need to let creations stand apart from their typical product and allow the material to target adults, even with an overly kid-focused view of society. Avengers, anyone?
If Lucas had decided to make sequels, then we would likely get more movies just like the prequels, with his heavy hand hovering over too much of the work. However, with Disney, chances are we will see the franchise put in the hands of writers, writers hungry to get their hands on something like Star Wars, resulting in storytelling that comes from something they are passionate about. Then, we'll see it put into the hands of a new director, again, one hungry to work on it because of passion, and one more skilled at story creation. We've seen what happens when a different director gets a hold of the source material with Star Wars, and most fans would be grateful for another Empire Strikes Back quality movie.
All this talk about how we could get the star wars movies we once expected sounds like we might not think this merger could offer family friendly fun. That's far from the case, in fact, Disney can make wide use of their already existing properties to create a more child focused product without the need to insert Jar-Jars, Ewoks and parts for children into the core movies...
STAR WARS AT DISNEYWORLD
The soulless marketing of Disney rearing its ugly head? Not at all! Disney World has proven time and again that they can take a product and turn it into a fun theme park for the whole family to enjoy, and the source material doesn't have to revolve around what they can create at their parks. This is the home for overly kid focused stuff and a little cheese.
A DISNEY CHARACTERS/STAR WARS ADVENTURE
We dont' mean a serious Star Wars movie, but something more along the lines of what Family Guy did with Star Wars, remaking the original trilogy using the Disney characters for a tv show or movie of some sort. It doesn't have to be Mickey Mouse and the gang either. We could see something like what Phineas and Ferb are doing with Marvel now.
STAR WARS CHARACTERS FINDING THEIR WAY INTO OTHER PRODUCTS
Fans have seen all the great games to come from Lucasfilm, but we may also start seeing some Star Wars characters making their way into other games, especially something like Kingdom Hearts.
STAR WARS COMIC BOOKS RETURN TO MARVEL
Dark Horse has done an outstanding job with their licensing deal on Star Wars, and I'm sure they will still have it for several years, but when their contract is up, it would be surprising for Disney to renew since they have their own comic book publishing company now, and one that has handled Star Wars before: Marvel.
If Star Wars were to return to Marvel eventually, might we see a small rebirth of their licensed work? Or, since it won't technically be licensed, might it allow for some unique crossovers with Marvel characters?
Overall, I think this is a positive turn for the franchise and for fans. Not only is Star Wars part of Disney, but so is ILM and Skywalker Sound. Imagining what the people behind Pixar and ILM could come up with together is in itself enough to offer hope that this purchase is good news. Most of all, however, Star Wars had fallen off the radar for many fans, or at least fallen quite far. For the first time in a long time, fans can be excited again for Star War, and based on the reaction to the news so far, they are.