Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Reaction to the Lucasfilm/Disney Announcement: Why We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself (And Snakes)

By now the internet has had a chance to collect itself from its collective "WTF?" at yesterday's news that not only is Disney purchasing LucasFilm for $4 Billion, but that they promise to release a whole new Star Wars trilogy. I myself felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in angst that their childhoods had AGAIN been raped. But after shaking my wooziness and regaining my faculties, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, we're overreacting to this news just a bit.

Consider the following arguments:

1. We're too old and wise to be fooled again

I recently just happened to have watched Patton Oswalt's bit about time travel, wherein he proclaims that if he could use a time-machine to travel into the past and right any wrong, he would use the opportunity to go back to 1993 and murder George Lucas. This is a typical hyperbolic sentiment of the generations that grew up having loved the Original Trilogy and experienced the unthinkable let-down that was the Prequels. Even young'uns like I, born after ROTJ, couldn't help but fall madly in love with the first films. They were just so magical, so perfect and iconic, that they almost seemed to be ordained to exist by the cinema gods just for their sheer awesomeness. When we found out there'd be more, we instantly reverted to a childhood innocence, unable to wait to see a new Star Wars despite how perfect the OT was on it's own.

Then we were splashed in the face by the cold water of reality, and as Episodes I, II, and III rolled out in succession, we came to realize that these movies were made not by gods, but by men, fragile and fallible as any of us, and perhaps they made them not because inspiration had struck again, but because that is what filmmakers do.

This was a hard lesson to learn. In fact, some among us may not yet be over it. This is where the claims of childhood destruction emanated from. Yet, despite all the trauma endured, one of the most respected badges of devotion to Star Wars is owning a VHS collection of the classic, un-edited Original Trilogy. That is because those films still retain their worth when taken on their own. They remain untarnished by the legacy of Expanded Universe comics, young adult novels, video games, cartoons, and yes, the Prequels themselves.

Somehow, they hadn't been ruined. And we learned from this. For all the hue and cry, we came out of the situation somehow more mature. We are able to appreciate the finer things in life more. So, yeah, there will be more Star Wars, and they might be terrible. But we're prepared for it now. We remember. And what more, however bad Disney makes them, we know they can't destroy the OT.

The worst is over. We will never again be so young and naïve. As the old adage goes: fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me twice.......the point is, you can't get fooled again! A wise man once tried to say that.

That being said, I feel for the Millennials that grew up on the Prequels who don't know what they're in for. Or maybe I don't. I dunno.

2. We should have seen it coming

Honestly, right?

This is another lesson that has taken time to learn. It wasn't exactly a coincidence that after the first Star Wars was so successful, it was followed by five more films, countless more content, action figures, video games, Legos, puzzles, pajamas, full scale replica models, and on and on.

These things springed not from their inherent worth and desirability, but because that desirability was worth $$ Money $$. From the very beginning, the wild profitability of the franchise drove its expansion more and more into new products and markets to meet the demand from the hard-core audience. Eventually the Lucas properties shed any semblance of a creator-driven studio and became a corporate empire. At that point it existed not simply to craft stories, but first and foremost to make profits and meet payroll.

This is what drove the Prequels to be made. Yes, Lucas had gone on record years earlier to state that he had always planned on making Episodes I-III. But the reason they actually made them was by that point the company required growth in order to make money. And that required new content.

And that's where they're at now. There's still plenty of money to be made off of merchandise and content, but the Lucas companies have expanded so much over the last decade that for them to not generate billions of more dollars by creating new titles would be managerially irresponsible to themselves, their partners, and their employees.

And guess what? Lucas had also gone on the record (before talking it back) to state that he also intended to make Episodes VII-IX. We had written that off until now, figuring that the backlash to his work had soured him to the prospect. But guess what would make making more Star Wars worth it? Billions and billions of dollars. Which, by my reckoning, is what we all spent on the "worthless" Prequels, and what they're sure to get out of us again. And, hey, c'mon. I know I'll be there opening day. And you will be too.

It was always the money driving everything. Just follow the money.

Still not convinced? You're one of those die-hards, huh? George Lucas really did sexually molest your childhood? Okay, well, this one's for you...

3. No more George Lucas!

Did you read those headlines? Disney is paying George Lucas $4 BILLION for LucasFilm.


There you have it. Yes, George has made some remarks about staying on a bit as advisor to the stories. He's apparently even provided some treatments of how the films could play out. But his involvement seems non-committal at best. It honestly looks like he could just take the money and run.

If that's the case, then you can let the healing begin. There will be no more bad man to ruin the things you like so much. I mean, yes, there will likely be more bad men to take his place, but better the devil you don't know than the devil you know.

Wait, that's not how that goes? Oh.

Well, that's all I have to say about the subject. It's just a shame that we can kiss all that promised productivity goodbye for all the speculating we'll be making over the next decade over these films. Nuts! And we were just getting out of that recession!

Oh, well. See you opening night.

Oh wait... that thing about the snakes

Right..... in all the commotion we nearly forgot about the other elephant in the room. You remember Indy, right? That guy that's already "nuked the fridge?"

We can all look forward to more of that. But with Shia LaBeouf.


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