If the last couple of days don’t put things in perspective, then I don’t think anything can. In the past 48 hours, I have weathered my very first hurricane and learned that Disney gobbled up Lucasfilm like it was the next plate of food at the pop culture buffet. Hurricane Sandy (later downgraded, but still just as angry) put the city I love and many of my friends in danger, her aftermath leaving me stranded in Astoria and my best friends without power for the foreseeable future. It’s also claimed dozens of lives and damaged millions more.
Disney buying Lucasfilm means we get another Star Wars movie.
If it sounds like I’m downplaying the ramifications of Disney buying Lucasfilm, it’s because I am. I so am. I haven’t left my apartment since Sunday afternoon for fear of accidentally stepping into a deadly power line and puddle cocktail or being crushed by a tree. Disney buying Lucasfilm does nothing to affect my well being, and nerds across the country would do well to realize this. I feel like I’m slowly becoming a broken record, constantly making the point that unless human rights and lives are at stake, there’s no need to have a fit about it. I know that I should be angry about a new Star Wars film, but I just don’t know how to right now.
A very recent Brett, one as recent as Saturday, would have been livid about this announcement. I feel like there’s been a general attitude amongst Star Wars fans since the prequels, being that, “We’ve had enough.” I’ve felt done with it. I have been content to let this generation have their Jango Fetts and their CGI animated series, leaving the original trilogy (whatever version George Lucas would allow me to have) for me. That was cool. The thought of a new Star Wars set after “Return of the Jedi,” possibly with new actors cast as Han, Luke and Leia, seriously bummed me out. I wanted those films to remain a holy trinity, standing on their own merits and not dependent on new films to keep them in the public consciousness. I fretted about it much more than I fretted about Sandy; and just like we couldn’t stop Sandy, us old fans couldn’t stop a new Star Wars film. It’s nature, y’all, and it can’t be prevented.
With the clear head afforded to me after I-have-no-idea-how-many-days of being cooped up in my apartment, I now get that these are just stories. Stories have been retold countless times since the dawn of storytelling, when that cave person told that other cave person a really elaborate fib about why mastodons can’t talk (I minored in Cave People History, BTW). My point is, I don’t see the point in getting mad about reboots and expanding on backstories. It’s human nature, you guys. On top of that, I can’t fault Disney for wanting another Star Wars or even pretend like I don’t want that when I read comic books. I have hundreds of consecutive issues of “Uncanny X-Men”; it’s obvious I love continuing stories. We nerds are a culture of MORE. Our buying habits dictate that there never be a final issue of “Batman,” and with Disney footing the bill, it’ll now be possible for there to never be a final Star Wars film.
And to people griping about Disney as if that means a dip in…quality or …credibility, I now ask to see their Geek Cred Badge, because they obviously aren’t informed. This is the company that owns Pixar and Marvel, and has allowed both companies to let their creative genius run free (with a lot of merchandise accompanying it). The big upside from this deal is that Star Wars fans are finally getting what they’ve been desperately clamoring for since Watto happened: George Lucas is a “creative consultant.” “Creative consultant” is Hollywood speak for “parting gift,” unless I totally misunderstood the title when it was given to Dan Harmon after he was fired from “Community.” This means we’re going to get new voices telling Star Wars tales. For me, it was the rapid-fire dialogue and rich characterization provided by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan that made “Empire Strikes Back” so great. This is now a possibility again. That’s awesome. Plus, I’m sure someone at Disney sees the untouched goldmine that is the untouched original trilogy, meaning we may get those versions remastered and on Blu-ray for the first time. Just saying…
Really, all of this is the extent of thought that should be afforded this acquisition. On the TV right now are scenes from Breezy Point, Queens where over 80 houses were obliterated by fire. I’m not saying these franchises, our fiction, the stories we hold dear to our hearts aren’t important. They are. But aside from curious speculation, a fan’s opinion really doesn’t matter unless you’ve somehow ascended the ranks of a company (Disney, really the only company at this point) to a point of power. The only thing you can really do is judge the work created on its own merit, and if Disney’s track record is any indication, then “Star Wars: Episode 7 – Never Say Never Again” will be pretty awesome.
My relationship with fiction became clear to me last night as I diverted my attention from the local news for the first time in what-seems-like-days. I sat down and read some of the first comics I ever owned and loved (“Uncanny X-Men” #301, “X-Men Unlimited” #1 and “Uncanny X-Men Annual” #17). I could have read them from the perspective of a critic, complaining about the leaps of logic and overly sarcastic dialogue. I could have read them as a historian, noting the ’90s excess that lead to a series called “X-Men Unlimited,” printed on lush glossy stock and sold at four times an average issue’s cover price, or the fact that the conflict of “Uncanny X-Men Annual” came from a character created as part of a marketing stunt. But I read them as a fan, as someone who just wanted to read stories and be entertained in a stressful time. It was a blast. When the next Star Wars movie comes out, I’m going to forget about how disappointing the prequels were, or how far removed I’ve become from the galaxy. I’m going to enjoy it.
Brett White is a comedian living in New York City. He co-hosts the podcast Matt & Brett Love Comics and is a writer for the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre show Left Handed Radio: The Sequel Machine. His opinions can be consumed in bite-sized morsels on Twitter (@brettwhite).
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