And then there are those things that just blow your plans to hell. While I know what the bigger news actually is, it’s hard to say which piece of news actually feels bigger: Disney buying Lucasfilm, or Disney then turning around and announcing that not only is there going to be a seventh Star Wars movie in three years, but that there are already plans for an eighth and ninth beyond that.
The idea of a non-George Lucas Star Wars is actually hard to wrap my brain around. Sure, he’s not involved in the day-to-day of something like The Clone Wars series or the various tie-in novels or games, but all of those have such a particular tone to them that’s so clearly indebted to Lucas’ voice (for better or worse) that they still “feel” like Lucas’ work nonetheless. That’s not necessarily something that will change with Disney buying Lucasfilm– Lucas is officially the “creative consultant” for the new series, after all — but just the announcement that Star Wars is now an ongoing franchise of movies, instead of a closed series with ancillary material feels like enough of a sea change to suggest that changes are, indeed, under way.
Of course, that might just be nostalgia paranoia creeping in; people in both Marvel and Pixar will repeatedly and eagerly say that their corporate cultures or output haven’t changed since their companies were bought by Disney, but I’m not entirely sure that that’s true, at least on Pixar’s front. Consider, after all, the new-found reliance on franchises with existing characters rather than all-new ones that has overcome Pixar in the last few years (for Marvel, I think the changes have been mostly positive for the company, and very much in the direction of “more opportunities for Marvel” whether it’s been the various promotional appearances on ABC shows or the Marvel TV/ABC partnership for S.H.I.E.L.D). It’s very possible that what will happen with the Disney-owned Lucasfilm are things that would’ve happened without the sale. And yet …
There are many things to wonder about coming out of this sale. Will Clone Wars finish, or at least switch from the Time Warner-owned Cartoon Network to Disney XD? Who will direct and write the new Star Wars movies? (Joss Whedon is under contract to Marvel, but if it’s a corporate sibling to Lucasfilm, then who knows?) Will Disney push for the long-awaited Star Wars live-action show to finally be brought to completion now that it’s out of the hands of Lucas himself — and, if so, will it end up on ABC? What happens to the other intellectual property of Lucasfilm (Apparently, the Indiana Jones franchise “doesn’t factor in” to current plans, which seems odd)? Does the audience even really want a new Star Wars movie every two or three years, as Disney apparently does?
And that’s before you get to the fanboy wish-fulfillment aspect of the sale: When will we see a Star Wars/Avengers crossover in some form or another (If we’ve seen Phineas and Ferb cross over with the Avengers, let’s not pretend that it won’t happen)? Will Princess Leia be folded into the Disney Princesses? How long before we see Mickey Mouse face off against Darth Vader? And so on. Much like the Disney purchase of Marvel a few years back, this news feels like a massive shift in pop culture that we don’t quite understand yet, just know that it’s big. Perhaps we should feel happy with that take on it, for now, and go back to thinking about more important things in the world…
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