Holy Flipping Jedi!

I’ve just come upon some truly frightening, exciting, unexpected news.  My brain is still trying to process it completely, so I’ll just detail everything and then try and express my thoughts afterwards:

 

Global leader in high-quality family entertainment agrees to acquire world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd, including legendary STAR WARS franchise.
Acquisition continues Disney’s strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world’s best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.  Lucasfilm to join company’s global portfolio of world class brands including Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC.
STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.  An investor conference call will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. PDT today, October 30, 2012. Details for the call are listed in the release.

Source: StreetInsider

 

Yes, you read that correctly.  Disney announced today that it is purchasing Lucasfilm Ltd. and is planning on releasing Episode 7 in the Star Wars franchise.  As part of the deal, Disney acquires Lucasfilms, Industrial Light & Magic, Skywaker Studios and LucasArts, Lucas’s entertainment software division.  In exchange, they are paying Lucas $4.5 billions dollars, plus roughly 40% of the company in stock.  While the acquisition is not complete, it has been approved by the board of both companies and awaits only anti-trust proceedings to be final.  Disney is not being overly cautious and already has a new feature film in development for the franchise with news of ‘more to come’.

The geek-sphere is split on this.  Clearly, the transfer of ownership to a new company could bode ill for Star Wars.  However, I’m choosing to look upon this positively.  First off all, Disney has done frankly amazing things with Marvel Studios.  All of the movies that Marvel has released in the last five years have been both fantastic movies and incredibly loyal to the source material and the millions of fans out there, but also very lucrative.  I do not see them taking a pop culture standard like Star Wars and do anything other than treat it well.

Frankly, Lucas is a brilliant man and incredibly canny in terms of marketing his creation.  However, he is not as good as understanding that creation outside of a store shelf.  His best movies are those that he had the least creative input in and his attempts to improve on things he has been dissatisfied with have generated hurricane level storms of geek-rage.  It’s not unfair to say that he loves his movies more for what they bring him than what they bring us.  This is not to say that I imagine that Disney is in this for the good of the fans, but they have demonstrated an acute understand of what makes us fans -us geeks- happy.  I believe Disney’s priority will be pleasing the customer and not nurturing their ego, like George Lucas is wont to do.

My personal hope is that Disney -unlike Lucas- will finally release Blu-Ray versions of the uncut Original Trilogy.  But even if they don’t, I am incredibly excited by this news and by what it could mean for the future of Star Wars.

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