I’m a huge lover of all things Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back convinced me I had to go to film school because there could be nothing cooler than making a film like that, I still will defend the prequel trilogy even under penalty of mocking by, well, everyone, and I never miss a SpikeTV Star Wars marathon despite having all the movies on DVD. So last week’s news that it and all things LucasFilm was being sold to the House of the Mouse, aka Disney, really threw me for a loop.
Much like the movie moguls of old- Warner, Zanuck, Goldwyn- who ran their ships until they were in the ground (the mogul not the studios), George Lucas seemed like he’d helm LucasFilm until he became one with the force. George Lucas IS Star Wars.
Only now he’s not.
For me it will be one of those memorable ‘Where were you when you heard/found out’ moments every generation shares. For the record I was in my kitchen surfing the internet on my iPad while brewing tea and avoiding my roommates who were suffering from Hurricane Sandy induced cabin fever. Suffice it to say that once I saw the headlines “Star Wars bought by Disney’ rippling across all the internet sites, my attention was focused on absorbing this unbelievable news and not on breaking up the brewing brouhaha in the living room due to one roommate inviting over her kinda/sorta boyfriend/not boyfriend and his cat to weather out the storm without telling the other allergy prone roommate that any of this was going to happen.
The internal conversation (as much as I can remember of it since I was suffering from shock) went a little like the following:
Initial Reaction: Is this a joke?
(Googling to find corroborating evidence all over the web)
Unable to move past Initial Reaction: No, seriously is this a joke?
(Confirmation via Facebook from a friend who actually works at Disney: ‘Yep, we bought Star Wars!’)
Intermediate Reaction: Holy smokes! George just GAVE AWAY Star Wars to the mouse?!?* Is he sick?! Is he dying?! He can’t just give it away! George IS Star Wars!!!
*I say gave away because while $4 Billion is a whole lot of money to us mere mortals it is peanuts against the actual worth of the Star Wars universe. Disney got that franchise for a steal.
(Googling again to confirm no rumblings of George Lucas’ worrisome health or impending demise. Findings: No health scares. George Lucas is simply retiriing.)
Rational Brain Begins Taking Over: Huh, so…he just feels it’s time to move on? He’s really retiring like normal people do? Really? Wow, that’s…that’s…wow.
(Registering that in the press release it mentioned a new Star Wars movie coming in 2015)
Rational Brain Picking Up Speed: Wait, 2015? Is that enough time? No way is it enough time. What the heck will it be about? Are they doing the Zahn books? They could be doing the Zahn books! But it’s set only five years after Return of the Jedi and Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford are no spring chickens. They wouldn’t recast Luke, Leia, and Han would they? They couldn’t do that…they wouldn’t do that…would they?
(Lucas Loyalty asserts itself)
Lucas Loyalist Reaction: I’m not sure about this. George may have mucked up a lot of things, but this universe was his baby…maybe it’s better if he maintained his death grip on it. As bad as things got, Disney could make things worse. They could have Ewoks on Once Upon A Time or Iron Man could somehow get pulled into a galaxy far, far away to do battle with Boba Fett. I made my peace with there only being six movies! Just six! I won’t get pulled into playing ‘what if’ about new stories….
(Visions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed voice actor, Sam Witwer, as the live action version of his Darth Vader apprentice, Starkiller, begin dancing in my head…)
Waffling Lucas Loyalist Reactions: Well, it is what George Lucas wants…
(Inner Star Wars Fangurl whispers…”Disney could finally give us a Star Wars theme park! We could get a young Han Solo television series! The original version of the original trilogy where Han shoots first and no stupid shock wave rings radiating away from exploding planets in BLUE RAY!”)
Star Wars Fangirl overtaking Lucas Loyalist: Eh, who am I to argue? George was unselfish enough to allow Star Wars to live and prosper and entertain the masses without him at the helm and it would be insulting to not honor his wishes. As long as Disney doesn’t get too crazy with the Marvel/Disney/Star Wars crossover events, I’m in!
And that’s where I am today. Ready and willing to see where Disney takes the Star Wars universe now that it has been given a second life, and feeling bittersweet but grateful that George Lucas did the rare thing and put his love for the empire he created and its limitless story and entertainment potential ahead of his own ego and wallet.
It takes some real humility, bravery, and heart to let go of the baby you raised and send it to live and hopefully flourish with another, not greedily bilk the buyer for more money when you easily could and then hand over the bulk of the check to charity when you could pocket the cash to roll around in naked at your leisure. Instead George chose to give it back to those in need which makes me love the big geek all the more. In my tween years, I admired George for his artistic vision, inventiveness, and independence; now I admire him not only for those qualities but for also being a successful artist who sees the bigger picture beyond his own personal creative and monetary legacy and acts accordingly and unselfishly. Good for you, Mr. Lucas!
While I’m sad that Lucas’ active era of Star Wars is ending, the growth that Star Wars is primed to experience with the new influx of creative minds is staggering. Besides, whatever changes are about to happen, it’s not like George will be erased: the base of the entire universe IS George. Disney may be taking over but they’re still basically only playing in George’s sandbox. The Lucas era Star Wars will endure. I mean, if it could survive Jar Jar Binks, Jake Lloyd, and Hayden Christensen’s bad wig in Episode III, it can survive anything Disney tries to do to it.
Before I end, I must give thanks to Mr. Lucas for all he’s given the entertainment world and not for taking it too personally when the fanbase turned on him like a pack of frothing dogs. I wish him a happy, long, fun, fulfilling retirement of doing whatever he wants to do. And if it includes writing or producing sequels to Howard the Duck or Red Tails, I, ever the Lucas Loyalist, will gladly go see it.
Poll Question: Which George Lucas production is your favorite?
The Star Wars saga
The Indiana Jones saga