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Disney Lucasfilm: A New Hope

Now that I’ve had a chance to consider Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, I’m excited about what this might do for my beloved franchise.  Disney is a franchise factory, but they’re good at keeping the machinery out of the way.  They strive for great stories with memorable characters.  It may well assimilate Lucasfilm, move the overhead out of the way and let Star Wars run free.  Besides, they can’t mess it up more than it already is. So how then can they deliver more Star Wars but without more Jar-Jar?

If you have a post-Ewockian mindset, you think Ewocks are adorable, the prequels weren’t that terrible and your first baby toy probably had a Disney tag on it. For you this is a non-event.  If you’re pre- Ewockian you properly believe Ewocks are dumb, there are Three True Films and view Episode VI as the beginning of the end.  For us it’s easy to fear the Star Wars Toy Event Horizon.

I had the lunchbox, action figures and the knock-off Force Beam lightsabre. Yes, the fancy modern ones are cool but something is lost when you don’t make your own buuuuwaAAVVVOOSH effects.  But what I really loved was the great story told in an epic swashbuckling style, not an epic technical achievement told in a corporate style.  Nobody likes corporate style, least of all Geeks. 

I’m not saying I don’t like Lucas’s stories, I’m saying is that he’s not a storyteller.  Empire is great because it’s George’s vision, but told by Kershner, Brackett and Kasdan.  Imagine if Disney had some oversight on Episodes I-III.  Pirates of the Caribbean is a dumb franchise, but it’s a dumb, fun franchise.  In 1977 the actors said they were making a dumb, fun movie.  Then the money rushed in and created enormous gravity from which nothing, not even fun, could escape.  Disney manages to extend their franchises  with a nod to what’s already in our brains, but without tweaks.  Han would still shoot Greedo, even on the Blu-ray.

Can they continue the swashbuckling spirit of the original trilogy?  I think so.  An adventure about twin kids with a dead mother, raised as orphans ultimately to confront their terrible father?  Classic Disney.  Midi-chlorians and Jar-Jar would not have made it past the screenwriters.  $4B may be steep for a new Princess, but will seriously boost their cred at CONs

There are a few things that would be fun:

  • ½ of the shelf space at the Disney store being taken over by Star Wars.
  • Disney Death Match between R2D2 and WALL*E.
  • A new female Sith princess, (misunderstood of course)
  • Mickey meets Darth Maul, with spinning double-lightsabre attack and missing ears
  • Star Wars Muppets Holiday Special
  • Eventual reboot of Episodes I-III
  • Star Wars Episodes VII, IIX and IX

There are four reasons I’m optimistic.  First, it can’t possibly be any worse.  Second, there are many untold stories, already known to fans, to draw from.  Third, the creative team at Disney is full of Star Wars nerds.  Finally, Disney is playing the long game and thinking about what they’ll release on the Star Wars 50th anniversary.  And that requires listening to fans.

I do wonder if Lucas is OK. He’s pretty young to walk away just now. His vision brought me great memories, and soon I’ll introduce my younglings to Luke and the gang.  Hopefully he’s just tuckered out, ready to relax in his writer’s cabin, and crank out ideas on yellow notepads.

What do you think? Leave your comments below, and take the survey on thwack:

About the Author
I'm the Head Geek and technical marketing director at SolarWinds, (which basically means I'm an mature geek in the services of the product team). When I say geek I mean Geek, with extreme prejudice. I started writing assembly on my Apple II, got a BITNET email account in 1984, ran a BBS @ 300 baud, survived X.25, abused Token Ring, got some JavaScript award love in '96, and my hack flight notification service still backs Along the way in various jobs I’ve been a developer, SE, PM, PMM, and now principal evangelist. (Let us all join hands around the server.) Over 10 years at SolarWinds I’ve hatched our online live demo systems, managed the SolarWinds Certified Professional program, launched the Head Geek program, helmed SolarWinds Lab and THWACKcamp, and these days I’m focused on the hairball that is Hybrid IT, Cloud, DevOps and helping IT admins learn new skills not just to manage increasing complexity, but accelerate their careers. I’m always looking for new and more fiendish ways to use our products- just like our customers. And when I have a few spare minutes I fly a little when the weather is good.