I can hear Star Wars fans all over the world saying George Lucas’ famous line in response to the purchase of Lucasfilms by Disney. The panic will soon spread all across the internet and I just wanted to take a moment to try to add a little of a calming influence to the conversation.
The first thing that people seem to be assuming is that the announced Star Wars Episode Seven will be a Disney Movie. No one has specifically addressed this point, but I don’t see why it would. Lucasfilms Limited is not being dissolved, it is going from being owned by George Lucas to being owned by the Disney company. Kathleen Kennedy who has worked with George Lucas or Stephen Spielberg for the last forty plus years will still be in charge of Lucasfilm, and Executive Producer of the Star Wars franchise. George Lucas has publicly stated that he has already gone over the plot outline for the next three movies with her. And bing honest the plot outline was always George Lucas’ biggest strength. He is not the best screenwriter, and as a Director is never satisfied with the final product. So George will be limited to only doing the one thing that he does best, influencing the feel of the movies.
But I hear people saying if Disney owns Lucasfilms they will be able to replace Kathleen Kennedy anytime they want. This is true, but history does not support this assumption. Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment back in 2009, at the time Jose Quesada was the Editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. In 2011 he retired from that position. Disney could have, as owner of Marvel Entertainment and Marvel Comics, hired anyone to fill the position. The job went to Axel Alonso an experienced comics creator and editor who has worked for both Marvel Comics and DC Comics. At the same time they oversaw Marvel Entertainments production of the most respected and successful films based on Marvel Comics characters. Part of the success of these film has been by allowing the best writers and director to have the freedom to make films that were authentic to the characters being used. Also Disney acquired Pixar animation in 2006 at the time Edwin Catmull was Chief Technical Officer and John Lasseter was Executive Producer of the Pixar Films. Once the sale went through Lasseter was named Chief Creative Officer and Catmull was named President of not only Pixar, but they were also place in charge of Walt Disney Animation since the Brass as Disney realized that these two were exactly the right people to reinvigorate the Walt Disney line of movies.
A large number of people have also had concerns regarding Disney’s history of strict enforcement of copyright laws, and how it would effect the many Cosplay groups and individuals out in Geekdom. Once again as Lucasfilms will remain a separate entity owned by Disney I do not see this as being something that will be a major problem. Lucasfilms will still remain as for the most part the same company it always has. Even if it does not Disney has turned a blind eye towards cosplayers in the past with many Disney princesses appearing at conventions around the country. I do not see groups such as the 501st Legion being any different. Cosplay in general does nothing to lessen the value of the copyrighted material, and in fact many feel that it adds to the fan base and should be celebrated and encouraged by copyright holders.
I know that at a time of change the normal reaction from the Geek community is concern, many of us have had unexpected changed shake up our lives and knock us back down, but I don’t believe this is going to be that bad a change. As the Doctor said 45 years ago, “Life depends on change, and renewal” So look at this as a chance for Kathleen Kennedy to renew the Star Wars movies and bring them to many more generations to come.
Keep Calm & Geek On.