When it was suggested I write a column on “Star Wars” and the culture it has created, I kind of freaked out a little. Since I haven’t seen any of the movies myself, my only real knowledge of the film is from random things I’ve seen on the Internet and conversations I’ve heard in Yoda’s passive voice.
One thing I knew for sure, though, is that the films’ following is beyond dedicated, which is something I can respect, even if I don’t really understand the basis behind it.
With the recent purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney for $4 billion, it has been hard to escape the complaints about the transaction from everyone.
And that’s why I decided it was time to get a little background. I consulted the resident “Star Wars” expert in my group of friends, who, might I add, is constantly bugging me to watch the movies (I swear, I don’t have anything against them. I just haven’t had the time).
What struck me when she was explaining the mega fandom was that there are so many different types of fans. It seems that the wide appeal of “Star Wars” is what has established the film’s strong legacy. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone.
And that, it seems, is what has prompted the fear of Disney and the disappointment in the handover.
Disney is Disney. Even with its overlying themes, it’s still mainly aimed at children. And even its themes are generic, and somewhat biased and unrealistic, idealizing pretty much everything. Princesses and happy endings make up a majority of the Disney repertoire.
From what I’ve learned, there is a complexity to “Star Wars” which has established it as a classic, allowing it to be passed down from generation to generation, holding appeal for everyone. With Disney now in the picture, it seems this might be lost. After all, Disney had a failed attempt at an animated version of the films a few years ago with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
According to an article in USA Today, Disney plans on releasing a new “Star Wars” movie every two to three years. Though it seems that George Lucas, creator of “Star Wars,” had considered creating at least three more films, what appears to be most discomforting for fans is that Lucas will not have complete creative control over the films, which is something I can sympathize with.
The attachment fans have to the films, or any die-hard fans have to their objects of devotion, comes in the comfort of knowing what to expect. The familiarity (having the lines memorized, knowing what’s going to happen next) makes it all the more enjoyable.
Often, when a franchise of films exchanges hands, the style can completely change. Even changes not so high up in the production chain, like a different director in a series of films, can rustle some feathers. This seems especially true with Lucas’ franchise, where all previous films have been created by the same person.
It can be quite unsettling when you don’t know what to expect and you don’t want something you love to be ruined.
The fact that there has already been a glimpse of what may come, as seen with “The Clone Wars,” is probably causing even more anxiety.
But Lucas could not have been too uncomfortable with Disney’s plans for “Star Wars” if he was willing to sell Lucasfilm. Though money talks loudly, if I understand correctly from the fans, Lucas cares about his films. Why would he sell the franchise if he was unhappy with what could happen in the future?
Fans have trusted Lucas to create the movies, so it seems like they should trust him to make the right decision for the films’ future. And if the fans are upset, it really shouldn’t be with Disney, it should be with Lucas himself.
Don’t get me wrong, if Disney took over my favorite franchise (“James Bond”), I would be horrified. However, Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and distributed the enormously successful “The Avengers.” Who’s to say it can’t do it again?
Disney is incredibly powerful. It definitely has the ability to take “Star Wars” into realms it hasn’t explored before, especially with much younger demographics. The only question is whether it can do so in a way that is acceptable to the fans.
_What’s your film franchise obsession?
Email Boodaghians at firstname.lastname@example.org._