The Force Now Bows at the House of Mouse
By: Lawrence Napoli
All of you be completely honest with me. How many of you are dusting off your old scripts/treatments/outlines for YOUR ideas concerning Star Wars Episodes 7, 8, and 9 right now? I know I AM! If you don’t know why I’m asking this question then the Force is not strong with you and you didn’t realize that the subheading for this article is 100% true AND that Star Wars Episode 7 has been announced for release in 2015; ready to go head to head with Avengers 2 and Justice League. Before I melt into a puddle of geek-boy-goop, let’s review the particulars of this amazing . . . dare I say “ultimate” alliance?
Lucas is no longer interested in the above (thank God!)
Disney is paying George Lucas (who 100% owns Lucasfilm) $4.05 billion dollars to acquire the following: Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, Indiana Jones and (of course) Star Wars. About half of that $4 billion dollar purse is being paid in cash with the rest issuing 40 million shares at close. With Mickey dolling out this kind of cash, it’s amazing that he hasn’t been able to wrangle ownership over the rest of Marvel’s movie rights from the financially shaky ground Sony seems to be occupying these days.
Original gold, but can it be recaptured?
And now some thoughts:
1) Is this why everyone hates the Lakers, the Yankees and now . . . Disney? – Big money draws big stars, the best licenses and great expectations. Cue the Imperial Death March. Everyone knows that George Lucas transformed into the Emperor himself once the Star Wars merchandising rights literally gave him a license to print money without having to do so much as to scratch his own ass. He has a history of sending in his real world storm troopers (aka lawyers) to bankrupt anyone even hinting Star Wars without his expressed seal of approval. He has whored his own “material” more than Caligula and done so shamelessly with a flannel coated smug look all the while. Is there more reason to hate Disney now that they’ve cloned the Emperor and given him Barry Bonds’ steroids?
Disney is on a free agency binge. Not unlike some unnamed team in the NBA.
2) Will the “Post-quels” be any good seeing that Lucas is (finally) out of the loop? –The short answer is: possibly, but by no means definitely. Look, the man invented Star Wars, I get it. He deserves much respect for that, but let’s not dust off his spot next to Shakespeare and Dickens as one of the greatest contributors to the art of fiction just yet. Lucas was much more intimately involved in the production of the prequel trilogy and that simply paled in comparison to the original. This suggests that someone else (ANYONE else) has the potential to outclass Lucas in writing something new within the world he invented, but it also presumes there’s someone in the current pool of regurgitated screenwriters that have the knowledge, vision and motivation to generate something greater than or equal to the originals.
Bad writing is why you fail.
3) Will Marvel and Star Wars cross over?– I think we all know deep down, that this will happen at some level: comic books, TV, video games or maybe even movies. The real question is when, but an even more important question is to ask how much Star Wars will factor into Kingdom Hearts 3? That’s presuming it ever actually happens! Vader vs. Sephiroth vs. Mickey vs. Sora = epic!
This game could be dark enough for both Vader AND Sephiroth.
4) Who gets tapped to lead the new Star Wars?– This is a very tough call and as much as I’d love to say Chris Nolan could do some good work here, his brand of grounded realism doesn’t mesh well with the fantasy of Star Wars and Disney. Peter Jackson would make more sense as his extensive experience with Lord of the Rings seems to lend itself to the concept of space opera better. Spielberg could even make sense, but he’d have to be reminded that the franchise is called Star WARS not LOVE. Many writer/directors in Hollywood are capable of being the creative force, but very few would be willing to hand the next 10-15 years of their careers over to just one franchise. I’d like to see someone new, untarnished by Hollywood hype and cynicism take command. Disney, you can contact me, Lawrence Napoli aka Giuseppe Jones, aka the other man in black, aka the no one from nowhere, aka DarthNaps any time, any place.
My idea has NOTHING to do with this!
5) What’s next for the Big Cheese?– Disney appears to have ignored the memo that there’s some sort of global recession going on because their checkbook is open and they are ready to assimilate some major entertainment conglomerates at bargain prices. Here’s some food for thought, though. How much money is in the video game business these days? What if, in its attempts to regain the other Marvel movie rights from Sony, Disney actually makes a counter offer to acquire the Playstation brand and everything that falls under its stable? Nintendo vs. Microsoft vs. “The Mouse” suddenly seems a lot more one sided and all the complications surrounding the fight over console exclusives and first party studios would dissipate in light of “a simple matter of money.” This doesn’t make sense to anyone else out there? I’m pretty sure Wreck-It-Ralph comes out this Friday, it’s bankrolled by Disney and it involves the greatest crossover of videogame characters on film to date.
Also brought to you by, you guessed it, Disney!