Entries in Disney (14)
In a presentation Wednesday at CinemaCon, the annual meeting of the National Theater Owners Association, Disney representatives unveiled some big plans for the "Star Wars" franchise after purchasing Lucasfilm for $4 billion. While it's well known that "Star Wars: Episode VII" is in the works and poised for release in the summer of 2015, Disney is saying after that, fans can expect a new "Star Wars" movie every summer for at least five years, with installments in the official series alternating with stand-alone films that will focus on well-loved characters in the "Star Wars" universe.
That means six "Star Wars" movies between 2015 and 2020. That's a lot of lightsabers.
Indeed. I've already asked you kids to get off my lawn once before (at least), so I'll not repeat myself.
Well why not? asks Sean O'Neal in this AV Club post that is not only funny in its own right, but links to another funny post by the same Mr. O'Neal. The latter piece is about pointless Star Wars 7 speculation by an ex-employee by the name of George Lucas. The former is about how Warwick Davis (and dozens of other Star Wars alumni, most of whom have enjoyed far less success that Mr. Davis) would really really like to be in the new Star Wars movie.
If even a quarter of these faint-hopers end up in the new film, it will be worse than Attack of the Clones.
Or so says Abraham Riesman in an ever-so-slightly overstated piece on Motherboard entitled (you guessed it), "Disney and Lucasfilm Just Murdered Billions of People". He is reacting to the cancellation of the Clone Wars television series and other signs that Disney is abandoning the Expanded Universe in favour of its own efforts.
Somewhat disappointingly, Riesman's article is not quite as insanely hysterical as the title he gave it. But it's still pretty excitable, and Riesman doesn't shy away from his genocide theme:
Here we are, where no serious Star Wars fan ever thought we’d be. But at what cost? The metatextual mass murder of fictional billions? Is that a price we’re prepared to pay?
Last week, George Lucas implied that the Holy Trinity of Ford, Fisher, and Hamill are this close to signing on for the J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Wars: Episode VII. Let’s assume for a moment that it’s all true, that the ink dries, and that the wardrobe department starts getting their measurements. What are the implications?
For the workaday filmgoer and the average Star Wars viewer, there are barely any, other than chuckles about a sexagenarian Skywalker and a self-proclaimed crazy Leia. For Disney and Lucasfilm, recognizable faces mean money in the bank, though their casting probably means little to the youngest generation of Star Wars fans, the ones who grew up actually enjoying Episode I and are now in the 18-25 demographic.
But what about us? What about that small fraction of the world’s population who kept watch over the Star Wars universe’s post-Return of the Jedi development? What about the people who, decades ago, gave up any hope that there would ever be filmed sequels? How are we supposed to feel?To put it bluntly, we’ve been abandoned. Our purpose has been served, and we’re being unceremoniously downsized without so much as a “Thanks for Two Decades on the Job” plaque.
We were the stewards of the Galaxy. Under 22 years of our watch, we’ve lived and breathed something called the Expanded Universe (EU), in which the Star Wars mythology grew and flourished to a size that Lucas could never have imagined. I mentioned fictional genocide because now, with the presence of Hamill/Fisher/Ford, much of the EU — and the countless characters, wars, species, and millennia of events the EU contains — will be wiped out at the stroke of a pen.
So Riesman is only referring to fantasy fictional people who don't actually exist in the real world but only in people's imaginations. Also, if you read along you'll discover that these billions of fantasy fictional murdered people haven't actually been fictionally murdered yet by anyone at all in the purely fictional fantasy world they fictionally inhabit. But still...
For more hyper-exaggerated EU fanboy angst about something that hasn't in fact happened, follow the link below. And if you too are badly in need of some perspective on the true gravity of the situation, try here or here or here.
Here's a taste but follow the link for more--including Lucas's confirmation of what we already knew about Ford, Hamill and Fisher:
Lucas released Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999. Combined, the three films in the second trilogy would gross $2.5 billion, but many fans thought they were a mess. They were particularly appalled by the bumbling Jar Jar Binks from the planet Naboo, a creature with an inexplicable Jamaican accent who became the butt of jokes on South Park and The Simpsons.
The criticism got to Lucas. He found it difficult to be creative when people were calling him a jerk. “It was fine before the Internet,” he says. “But now with the Internet, it’s gotten very vicious and very personal. You just say, ‘Why do I need to do this?’ ” At the same time, Lucas was reluctant to entrust his universe to anyone else. “I think he felt like he was a prisoner of Star Wars, and that only intensified over the years,” says Dale Pollock, author of Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas.
Meanwhile, Iger continued to rise at ABC. After Disney bought the network in 1996, Iger became Disney Chairman Michael Eisner’s heir apparent. For nearly a decade, Iger remained in the shadow of his overbearing mentor. But, by 2005, Disney was in trouble. Its once-powerful animation department hadn’t had a hit in years, and the combative Eisner had alienated many shareholders. Disney’s board asked Iger to take over. He was widely underestimated at the time—including by this magazine, which described him as a “bland, scripted CEO” whom no one would call “a big strategic thinker."
Thom Stark of Houston has started a Change.org petition to Disney as follows:
It has 25 signatures so far. Surely we can do better than that. Follow the link to sign.
This very interesting piece in Bloomberg Businessweek argues that Disney bought the Star Wars franchise because it would prefer to crank out familiar additions to an established franchise than try to come up with something original:
On the analysts’ conference call following the announcement, Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger was asked, “What do Star Wars films come in lieu of, creatively?” The answer: non–Star Wars films. Iger explained: “We actually determined that we’d be better off as a company releasing a sequel to Star Wars than probably most other, I’ll call them not-yet-determined, films.”
It’s no wonder Iger hopes to remove the risk from blockbuster moviemaking. This year, Walt Disney Studios released the disastrous John Carter and, in 2011,Mars Needs Moms, reported to be the biggest money loser in film history. (The company’s Marvel, Pixar, and Disney Animation output has performed much better.)
George Lucas’s sale to Disney will give a new generation of writers and directors the opportunity to make Star Wars movies. But it diminishes their chances of creating the next Star Wars.
Follow the link to read the whole piece.
ComicBook.com reports that Disney CEO Bob Iger has described plans to co-brand Disney with Star Wars or Lucasfilm:
In an investor’s conference call yesterday, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger offered some clarification on how the Star Wars brand will be brought into the Disney fold. For those wondering if Disney might just leave Lucasfilm and Star Wars as a separate brand from the main Disney brand, it does not appear as if that will be the case.
When discussing the impact of Stars Wars on their product strategy, Iger said, “The footprint from consumer products, obviously will give us much more of a blend that enhances our relationship in the marketplace with retailers and with licensees as a for instance and just generally runs the profile of the brand. Lucas product by the way will be co-branded with Disney’s name on it.”
In addition to co-branding the Disney name on Star Wars action figures and toys, the same strategy will be used for the film division. Iger talked about how Pixar films is co-branded with Disney, which enhances both the Pixar and the Disney brand. ...
In regards to Lucasfilm in specific, Iger said, “The Star Wars brand I think basically doesn’t need much help, except obviously will I think benefit greatly from the release of a film. We intend in that case to co-brand as I mentioned just a few minutes ago Disney, Lucas or Disney, Star Wars in some different forms. And I think that’s again another opportunity like Pixar to enhance both the Star Wars brand and the Disney brand."
In the Observer last Sunday, UK comedian David Mitchell considered the big Disney announcement. From his piece:
The guys at Disney have promised to bring out Star Wars episode seven in 2015 and to follow that with episodes eight and nine. Thereafter their plan is to release a new film every two or three years pretty much indefinitely. Basically, they want Star Wars to go Bond.
The prospect of a Disneyfied Star Wars would have appalled me 15 years ago. The thought of that corporate giant getting its weird three-fingered hands on the beloved space stories of my childhood would have seemed like sacrilege. Since then, of course, Jesus has desecrated his own altar and then set up as a money-changer in his own temple. And if you think that's a hyperbolic way of describing the fact that George Lucas made three disappointing sci-fi films, you need to get online more.
As a feckless writer and comedian, I spend a lot of pub time railing against all the occasions when creative control is wrested from the people who have the ideas by the people who keep the accounts. So I find the story of the Star Wars franchise unsettling. Lucas had the successful idea and maintained rigid creative control over it, doubtless fending off the advances of avaricious predators who wanted to exploit or develop it differently. And yet that idea was more comprehensively ruined than if it had been left exposed to the worst and most idiotic corporate abuse imaginable.