George Lucas Taps Out

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Patrick

Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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106 Responses

  1. Avatar Jon Rowe
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    Disney’s copyright in their classic characters is about to expire, no? You don’t need a board directive to know that’s why they bought Marvel and now Star Wars. They need more characters for the future. And I agree, taking the monopoly away from George Lucas is probably a good thing at this point.Report

  2. Avatar Kieselguhr Kid
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    ?Why do you put out that press release _today_? Where’s the big downside to the deal for Disney?Report

    • Avatar Rtod in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
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      That first question did not occur to me until I read this. Now that I have, though…

      Damn good question. Don’t you want the market up and running when you drop this?Report

      • Avatar Kieselguhr Kid in reply to Rtod
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        Yeah, those properties have to be worth a lot. I didn’t bother with “episode II” and “episode III” but I suspect most of the fanboys — and their kids! — will go see whatever dreck they crap out for another three movies. $4B seems cheap as the scale of these things goes.

        I wonder if Lucasfilm is loaded up with debt? It was private, right? So there’s no way to know for sure yet…Report

      • Avatar DRS in reply to Rtod
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        Maybe because the Market remembers very well the financial impact of John Carter [on Mars] and its $250 million budget:

        “On May 8, 2012, the Walt Disney Company released a statement on its earnings which attributed the $161 million deterioration in the operating income of their Studio Entertainment division to a loss of $84 million in the quarter ending March 2012 “primarily” to the performance of John Carter and the associated cost write-down.”

        Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Carter_(film)#Box_officeReport

  3. Avatar MikeSchilling
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    Disney’s purchase of Pixar led to Pixar producing Cars 2… and Brave.

    To the best of my knowledge, those are both films Pixar wanted to produce, and Disney is being hands-off with Pixar on creative (as opposed to marketing) decisions. Logically, LucasFilm should be the opposite, since they’ve made a bundle without one good creative decision in about three decades.Report

    • Avatar DRS in reply to MikeSchilling
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      I liked Brave. Great archery scene.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to MikeSchilling
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      The Dig was pretty good.
      The credits that thanked Lucas? were thanking him for staying well away from the project.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to MikeSchilling
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      LucasArts — their PC gaming division — produced a giant string of hits in the 90s. They were so successful that, well, they sadly came to the attention of upper management who thought “What can we do with such a great division, producing so many excellent, best-selling and highly reviewed games?”

      Well, you can shut down the gaming division and license just the Star Wars IP (“We’re LucasArts, we’re only about Star Wars and why should we make games?) as part of the huge surge in SW’s merchandising.

      Which is sad— the stuff LucasArts pumped out in the 90s was absolutely stellar. Top-drawer, and while their Star Wars stuff remains the best SW’s gaming to date, their non-Star Wars stuff was even better.Report

  4. Avatar George Turner
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    Can you imagine the horror of watching a Disneyfied Jar Jar Binks?

    The only way I’d pay to see Star Wars VII is if Jar Jar is captured by a cajun chef, skinned, cooked, and served with rice and beans.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe
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    I double-dog-dare Disney to put out a movie that’s worse than “The Clone Wars”.

    [adjusts glasses, nasal ‘in the extended universe’] The Clone Wars – the animated series and movies – weren’t that bad (the first go round was actually positively good). It’s Attack of the Clones that was awful[/glasses adjust]Report

    • Avatar Pyre in reply to Kolohe
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      You mean The Ahsoka Tano Show?

      Yeah, I’m kinda looking forward to Disney wiping that from the slate. Hell, if they can exert any pressure on Del Rey to not let their authors mangle Darth Krayt as well, I’d consider those two actions alone as a net positive.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Pyre
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        I think anything that removes George Lucas and his yes-men from control is a huge positive. Listening to the director’s commentaries on the Star Wars prequels is so horrifying that it spawned all sorts of Internet parodies of their stupidity, arrogance, and utter disregard for pretty much everything involved in storytelling.

        He’s done well in creating Lucasfilm and advancing CGI, but that’s not an exercise in creativity, it’s having enough money to hire lots of programmers to bang out reams of complicated and freakishly boring graphics code until the tools become creatively usable. We’re lucky he didn’t use those tools to do a remake of Howard the Duck.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to George Turner
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          I agree. I am cautiously optimistic (key word cautiously) about an Episode 7. The prequels failed because Lucas had unlimited control and unlimited budget – the new exec will not.

          Moreover, one of the key sources of prequel disappointment won’t be there – that people were waiting nearly two decades for a new Star Wars, and Phantom Menace is what they got. The new crew seems to have just over two years (which I think is a little short for this sort of Hollywood project).Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner
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          One of my friends went to the premier of Phantom Menace and of course some people were dressed up, with one wearing a very elaborate Darth Maul costume, probably having waited 20 years for the return of his childhood. When the movie was over and they were walking out, he threw his costume in the trash, which is pretty much what Lucas did with the fanbase.

          The bar Disney has to beat is pretty darn low.Report

          • Avatar Pyre in reply to George Turner
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            Your friend is one of those overly dramatic types, isn’t he?Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner
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            I don’t know who the Darth Maul guy was. My friend was just reporting their personal observation of the costume, which probably took weeks to make, getting chucked in the garbage. She said it to reinforce how shockingly bad the movie was, especially considering that fans were expecting something that would totally blow away the earlier episodes. Instead, it was silliness with Jar Jar binks, some little kid who couldn’t act for spit – driving a pod racer, and the revelation that the force is more like a genital yeast infection than getting in touch with the power of the universe.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
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              Oh, and Anakin/Darth Vader was a virgin birth. Seriously.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling
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                The thing is — the story was like INCHES from an almost Greek Tragedy. Inches.

                They hinted that Palpatine’s Master created Anakin right before Palpatine offed him, via magic Force Rape — which was DUMB.

                It wouldn’t have taken much at all to change that to Palpatine fathering Anakin through a bit more, you know, real Force rape (a bit of fun, a little mind wiping) and create a story in which three generations of Skywalkers wreck the Galaxy in an almost Oedipal fashion.

                With the end being the Grandfather getting tossed down a shaft by the son he’d lied to, brainwashed (and just ensured would die slowly), who did it all for the sake of his OWN kid whom he’d never known existed until the last few years.

                You could wrap a real, meaningful meta-story around that. Turn that light versus dark stuff into something more concrete than a philosophy everyone seemed to mouth by no one seemed to live.

                Heh. Best line from Knights of the Old Republic Two — one Jedi questioning the main character — you, the player — as to HOW ON EARTH you thought slaughtering your way across four planets was what strengthened your connection to the force.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Morat20
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                That would have too much depth and make too much sense.

                [lucas voice]So someone suggested we make Palpatine Anakin’s father via rape and a memory wipe, and then I thought, “No, what if Palpatine actually came from a water cactus planet – run by Chinese Jews – where giant squid things could use eight light sabers at once, and he has to become a Sith because he caught ebola from an Ebolian and has to cure himself?” Then it turns out that he has to get rebuilt by C3PO who was wandering around during some epic space battle where the CGI was so intense that it threw him back in time, and then Luke uses R2D2 to try and follow 3PO’s time jump, ending up in the past where he knocks up Padme’s mother who also has twins, Padme and Darth Maul! So then baby Darth Maul and young Palpatine hook up on another planet and have all kinds of fun and wacky adventures while Luke remains stuck at a hover drive-in because his air-car’s motivator gets stuck, so he spends the rest of his life living on space burgers.
                [/lucas voice]

                Lucas wanted to recreate the B grade science fiction from his youth, which were often radio dramas where the audience had to imagine the action in their minds. Ironically, his writing and storylines are so bad that the modern audience has to imagine better writing and storylines in their heads. A coherent story doesn’t spawn an extended universe of rewrites, which is why we don’t have “Iliad IV, Revenge of the Trojans” or “Godfather X, the Reckoning.”Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner
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              And two Jedi took this seriously. O_o

              Combine that with the midichlorian yeast infection and they’ve got a girl who probably passed out at the bar and woke up without her panties and come away actually believing she got pregnant from a magic toilet seat – or something. Why even bother with the whole Sith backstory when the reason the Jedi order collapsed is right there?

              Of course that trilogy ended when the super-advanced robots were stumped by post-partum depression, which is somehow fatal in space, and the Jedi were too dumb to suggest valium and some Bugs Bunny cartoons.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kolohe
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      I’m a pretty big fan of the Clone Wars cartoon. I’ve seen every episode. It tells a good story and the animation is awesome.Report

    • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Kolohe
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      I understand the animation and video games are part of the “canon”? After the three prequels, I don’t think the movies serve as the exclusive “canon” anymore, if they ever were. With that I look forward to the Disney reboots. Maybe in the process they can “revise” some less than stellar elements of the prequels away.Report

  6. Avatar Dan Miller
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    “It will take an act of awesomeness beyond most mortal capabilities to make a 7th Star Wars movie that I will actually want to go see.”

    Really? I mean, sheer curiosity will probably drag me to the theater (although I saw Attack of the Clones on Spike while running at the gym, and man it’s as awful as you remember). It’s so huge and iconic that I can’t miss it in good conscience.Report

  7. Avatar Roger
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    The writing and acting and big muppets were absolutely horrible. And I loved them just the same. Absolutely loved them.Report

  8. Avatar James K
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    This may actually be good news as far as getting a re-release of the original versions of the original trilogy. Lucas wouldn’t release them because the idea offended his sense of artistry. But if Disney can make enough money off it (and they would), then why wouldn’t they?Report

  9. Avatar BlaiseP
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    When Disney went to Hayao Miyazaki Ghibli studios and did an intelligent deal, I was honestly surprised. I hadn’t expected Disney to behave so well.

    George Lucas is getting older. In some ways, only Disney could do this deal, as they did with Miyazaki. It’s too important a franchise. As John Rowe observes above, Disney needs the characters. But Disney’s proven itself an excellent shepherd of its own characters. The jury may still be out on the Marvel characters but then, I was never a superhero sorta guy — Warner hasn’t been a particularly good steward of the DC stable. Disney can do better with the Star Wars franchise.Report

  10. Avatar Mr. Harris
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    Hollywood is currently littered with Joss Whedon/ J.J. Abrams types , fanboys raised on Star Wars and comic books. Thet understand the intersection between mythology, commercialism, and filmmaking in the CGI era. Big, property-driven franchises are about the only kind of movie that Hollywood makes anymore. Could you imagine what a moody, Christopher Nolan directed Star Wars movie might be like? George Lucas’s gift and curse was his desire to recreate the epic scope of a David Lean. Somewhere along the way during the prequels he became enamored with CGI at the expense of the storytelling. His action sequences were less effective because they inhibited Character identification with their Leanian, wide-screen scope. Part of Episode VI’s accidental appeal was that Lucas didn’t have the money to shoot scenes on a larger canvas. The characters on the screen were much more personable and immediate.

    With Episode V and VI Lucas was given his grand canvas as well as the writing talents of Lawrence Kasdan, who was able to personalize these characters even more and keep the story from drowning in techno ephemera.

    A series “reboot” would probably work out very well for the fans AND the industry. There’s an entire generation of filmmakers who have shown both the ability and the sensitivity to faithfully recreate beloved properties from their childhoods.Report

  11. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    I don’t know if I am the biggest Star Wars fanboy at the League but I’ve got to be n the top 3. So here’s my take:

    – This is the best possible scenario for the Star Wars franchise beyond Lucas and I respect him for letting it go (and of course the payout is nice). And they have laid the groundwork for several years with the Star Wars weekends at Disney, etc.

    – I was terrified with what Disney would do with Marvel and then we got Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the friggin’ Avengers and they proved they could do something like this. I have to believe that played a role in Lucas’ decision.

    – I actually liked Episode 3. And 1 and 2 are pretty good visually. They just had weak plots and bad acting from some of the principles (Ewan McGregor IS Obi-wan though. He nailed it IMO).

    – I really, really hope they don’t try to pick up the story directly with the characters from Episodes 4-6. Lucas probably included a clause in the deal that said all previously created media is canon and most of that hasn’t been well-done. Now if he allows that to be ignored, there’s plenty of fertile ground there. What I am hoping for though is for them to tell a new story with new characters.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      You start with the twins, all growed up. You can cameo in Harrison or Mark or one of the others, short scene somewhere towards the end of the movie, so that the crowd can cheer.

      Oh, and I’m absolutely rock-solid certain there will be an R2D2.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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        The problem is that with the twin story line just sort of repeated the same plot with Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Jaina plays the roll of Luke in killing her once-good relative.

        I like the idea of bringing Hammil in though. He’s 61 now. He’s never run from Star Wars the way the others did. He’s earned it and it makes the most sense for him to come back as the new Jedi leader. Han Solo always seemed a little lost to me after Empire.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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        I’m absolutely rock-solid certain there will be an R2D2.

        Rosencrantz and Guildenstern never die, no matter what Stoppard said.Report

  12. Avatar Katherine
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    The only Star Wars sequel I want to see is one based off the Thrawn Trilogy. And even that would be better done as a TV series (or miniseries), a la Game of Thrones – there’s too much in each book to fit easily into a movie.

    The original actors are likely too old to make it feasible, though.Report

  13. Avatar Damon
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    Hey, as long as we can see cute chicks running around with their midrift exposed, aka Natalie Portman, I’ll watch the movie when it comes out on TV. 🙂Report

  14. Avatar George Turner
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    I just ran across an interview with someone who thinks Attack of the Clones was great art – Camille Paglia.

    Youtube Interview

    Well worth watching.Report

  15. Avatar Ramblin' Rod
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    I’m amazed to be the first to point this out, but… Leia is now a Disney Princess???Report

  16. Avatar Pyre
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    Okay, the gaming part of the deal kinda sucks but the SW games have been up and down for years. SW: TOR may be the last non-facebook game we get and, as an MMO, that is still kind of a social game.

    >>The downside here is the video game business. “We’re likely to focus more on social and mobile than console,” Disney executives told investors. They’re interested in licensing the propert, but they likely won’t be publishing console games. Disney now owns well-loved but decidedly niche properties like Grim Fandango. It’s unlikely that they’ll be willing to sell that IP, and it’s even less likely that they’re going to do anything with it.

    I know that Split/Second probably left a bad taste in Disney Interactive’s mouth but that would still be a pity if this was it for the gaming section of the universe.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Pyre
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      Well that’s horrifying. Do you remember what he did to the younglings? Beyond that, he firmly believes in kidnapping and brainwashing children to turn them into mindless killing machines who don’t know love or happiness, which could be a weakness.Report

  17. Avatar DavidTC
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    This creates a very weird fact that I’m not entirely sure anyone has considered:

    Marvel now has direct access to Star Wars.Report

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