Ladies and gentlemen of the Rebel Alliance, you’ve probably heard by now that on Oct. 30, 2012, The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion in stocks and cash. Yes, the Mouse that Roared is now the proud owner of such beloved properties as Labyrinth, Monkey Island and Howard the Duck. Oh, and a little movie franchise called Indiana Jones and an even smaller series called Star Wars. It’s time we faced facts: George Lucas’ projects are now owned by Disney, and unless your Internet forum can generate a couple billion dollars, that’s not going to change.
If you’re a little like my suitemate, you might be panicking now. That’s an understandable reaction. Maybe you didn’t run around my suite swearing your head off and slamming doors, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you were a little apprehensive. After all, Disney is the company that makes Snow White and Little Einsteins. You know, kids’ stuff. Musicals and love stories and talking animals. Isn’t that going to happen to our beloved sci-fi series?
Folks, take it from me. This transaction doesn’t mean the series is being thrown into the Sarlacc Pit. Disney buying a company is about as scary as Short Round dressed as Yoda, and you can take that to the bank.
Let’s start by establishing that Star Wars already was a family franchise. There, I said it so you don’t have to. That’s what Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company called it in this press conference, and I’m certain that George Lucas didn’t stand up and object. When did you watch A New Hope for the first time? Chances are you were a child. Yeah, there are space lasers and dismemberment, but we’re not talking about A Game of Thrones here. Star Wars is, and has always been, good, clean family fun—just family fun that adults can enjoy without their grade schoolers in tow. And frankly, considering how excited I was about Wreck-It-Ralph, that sounds a lot like Disney to me. Have you seen an Ewok? If they don’t look like something out of a Disney cartoon, I don’t know what does.
Plus, Disney owns a lot more than you think. Remember last year’s Avengers movie? That was a Disney film, since Disney owns Marvel, and it sure as hell didn’t disappoint classic Marvel fans. Likewise, remember Lost? Remember Desperate Housewives? They’re both owned by Disney, folks, and they both involved infidelity and complex religious theology (I think). Those are much harder sells to parents than “occasional space lasers.” Yup, Mickey’s got his hand in everything from ESPN to Pixar to ABC to The Muppet Show, and you probably never even noticed. Have you realized that Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Stunt Show are in Disney World? Teamwork between Disney and Lucas is hardly anything new. Face it, Disney is everywhere.
But let’s briefly examine the worst and suppose Disney is going to change Star Wars. Is Star Wars even sacred anymore? Take a look at what we’ve been through. We’ve had Jar-Jar and Hayden Christensen. We played fifteen million Lego Star Wars games. We’ve seen too many CGI edits. They removed the “NOOOO.” Man, I’ve pod-raced, I’ve swung my arms to use The Force, I’ve even eaten Darth Vader Fruit Roll-Ups. It doesn’t get worse than this, guys. Disney couldn’t possibly hurt us more than Lucas already has.
At the end of the day, the truth is that Disney isn’t going to change Star Wars. They didn’t need to buy it to get more musicals or to get another Jake and the Neverland Pirates; they clearly can make those just fine on their own. Disney wants to turn a profit, and Star Wars has been generating profits since the 70s. Nothing needs to change for Disney to succeed. If they keep it the same, they’ve got something else they can sell to young boys, and that matters most to them right now. If anything, we’ll see more Star Wars toys on shelves and have more productions to enjoy. I mean, the newly-announced Episode VII might suck, sure, but that was going to be the case whether or not Disney was in charge.
Plus, George Lucas is planning on giving most of that $4.05 billion to education charities, and if you’re going to argue with that, maybe you’re just a scruffy nerf herder after all.