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Lucasfilm Bought by Disney - A Fan's Reaction

Updated on August 9, 2013
George Lucas sells Lucasfilm to Disney
George Lucas sells Lucasfilm to Disney | Source

Initial Shock

I first read about the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney on a social website in a discussion between two friends. At first, I did not believe it. I mean, c'mon, George Lucas is the most successful, and therefore richest, independent filmmaker alive ... or ever. Why would he need to sell everything under his professional umbrella to anyone? Since I could not answer that question myself, I had to go digging and researching, and sure enough, I found a list of news sites announcing the deal. So yes, it is official. George Lucas has sold Lucasfilm LTD to The Walt Disney Company. This deal includes everything that George Lucas has built up from scratch. That means Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and the Star Wars & Indiana Jones franchises. George Lucas will receive over four billion dollars from the deal, half in cash and half in Disney stock.

George Lucas discussing sale of Lucasfilm to Disney

Disappointment, Confusion and Plethora of Other Emotions

As I processed the news, I started feeling all kinds of emotions. Honestly, I am disappointed in George Lucas. He has repeatedly, and vehemently, stated that he had no intentions of ever making any further Star Wars movies, and he also continued that he would never allow anyone else to make them. He has also repeated that there were no other episodes in the Star Wars franchise. His story has always been that his original vision for the classic saga was only about the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader. Despite many fans speculating that there were three more episodes, Mr. Lucas said over and over that there were no other stories to tell, except through the authorized novels written by various authors.

Needless to say, I am confused, because Disney is now announcing intentions of making and releasing Episodes VII through IX (and maybe more), starting in 2015. Disney also announced that Mr. Lucas will be a consultant in the making of these movies. My confusion is mainly based in the apparent flip-flop. He said there were no other stories, but now, he says he has volumes of notes to hand over to Kathleen Kennedy, who Disney has named as president of this newly created division. This also means that he flip-flopped on his position about allowing others to make the movies. I just do not understand.

As a fan of Star Wars since the age of six (when the original A New Hope debuted in theaters), I am filled with so many different thoughts and emotions right now, and hopefully, I will be able to convey them in an articulate manner. I just wonder how all of this will play out after having such a reverence for the saga and its characters for so long. I am sure every boy for the last 35 and a half years has fantasized about becoming a Jedi Knight and/or Master, owning a real-life lightsaber (despite their non-existence) and battling/defeating a Dark Lord of the Sith. I am overflowing with cynicism, apprehension and doubt as new hands start adding their own creative perspectives to the sci-fi saga and its fantasy element. Can anyone other than George Lucas tell the story of Star Wars? I just don't know.

Improper Hybrid
Improper Hybrid | Source

Sustaining or Destroying the Integrity

Anyone who has watched Disney animated movies over the decades can see that Disney has a habit of twisting and/or fabricating facts to already established stories, fairy tales and documented history. Honestly, I cannot watch Disney's versions of Pocahontas or Alice in Wonderland. To me, these versions are too far from history or Lewis Carroll's tales. I just cannot respect or appreciate what those movies project. Therefore, I question whether Disney will maintain the integrity of George Lucas' stories.

There have already been pictures of Disney characters portraying the Star Wars characters, and in my humble opinion, these images are farcical. It demeans and destroys Star Wars. Part of Mr. Lucas' explanation for the sale of Lucasfilm has been the desire to pass along the stories and characters to future generations of fans, but how can these future generations take the original concept seriously? It is more than likely that the new generation of fans will initially be exposed to Star Wars by way of cartoons with Mickey Mouse as Luke Skywalker, or worse - Goofy as Darth Vader. Then again, I have seen how George Lucas has a sense of humor and does not overly take his creations seriously, at least not to the extent that makes one a huge egomaniac ... like, say, James Cameron. Can one envision Disney characters in Avatar?

Darth Mickey
Darth Mickey | Source

Concluding Opinions

In the end, I could not disagree more with this decision and resulting transaction. George Lucas wishes to retire, and he has every right to do so. However, he could have handed over the reins to one of his children or any other designated heir. This decision was obviously not about money. Mr. Lucas had plenty of that before the deal. There is no doubt that this was about legacy, and I firmly believe that his legacy could have endured on without the involvement of Disney. I do not worry about the innovations that will come from Skywalker Sound or Industrial Light & Magic. I am sure Disney will learn much from these entities, and they may even have some things to offer. I just worry about what Disney will do to the stories of Star Wars and Indiana Jones and the portrayals of their characters. Right now, as it stands, I do not plan on putting in any money for admissions to or merchandising for any movies that Disney puts out in regards to work previously done by Lucasfilm. For me to change my mind, Disney and Kathleen Kennedy will have to totally blow my mind with some amazing teasers, trailers and web documentaries. If not, I may just have to wear out my old DVDs and delicately finger through the old and tattered books. These are just my opinions though; others should decide for themselves.

© 2012 Charles Dawson

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    • Mitch Alan profile image

      Mitch Alan 4 years ago from South Jersey

      I too was there to see A New Hope in theaters as a young boy...The Star Wars franchise I think will be kept in good standing. Disney wants to make a profit and if the first (or in this case VII) isn't well received by the fans they will not capitalize on future films. Cross marketing by way of Disney characters donning the familiar Star Wars look is nothing new, as Star Wars has crossed all genres before this and will only add to the fan base.

      As to the Indiana franchise? The last one was a disappointment, especially the ending...so, maybe they will return to it's core.

      Time will tell.

    • chuckd7138 profile image
      Author

      Charles Dawson 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, VA

      Yes, time will tell, and maybe, for right now, I'm too much of purist and therefore close-minded to see how this is a good move. The Pirate movies were a huge success, but PotC belonged to Disney long before making the movies. If Kennedy can get Verbinski and/or Bruckheimer involved with E7, it might be worth giving an eyebrow-raised chance.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      Personally, I think Star Wars already fell far from grace with those god awful pieces of garbage prequels. Plus with George constantly re-editing and adding new scenes to his original trilogy has gotten so freaking ridiculous that its like at what point do you just remake the damn movies.

      I love the original trilogy so much, but him constantly messing around with them is like looking at the "mona lisa" and saying, "Hm...that picture looks nice, but i think it would look even better if we repainted the background. Why would you want to screw up or mess with a masterpiece? If lucas really cared about legacy, he should just release the ORIGINAL theatrical untouched copies of the original trilogy on blue ray and dvd. Now, I'd buy those in a heartbeat.

      If the prequels proved anything, it' s that george doesn't know how to make good movies anymore, and he's lost his touch as a film maker. perhaps lucas realizes this, and sees that he's become a part of the same system he swore he'd never be apart of, so perhaps it's better if he gives up the franchise to other people that are capable of handling it. after all, i don't trust lucas anymore with it.

      Replacing puppet yoda, from"Empire Strikes Back", was being discussed by lucas upon releasing the movies in 3-d. You did know that right? Yeah, after hearing that, I think lucas shouldn't be allowed to touch the star wars movies anymore. the original trilogy was a masterpiece just the way it was, and it didn't need to be changed, re-edited or whatever. it was fine the way it was. you don't repaint the "mona lisa. " you don't re-sculpt the "michaelangelo." and you don't re-add and re-edit the original masterpieces of the star wars trilogy. you just don't do that without sacrificing the integrity of the work of art itself.

      I respect your opinion, but i disagree. george lost his respect for the franchise when he made the prequels. it shows. i would go into more detail about why those prequels suck, but im not in the mood to get into it. however, great hub and cheers.

    • chuckd7138 profile image
      Author

      Charles Dawson 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, VA

      Thank you for reading and commenting. My only argument is this: Robert Frost once said, "A poem is never finished, only abandoned."

    • Mitch Alan profile image

      Mitch Alan 4 years ago from South Jersey

      I think the question is whether edis and additions are "taboo" in of themselves OR is it the issue of the execution? I would agree tgat digitizing Yoda in the original trilogy would have been wring, but i believe that fine tuning sound and color are fine...adding scenes that expand the story without altering it are fine to a point as well...it is more a matter of what is edited rather, sometimes, than if it's edited.

    • chuckd7138 profile image
      Author

      Charles Dawson 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, VA

      Well, I can argue both sides of the debate, and from many angles and aspects for each side. Do I find some things wrong with the saga? Yes. There are many things that I didn't like, but I respected his vision. Furthermore, I do not criticize George Lucas as it concerns characters, dialogue or edits, except for the anti-Bush overtones in Episodes II & III. I just don't like overly political statements in movies, but I know they're everywhere and done by everyone. So, I do have to accept that fact, to a point. What I do question George Lucas on is selling everything, especially to Disney. In my opinion, Lucasfilm could have stayed independent with someone else at the helm. Then again, it's just an opinion; not everyone will agree.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      It's always hard to psych out why a person who is already wealthy wants to cash out. Maybe he was sick of all the aggravation that comes with being the owner of such valuable franchises. I think Disney will do a fine job.

    • chuckd7138 profile image
      Author

      Charles Dawson 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, VA

      I hope you're right, RF! Thank you for reading and commenting! =)

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      The selling of Lucasfilm, LTD and the other entities of Mr. Lucas was a surprise to me as well. In the first picture, the Disney executive has a big smile on his face. Mr. Lucas on the other hand doesn't look as happy about the sale. There are reasons behind this, that we, the public, or even his closest confidants may never know. As stated above, time will tell how Disney will treat this new enterprise of theirs, whether they twist it as they have other tales, or remain true to the vision set by Mr. Lucas many, many years ago.

    • chuckd7138 profile image
      Author

      Charles Dawson 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, VA

      Actually, I think he is smiling ... as well as he can. In everything that I've ever seen George Lucas in (documentaries, web-umentaries, interviews, the making of ..., etc.), he has never been emotive. Then again, I wonder if there is a "seller's remorse", as akin to "buyer's remorse". Just a curiosity.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Perhaps. I lived in the Bay Area which is south of Marin County where Lucasfilm, LTD is based and the local media would catch him smiling more than what is shown above, but you are right it isn't often he smiles where it is truly noticeable. But I was looking more at his eyes. Anywho...nice post. I enjoy reading what you write.

    • chuckd7138 profile image
      Author

      Charles Dawson 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, VA

      Thank you!!! =)

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      I don't think Disney had made anything of quality for the last twenty years so I have no hopes for Disney doing justice for the Satr Wars or indiana Jones franchises. That being said, if someone offered me $4 billion dollars, I'd do pretty mucha anything... Lucas may have plenty of cahs, but $4 is a ton of money for anyone. I don't fault him one bit, but, like you, I wish he would have sold the rights to a company with a better recent track record

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