Unless you were buried up to your neck in sand and had a soundproof bucket over your head, chances are you know about the big news last week: Disney bought LucasFilm for a touch over 4 billion dollars in cash and stock, and opinion on the net is split, There are a lot of people on the net pretty angry about the direction "The Mouse" is going to take this fan-favorite franchise.
Remember a couple years back when Disney bought out Marvel and the internet collectively screamed at the top of their lungs that Disney is going to ruin the company? The rumor, which turned to be true, popped up a little more than three years ago to the tune of cries of "NOOOOO!" Well, it's been three years, and what's changed? Is Spider-Man still Spider-Man? Yep. Did Donald Duck team up with Howard the Duck? Nopem sadly. Nothing has happened from the onslaught of ridiculous predictions: censorship, Mikey Mouse appearing in the comics, the world ending. Essentially, Marvel wasn't ruined like so many people claimed it would be.
Now, it's 2012, and Disney has bought another large property. While it's understandable that lots of people are upset about the buyout because the Star Wars franchise is so near and dear to so many people's hearts, there's a few reasons you shouldn't be upset about this whole buyout. Take a deep breath and together, let's check them out.
You Don't Spend $4 Billion to Sink a Ship
The first thing you do when you buy a company for $4,000,000,000 is turn all its properties into unwanted, water-downed pieces of garbage, right? Am I wrong? Well, that's why I'm terrible at business. To make money, you have to spend money, and Disney understands this.
The "you don't spend money to sink the ship" remark was made by a lot of level-headed people during the Disney/Marvel buyout, and very few angry fans listened. Then, a few years later, we got an amazing Avengers film. While it's true that the Avengers movie had been in the works for a while, I'm sure the Marvel team was able to take more chances, budget-wise, because of their mouse-eared financial backer. Technically, we'll never know, but it's some food for thought.
However, since their buyout, Marvel Studios has released some of their best films to date: Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers. As a film production company they're on a roll, so it's not too hard to see this translate over to some of the LucasFilms properties.
Also, keep in mind, Disney owns a lot of properties that are doing pretty darn well for themselves: ABC, ESPN, Hulu, and The Muppet Studio to name a few.
Other People's Takes on Star Wars/Indiana Jones
When the Star Wars prequels came out, many people were complaining on and on about George Lucas' writing and stories. The same thing happened when the alien Indiana Jones film came out. There were complaints aplenty, but now, these film franchises are out of Lucas' hands (although a few sources say he may be on as executive producer, which is understandable). While his two original trilogies (for both Star Wars and Indiana Jones) were brilliant, many people believe they've lost a bit of that magic with the newer films.
The great thing about the Star Wars Universe is that it's so expansive and awesome. There's been a plethora of television series, books, and comics about this universe, all by different writers. Out of everything outside of the films that's been created, there's a good chunk of stuff that's awesome. Now, think about letting some other people have their hand at it. Sure, there's pros and cons to this, but getting another creator's take on this universe is extremely exciting, good or bad. This really opens the door, and it revives my faith in this franchise. Plus, personally, I have always been much more interested in what happens after the original trilogy than in the prequels.
Aside from the sequels, imagine if we finally got to see something like Shadows of the Empire come to life or any of the Dark Horse comics in cinematic form?
The Money is Going to a Good Cause
One of the things I read, on numerous sites, is that George Lucas is swimming in a pile of money and he's a horrible, greedy human being. Well, he was swimming in a pile of money BEFORE this deal went through. However, he's not a greedy, horrible human being when it comes to this deal, and his money, in general.
George Lucas cares when it comes to the future of this planet. He wants future generations to be able to function in the real world. That's why he wrote his "Philanthropy Pledge," which appears on the Hollywood Reporter site, which flat-out states he's planning on putting his money to good use:
I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future -- and the first step begins with the social, emotional and intellectual tools we provide to our children.
According to a more recent article on Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson from LucasFilms states that Lucas plans on putting a large portion of the money into a foundation that focuses on education. Lucas has been known to lay down some heavy donations that reach the millions: his alma mater USC, the Film Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Say what you want about his work, but don't come down on him as a human being when it's obvious the guy cares a lot about the world around him. He's got a good heart. Sure, the deal hasn't gone through yet, and he hasn't donated the money yet, but his track record shows that philanthropy is his passion, so it's extremely plausible.
Princess Leia is a Disney Princess
I saw this as a complaint on numerous websites. Out of all the things you could have a real complain about, this was one big reoccurring one. Frankly, I don't get it. I only see this as a good thing, if Princess Leia actually became a Disney princess. You know what little girls love? Disney princesses. At one point, my niece had the stuff plastered everywhere. It didn't matter who the Disney princess was, my niece ate it up, even if she didn't see the movie. There's tons of little girls like this. Ones that just buy everything Disney Princess, so if anything (if this happens), it will just increase exposure to the Star Wars Universe to a whole new generation of little girls.
Most importantly, this is a terrible complaint. Fans are complaining that a princess from the Star Wars universe is on the same level as Belle, Snow White, and Cinderella? I can understand why people would make the other complaints, listed prior, but this one? It makes no sense. What would it matter? Leia is still awesome and a super-cool rebel. That won't change.
By the way, the super awesome Leia drawing was done by Sketchy Mcdrawpants, and it makes everything right in the world.
The Movies You Used to Love Still Exist
No matter what happens to the Star Wars Universe from here on out, those three original films you used to love still exist. Sure, they're not the originals because they've been "upgraded" by CGI, sound, and Greedo shooting first, but they're still there, as you kinda remember them. Screaming "they've destroyed my childhood" is a faulty claim. No one has gone back in time and punched you in the face for thinking Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is awesome. Your memories remain the same.
Just because a company you no longer like bought another company you claim to like doesn't mean that everything they've ever done disappears. It's not like, after this deal goes through, a bunch of muscular men in Mousekateer outfits are going to kick down your door and take all your original trilogy Blu-rays/DVDs/VHSs/Laserdiscs and burn them in front of you while singing "It's a Small World, Afterall." You can still go back and watch them whenever you're feeling bummed out.
By the end of the day, there's nothing anyone can do that will sway anyone from this buyout. It's probably going to finalize, and people are going to get mad about it, but a few years down the road from now, no one is going to remember being super angry about this, especially after Star Wars Episode VII comes out.
The most we can do is have faith in the company that it will put out some great stuff and most importantly, we can hope that they'll release the original Star Wars films, untouched, old special effects and all, on Blu-Ray without young Anakin's ghost hanging out with Obi Wan and Yoda. As of now, the rights to those reportedly still lie with Fox but we can still hope.
All-in-all, we probably won't notice any changes, so let's just have faith that the company will continue to run on its own, and let's really hope that Dark Horse will keep the rights to the Star Wars franchise for their comics. They put out some great stuff.
Mat "InferiorEgo" Elfring is a comedian, writer, and was the mayor of a town in Star Wars: Galaxies until they screwed with the combat system and got rid of the Creature Handler class, which forced him to quit.