In light of last week’s news, which in my mind hasn’t been quite “debunked,” that Disney discarded George Lucas’s storyline for the sequel film(s) in favor of whatever we’re going to see in TFA, my tin foil hat has been picking up signals that there is much more to Disney’s plans than just turning Star Wars into Space Marvel with a movie every year until our eyeballs burst and they stop making money.
Here’s what Disney has done for decades. It would take a story that’s in the public domain because it never was copyrighted or the copyright had expired, and create its own version that it can still benefit from even 70+ years after the fact. Several of its classic animated films and recent hits were based off of the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, which in turn were collections of folk tales and fairy tales that had been around even longer: “Snow White And The Seven Dwarves,” “Cinderella,” “The Princess And The Frog,” “Tangled,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Frozen” for example. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s a genius idea.
How about instead of sitting around waiting for George Lucas to die and tolling the time until the Star Wars saga as it exists falls into the public domain (life of the author plus 70 years for anything copyrighted after 1978), why not just buy Star Wars from him now and that way you can start creating your own content? Also a genius move. Lucas had apparently intended to do one more trilogy but there’s zero indication he wanted to do “spinoff” movies. I think he wanted to do television instead. Disney suits wanted the spinoffs. Of course Disney is banking that Star Wars will be like Marvel, where the market will sustain at least one movie a year and each movie will be very profitable worldwide not only at the box office but also in the merchandising department. After all Iger has to make that $4 billion back and then some—well, a lot–to make shareholders happy.
However, I also deeeeeply suspect those plans include creating enough Star Wars content that it owns and controls 100% to redefine Star Wars as we know it. ANH’s release rights belong to Fox in perpetuity and Disney has a famously BAD relationship with its rival; unless it can get those rights from Fox as it did last year from Paramount on the Indiana Jones movies, it will always owe a cut of the pie to a company it hates. For now the films, especially the so-called OT, are needed as brand recognition and as inspiration for content. But over the long haul, I think they want the original films to be footnotes until they work up the gumption to remake them. Yes, I think eventually that will happen and it may not be 100 years from now either. This is why they couldn’t care less about incorporating Lucas’s ideas. They don’t want the public to associate Star Wars so much with Lucas anymore; they want the public to associate it with the corporation that owns it now.
The tipoff was canceling Clone Wars. The show was probably pricier to make than they liked but it also didn’t serve Disney any purpose and it wasn’t their show. The next tipoff were some comments a couple of months ago about adding Star Wars attractions to Disneyland. The rumor mill seemed to suggest that these new attractions were going to be based ONLY on Disney’s Star Wars material, and that “the old movies” have Star Tours. So six films get one ride while a whole section of the park is dedicated to only THEIR Star Wars. Nice.
And then there are these rumors about what’s in this first spinoff movie. Granted some of these rumors originated from shady sites that haven’t predicted much accurately so far. But sometimes rumors are leaked as a trial balloon to gauge reaction. Allegedly the spinoff plot supposedly involves bounty hunters and smugglers stealing the Death Star plans, which the opening crawl of ANH tells you was stolen by the REBELS. So if this is true, then Disney is already burrowing tunnels through that unmovable mountain of canon. In more tunnel-burrowing rumors, supposedly “Boba Fett” is a title passed on to other people so it can be a cheap, convenient way to 1) avoid any reminder of the prequels because Disney believes Everybody Hates Them ™ 2) re-cast the part with A Big Hollywood Star ™ like Michael Fassbender (yeah, that’s one of the rumors) to boost buzz, box office, and again, avoid any reminder of the prequels because Everybody Hates Them™ and 3) create a new “Fett” Disney can define however it wants without referring to Lucas’s version. You see, it’s fine to bring back “legacies” like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford because they know fans expect it. But oh no, don’t bring in prequel legacies! EVER!! Eeek! If you’re going to try to reassure me that this isn’t the case at all, swear on your grandpappy’s grave and your immortal soul you know Disneyfilm will for SURE cast either Daniel Logan or Temuera Morrison.
Then when they’ve monkeyed with all of this stuff, they’ll convince you it totally doesn’t go against anything previously established and you’re stupid for saying it does, now hand us your money.
On my old LiveJournal, I said it was up to fans to protect the House Lucas Built but so far, I haven’t seen it happening. Too many of them loathe George Lucas and are desperate to have Disney retcon what they didn’t like into irrelevance or are too willing to trust the suits. Well I am going to say something because I care about the saga and I don’t trust anybody. Even if you think these rumors are silly, remember this: George Lucas is not in charge anymore and no one promised the new castle keepers are going to run things or do things exactly the way he did them. So assume nothing.