Call Me A Conspiracy Theorist But…

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.

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19 Responses to Call Me A Conspiracy Theorist But…

  1. Pingback: Promoting My Rant |

  2. madmediaman says:

    Spot on, and a great article which echoes something I’m writing now.

    The only spinoff I can think of Lucas mentioning was during a Celebration Q&A he speculated that a future series set during the Old Republic, or maybe a Yoda movie were possible, but that the “Saga” was over. Certainly there was nothing remotely suggesting something to this “Marvelized” level… and that’s exactly what it is. Expand the brand with more “official” books, comics, TV shows and movies to the point where it’s all a watered down mess that’s nothing more than servings of empty calories with a few exceptions here and there.

    Ask me how much I care about the next Marvel movie…. I care not one whit. The only exception is the next Captain America movie (hint Disney… want to know why I feel that way??? Because the two Cap movies were actually about something, about larger themes that were beyond simple costumed good guys and bad guys bashing each other for two hours).

    Hey Disney want to know why superhero film box offices takes were stuck in neutral in 2014, and why Hollywood grosses are going down??? Because audiences have finally had their fill of empty calories (thank you Michael Bay). While Episode VII will certainly be a huge hit, how much do you think general audiences really care about a Boba Fett spinoff?

    Ultimately I think the whole thing (Marvel and Star Wars) come crashing down on Disney within a few years… I suspect the superhero genre has reached its apex and is on a downward trajectory… My only fear is Star Wars will get lumped in and suffer, but if Disney oversaturates the market with Star Wars it WILL meet with the same fate.

    But in the end do I really care, when it’s perfectly clear that Lucas has ZERO input in the direction of the Saga? Not really…


  3. Firebird2110 says:

    That all sounds perfectly reasonable and standard Disney operating strategy. The new rumours really aren’t needed to support your argument, how Disney operate in all areas and what they did as soon as they got their hands on LF is evidence enough.


  4. Nick Skywalker says:

    All this is completely spot on. Couldn’t agree more.

    Just to add on, just look at how Disney wants to “reboot” Indiana Jones. A sequel would be one thing but to completely reboot one of the most popular movie franchises of all time is just flat out unnecessary. I hope on everything they never go as far as rebooting SW, but with this company, you never know and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised.


    • Nobody says:

      I frankly would’ve preferred a reboot to continuing sequels without Lucas. Let his six films sit on the shelf with dignity and respect. If you’re going to do a Sequel Trilogy, do it WITH his explicit involvement, not without. Ultimately a reboot is inevitable, really, but at least it doesn’t interfere with what’s already been done before.


  5. First Indy might get recasted, now this….I’m depressed


  6. Totally agree the minute they canceled The Clone Wars and the way they went about it in a very sly PR way I might add. Did anyone official ever say the word canceled no we got spin like “bonus content winding down and lost missions (no those were not lost missions the ones you canceled are lost) it irritates me every time I think of it. Whoa sort of went on a rant there but the way they handled that is when they lost me. I’ll always believe there are prequel haters or people who believe them in charge at Disney.


    • Dawn says:

      I know just how you feel, and unfortunately I believe it too….seems a thing all too likely….throwing not just the PT itself, and all associated with it, totally under the bus – but all of us who are fans of the movies as well, by extension….all being treated as the proverbial red-headed stepchild, the “unworthy and unwanted one”….still it rankles, and it’ll always hurt….it’ll always cut deep, seems like, because it doesn’t appear as though Disney is doing *anything* to counteract that or to prove any differently to us. They could, but they don’t. Which to me says nigh-well everything…. 😦


  7. [“Hey Disney want to know why superhero film box offices takes were stuck in neutral in 2014, and why Hollywood grosses are going down??? “]

    Two of the biggest box office hits in 2014 were superhero movies – “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER” and “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY”. So, I’m a little confused about the above statement.


    • Dawn says:

      Yeah, I’m scratching my head on that one as well. Look, it’s totally understandable to be utterly peeved about the way Disney has treated SW and Papa GL’s legacy – you all know my fury and my passionate raging over it! – but at the same time, I also am not exactly overfond of seeing the tearing-down of Marvel, of the MCU and their projects and the masterful, intricate, everything-is-connected tapestry of storytelling and character arc’ing they’re weaving in turn. It’s not at all fair to attempt to describe the MCU ventures as “just costumed superheroes bashing the daylights out of each other for two hours” when they have *never* been anything of the sort; actually watching the films in question, you see that readily enough. Marvel’s entries are every bit as epic and woven-tapestry in nature, and hearken to the same mythological “Hero’s Journey”-type scope….! 🙂

      I know we’re all of us still justly pissed and understandably heartbroken over what’s become of SW, thus far, at Disney’s hands. But there’s no need to drag the MCU entries through the muck….especially when, as pointed out above, they are the biggest box office hits of the year….among other qualifiers for their worthy success….! It truly is unfortunate that Disney couldn’t take the same hands-off approach with SW that they have with Marvel; the latter operates very much independently, as an entity unto itself….a la Lucasfilm or how it used to be, even, if you think of it that way….!


      • madmediaman says:

        It’s really simple… the box office takes for the past few MCU movies are stuck in neutral… there’s no evidence the brand is growing. Every MCU movie with the exception of The Avengers has grossed somewhere in the neighborhood of $220-260 million domestically and $630-700 million internationally. Even Guardians which was a huge hit domestically and managed to cross the $300 million threshold did not perform as well as other MCU films overseas… In fact the film was DOA in both Japan and China (and that’s not good when China is one of the biggest expanding film markets in the world).

        The problem is these films cost in the neighborhood of $170-250 million to produce, and studios do not see profits until a film grosses some 2 and a half times its production budget. If you don’t grow you are not creating a sustainable model because the first bump in the road you hit can spell disaster.

        2014 was one of the worst years in terms of cinema grosses and attendance ever, and audiences basically gave a collective yawn to studio offerings this year. It’s pretty clear audiences are growing tired of big splashy effects extravaganzas.


    • Nobody says:

      I think she’s also factoring in the less than stellar results of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”.


      • Dawn says:

        ….which is not Marvel proper – that is to say, not the codified and cohesive (and fantabulous and amazing! 😀 ) MCU, as it’s known – so much as it’s Sony’s cluster-eff. Ditto Fox and the X-Men. 😉


      • Nobody says:

        Personally, the MCU is just blah and generic to me. Captain America 2 is probably the best film they’ve done so far, but even that’s just kinda just meh. Save The Last Stand and Origins Wolverine, the X-Men movies are probably my favorite superhero film series so far.


  8. John Harrison says:

    Dear lazydpadawan,

    you criticise the so called Star Wars Prequel Haters.
    You know what: you ‘re becoming a Disney Hater. Nice job …


    • lazypadawan says:

      Hey, at least get the name right!

      I’m not a Disney hater, either. I just don’t owe a CEO my allegiance because he has the deed in his hands. But “Star Wars Fans” have no problem with still hounding George Lucas as though he raped their mothers along with their childhoods, destroying people’s careers, and wrecking enjoyment of Star Wars for those of us who supported him and his saga. Why don’t you go deal with them–they’re all over the internet–first before you worry about me?


      • slicer87 says:

        I think John is just a troll trying to bait you. I like the Disney franchise and am even a stockholder. However I dislike how the company operates. The last stockholder meeting I went to, most of the stockholders disapproved of how the company behaves, and that was a decade ago. I am sure disapproval is even worse now.


  9. Nick Skywalker says:

    Just to add on, I just read an article and looks right you were 100% right about Disney’s plans to base SW theme park attractions SOLELY on their new content.

    Quote from Iger:

    “While Iger said specific plans would be announced “later in 2015,” the executive already had announced “significant” plans for the franchise it paid George Lucas $4 billion to buy in 2012. He also has said whatever new attractions are announced, they will be based on future films in the series, as well as its spinoffs. Several of its parks currently include an updated version of the “Star Tours” attraction.”

    I mean, part of me knows that it somewhat makes sense. Since Disney is geared more toward children, (although I’m a shameless adult fan myself :p) this new generation of children will be more familiar with the new characters/material and whatnot but still that doesn’t completely justify shunning out TCW and the other six films.


    • Tarrlok says:

      While Fox retains the distribution rights for the OT and PT, I’m not entirely sure what the situation is with TCW and Time Warner, the owners of Cartoon Network. TCW’s truncated sixth season seemed to be a purely Disney endeavour but the same might not be the case for the first five seasons.


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