Quick Takes: Disney’s Lucasfilm Purchase

Series Must Listen to its Loyal Fans

Die-hard “Star Wars” fans were aghast when Blu-Ray versions of the six films arrived in 2011 with random modifications, such as a shiny R2-D2 and edited dialogue. Recent history indicates that the upcoming seventh “Star Wars” episode is sure to be another ill-conceived departure from the original trilogy, diluting the appeal of the franchise.

After a computer graphics-heavy prequel trilogy, the critically maligned animated television series “The Clone Wars,” and various Blu-Ray re-releases, it is disconcerting that anybody will be taking the reins for yet another spinoff, much less Disney. As online commenters rightly note, the iconic Han Solo will be a crotchety septuagenarian, and Princess Leia will be added to the stable of generic Disney princesses. In comparison to the three original films, everyone from film critic Roger Ebert to Tumblr bloggers panned the three prequel episodes for the poor acting and the irritating presence of the creature Jar-Jar Binks. Following a string of unfavorable receptions, the producers should learn from their mistakes and realize that a seventh addition would only be a step in the wrong direction.

Alienating the franchise’s most ardent supporters is certainly not the way to build upon the “Star Wars” legend. The historic success of the films has, in part, depended on avid fans at Comic-Con toting Darth Vader masks and wielding lightsabers — this latest attempt at a cash grab will only please five-year old kids whose allegiances are likely too ephemeral to spawn lifelong Star Wars addictions.

— Kelvin Noronha
Contributing Writer

New Trilogy Is Answering Fan Demand

George Lucas is back with three more “Star Wars” episodes, except this time he’s passing the film rights to everyone’s favorite childhood franchise, Disney. While Lucas’ decision to create a prequel to the original series in 1999 has been criticized, these new films will answer fans’ calls for more “Star Wars” and expose a new generation to a groundbreaking series that began in 1977.

Many fans on Tumblr have labeled Lucas a sell-out, believing that creating even more movies will ruin the series. But by continuing “Star Wars,” Disney and Lucas will be satisfying many die-hard fans’ need for more. Disney Chief Executive Robert A. Iger stated that the release of the latest film in 2005 had created “pent-up demand.”

The “Star Wars” hype appears to be ever- present. Two summers ago, Disneyland revamped Star Tours, a virtual attraction that garnered a two-hour long wait at its opening. The Cartoon Network series “Star Wars: the Clone Wars” aired in 2008, and with three million total viewers, set the record as the network’s most-watched series premiere. It is currently completing its 5th season. Additionally, there are 64,684 “Jawas” who follow the Star Wars subreddit.

Star Wars is not a dying fad. By continuing the series, many new fans will be able to “discover the force” and share in Yoda’s wisdom.

— Sharon Lay
Contributing Writer

Deal Shows Corporate Conglomeration

Last Tuesday, Disney announced that Lucasfilm Ltd. is joining the Disney family, and that a new Star Wars trilogy is in the works. The $4.05 billion deal gives Disney creative control of both the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, as well as the production companies Industrial Light & Magic and Industrial Sound. While the new films show promise, this deal is just another example of corporate conglomeration.

A decade ago, Disney was a groundbreaking animation studio, but now it is becoming obsessed with commercialization. With this deal, Lucasfilm joins a long list of acquired Disney properties: Pixar, Marvel, ABC and ESPN, to name a few. The new “Star Wars” venture seems like an attempt to reel in any last profits from an old franchise.

Disney traditionally releases a few films a year that are of great quality, but in recent years, it seems like Disney has been sacrificing quality for quantity. In 2011 alone, Disney and its subsidiary Touchstone Pictures released an astounding 14 films, with only three of these being commercial hits. In 1995, Walt Disney Pictures released far fewer films, two of which grossed over $40 million dollars and two more that had high “fresh” ratings on the film critic website Rottentomatoes.com.

While fans are hopeful the new “Star Wars” films will show merit, the purchase of Lucasfilm is further evidence that Disney has transformed from a family-friendly animation studio into a faceless $40-billion-a-year empire.

— Aleks Levin
Senior Staff Writer

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