2012-10-31

Disney Buys Star Wars – What Does It All Mean?

by Yo Snyder

In what will probably be the biggest entertainment story of the year,
if not the decade, it was announced earlier this week that Disney
purchased Lucasfilm and all of it’s subsidiaries; including Industrial
Lights and Magic and Skywalker Sound. It was a $4 billion deal that sent
shock-waves throughout the Force. Fans everywhere were at first stunned
and then thrilled; more movies, who wouldn’t be excited about that?
However, as the dust settles, there are a lot of questions about what
this all means. After all, Star Wars isn’t just movies; it’s video
games, TV, comics and more. So what does this purchase mean for all
those different areas of the Star Wars merchandising and entertainment
universe. Well, here are few ideas based on bits and pieces we’ve
gathered from various sources on the impact this movie will have.

Movies

Naturally,
the biggest announcement thus far to come out of the this whole deal
was a new movie coming in 2015, which means we will now have Avengers 2,
Justice League, and a new Star Wars sequel all in the same year! Crazy! Star Wars Episode VII is already in the early stages of development,
and will likely be followed by VII and IX, with the possibility of more
movies “every two or three years”. What these movies will be is entirely
speculative at this point, although it has been stated that extensive
treatises came as a part of the deal. Apparently Lucas has been fiddling
with the idea of a new trilogy for quite some time. Plus, don’t forget
that many feel that Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy of books provide the perfect source material for sequels following Return of the Jedi.
One can only assume that a new cast will take on the roles of Han, Luke
and Leia, and for all of you haters out there who still believe Lucas
is only out to destroy our childhoods, he will be merely a consultant on
the films; much like he is for the excellent Clone Wars TV show (which
we’ll get to in a moment). Interesting side note: Lucas at one point
owned the company which eventually become Pixar, which was purchased by
Steve Jobs and eventually sold to Disney. Funny how things can come full
circle, isn’t it?

TV

In the TV realm, one of the first questions has to be what does this deal mean for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The highly acclaimed series currently airs on Cartoon Network, which is
part of the conglomerate that includes Warner Bros. and DC Comics. With
the fifth season currently airing on CN, and a sixth season is in the
works. Clone Wars often takes a mid-season hiatus; could it
switch networks to Disney XD during that time? I don’t think that would
be very helpful to the show, but maybe. More likely, when the sixth
season does roll around, it will probably be on a new network somewhere,
but one owned by Disney. Meanwhile, the new Star Wars Detours show, from creator Seth Green, was recently announced.

The
show is already in production but didn’t have a network for
distribution. That problem certainly seems to be solved in light of this
new deal, as does a potential outlet for the long gestating but still
coming live-action Star Wars show. Can you imagine something like that
debuting on ABC in a few years? Could happen.

Video Games

One of my first thoughts after this announcement was made had to do with Star Wars 1313.
Games have been canceled for less than a company changing hands, so I
was a little worried, especially with this game looking so promising at
this year’s E3. Thus far, in a statement to IGN, all LucasArts has said
about this game and the rumored Star Wars: Frontline Assault is
things will continue “business as usual” and they are “excited about all
the possibilities Disney brings.” It’s also been mentioned that there
will be more of a focus on social and mobile development, but consoles
aren’t going to be eliminated from the picture and Star Wars games will
continue to be licensed out to other companies.

Comics

Then
there’s the question of Star Wars comics. Interestingly, back when the
original trilogy came out, Marvel was the publisher of Star Wars comics,
and Marvel is now a part of Disney. So, it’s only natural to think that
eventually Marvel will once again be bringing us new Star Wars stories
in comic book form. What that means for the current series being
published by Dark Horse Comics is uncertain at this time, but I’d say
time is growing short for anything Star Wars related at Dark Horse.

So
there’s a quick tour around the galaxy of Star Wars media and what the
buyout by Disney potentially means for it all, and we didn’t even cover
the possibilities when it comes to theme parks (a Star Wars Land in
Disneyworld?) or merchandising. In a statement about the purchase,
George Lucas said, “I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live
beyond me, and I thought it was important, to set up the transition
during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the
leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney
organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many
generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the
opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media,
theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.” It certainly
seems like Lucas is confident that the Star Wars franchise, and things
like Indiana Jones and other properties of Lucasfilm are in good hands.
There’s a galaxy of possibilities out there, it’s going to be exciting
to see what happens.