With all the talk about Disney rebooting this and live-action-ing that, it makes me fearful for the future of Star Wars in the hands of the Mouse.
Disney's announcement of a live-action Winnie the Pooh movie incited upheaval across the blogging, vlogging, YouTube-ing, Tweeting, Tumbling, Vine-ing, Social Media eccentric Internet folk- like me. Of course, this is in addition to the Sleeping Beauty/Maleficent, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Jungle Book reiterations either already released or currently being manufactured by the money-grubbing Brothel of Mouse.
My fear does not stem from my belief that Disney will make bad Star Wars movies. Their methodical handling of Pixar and the Marvel universe shows me that Disney takes care of it's properties. My fear lies in the intentions and motivations of Disney.
When Disney purchased a little thing called Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, they invested their money in Star Wars. It makes sense that they want to build a strategy or a financial plan to get out of the red. It looked like that was the case when the announcement hit. In addition to purchasing, Disney also announced the plans for future movies. That's a logical move forward. What is the first thing when you think of Star Wars? The films.
Then something happened. A light-bulb turned on upstairs, and Disney realized what a cash cow Star Wars actually is. They devised a new financial plan: whoring out Star Wars.
The current plan is to release everything they think we want. And, the problem is that we really do want it! We really will flip top dollar for all things Star Wars, and there's certainly enough to go around: the new main trilogy, the spin-off films, the tv shows, video games, the books for adults, the books for young adults, the books for kids, the comics, and the toys. Oh the toys.
What happened to the organic nature of letting the story take you on an adventure? Part of what made the original Star Wars trilogy great was the uncertainty of it all. When Star Wars first came out, who knew that there would be any sequels, let alone how many and who is directing them. George Lucas didn't even know if he could get anything else made after Star Wars. Now, we know he did, and the the trilogy format is standard. So, it's not so much that they are making another trilogy. My reservations lie among the spin-off films and the frequency at which they are planned to be released. Now Disney will be handing them (trilogy and spin-off films) out left and right. The spin-off's will be a manufactured adventure dressed in a little black dress and some practical make-up, but they don't want to take us away; they just want to take away our money.
Disney will scour the street corners of any and all mediums. With three novels out now, Disney plans for twenty more (ranging from adult novels to sticker books) to come out before releasing Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Four comics series' are currently out. Varied in tone and purpose, there's the thrilling adventures of the Star Wars comic, the character driven Leia and Darth Vader comics, and the kid-friendly, Star Wars Rebels spin-off Kanan. The comics are all actually pretty good- no- really good. But, it's just so fast. Take some time to nurse that heifer Disney.
Disney should just focus on world building before the Prequels or after Return of the Jedi. Why are we focusing on retroactively shoving continuity into such a confined space? Do we need to know what happened every minute and every second between Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi? No. Let the audience actually fill in the gap with imagination. We're killing creativity by rehashing the same properties over and over and by not letting the audience be part of the experience.
The problem with Disney's manipulation of the Star Wars canon is that it gives the audience a task. We play historians combing through each piece of history trying to connect the dots. It's like a big puzzle where Star Wars fans can finally put all the pieces together for it to make sense in one cohesive narrative. The catch is that Disney will only release one piece of the puzzle at a time. I'm afraid it's going to get so convoluted, and Disney will start back peddling and reinstating the different levels of canon as it was under Lucas.
No longer are the days where kids create their own Star Wars scenes on the playground. Now we have to call it "reenactments of Star Wars history." Now we have to kick sand in their face (and that stuff gets everywhere) and call them names when they get the history wrong. "Cad Bane escaped the Jedi after kidnapping the younglings, not before. You bantha poodoo!"
We can't escape it. What's even more tragic is that we won't want to escape it. We look forward to and will lovingly embrace the idea of more Star Wars filling our senses with pleasure. But, will we feel the same way in five, ten, or even fifteen years down the road? Will we be able to feel anything at all? After putting our guard down and taking in all this new information, we will be desensitized. We will expect to and await another Star Wars piece just so we can see where it fits, not enjoying that piece for what it is by itself. We will have lost our innocence. That same innocence that the Original Trilogy once stood for and encapsulated in our memories. Star Wars fans would become addicted returning to the same place where we once felt some semblance of imagination and originality. Disney would oblige in the only way they'd see fit: show it all to us again in a new retelling, a new re-imagining. We'd have gone full circle. We would gladly see a remake of the Original Trilogy to fill the nostalgic void. Sure, they'll be enjoyable, but at what cost?
So, what's the alternative? Honestly, it doesn't even matter at this point. This is the world we live in. We will get a new Star Wars movie each year for years. We will continue to get bombarded with ancillary products whether it be books, comics, games, toys, etc. We will gobble them up because we can and because we are fans. It's already been ten years since the last Star Wars film came out. As fans, we've waited and speculated about the return. But, this time it's not going to stop. Disney's hasty exploitation of their new baby Star Wars makes me wonder if their just in it for the money. Let's throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. As they wipe up the mess, they'll look back and realize that they are all out of ideas. We've already seen Disney go back to reinvent 65 year old Cinderella and 38 year old Winnie the Pooh, which came out in 1977 too.
Amid the swirling cynical subject matter, I am looking forward to Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens with hope and excitement: hope that my personal and financial investment in Disneys Star Wars will be returned with consistent dividends of depth and grandeur, and excitement to return to that Galaxy far far away.
I'd like to leave you with this Willy Wonka quote:
There's no earthly way of knowing, which direction we are going. There's no knowing where we're rowing, or which way the river's flowing. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a-blowing? Not a speck of light is showing, so the danger must be growing. Are the fires of hell a glowing? Is the grisly reaper mowing?! Yes! The danger must be growing, for the rowers keep on rowing.And they're certainly not showing...any signs that they are slowing!