Thursday, November 1, 2012

Disney bought Lucasfilm. Thank God.

Ramblings Post #206
I have somewhere, downloaded from the internet someplace, a copy of the first draft of Star Wars. Reading it is much like watching the comedy short of a fictionalized George Lucas in college, where you can see where the concepts that eventually become the icons we all know originated. Its almost a fascinating study in development. I am getting my geek on over here. Man, I should be writing.

I too waited breathlessly for the first prequel, the one which would actually start the story after the first movie was cryptically called "Chapter Four". Star Wars, which captivated millions and solidified the modern "franchise" process of movie making promised to be epic storytelling. Now, I didn't wear a storm trooper outfit or anything like that, but I dutifully stood in line and paid my money. What did I get? Trade Federation woes, a crude Jewish stereotype, pod racing, a kid who couldn't act, Midichlorians and more things you could eventually make into merch than you could count.  And Jar Jar.

I was not amused.

I didn't even waste the energy to go see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The whole Lucasfilm experience began to feel like going back to a place you loved as child only to find out they've torn down the old burger stand, cut down the natural forest for a golf course and setup cabana and ATV rentals on what was an unspoiled beach. Memory didn't match the new reality and I felt cheated. Finding out the entire Star Wars saga is really about Darth Vader's evolution was a truly WTF moment. I'd just about written the whole thing off as something that used to be, that was never going to be as good as it was.

This sale gives me hope. A new hope.

George Lucas is not a good writer. Think about it - his old mentor, his two kids and the two droids he had as kid pop up on the Death Star and all Darth Vader gets from the force is a mental tickle? There is the huge time hole/anomaly in The Empire Strikes Back that we all over look, along with many other moments that we simply all went along with in the original trilogy because it was a good story. The prequels made little blips that only geeks would normally spot glaring, or worse created new problems in the original trilogy. It was kind of sad.

The heart of good movies in the modern era is writing. Not special effects or explosions, but good writing. Or at least writing good enough to hide obvious stupidity (I swore it was just good writing until I checked the top films for 2012 - 2011. The Smurfs? Ted? Really?) The new groove in Hollywood is character development, something Lucas completely threw off the lot once he'd figured out CGI. Developing the character from brute to hero, or from brooding to active is a trick that makes people re-watch movies. It does not usually however, sell merch if done wrong. But, as it turns out...Disney and its partners (Pixar) are kinda is good at both.

I'm at heart a writer. Maybe not a "finisher", as my brother likes to point out, but a writer nonetheless.  And I know it hurts to hand over your creations to someone else. But it was time. George had done all he could, and rather than let someone else dabble at it then snatch back control... like your average record producer, he did what had to be done. I will note that in the pics for the deal, he didn't exactly look overjoyed. 

I personally would have thoughts to rights to Star Wars would have been worth more than four billion though. But I understand there is stock involved, so, *insert shrug here.* That Disney pretty much owns my childhood now is beside the point. For now. 

Barkeep. Give me whatever Han Solo was drinking when he shot Greedo. And yes, Han shot first.

If this happens though, I'm suing.

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