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A New Hope

October 31, 2012

The ‘Net is abuzz with news about George Lucas’ sale of the Star Wars IP and I am expecting some entertaining comics from my favorite sites over then next couple of weeks. Until they arrive, however, let me just say a couple of things. First, I wasn’t in the least surprised by the sale. It is ironic after his great efforts to re-acquire the rights for the original movie, but, there are two reasons I can think of for his doing this.

1. I think he was genuinely surprised and displeased by the backlash from fans for all his work post laser-disc publication of the original trilogy. He used to be loved and worshiped, and now he is hated by many, and no longer respected by most. (His latest Indy movie didn’t win back any respect either.) Please see evidence for this claim above, and here, here, and especially HERE and HERE! (Seriously, those last two links are and are must-read articles.)

2. He’s old. He wants to retire. He doesn’t want the headache of having to make decisions, even if they are only about where to move this pile or that pile of money. Note: Reason 2 wouldn’t have been enough to sell the IP – just hire a manager, right? But he is hated now. So, the only way out, is to just wash his hands of the mess.

On the Disney side of the deal, first thing they should do is release the original trilogy, un-retouched, in HD digital and Blu-Ray and even in the theaters if they want, and fully fund any other movies that they want to make. Fanbois are used to being triple-dipped, so they will just order that stuff up as soon as it is made available. Second, they should hire some of the most articulate, dedicated fans to help create some new adventures in the Star Wars universe. (And just pretend that the midi-chlorian were the babblings of a senile Jedi – or better yet, acquire the rights for the Phantom Edit (vimeo)and make that Episode 1.)

If anyone loves the Star Wars universe, this is the best possible news that there could be.

Hit the jump for the real dirt on Lucas – an unbelievable story, actually.

From the article linked above:

6 Pop Culture Visionaries Who Get Too Much Credit

#5. Star Wars: George Lucas

Here’s the general pop culture consensus on George Lucas: He sucks now, but he once wrote and directed the first Star Wars trilogy, which makes him another innovative, rebellious filmmaker whose creative fire has tragically guttered out.

But here’s the truth: Lucas couldn’t lose it because he never had it.

Who Actually Deserves the Credit:

First things first: Lucas absolutely was the brilliant mastermind behind the Star Wars movie … prequels. I through III? That was all Lucas. But IV through VI? The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were directed by Irv Kershner and Richard Marquand, respectively, and both screenplays were written by Lawrence Kasdan. But that still leaves Lucas as the writer/director of Episode IV, right? That’s the big one: The Star Wars that put the “Star Wars” in Star Wars.

But A New Hope wasn’t entirely Lucas, either: A fellow USC film grad, Gary Kurtz, who first collaborated with Lucas on his breakthrough film, American Graffiti, was producer for both Star Wars and Empire. Kurtz did more than an ordinary producer, however: Beyond running the day-to-day operations of the films, Kurtz also ended up coaching the actors (which is, technically speaking, the director’s job).

Even minor characters like C-3PO weren’t the juice of Lucas’ mindgrapes. Lucas originally wanted 3PO to be an “oily, car salesman type” rather than our lovably gay robot butler friend. If that character archetype sounds familiar, that’s because Lucas would later get his sleazy salesman in The Phantom Menace, in the shape of the flying anti-Semitic stereotype, Watto. The actually likeable, not-racist version of C-3PO that we know today was largely thanks to Anthony Daniels. Daniels was originally hired as just a mime inside the gold suit, with someone else providing the voice-over. But actor Stan Freberg convinced Lucas to not use a different voice and stick with Daniels — which is particularly remarkable since Freberg was one of the actors considered to replace Daniels’ voice. That’s right: A struggling actor actually had to step up and sacrifice his own livelihood just to kill one of Lucas’ terrible ideas.

The man is like the original sin of filmmakers.

  1. October 31, 2012 4:11 am

    I have to add, if only for my own reference, two excellent comments made by Rommel, an EvAv forum goer who “works in licensing”.

    When you purchase Star Wars, you have to consider it a brand unlike any other. The most popular toys for boys? Star Wars–33 years after the first movie, 30 after the last good movie. It is the definition of an evergreen, it is the MRI-machine of the film industry. You can do absolutely no work and collect revenue on it, money flow, until the literal end of time.

  2. FrenkoFrenik permalink
    October 31, 2012 8:37 am

    I agree. I think he had started to let go of the reigns with the animated series, etc. and it showed it can do good on it’s own. I still cringe at the last trilogy, but the universe in general is good enough to withstand many remakes and different voices from here on out.

  3. October 31, 2012 12:53 pm

    I soiled myself at the news. Absolutely insane.

  4. October 31, 2012 4:55 pm

    This is the universe:

    The Force, The Jedi, The Sith.

    That is all. It is brilliant in it simplicity and endless in its possibility.

    • October 31, 2012 8:27 pm

      I’m still on the fence about this. Overall, I think it’s a good thing. But my excitement with a lot of Star Wars things died with the prequels. The kid’s show is okay. Has some great moments. But aside from the classic films and some fantastic books, it’s creatively bankrupt. Here’s hoping they follow some of the amazing books. Otherwise, “meh.” Furthermore, I love Jedi. But let’s see some other fascinating aspects of the SW Universe. Game-wise, that’s why I’m excited about Star Wars 1313. It looks to be something different.

    • October 31, 2012 8:47 pm

      If I come across as personally interested in the next Star Wars movie, I mislead. I am very luke-warm about it, just as I am about any new James Bond movies. I do, however, think that this is great news for those who would like more. And I also think that there is still a ton of magic to be mined in The Force and the battle of good and evil fought by people who can throw things with their minds. Also, since it is a universe, literally, there are no limits to the settings/planets/races on and between which shit can go down.

      That also makes room for what you are talking about – stuff other than Jedi. However, if they leave The Force/Jedi stuff out, then it becomes other sci-fi told in a space setting, which may or may not pay passing reference to some Jedi / Force believers “out there”. That isn’t a bad thing, it just doesn’t require Star Wars branding.

      Anyway, after what Disney did with The Avengers via their own Marvel Studios, there is no reason to think they will produce anything other than an entertaining film by any standards.

      EDIT: My post above was written almost a full day before Ben at PAR released his article. On several points of analysis/prediction, however, we wrote almost the exact same stuff. Great minds think alike.

  5. November 4, 2012 10:25 pm

    Looks like the rights weren’t all handed over in the transaction. What a mess!

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