Thursday, January 7, 2016

The thing is, George, it isn't yours anymore

I'm sure you will have seen the many, many articles in the media about George Lucas having the temerity to not like the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Essentially, he's disappointed that Disney has 'given in' to the fandom in delivering what is styled as a 'retro' movie, drawing heavily on the first three original films. In case you missed it, here's a link to one such article.

Disney paid over four billion for the franchise. I know some people rolled their eyes and said 'too much'. But the gamble has already paid off. Sure, Disney used the nostalgia card. Frankly, they would have been silly if they hadn't. Star Wars is a juggernaut - has been for decades - and Disney capitalized on that. They kept the excitement going with the Rebels animated series, brought out trailers, included roles for the original Star Wars characters, created new toys. Yes, they played to the fandom. And the fandom enthusiastically came along for the ride. For the most part, anyway.

You know what I think? I think George was too scared to try another Star Wars movie. I think the reaction to his three prequels was so universally negative that he preferred to walk away. I don't blame him. It's hard for any creative person to have their work panned. Why go that road again? But having done that, it's not wise to slam Disney and call them unedifying names. He's had to apologize for that. After all, Disney owns the franchise now.

But Star Wars hasn't really belonged to Lucas since the first movie became a hit in 1977. I'm a little bit surprised that he doesn't seem to have understood one of the first lessons we all have to learn as writers. Your story and your characters are yours - until you publish them. After that, it's up to the readers. Harrison Ford might have wanted to kill Han Solo off in The Empire Strikes Back but the fans would have been shattered, so George went in another direction. To what extent that was his original intention I don't know.

What makes Star Wars so powerful is its fan base. Frankly, anybody who tampered with that reality would need their head read. That said, I'm hoping the new movies will move on. There's a lot of space in that galaxy far, far away.

6 comments:

  1. I agree that Disney totally pandered to the fans and played it safe with the nostalgia. I don't blame them, and I'm really happy with what they did. But I do expect them to take a leap forward with the next one and not play so safe. I think perhaps GL is also somewhat jealous that his prequels tanked but everyone went nuts for the Disney version. Having sold it, he's entitled to not like it, but certainly not to hate on it. Just makes him look a sore loser.

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    1. Of course. Right now George is just another movie-goer reacting to a story. His opinion is as good as anyone else's.

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  2. I just had this discussion at work yesterday. Once you sell the rights, it's not yours anymore. And, I agree, once it's published, control is lost as well.

    I enjoyed the movie but I can see where George Lucas is upset. I think JJ Abrams did a terrific job with a very difficult task.

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    1. It certainly was a difficult task. If Abrams had messed it up he would have been crucified by millions of fans. I suppose it's difficult for George - OF COURSE he would have been asked. But... better to smile and move on.

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  3. I'm kind of in agreement that Lucas was afraid to try another Star Wars film after the prequels crashed and burned (not that they didn't make tons of money anyway). Selling your baby means you give up creative control in exchange for another boatload of money. Criticizing the film after you've made that decision and collected your price seems like very sour grapes. Especially since it's now bringing in a whole new generation of fans as well as bringing back millions of original fans who are shouting out a collective, "Hell, yeah!"

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    1. Yes, I love the surge of new fans. That's just awesome. It might be 'soft' SF but if it lifts the interest in the stars, I say YAY.

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