Big (as in $4 billion big), news broke yesterday that Disney acquired Lucasfilm, including the Star Wars franchise, from its single shareholder, George Lucas. Good for George Lucas. Collecting 4 big ones like that is truly a payoff for a career well done.
So what does the fact that the House of Mouse now owns a story from a long time ago in a galaxy far away mean for open source? In truth, probably not much at this time, but as a geek, how can you not be interested in this story?
Actually there is a potential open source angle that I will cover before I dive in to some of the other stuff. Over the past year or so Disney has shown a benevolent side towards open source, releasing some libraries and software from Disney Animation and Disney-owned Pixar to the open source community.
Part of the treasure trove that Disney bought with its $4 billion is the Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound divisions of Lucasfilm. Both of these entities have significant IP that could indeed find their way into the open source community in the months and years to come. Let's hope so.
But enough about open source for now. How do you feel about this deal? Do you think George Lucas sold out and we are destined to an everlasting run of ever decreasing quality Star Wars movies? Some of you may think we have been doing that with the release of Episode 1, 2 and 3. Star Wars was pretty family friendly to begin with, so I am not too worried about Disney making it more sappy or vanilla.
Truth be told George Lucas has been sitting on the Star Wars story line for a long time. We know that through the many Star Wars books, the story has been taken in a myriad of directions. It may be good to see some of these story lines brought to the big screen. George can only have an appetite for so much. Disney will push and squeeze what they can out of Star Wars.
For me, while I will miss Lucas's hand on Star Wars, I am excited to see what the new story lines are. There are all kinds of possibilities. I don't expect Disney to reshoot the end of Return of the Jedi and have Luke say, now that Darth Vader and the Emperor are dead and the Empire is no more, he is going to Disney World. But let's be realistic, we can expect to see Disney marketing sinking its mouse teeth into the Star Wars brand.
How long will it be until the Star Wars Cantina is the latest restaurant at Disney Theme Parks? Imagine the rides and attractions. What about Universal? They had some Star Wars-themed rides at their parks. Will they have to go away?
All in all, I can live with Disney monetizing the Star Wars brand. I can live with and will probably visit Star Wars-themed attractions at Disney theme parks. I actually can't wait to see what the new Star Wars movies will look like. Disney, I am sure, will hire top rate talent to make these films. I guess what I am afraid of is how watered down it can be before it is just not cool anymore. Heaven forbid that Buzz LIghtyear shows up in a Star Wars movie. They already own Marvel; could we see a super Avengers movie to take out the Empire?
I know some of you are saying, 'Shimel, Star Wars isn't cool anymore anyway.' Maybe that is true. But for me and plenty of other geeks, Star Wars will always be cool. I don't want Goofy or Mickey and Minnie or Buzz or even the Hulk messing with it. May the force be with you and with Disney in keeping the Star Wars universe alive and well.