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in defense of
Disney Buying Lucasfilm

As I type this, Twitter is all a flutter with smarmy comments and end-of-the-world scenarios not involving Sandy.

The $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney came out of nowhere to many, as did the announcement to fast-track a new trilogy set after the original classics.

And while the initial blast of news hit most of us (including critic, and Disney historian, Leonard Maltin) by surprise, I don’t think it should be felt as a disturbance in the Force. I actually got a good feeling about this.

Some reasoning after the jump…

• Disney has had a fantastic relationship with George Lucas for years, championing some of their most popular theme park attractions.

This symbiotic relationship has kept Indiana Jones and Star Wars in the public eye since Star Tours opened for flights to Endor in 1986.  

• It’s time, really, for George to retire.

He knows it.  Deep down, the fans know it.

Disney as a company has the infrastructure to develop and nurture the brands under Lucasfilm. Quite possibly better than George was doing himself, in fact.  Just look at what the studio accomplished with The Muppets last year.

• We may actually get a sequel or a reboot to Willow, or other under-developed Lucasfilm properties.  This is either a good or bad thing, depending on your camp.

• Although buying Marvel payed off big with Avengers, Disney has taken hits this year with big budget bombs John Carter and Frankenweenie.

Rebooting the Star Wars franchise is a sure thing for Disney, with plenty of opportunities to wet appetites leading up to 2015.

Just, please Disney, not in the form of new Ewok made for television movies or Wookie Christmas specials.

• Disney Interactive has lost over a billion dollars.   

Pirates of the Caribbean and Club Penguin just are not cutting it and Epic Mickey didn’t bring in the big dollars.

Expect big things in interactive gaming and social media from the Lucasfilm acquisition.

Also, don’t be surprised to see your favorite droids, darths and bounty hunters alongside other Disney characters in the interactive products.  Kingdom Hearts made this mainstream for Disney purists to accept and Disney has already merchandised the hell out of Star Wars crossovers in their theme parks and stores.

They already announced a Cars/Star Wars crossover line in August.   

• George wants his legacy preserved for future generations, but Disney is very good at preserving their IP in original form and making it available to the public.

Their animated classics on Blu-ray have rivaled The Criterion Collection for cinephile aesthetic, going back to the original aspect ratios, soundtracks and title cards.

Unless there’s a provision in the contract that hasn’t been reported yet, perhaps in our lifetime we’ll see those original versions of the original Star Wars trilogy available to the public and restored.  

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