Discussion: One year of Disney, Lucasfilm, and Episode VII

Bob Iger and George LucasIn a matter of hours, it’ll be a full year since the Lucasfilm sale to Disney was announced. We still don’t know that much about Episode VII – most of the confirmed information still fits on one page at StarWars.com – but we can be confident that they’re working on it, at least.

Will we get any news today? The rumor mill was pretty convinced at one point, but after last week’s announcement, who can say? We’ll keep an eye out.

In the meantime… With a year to digest, what are your thoughts? Are you (still?) excited for the future of Lucasfilm and Star Wars?

18 thoughts on “Discussion: One year of Disney, Lucasfilm, and Episode VII

  1. Aaron

    To steal a quote from Mr. J. J. Abrams: “Part of me? Thrilled. Part of me? Terrified. Most of me? Thrillified.”
    To be fair, though, in my case it’s 80 percent thrill, 20 percent terror. Before the Arndt thing, it was even closer to 95:5, so I really hope that we’ll hear some good news in the near future. Not necessarily in teaser form, but that would be nice, of course. ;-)
    All in all, it’s just nice that things are in motion again. I mean, we have at least 5 films to look forward to. That’s the closest we’ve come to the 12 episodes/9 episodes talk of the early 80s. Sure, whatever may come may be worse than the Holiday Special, but why should it be? Always look on the bright side of life. :-)

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  2. Nanci

    I’m excited about the future of Star Wars in general. Regarding Episode VII specifically, I’m as excited as I can be without knowing any real details about the story and the cast. I’m sure if they announce Mark Hamill is back, and other stuff like its place in the timeline, my excitement will go through the roof.

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  3. Emily

    I remain cautiously optimistic, and reserve the right to lose my head for good or for ill at a later date. ;)

    Seriously though, I’m still kind of just amazed a sequel trilogy is even a legit idea at this point.

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  4. Alexandra

    I am optimistic but wary. Part of what made the prequel trilogy sort of awful was that a creative lead who is not a great director (sorry, Lucas…) was given free rein to tear up what was previously a multi-director show. Disney has an enormous amount of assets, maybe new material will be more of a collaboration. Knowing our own strengths is hard, especially when something is a creative brainchild. I’m excited to see Star Wars be the best it can be.

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  5. Nancy K

    I’m also cautiously optimistic. A year later I’m still very excited and happy about more Star Wars, but I’m also very “wait and see” about it. We know very little of what’s to come and I’m ok with that. If we know nothing else from now until the first trailer dropped I’d probably be ok with that, too. I do know that whatever new is produced – movies, books, games, etc. – I’ll love some of it and pass on the rest, which is exactly the same as it’s always been for me. And I’ll always have the accumulation of Star Wars that I love now.

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  6. Dom

    Thrillified I think is appropriate here. For me, I was outright ecstatic until JJ Abrams was announced. I’m just not impressed with what he did with Trek. Then, the other announcements, like the cancellation of TCW, hit hard. Then LucasArts’ death, killing some potentially exciting games like 1313. More recently, I’ve just gotten the sense that there have been some really nasty divisions in fandom opening up since the Disney acquisition, including between EU and non-EU fans. EU fans are getting very scared about the future of the EU right now.

    We’ve gotten some stuff, like Rebels and Battlefront 3, but as the old saying goes a mynock in hand is worth two in the asteroid cave. I think a lot of people are just worried about the uncertainty on all these fronts. I’ll probably get excited again when Disney or LucasFilm starts giving us a clearer picture about the future and gives us reason to hope that the new Star Wars that we get will be worth the wait.

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  7. breathesgelatin

    I’m still super-excited, not gonna lie. I thought the original timeline was always pretty ambitious, so the fact that there may be delays and shakeups doesn’t really surprise me.

    When we start getting real casting info (particularly if Mark Hamill is back), I’ll definitely be even more excited!

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  8. Mike S

    It’s extremely difficult for me to get excited about something, that we all know very little about.
    While I am thrilled at the prospect of new Star Wars, the lack of REAL news is somewhat disheartening.

    Still no synopsis, no official confirmation that “The Big Three” are back – just a lot of speculation/rumor/lies in the media and it’s become redundant and rather tiring.

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    1. Dunc Post author

      At this point I feel that people’s unwillingness to be patient is way more annoying than the lack of news or any form of rumors. It’s been a year. Time and time again the fandom has psyched itself up to ‘expect’ news on some ‘important’ date, and it mostly hasn’t happened. They’re not obligated to tell us a thing until they damn well feel like it. Etc etc etc.

      And the rumors? Well, if the past is any indication, the vast majority of them will be proven false in time. It’s a complete waste of energy to get all worked up about them now. I find them interesting, and they liven up the wait, so I don’t mind reporting them. But I am getting pretty tired of the tar and feather ‘how dare rumors exist’ crowd.

      Face it: With Abrams at the wheel, we’re probably not going to get the same kinds of things we got for Revenge of the Sith, any more than we would have for The Phantom Menace if the internet had been that developed in 1997/8. We’re going to be in the dark on a lot of things for a good while now, and there’d still be rumors if they told us even half the stuff they’re doing. Get used to it.

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  9. Dunc Post author

    Dom: I’ve just gotten the sense that there have been some really nasty divisions in fandom opening up since the Disney acquisition, including between EU and non-EU fans. EU fans are getting very scared about the future of the EU right now.

    I haven’t been seeing a whole lot of that lately, actually. I don’t think it’s gone away for good and may come back stronger when the movies come out or we get some plot details, but I am by no means seeing as much of it as I did in those first few months.

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  10. Lane

    If you limit your fandom interaction to certain message boards, I guess it can seem like that sentiment is overwhelming. But outside of those locations and looking at a more macro view? Eh, I’m not really seeing nasty or notable divisions within the fandom. It’s just the usual vocal minorities on either side egging each other on.

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  11. Dunc Post author

    On Twitter I see about 50% EU fans hoping (if you count fancastings) and 50% people being ‘lol dumb EU.’ But that’s a small percentage of the pool, total.

    On Tumblr I see… Not much EU, really. But mostly hope.

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  12. Dom

    @Lane, that’s a good point, and I don’t have any systematic way of measuring sentiment in fandom, I’m just thinking back to some podcasts I listen to and other online postings. I think part of what I sense is that whereas before some people might not have liked certain parts of Star Wars (the EU, TCW, etc), NOW some fans feel like the parts of Star Wars they do like are being “taken away” (TCW, 1313) or at risk of being taken away (EU). That’s a very different feeling and just makes people nervous.

    @Dunc, as for patience… Sure, some people aren’t patient, and I think lack of patience is inexcusable when it comes to the movies. Movies roll out on their own schedule. I think most people just want news and when they do get it they’ll be satisfied.

    But I think Disney’s also just been clumsy in how it cancels/announces Star Wars content. For a while in May, it seemed Disney kept on taking rather than giving. It probably could have found a way to better time the announcements or mixed good news with bad. And maybe get a more active rumor control team.

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    1. Dunc Post author

      The stuff over The Clone Wars and 1313 are certainly worse than anything over the EU at this point. Of course, I’m just out of patience for the sackcloth-and-ashes mourning of TCW and simply puzzled by it over 1313. At least TCW actually happened.

      I think most people just want news and when they do get it they’ll be satisfied.

      No, because we’ve had news. And people aren’t just disappointed, they throw hissy fits it wasn’t something else. There’s always something else. They can confirm returning OT cast tomorrow and people will say “We knew that already. What about [insert Cumberbatch/random actor/role here?]” It never ends. We’ll get new actors and maybe even character names and people will demand an outline. There’s always a bigger fish.

      It probably could have found a way to better time the announcements or mixed good news with bad.

      Ehh. We all know how this works. They can’t announce casting until the ink is dry, and given the reaction, I’m honestly not sure they’re wrong to play their cards so close. Particularly since we can infer from last week’s announcement that there probably was some sort of upheaval behind the scenes. They’re not going to tell us how the sausage is made while they’re still sorting out the entrails.

      The timeline to temper the negative stuff just wouldn’t hold. Big positive stuff we know are in the works right now are the movies and the theme park, and clearly neither were ready to make any sort of grand unveiling in the spring. The writing’s been on the wall for LucasArts for years – it’s probably the least surprising thing they did with LFL. And can you imagine the outrage if they’d waited any longer to announce TCW wasn’t coming back?

      And maybe get a more active rumor control team.

      Do people seriously expect LFL to comment on every single random rumor?

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  13. Dom

    My point about the EU, TCW, and 1313 is just that psychological research shows most people tend to be risk averse (i.e., they’d rather keep what they have than lose something in the chance they’ll get something new). For fans excited about those parts of the franchise, Disney’s acquisition hasn’t been great. And like I said that’s a relatively new situation for Star Wars. I can’t recall any time before 2012 when fans were promised major Star Wars content but did not get it (aside from one or two novels, and the sequel trilogy Lucas promised back in the 80s).

    As for the PR, obviously we don’t know all the inner workings of Disney and LucasFilm, but there do seem to be a few cases where the messaging could have been better. For example, the end of LucasArts and reveal of the EA contract were pretty close together, so maybe Disney could have announced them together, or at least tried to reassure people that the end of LucasArts didn’t signal the demise of all adult Star Wars gaming (no, I didn’t believe it did either, but many people seemed to think so). I get the sense that Disney is learning from its past mistakes and seems better at trying to mix good news and bad (as with the recent announcement about the EVII script writers).

    I agree about the movies. I think their messaging and pace of reveals have been pretty fair.

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    1. Dunc Post author

      I don’t think people were going to happy with stuff like TCW and LucasArts, regardless. That’s just too big a blow for some – and the Rebels announcement certainly didn’t stop people from hammering on bonus content, etc.

      But yeah, the thing is, the franchise is changing mid-stream and in real time, as we discussed way back in Stooge’s reboot post. People keep doing things like comparing LFL to Marvel but that’s unfair – Marvel is already well on the way of their current course and LFL is still turning around and setting down the new tracks on theirs.

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