We’ve seen drastic changes in the landscape of the franchise and fandom – the sad but ultimately merciful alternate universing of the old Expanded Universe, the cancellation of The Clone Wars, saying farewell to beloved licensees like Dark Horse – but we’re getting not only more films, but theme parks and fresh starts aplenty from Disney, Marvel and Del Rey. Things have changed a lot, but what of it? Sometimes, change is necessary, and I think the last three years prove that – at least so far.
It’s been a trip, and the franchise has reached some crazy highs in that time, a heightened interest from all quarters, a surge that we haven’t seen since The Phantom Menace. Could we be setting ourselves up for disappointment? Even if The Force Awakens is indeed well received, I doubt anything will go completely smoothly, as we’ve already seen some dark undercurrents regarding the changes. But if someone as cynical and jaded as I am can be hopeful, why not?
USA Today’s Brian Truitt catches up with the elusive George Lucas, who talks about his youngest daughter Everest, Strange Magic and, of course, Star Wars.
There’s not too much about Star Wars, but we do learn one thing: He originally planed to see the first film of the new trilogy through before selling the company, but Disney’s interest happened at just the right moment.
“The only thing I really regret about Star Wars is the fact I never got to see it — I never got to be blown out of my seat when the ship came over the screen,” Lucas says. “The next one, I’ll be able to enjoy it like anybody else.”
Disney is hosting a Star Wars executive breakfast this coming Thursday, says Making Star Wars. In attendance will be George Lucas and “classic cast members.” Just another Thursday for Disney’s top brass? UPDATE: Lucasfilm denied this event to TFN, but Making Star Wars (and others) maintain it is indeed happening. We’ll see!
Also this week? A Star Wars event at the (a?) Disney Store on Monday and Tuesday in California, according to Jedi News. So something is clearly going on. Whether these are linked to something that will matter to most of us (an announcement?) is yet to be seen, but let’s hope so.
It’s been a week since the news went out that the Star Wars comics license will go to Marvel Comics for 2015, leaving Dark Horse Comics after a twenty-two year run. With the news on Tuesday that Dark Horse will be releasing a new series, adapting the unproduced The Clone Wars scripts for the finale of the Darth Maul storyline, we know that 2014 will still be a big Star Wars year for Dark Horse. Over the course of the past week, questions about the switch have started to get some answers, at least from Dark Horse:
Marvel will take over the Star Wars comics license in 2015, StarWars.com announced this afternoon.
Marvel was the original comics home of the franchise, publishing Star Wars #1 in March 1977. There was plenty of speculation dating from almost the moment the Disney sale was announced that the license would return to Marvel. Dark Horse is the third-largest comics publisher, but Marvel is one of the big 2 – and perhaps more importantly, Disney also owns them.
Despite their history with Marvel, when Star Wars was beginning a renaissance in the early 90’s, Dark Horse was awarded the license. They’ve published a great many influential series over the years, from Dark Empire and Tales of the Jedi early on to fan-favorites like Legacy, Knights of the Old Republic and the new Star Wars series. Of the current ongoing series, Brian Wood’s Star Wars will end at #20, while Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko’s Legacy will end with #18.
I don’t know enough about Marvel to speculate on what they may do with the franchise, but it’s safe to say that Dark Horse was one of the more beloved licensees in fandom. They’ve always been willing to innovate and look outside the box, and there’s no doubt a lot of fear out there in fandom, no matter how expected this may have been. We’ve become very attached to the folks over there, from editor Randy Stradley on down, and it’s sad to see the end coming on that partnership.
“Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films,” company founder Mike Richardson said in a statement. “After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own.”
There’s no doubt that Dark Horse has changed the game and set a pretty high standard for a fandom that doesn’t take things lying down. Will Marvel manage to build on that success? Here’s hoping.
Disney and Paramount have reached an agreement regarding the Indiana Jones franchise, Variety reports today. Disney retains Lucasfilm’s ownership rights but gains “distribution and marketing rights to future films.” Paramount will continue to distribute the first four films and will receive “financial participation” on future ones.
Drew McWeeny of HitFix speculates that this could lead to other actors taking on the iconic fedora:
…Only truly deranged and damaged people would take something as rich with potential as Indiana Jones and then just remake the movies that already exist. “Raiders Of The Lost Ark,” “Temple Of Doom,” and “The Last Crusade” should all be considered canon, and if you’re going to make new movies, then do it in a way that works around those films, not that tries to replace them.
Indiana Jones as the new James Bond? Well, as McWeeny points out, the character has already been played by four others besides Ford. I certainly prefer the idea to simply remaking Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Last Crusade, but it’s hard to imagine anyone stepping into Ford’s shoes. (Yeah yeah, Nathan Fillon, blah blah blah noshitcakes. At least try and think outside the box, fancasters.)
And our final word:
Could lack of Indy news in last 64 minutes signal production problems?
Retro. Alas, the lawyers caught up with the Star Wars blooper reel, but check out these two other great behind-the-scenes pics that (I suspect) originate from the enhanced Making of eBooks: A different angle on Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford during the medal ceremony and Mark Hamill gets meditative (or just bored) during the filming of Return of the Jedi.
In 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.
Disney CFO Jay Rasulo talked a bit about Star Wars at an investor conference today, and the biggest revelation for us is that he called the spinoffs “origin story films,” according to Variety’s Marc Graser. That’s in line with some of the rumors we’ve heard about Han Solo and Yoda, and while part of me hopes that Attack of the Clones disqualifies Boba Fett, somehow I suspect not. Still, it does imply an extended focus on characters outside of the Skywalkers.
Rasulo also called Star Wars an “evergreen property” and said there are plans to expand licensing programs, though the focus is “to put out a great film.” But Disney has faith in the franchise: “Of all our worries, ‘Star Wars’ is not one of them.”