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Filmism.net Dispatch November 5, 2012

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I prefer to talk about something a bit more theoretical and analytical in the Filmism.net Dispatch, but this week's purchase by Disney of Lucasfilm for $4.05bn is too big a deal not to mention, especially because of the announcement that came hot on its heels that Disney are making three new Star Wars films starting 2015 and for the forseeable future thereafter.

As many have said, Disney is a natural home for Star Wars, which have always been family films if nothing else. And like Disney, Star Wars is now a corporation in itself. Elderly Fox executives are probably still kicking themselves that they (in) famously let Lucas keep the merchandising rights to the space opera nobody wanted. Especially now it's worth four big ones.

It was a smart move for Lucas, who started crapping on again this week about getting back to making experimental films but also said he'd start education-based charity work. But it's a smarter move for Disney. With Pixar and Marvel already under its belt, the studio that was teetering towards bankruptcy in the 80s is now an entertainment conglomerate par excellence.

Keep in mind that they get a lot more in the deal than just the Star Wars name. Indiana Jones, Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound, Lucasarts games, every lunchbox that ever had Threepio and Artoo on it... Howard the Duck. They're all Disney owned.

With comic book movies still raking in billions courtesy of Marvel and now the most recognisable name in modern movie history sporting big round ears, Disney has leapfrogged every other Hollywood entity to the stratosphere. And with everything from theme parks to cruise lines, a TV network (ABC) and a zillion characters, the potential for cross-promotion is staggering. Disney has become its own metaverse at the stroke of a pen.

The company has already stated its intention to milk the Star Wars property mercilessly, but maybe that's better new than it might have been a few weeks back. For all Lucas' skill as a world-builder and overseer, he was always a terrible writer, and in recent years he's been turning the whole legacy into a laughing stock with the endless tchotchkes.

With some exciting new directors (and who won't be clamouring for the chance to direct a Star Wars movie?) at the helm, the whole thing might finally stop raping all our childhoods.

If you look back far enough, the writing was always on the wall. Lucas told reporters this week when he first made Star Wars everybody was saying it could have been a Disney movie. Star Tours has been at Disneyworld forever. They really are, as corporate terminology goes, a natural fit.

Personally, I've had my work cut out not talking about Star Wars so much. As I collect the links I share with you just to the left of these words (under 'Favourites'), I filter out countless Star Wars related stories, pictures and memes. If I didn't the Filmism.net Dispatch would turn into a Lucasfilm ad (maybe I should send them an invoice).

But the reason it's so hard is because no other movie in the 20th century has captured the collective imagination and endures so much. We love talking about it, making fun of it and geeking out about it. Seems like we'll all be doing it a lot more in the future.

Watch a typically humourless Lucas and Disney Chairman Bob Iger signing the agreement and discussing the acquisition, as well as Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars' adoptive steward) talk about the future for the saga in these clips (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUnS12upjQs, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIkqX5fG_tA, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyqlTi7lkhY, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkgP19APekU)

Meanwhile, to clear my head of Wampa ice creatures, Tibanna gas mining and the Sy Snootles band for awhile, I watched an ozploitation movie called Frenchman's Farm. It has the distinction of being the film with the longest gap between me wanting to see it and finally getting around to it.

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