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“Hopefully It Will Be An Inspiring Package Of Entertainment” aka Disney’s Star Wars Franchise
By Ted Hope
George Lucas has always been an “inspiring package of entertainment”. To me, he represents a distinct strand of indie: the entrepreneurial artist. A great vision that recognized how to maximize the business proposition inherent in a story world and it’s execution. How much money did his model draw into the industry, dreaming of a repeat success? I suspect it has given birth to thousands upon thousands of cinema babies. Once we start recognizing the affinity that the creative industries have with start ups and general entrepreneurial ventures all share, we will be able to properly measure Mr. Lucas’ effect — and it will be awe-inspiring indeed. But that is not the only reason I remain optimistic at this latest stab at media consolidation. Or should I say “despite” this latest stab?
I confess I might have preferred Lucas to be more of an artist/entrepreneur than the reverse but why split hairs? I still got the true pleasure of the early works, while also witnessing the creative platform (& transmedia model) that Star Wars became for the world. I don’t know of a work that made more people want to create (and I particularly defy anyone to watch the crowdsourced Star Wars Uncut with a child and not start to film something within the first 30 minutes).
Lucas was one of the lures that brought me to the Bay Area; that is,him, or my perception of him, along with an apparent plan of action that has either infected or been infected by the local character of the Bay Area: create a world and learn how to exploit it fully (aka True Innovation).
How much is a good idea worth? Now we know: about $4B. A good idea, owned and operated by the originator of the IP, but maximized by a team that doesn’t follow — but leads — in the development of opportunity, well, when done well, that’s road takes us to $4B-land. Lucas (and LucasFilm) shows that there once was a world when you let an artist do what they do best and provide the correct business support, an early investment lead to a significant payout. Is that world still within our reach? I trust so, but we may need to do some repair if anyone is going to take that trip again.
Tech is not the only way to hit it, and in the end, isn’t it the stories that never are made obsolete?
I must confess though, I have been seduced: you go to a place like Skywalker Sound, top shelf everything, but so much more too– a community of people still in it for the love of art, don’t you have to come out a convert? And it is that part that has been left out of much of the story. Disney has a magnificent franchise, but will all the communities that franchise spawned be fully protected?
Here’s hoping that the long long future of a Disney-owned Star Wars franchise doesn’t diminish it’s associated institutions, aka Skywalker. Skywalker has done so much to lift all of cinema and it’s surrounding community, I hope that a behemoth of a corporate parent does not mistake as a “not a core business”. LucasFilm helps make the Bay Area a vibrant film center. I want them to never leave.
And here’s the official corporate explanation form Disney & Lucas: