Thoughts on Star Wars, Disney, JJ Abrams and the End of the World

You remember that day, not so long ago, that the voices of a million Star Wars fans cried out at once – and were silenced…?  When the corporate monster Disney announced that it purchased all the rights to the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas spawning a flurry of Disney/Star Wars mashups on Tumbler and causing writers, directors and actors looking to score an iconic role alike to come out of the woodwork and kiss all kinds of Disney butt?

Disney acquires Lucasfilm Bring on the Star Wars mashups Thoughts on Star Wars, Disney, JJ Abrams and the End of the World

(Although I have to admit, I am loving the idea of Stitch as a Sith)

Normally, the prospect of another Star Wars film would be cause for celebration (or at least some intense praying that they can reclaim the magic from the first – er, the middle three). But not this time. This time it sent a chill through my bones. Disney taking over Star Wars?? The freaking Mayans were right!

Admittedly, it took the nerd in me a while to recover. I found myself torn over the delicious prospect of posing for souvenir photos with Han Solo and Chewy in front of … Star Wars Tours…or engaging in a mock light-saber battle with my friends whilst traversing the Ewok’s Family Treehouse …  or riding a real life Trench Run Ride!

December 21st came and went and I sighed in relief as nary a hint of any zombie apocalypse was to appear on the horizon. Then I heard a couple days ago that JJ Abrams (Star Trek) turned down Disney’s offer to direct Star Wars VII, and it got me thinking all over again….

We all know that Disney bought Marvel a few years back and in spite of the success of the Avengers film, let’s be real: Disney is hit-and-miss. Since they purchased Marvel, their comics have gone downhill. DC’s new 52 came along with better stories and better artwork and basically blew Marvel out of the water. Marvel’s comics are overpriced at $3.99 per book when the average price for comic books (and what DC charges) is still $2.99… for the most part. Even the Walking Dead comics are still $2.99.

Many of Marvel’s comics now come out twice a month instead of the usual once a month, not only forcing comic book fans to fork over more cash but also putting a lot of pressure on their artists to produce, produce, produce! So instead of quality, basically what we get from Marvel these days is quantity. More money for them; less enjoyment for comic book fans.

Case in point… not too long ago I reviewed Marvel’s Daredevil: End of Days limited series. This was an exciting event considering Bill Seinkeiwicz was pitching in on the artwork. (As I’ve said, the Elektra: Assassin eight part limited series by Bill S. and Frank Miller is one of THE best runs ever). Everything was going great, that is… until #3 came out a couple Wednesdays ago.

I was so looking forward to reading this one because Elektra was on the cover in her signature red reminding us of days gone by… And what do we get? Elektra is a soccer mom now who is cheering on her son literally at a soccer game, and the kid is the splitting image of Matt Murdock … What’s worse, DD isn’t only the apparent baby daddy to her kid but also Typhoid Mary’s twin redhead sons, who, disappointingly, seem to be around the same age as Elektra’s. Coinkidink?

This is not to say that Bill Seinkeiwicz is anything but genius as he gives some beautiful renderings of these women from back in the day along with another character, a deaf, American Indian ronin known as Echo.

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But come on… couldn’t they have come up with something more original for the evolution of these characters than a soccer mom, an actress, and a university professor? Elektra was a hitwoman, for crying out loud. It’s story line choices that worry me. The Avengers was a lot of fun but it was a little slim in the writing department.  Same goes for Tron: Legacy which I loved for the special effects and was very forgiving about but again, the story pretty much fell apart as soon as Sam Flynn got pulled into the video game world. For the most part, Disney has a tendency to pander to younger audiences so they can capitalize off merchandising. I guess I’m just a little nervous about seeing another teddy bear picnic.

So what does this mean for Dark Horse who currently puts out the Star Wars comics and boasts a 20 year business relationship with the Star Wars brand?  No news is good news, I guess, but I honestly can’t see Disney allowing a competitor of Marvel to continue using the Star Wars name now that they own it. They are going to want to control the flow of the stories especially since they’re working on the next batch of films.  There only seem to be two viable options from a megalomaniacal,  corporate, dare I say – imperial – standpoint: yank the rights and let Marvel take over or… <shudder> buy Dark Horse comics.

JJ Abrams pretty much summed it up when asked about the acquisition: “Part of me? Thrilled. Part of me? Terrified. Most of me? Thrillified.”


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