A month and a half after the acquisition, the internet is still bumpin’ with varying reactions to Disney’s recent purchase of LucasFilm and, therefore, the fan-beloved Star Wars franchise. The reactions vary from optimism and open minds to misinformed outrage and, I’m sure, the usual threats to move to Canada.

Personally, the news came as a surprise but not a shock. Disney has been doing some exciting things like their animated shorts and producing an feature film about 8-bit games, but they’ve also been doing some predictable things (read: Brave and lots of sequels). Bottom line: the predictable pays for the exciting. Making movies costs money and if Disney kept taking risks and everything turned out like John Carter…well, they wouldn’t be around anymore. So Disney acquired LucasFilm and with it acquired a safe bet: Star Wars.

Another predictable pattern Disney has fallen into is saving up their money for a mega buy out every three years. In 2006 Disney bought Pixar and reactions were mixed, but arguably less passionate than the current debacle. And, in 2009, Disney bought Marvel and disrupted another giant fandom. But then we got The Avengers…so can we really be that concerned? If you stop and think about it, could Disney really be that bad for Star Wars or any LucasFilm property?

What does SolidLine’s Art Director and Disney Aficionado think?

I took a trip to the art department to talk with Mike Petrik, SolidLine Media’s Art Director and Motion Artist. As an animator, Petrik is a bit of a Disney buff. However, he’s also a big Star Wars fan, so I was interested in nerding-out with him on the buy-out topic.

Petrik is optimistic and excited for the future of the Star Wars franchise. “I’d say the Disney buyout is great,” he asserts before bitterly adding, “Hopefully it will breathe some life into something I feel suffered a slow and painful death over the course of Episodes 1 through 3.”

Taking the role of the pragmatic, Petrik can’t understand the fear Star Wars superfans have that Disney might ruin it further. Not only does Disney have a good record for hiring amazing creatives and maintaining the integrity of it’s acquisitions, but, in Mike’s words: “Did anyone see Episode 1? What a horrible, disappointing mess.” Surely, after a film like that the only way to go is up.

Like many, Petrik is confident that Disney will hire an amazing director to take on Episode 7. Unfortunately, nerds across the globe have already been hounding and threatening every director anyone suggests. Petrik’s picks are Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles) and Rian Johnson (Looper), but has faith in Disney either way. “Disney has a pretty good history of putting their trust in the artists to pull off their vision,” something critical for the success of any creative project. Petrik is guessing we will see some hot new directors making their way onto the set.

Same goes for the script writing. In Petrik’s words, “The further away Lucas is from any future Star Wars scripts, the better.”

At this point the topic of Star Wars got away from us. See, everyone seems to be focusing on Star Wars and we get it, Star Wars is a generational cornerstone. Actually, Star Wars transcended generations. Parents took their children and those children grew up and took their own children and so on and so on. It’s beautiful. But what about Indiana Jones?

Indiana is another franchise that, Petrik feels, has been destroyed by LucasFilm. He remembers how excited he was for the new film in 2008. Everything sounded perfect: Indiana had aged a bit and was now toe-to-toe against the Reds, Marion Ravenwood was coming back… “My Dad, brother and I were the first in line!” But Petrik’s excitement soon turns to the memory of disappointment: “Aliens and crappy writing and Shia Labeouf swinging on vines with monkeys.”

The source of all of these problems: Mr. George Lucas as a story writer.

Petrik hopes Disney finds the master copy of the film, douses it with gasoline and ensures no frame survives. I just hope Disney learns from others’ mistakes and allows Lucas to sit upon his Producer throne, but not touch the script.

In the end, Petrik and I have reached a conclusion. Go Disney! Refresh a franchise that everyone adores. It’s been abused and it deserves your artistic power. Also, please don’t forget Indiana Jones, we all love that franchise too. Personally, I feel like Joss Whedon would be a good match for Dr. Henry Walton Jones Jr.

We thank George Lucas for bringing Star Wars into our lives. But now, the way Petrik sees it is: “George Lucas = Bad. Disney = Good.”  But  Lucas donated $4.05 billion from the deal to the United States’ failing education system.  So, Lucas also = Good, just don’t let him near any scripts.

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