The Weekly Geek: Lucasfilm becomes part of the Disney Empire

Unless you’ve been living in a galaxy long ago and far away – or you have the totally legitimate excuse of having been without power thanks to Sandy – you’ve probably heard about entertainment behemoth Disney buying up Lucasfilm. Nerds from all around the world flocked to message boards and twitter this week to discuss the news, spawning memes (of course) and hilarious speculation about Mickey Mouse showing up in the next round of Star Wars flicks. Dare I say, the general tone was hopeful optimism.

The real news was pretty big – Disney will buy Lucas’ empire (ha!) for about $4 billion, and a new round of Star Wars movies will arrive starting in 2015.

Well, the professionals have digested the news, and the speculation has started up. Wired has a pensive take on the deal up in the Underwire blog:

Disney’s Lucasfilm deal is the latest example of the risk-averse production model the Mouse House has perfected. Flush with earnings from its theme-park and TV operations, Disney gets the right to finance, market and distribute new installments of George Lucas’ iconic sci-fi franchise, starting with 2015′s Star Wars 7 movie. Sole owner Lucas pockets $4.05 billion and entrusts new iterations of his intellectual property to experienced Hollywood pro Kathleen Kennedy, a former Steven Spielberg producer, and transfers handling of the Star Wars brand to what is widely regarded as the best movie marketing company in the world. What could possibly go wrong?

More pointedly, they came to this conclusion:

The Lucasfilm deal makes Walt Disney Studios, now run by veteran movie executive Alan Horn, Hollywood’s undisputed brand titan. On paper, Lucasfilm creativity yoked to Disney marketing sounds like a winning proposition — as long as the next Star Wars movie doesn’t stink.

Since the Star Wars prequels were, shall we say, lacking, and Lucas himself not quite showing the same creative energy that birthed the original trilogy, folks are actually looking forward to what the house of the mouse can do with the brand.

To be honest, I can’t say I was surprised to hear about the deal in the slightest, speaking as someone who’s spent her share of time in Disney World (home to the newly revamped Star Tours ride and a merchandising powerhouse below). I can only hope the new flicks have the same sense of humor, warmth, and rollicking sci-fi adventure as the trilogy that I – and every other geek born between the 1970s and the 1990s – grew up with.

On a slightly more cerebral note, I came across another piece of news this week that twisted my brain into little knots. Apparently, scientists actually devised an experiment that could prove that our entire reality is part of an elaborate computer simulation. Somebody call Neo. I can only say “whoa.”

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