So George Lucas and Robert Iger announced today that the Walt Disney Company will be buying Lucasfilm, in all of its Star Wars glory, to the tune of $4.05 billion.

I, myself, am intrigued by the idea – Lucas is ready to retire, so he’s officially passing the baton to someone else to continue making stories … arguably one of the most successful storytelling companies around today, so I like to think that Star Wars will be in good hands with Disney. Sure, they’re going to rigorously promote the brand and crank out new merchandise like crazy, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing and besides, it’s not like there isn’t a ton of Star Wars merch around already!

What makes me the  most curious is to see what exactly this means for Star Wars in the theme parks – sure, the upgrades to Star Tours were already completed not that long ago, but maybe we’d see more attractions popping up around Disney’s Hollywood Studios to capitalize on an entire land dedicated to Star Wars! Tom over at the Disney Tourist Blog made an excellent point – if Disney was looking for something to give Harry Potter a run for his money, freaking Star Wars would definitely be the juggernaut that could stand its ground like no other! 😯

Also, they mentioned something about a movie coming out in 2015 … episode 7 … hmmmmm…

Anyways, I guess the thing that really bothers me after hearing this announcement – continues to bother me, anyways … this is really nothing new – is having to hear just how much hatred and vitriol that segments of the fan community have towards George Lucas, the very same man without whom Star Wars wouldn’t even exist!!! The man just gets so. much. rage. for the prequels, and no – I didn’t think that they were great, but I got over it and don’t still demand crucifixion every time anything reminding me of the franchise mistakenly crosses my path. I don’t understand it from a fan perspective, and frankly it’s really disheartening to me from a creator’s perspective, too…

For the fans side, the best analogy I can make is with Disney World because I absolutely love that place with a passion. Over the years there have definitely been things that the mouse has done that I haven’t liked – the replacement of SpectroMagic, the closing of Pleasure Island, Stitch’s Great Escape – and if you read my website, I’m happy to point out those critiques, but I still love Disney World! And that’s what I don’t get about the nerd rage because to say that George Lucas killed Star Wars … George Lucas ruined Star Wars … Star Wars will never be the same again … but why??? 

Sometimes the fun of playing god and creating an entire universe is being able to go back and correct the mistakes that you’ve made along the way, and even if the fans liked it better the other way, it’s still his universe to meld as he sees fit. And that’s what scares me from a creator’s standpoint is that fans have gone to such great lengths to tell the man everything that he’s done from 1987-on is wrong – I think part of it is a rabid trait of geekdom that wouldn’t exist without a medium like the Internet – but it’s so many steps beyond simply refusing to buy a ticket or anymore of the merchandise, as if the shit storm will never truly end until their precious Star Wars as they remember is put back exactly the way that they remember it from 30 years ago.

It’s pretty clear that George Lucas is just tired of it all and ready to retire, and that admittedly makes me kind of sad to think that here’s this cultural icon like George Lucas – the creator of Star Wars – and after playing in that universe for nearly 40 years, fans have been such jerks to him that as a result, he doesn’t really feel like making movies anymore. He had such an incredible success with the original trilogy – people loved it that much, that in the years since he hasn’t been able to do anything without disturbing the fanbase’s perfect memory of that original story.

I’m a firm believer that a creative work, first and foremost, belongs to its creator, and whatever direction he sees fit to take that creation, that’s the direction that it should go. I think the last time I ranted about this was the whole Mass Effect ending controversy from earlier this spring, and don’t get me wrong – fans definitely have every right to say, “I didn’t like episode 1, so I’m not going to go see the other two…” but for me that’s where the feedback loop ends. To stand on the sidelines and start dictating how the story should go undermines the creator’s role in the process – it’s his story, his universe, his decisions on what lives and breathes and dies there. And it’s not right that such an incredible talent that crafted the universe of Star Wars in the first place is now ready to walk away long before he’s run out of stories to tell simply because a subset of his fans won’t let him take a shit without shouting how he’s doing it all wrong anymore.

The truth of the matter is that the Internet can be a rough playground, and sometimes fans can be just as much cruel as they are passionate.

It makes me sad because when I watch this video, I see a man who’s been forced to come to terms with the idea that the best thing he can do for his own creation at this point is just to walk away, and midi-chlorians or not, I think that the guy who first brought us to this amazing galaxy far, far away just deserves much better than that…

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