Like most geeks of my era, I have a fascination with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films and “mythologies”. They’re an integral part of who I was as a child, and without them I could honestly say some of my interests would be much different than they are now (I still watch the “making of” sections of DVDs because Star Wars showed me how awesome models and blue-screens could be).
So when Disney announced they were purchasing LucasFilm, I got a little freaked out. Why, might you ask, would I care? It’s not like I’m going to be a child again anytime soon. Disney can’t rip that part away from me, no matter how hard they try. It’s true that my Star Wars memories and trinkets won’t disappear any time soon, but what I fear will disappear soon is the sense that I could play in this universe if I wanted to. Ars Technica had a great article about the relationship between LucasFilm and the fan-film community, and it really struck a nerve with me. Where LucasFilm may have been more permissive (albeit, only slightly), what will the new LucasFilm do under the new Disney overlords? Disney has a track record of being relentless in their trademark and brand management, to the point of tossing out fair use and the public domain in favor of ownership and fealty. And that’s the part that I fear is going to suffer the most. Disney already owns The Jim Henson company, as well as the Marvel universe, and many more. Will I ever be able to think of these characters in the same way again? Or will I be unable to look past the prior history of Disney taking what once was a shared myth and locking it up in the Disney vaults, only to be trotted out whenever there’s a transaction to be made.
Lord knows LucasFilm could be quite diligent about their own characters and universes. And I’m not sure about the history of Marvel, but I suspect they too were quick to ensure their characters and universe was licensed accordingly, under penalty of lawyers. But the depressing part to me is I know Disney’s track record, and while I’m excited that George Lucas can be a creator again, my inner child wonders if he’ll be allowed to play too.
Man it sucks to grow up.
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