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Le Figaro, France

Disney at Star Wars’ Bedside:
Two Symptoms to Watch Out For

By Laurent Suply

Translated By Stuart Taylor

31 October 2012

Edited by Jane Lee

France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)

Despite worries that the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney is not entirely the best thing that could happen to the “Star Wars” franchise, that day is fast approaching nonetheless. In digging his movies’ own grave, George Lucas will have had the wisdom (or the financial need) to leave his child (who is more like an adult now) to a better father.

Whatever we may think about Disney, it does know how to respect the spirit of a film and how to tell stories. Taking the example of Marvel, we must give them credit for leaving the right people in the right places. “The Avengers,” a remarkable cocktail of success in the eyes of the public and critics alike (the fans being the hardest to convince), gives us high hopes. Disney has also given Marvel the means to develop an ambitiously epic long-term and multi-screen saga.

There is certainly not a lack of stories in the vast “Star Wars” galaxy (the Thrawn trilogy, other novels by Timothy Zahn and video games), and the people with the heavy task of carrying on the “Star Wars 7” project will definitely have material to work with.

Those who fear the over-merchandizing of “Star Wars” by Disney do not have the least idea of what is in stores or online right now. Lucas practically invented the spinoff products and the juicy profit-sharing that goes with it.

Those who fear the film will become too childish would clearly prefer to wipe Jar Jar Binks and the Ewoks from their minds.

However, there are two hidden illnesses that we must watch out for in this new cycle:

1. Over-planning in the medium-term. The second trilogy paled in comparison to the extremely successful original trilogy, which was a remarkable generational phenomenon. Disney is proposing to release a movie roughly every three years. Following the pattern of movies like “James Bond,” “Star Trek” or “Rocky,” “Star Wars” will no doubt become part of a recurring phenomenon of old icons being rejuvenated, with foreseeable ups, downs and mediocrities. Even if “Episode 7” were exceptional, one day a movie will come along that is neither good nor bad, a “Star Wars” that will be released with the feeling of “it wasn’t bad, but I hope that the next one will be a bit better.”

2. An internal sabotage in the short-term. It is the same as “John Carter of Mars,” a good film with an incredible marketing budget used in part by Disney to shoot themselves in the foot. A hiccup that still remains hazy and controversial but undoubtedly linked to jealousy and ego wars. The immense pressure that will surround “Star Wars 7” suggests the probability of such an event.



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