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Personal Franchises, Storyworlds, George Lucas, and the Lucasfilm Sale

The news broke a few hours ago: Disney will purchase LucasFilm for four point zero five billion in stock and cash. I could be wrong, but this could be the most ever paid for a privately held set of entertainment properties… and it’s fifty million more than Disney paid for Marvel.

Disney will release a new Star Wars film in 2015 (George Lucas will be a creative consultant), and has plans to schedule additional films every two to three years thereafter. Other Star Wars and Indiana Jones projects could be in the works as well.

The Nerdosphere Explodes

The outcry started bleeding out of my social media feeds immediately, as if this was some final, parting “fuck you” from George Lucas to presumptuous fans. Words and phrases like “disdain,” “all about the money,” “horrible thing,” and the usual bit about raping their childhood are flying around even as I write this.

People, for fuck’s sake: Shut up, and be happy for George Lucas for once.

It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that ‘Star Wars’ could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that… ‘Star Wars’ will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come.” — George Lucas

George Lucas Deserves It And Is Doing Fans A Favor

George Lucas built a personal creative franchise company — largely with the Star Wars storyworld, but also through his “Indiana Jones” and “Willow” storyworlds — from the ground up. Across forty one years, he took the long view for his works and made sure he had control of “supplemental” licensing apart from the tentpole films he made.

Along the way, George Lucas invented transmedia.

Now, at the age of 68, George Lucas can be proud of the storytelling empire he started to build when he was in his late twenties. Now, he can officially pass the stewardship of his storyworlds to an entity that, say whatever else can be said about them, knows how to preserve a creative franchise.

What George Lucas has achieved should be the ultimate goal of every creator: to build storyworlds that are personally enriching to the creator and their heirs, culturally influential, and evergreen.

Bully for him.

As for the fans who behave as if there were some hallowed mythology called “Star Wars,” who act as if it is more their own personal associative-memory security blanket than a carefully crafted, brilliantly executed creative franchise?

The fans should be no less than overjoyed. Their children and grandchildren will know Star Wars — a Star Wars that will be different from what the parents treasure, but no less precious.

Indeed, the Lucasfilm sale might just see to it that some of those children and grandchildren have a chance to contribute to the continued growth and success of Star Wars.

What more could any fan want?

A Goal For All Creators

I have writer friends who want to be the next Stephen King, the next Joss Whedon, the next Connie Willis, and so on.

Screw that. That’s small time.

We should all be building our storyworlds, and crafting them with plenty of sockets for plugging in new stories in any and all media. We should be holding tight to our creative control, and keeping a steady eye on the long view. We should be making our own stuff more often than we’re payed to make stuff for someone else.

Creators, we should all want to be the next George Lucas.

Tell me what you’re doing to work on that… in the comments!

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  • Spot on, Matthew. The man was a pioneer. Is there anyone out there that can claim to have built a universe that spans so much as his? From generations, to worlds, to founts of imagination? I doubt it. I for one am happy for him. And I greatly respect everything he has done.

    • A
      Matthew Selznick

      Only Gene Roddenberry comes close, Terry… with Gary Gygax certainly earning a place at the table.

      Looking at your site, looks like you’re well on your way down the same path!

  • Maybe we will finally be lucky enough for the long awaited sequel to the first Star War Holiday Special .

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