Monday Morning Critic – The George Lucas / Disney Divide In The Shadow of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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This weekend is going to shatter every single record held in modern Hollywood history. The biggest opening, both internationally and domestic, should be set to almost impossibly high limits as the first new Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith wound up being a farewell to the Lucasfilm era of Star Wars films. With Disney now holding the intellectual property, and planning on releasing so many Star Wars films that the $4 billion purchase price seem like a bargain, the one final story that comes to a head this weekend is the divorce of the franchise’s creator from his ground breaking franchise.

George Lucas, both beloved and hated by Star Wars fans at the same time it seems, has been ruthlessly eliminated from the fold as the new era of Star Wars films being as regular as Marvel Cinematic Universe entries is upon us. Lucas was asked for his thoughts on a reboot from Disney, after they announced a relaunch of the franchise into a post Return of the Jedi environment, and was given the bad interview treatment. He was thanked for his time, had his ideas tossed into the garbage and Disney decided to hand the reigns over to Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams and Michael Arndt. Abrams would direct the first film and Rian Johnson would handle the writing duties for the next two, handing over directing duties to Colin Trevorrow for the Episode IX. George Lucas is left with nothing but a “Characters created by” credit as the man who created history’s most influential trilogy has been left outside, looking in, to see what others will do with his creation.

It’s a curious thing because Lucas was always, for better or worse, the guardian of the Star Wars mythos. After Star Wars changed the way films were marketed, as Lucas made wrath of God money on the toys from the film on their own, Lucasfilm was the sole creative force behind the films. George Lucas was able to bring the original trilogy to light, as well as the prequel trilogy, without any real creative interference because it was his studio and his money paying for it. Everyone else paid for the privilege to distribute his films and make money with him but the creative process was on Lucas and Lucas alone.

It was his sandbox …. he just let people play in it as he saw fit.

Four billion dollars later and George Lucas has literally nothing to do with the franchise he brought into existence anymore. It’s amazing to contemplate as this is significantly different than when Disney bought out Marvel. Disney runs Marvel Studios like they do Pixar; they provide funding and oversight but mainly they let them make films on their own. Not so with this franchise, which absorbed Lucasfilm’s intellectual property but is running it in house. Star Wars is too big to not be all hands on deck, of course, and Lucas’s sale included his departure from it.

It’s why Star Wars: The Force Awakens is so interesting outside of being the final cherry on top of the “HOLLYWOOD IS MAKING ALL THE MONEY NOW” that 2015 will be remembered for. 2014 may have been “HAS HOLLYWOOD LOST ITS WAY,” mainly for a slow box office season coupled with a number of uninspiring titles, and this year has seen a resurgence keyed by a number of massive blockbusters all hitting in the same season. The final one of the year is the latest Star Wars, which has a legitimate shot at breaking the all-time box office record of Avatar, and it also represents the death of a king.

George Lucas, Star Wars film maker, is dead and gone from the reigns of the most lucrative franchise ever. For better or worse the future of the franchise is in the hands of others.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound

Alvin and the Chipmunks The Road Chip – Alvin and the gang are back for counter programming to the big 800 pound gorilla this week.

Kill yourself instead – Anyone excited for this film is either 5 … or has no excuse.

Sisters – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are sisters giving their childhood home a proper good bye.

See it – Fey and Poehler are usually money together BUT this has a similar plot set up to A Good Old Fashioned Orgy and that film wasn’t that good.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – NEW STAR WARS!!!!!!!

See it – If this doesn’t cross $200 million opening weekend just in domestic grosses something is wrong with the world.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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