Those who had watched for the signs made for safe ground early. Others, caught unaware, struggled as the waves that crashed over them. In an instant, millions of people were left facing an interminable darkness. Some lost hope; others fought on regardless. And, outside the zone of immediate impact, we all watched and hoped this disaster would not cripple the globe.

Uh, yeah. Seamless fit. Pic: Getty Images

Also, there was a hurricane.

Based on the internet and some of my Punch colleagues , Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm – and therefore the beloved Star Wars franchise – is this week’s real disaster.

A million voices cried out in terror but, thanks to Twitter, weren’t suddenly silenced. Thus could we gauge the temperature of geekdom: Hurricane Sandy was devastating, sure, but at least she didn’t sell out to the evil corporate overlords who have already swallowed Pixar and Marvel Comics whole! That’s real evil, folks; a heinous crime worth of Emperor Palpatine!

The outrage came as no surprise. While the stereotype of the pop-culture junkie as “overweight nerd in mum’s basement” is wrong, the underlying sentiment that informs it has some degree of accuracy.

We geeks (myself very definitely included) despise change. We loathe it with every fibre of our being. Hire a new writer, fire a director, cancel a show… we know how to fix you, mass-media entities. Prepare to be bombarded with bottles of ketchup and venomous e-mails! We will attend your conventions wearing offensive t-shirts! Push us too far and we’ll go all 1990s Green Lantern fandom on you – we’ll form a politically-registered protest group and take out newspaper attack ads!

(I wish I’d made up that last one. Alas, it happened.)

But you need to do us a favour, mass-media entity: you need to pretend you don’t see us buying tickets and merchandise. Sure we’re angry, we’re not stupid – we still want this stuff, even if it’s only to complain. Such is our love/hate co-dependency with the worlds that captivated our childhoods… which is, of course, the very reason they’re worth $4.05 billion to you. Draining our wallets, in perpetuity, is worth emptying yours temporarily.

I look at the outrage and I wonder: how much is genuine, and how much is knee-jerk? Of the people screaming for blood: how many still follow Star Wars fervently, and how many are upset out of perceived insult to their childhood favourite? My devotion to the Force was dampened a long time ago (yeah, yeah, make your pun). Hard-core followers are unquestionably entitled to their distress (the day Disney buys the rights to The Transformers, I’ll lose my head) but, for we lapsed Jedi, it’s time to take a breath.

We liked Star Wars for years but not so much now. Why? Well, that Sith-awful prequel trilogy likely has something to do with it. Personally, Lucas’ endless tinkering with the original films left me mad enough to pull the ears off a gundark. We were already unhappy with the spin-offs and tie-ins, so why mourn this buy-out? Search your feelings: are you really upset or simply leaping aboard the landspeeder-of-discontent, just ‘cause the other Jawas are doing it?

Of you, my geeky brethren, I ask patience. Disney bought Pixar and, Cars aside, there was no drop in quality. Disney bought Marvel and Avengers was still great (its sequel will likely be cheaper, now Mickey has the keys to Industrial Light & Magic). This latest purchase could do great things, too. Exercise a little cautious optimism, friends; this might just be the shot in the arm Luke, Han and Chewie have needed for decades.

And if it isn’t? Well, we’ll have had three years in which to plot our aggrieved response. I figure that, for starters, we could protest by bombarding the Disney studios with bottles of blue milk in honour of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Who’s with me?

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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35 comments

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    • Mahhrat says:

      06:36am | 02/11/12

      Sorry, OP, incorrect.  Disney’s one smart move re the Avengers was to hire Joss Whedon.

      Holy shit.

      Oh wait.

      Joss Whedon does Star Wars??!?!?!?!??!

    • Tubesteak says:

      06:59am | 02/11/12

      I said that yesterday! But I put in a different director and producer. Whedon’s talent is in writing characters and giving them a story arc. Something he did surperbly in Firefly and Buffy. But not Dollhouse.

      There is great opportunity here to overcome the whining awfulness that was Anakin Skywalker. To create an evil character to rival Darth Vader (and the Emperor).

      I wait with bated breath.

    • TimB says:

      07:18am | 02/11/12

      “To create an evil character to rival Darth Vader (and the Emperor).”

      That would be Grand Admiral Thrawn. I cannot stress that enough.

    • Chris L says:

      08:40am | 02/11/12

      You’re going to have to let it go TimB. The best you can hope for is that they set the new movies in such a way that they don’t directly contradict Heir To The Empire.

      I felt sad that Mara Jade wasn’t included in Jabba’s court in the special ed of ROTJ. Somehow I get the feeling those in charge didn’t enjoy the Zahn novels as much as the fans did.

    • Al says:

      08:52am | 02/11/12

      “an evil character to rival Darth Vader ” - hmmm, Mickey Vader? Afterall, doesn’t everyone know that Walt Disney was a big supporter of the Nazis?

    • Jim Moriarty says:

      08:53am | 02/11/12

      @TimB

      Love Thrawn. So deliciously evil without being OTT like the Emperor and Vader.

      I’d also love to see Mara.

    • scott says:

      10:13am | 02/11/12

      “Joss Whedon does Star Wars??!?!?!?!??! “

      No. 

      The only “talent” (and I use this word loosely) that Joss Whedon has is injecting vague pop culture references into dialogue which has no place in a Star Wars flick

    • Mahhrat says:

      10:16am | 02/11/12

      Oh sweet Gok, can you IMAGINE if Whedon gets hold of Mara Jade, with his penchant for naive but sassy and incredibly combat-able women?

      @TIMB:  The climactic battle between Mara, Luke and Joruus at the top of the cloning facility.  THAT BATTLE.  BY JOSS.

      “You will kneel” could be the final installment’s tagline, ferfuxake.

      Holy sweet mother of Gok.  I’d pay $1000 to see that.

      I need a lie down now.  You bastard.

    • TimB says:

      10:34am | 02/11/12

      Mahhrat, in what universe is Mara naive?

      Wait wait, stop. She bought Palpatine’s crap hook line and sinker, true.  Apart from that though…

      Man, so many awesome portrayals there could be. Talon Karrde, Gilead Pellaeon, heck even Borsk Fey’lya. Any actor who could accurately depict that backstabbing jerk would have to be good.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      12:10pm | 02/11/12

      “an evil character to rival Darth Vader ”

      I hear George W Bush is looking for a job….....He’s got two major wars and one GFC on his CV…..

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:28pm | 02/11/12

      TimB
      Maybe so. But it seems they’re not going near that. I think they may be worried that there’s too much familiarity to offend fans there. I’ve never read the books, though. They copped so much flak with the prequels stomping on already familiar territory that they may want to go in an entirely different direction and maybe just use the original movies as a distant background.

      Al
      The pic above has Goofy Vader.

      scott
      Whedon is one of the best writers capable of writing a character arc. His creations in Buffy, Angel and Firefly prove this. Often the story was a bit weak but the character devleopment was brilliant.

      Shane
      Problem is the gaffs he makes just make him seem funny and not scary. Maybe George Bush Snr would be better “Join me and together we will rule this galaxy as father and son” seems really appropriate and endless jokes could be made about that (not that you’d have the same quote in a different movie but the parallels could be drawn).

    • Jim Moriarty says:

      07:05am | 02/11/12

      To be honest, I think this is a good thing. Episode 7 has reportedly been announced, and it won’t be written by Lucas. Surely that is a good thing?

      Like Mahhrat said, imagine if Joss wrote it! He’s a fanboy from years back. His Avengers and X-Men writing were love letters.

    • TimB says:

      07:17am | 02/11/12

      FFS Stop eating my posts Punch.

      IMO there is every reason to be pissed. It has nothing to do with the potential quality of the films, and everything to do with the stated intention of not following the 20+ years of established SW canon that already exists.

      There’s a group of very hard working people at Lucasfilm who are in charge of what they call the Holocron. It’s basically a massive canon database that’s maintained to ensure that every bit of Star Wars media is (relatively) consistent with the saga at large and their are no contradictions in canon.

      It’s a massive job all on its own, and made even harder by George Lucas doing his usual rancor in a china shop routine. A minor example from the prequels was when it was time to name the galactic capital- Tim Zahn had established the name of Coruscant in the EU years prior with Heir to the Empire,  and it was the higher ups at Lucasfilm that had to persuade Lucas to use the existing name instead of making up his own. To ignore all of that effort now just seems insulting.

      The appealing thing about Star Wars (to me) is that unlike comic book based IP’s, Star Wars has only ever had one grand unified canon. There’s no multiverses or reboots or crossovers resulting in a convoluted mess of half a dozen different versions of the same character. It’s just one big saga.

      And if Disney decides to spin off the Star Wars films into their own seperate continuity….well that just sucks all around IMO. No matter how good the films might be on their own.

    • JamesH says:

      08:02am | 02/11/12

      As I said yesterday…interviews with George Lucas have had him say repeatedly that the movies are the only thing that are canon.  He considers the rest unimportant spin-offs.

    • Chris L says:

      08:55am | 02/11/12

      There have already been plenty of contradictions in the story. Perhaps it would be better to retreat to the original trilogy and just recreate everything around it.

      Just a few examples of inconsistency!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqKQuJFxz_A

    • TimB says:

      09:15am | 02/11/12

      And Lucas is constantly contradicting himself in interviews and tripping over his own words. I’d rather judge by what he’s actually done rather than random comments.

      Lucas personally signed off on the EU novels. Every detail had to be run past him to ensure that he approved it. (Case in point- the decision to kill off Chewbacca in Vector Prime). There’s an entire list of plot threads and characters that he expressly forebade the EU writers from touching because he was planning to do things with them himself.

      If he truly considered them unimportant spinoffs, he wouldn’t give a damn what the writers did. But he does care. Not as much as he does about the movies to be sure. But the books are not complrety irrelevant to him as you imply. The very fact that the Holocron exists at all is proof of how important a consistent canon is to the franchise.

    • TimB says:

      09:23am | 02/11/12

      Can’t see the vid Chris…it’s not Boba Fett is it? smile

      I know it’s not perfectly consistent. But they do try. And the Holocron keepers usually do a pretty good job of retconning the stuff that doesn’t quite work properly.

    • SZF says:

      09:56am | 02/11/12

      I get your passion TimB, but respectfully don’t agree. As far as I’m concerned, only the movies - in all their atrocious Lucas-dialoguey glory and where Han shoots FIRST - are “canon”. The rest might as well be fan fiction - sometimes halfway decent, sometime freaking awful *.

      And God, how I hate the word “canon”. It implies that there are too many people out there with too much time on their hands seriously arguing over which lightsaber style trumps another.

      * Yes, I’ve read a few of the books. Just the Timothy Zahn trilogy.

    • TimB says:

      05:04pm | 02/11/12

      Just saw yourvid Chris, and lol. That went a different direction than I was expecting smile

      No real contradiction there, just Kenobi lying through his teeth. He does that.

    • St. Michael says:

      05:32pm | 02/11/12

      One other point, TimB, although it’s trivia: the name of Coruscant does *not* originate with Timothy Zahn.  It comes from somewhere in the bowels of Lucasfilm, if not possibly Lucas himself.

      The first mentions of it in any book on the subject come from the Star Wars Roleplaying Game that was licensed from Lucasfilmto West End Games in the nineties or so.  There were lengthy sourcebooks created for this system which gave that name, as well as a lot of other organisational and background detail on just about every faction in the franchise, and Zahn drew heavily from those RPG books.  Coruscant’s name; Carracks; COMPNOR; you name it.  Zahn basically used those structures as filler for the books.  Much of it was written more or less on the assumption that there’d never be a prequel trilogy, and consequently a decent chunk of detail wound up inconsistent as a result.  Just be careful implying that Zahn created Coruscant; he didn’t, nor indeed a fair amount of the detail in the books.

      On the other hand (no pun intended), the Emperor’s Hands are all his, as are the Noghri, as are the Grand Admirals and, of course, Thrawn.

      And you never know - they might make Ep VII Zahn’s series of books, though of course they couldn’t use Hamill, Ford and Fisher et. al.

    • Tork says:

      08:18am | 02/11/12

      I hope Bambi will make an appearance

    • iansand says:

      08:50am | 02/11/12

      It’s just a movie.

    • chew.on.this.bacca says:

      10:13am | 02/11/12

      I think that character next to mickey, you know the one with the bill who’s holding a bag of fried chicken looks suspiciously like timmie.

    • Chris L says:

      03:38pm | 02/11/12

      @Iansand - Interesting how you keep popping up on these articles trying to convince us of how little you care about the movies.

    • iansand says:

      03:55pm | 02/11/12

      You mean it’s not just a movie?

      Why wasn’t I told?

    • CC says:

      09:03am | 02/11/12

      Da’at + Veda….no one else sees that? Da’at one of the sephiroth, and veda from the vedic tradition…

    • Black Dynamite says:

      09:21am | 02/11/12

      I know the box office was huge but I can’t beleive I was the only one who thought the Avengers sucked. So we have a half an hour of lame jokes regarding the cross-over between characters culminating to a overly long largely uninteresting fight scene with a happy ending. Seemed like an absolute mess to me.

      BD

    • Modern Primitive says:

      10:45am | 02/11/12

      I agree, the avengers was seriously over rated.

    • Tubesteak says:

      02:26pm | 02/11/12

      I didn’t think it was all that great. This could be due to either
      1) I downloaded it and wasn’t paying much attention to it because I was surfing the net at the same time; or
      2) Joss Whedon is better at creating characters and developing a character development arc which you can’t do in a movie when the chracters are already developed. It took 2 seasons for Buffy to come good as a TV show. Often the story was weak but the theme of the character development was brilliant

    • Greedo shot first? says:

      09:44am | 02/11/12

      A few years ago a group of Nerds known as “Trekkies” had to sit through a reboot of their beloved franchise.

      The concept of Star Trek had slowly dried up and stagnated thanks to the lack of vision of it’s creators. The outcry from the shows fans was vocal in noticing this degradation of their once awesome favourite TV/film franchise and led to the eventual cancellation of the TV show (Enterprise). For more than five years, all Star Trek fans could do was read the occasional book or comic based in that universe and hope that The Great Bird of the Galaxy would smile upon Star Trek once again in the future…

      In the end, The Great Bird did indeed smile. Well, actually, it was because some people at Paramount realised that they had the rights to an intellectual property that had literally made them billions of dollars over a 45 year period and they simply wished to make more money. Enter J.J. Abrams and lens flares. Cue $400 million at the box office and the successful rebooting of said property.

      Were Star Trek fans happy?

      Yes. And no.

      And therein lies the problem with any fandom. You simply can’t please everyone all the time.

      I’m a massive Geek. I love original Trek, I love 70s Doctor Who and I love the original Star Wars trilogy. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of Abrams Trek reboot, the current version of Who or Lucas’ ridiculously self important prequel trilogy.

      Does that stop me from watching any of these properties or getting any less enjoyment from them ?

      Of course not!

      George Lucas selling his company and intellectual property over to Disney doesn’t alter anything. It means that one grumpy old man who had one really good idea that appealed to the masses, just made a lot of money and the biggest entertainment company in the world just got bigger.

      Big whoop!

      Seriously, Star Wars fans of the world, how can this deal be a bad thing?

      Disney cannot possibly stuff up the Star Wars universe any worse than Lucas had done so himself. Learn to live with change and disappointment people or you’ll end up with no beach to walk on.

    • Kika says:

      10:51am | 02/11/12

      I think that’s why geeks ARE geeks - they are resistant to change hence why they still cling on to things they loved when they were children, why they never grow up, why they still live in Mum’s basement…
      I am a semi geek. I love Star Wars and actually liked the Prequel trilogy. Let’s see what Disney do. Just go in with no expectation and leave with being satisfied that you were right, or leave pleasantly surprised.

      To me, as long as there are ewoks I will be happy. I love those things. Who remembers he 80’s Ewok cartoons. Man.. they defined my childhood.

    • TimB says:

      11:29am | 02/11/12

      “I love Star Wars and actually liked the Prequel trilogy”

      Both statements that apply to me. I understand what the prequel trilogy was trying to do. There were simply issues with the execution.

      ” why they still live in Mum’s basement… “

      A statement that does not apply to me. I’ve lived in my own place since I was 17.

      This isn’t about being resistant to change. It’s about the direction they’re taking. I’d be all for this for this move- If Disney weren’t going to ignore that which has gone before.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      03:14pm | 02/11/12

      Ewoks? Really?

      Ewoks have to be the absolute worst thing to happen to Star Wars to date. They ruined the third installment, I think Lucas was running out of ideas. I would very much like to see a remake of that, where the space bears get blown to shit by the empires superior numbers, tactics and technology. As it was it came across very, erm…. unrealistic.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      02:01pm | 02/11/12

      Just as long they put more Star Destroyers in the movies. Because in the end it is all about the military hardware. And teach Stormtroopers to shoot straight. Their bodycount is appallingly low…..

    • Belloq says:

      06:58pm | 02/11/12

      what about JONES!

 

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