Revisting My Thoughts on Disney Buying Lucasfilm

This week is my fifth blogversary! Yay! I thought it would be fun to dig into the archives for one of my most popular posts and see how time has treated it.

In November 2012, I posted about what I loved/what I hated about Disney buying Lucasfilm.

This post went viral on Stumbleupon. I believe it still holds the record for most hits of all of my blog posts. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one both excited and concerned about the change.

So how’d I do? Were my hopes/fears realized?

Let’s review:

Why I Love: More Star Wars films.

Yep, we got/are getting a bunch of those.

Why I Hate: More Star Wars films that may exist solely to squeeze every possible dime out of an existing franchise.

This turned out to not be a TOTALLY baseless fear. We are getting a Star Wars movie every year until…we stop getting a Star Wars movie every year, I guess.

The good news is the first two movies, The Force Awakens and Rogue One, are fantastic. The previews of The Last Jedi also look awesome. There is some doubt about the young Han Solo movie, especially since the directors suddenly quit (though it’s not too shabby that they were replaced with Ron Howard). So far, though, the movies have been made with lots of love.

Which brings me to:

Why I Love: There’s a whole generation of filmmakers who grew up on Star Wars who could revive the franchise creatively.

And…I was right! Not only the films, but the new novels, mostly written by Gen-Xers who were raised on Star Wars, have been stellar.

Why I Hate: There’s a whole generation of filmmakers who grew up on Star Wars who could finish it off once and for all.

Until we get a clunker, looks like this isn’t happening. I am a little concerned about Episode 9. Not feeling Colin Trevorrow as director. But he could always surprise.

Why I Love: Disney ownership has not negatively impacted the quality of Pixar and Marvel films.

Right again!

Why I Hate: This could turn out to be the exception to the rule.

It’s not—so far.

Why I Love: The possibility of the story continuing in a future time frame.

Yep, and it’s been terrific to have the new trilogy leap 30 years ahead.

Why I Hate: The possibility that they will do more prequels instead.

They are making prequels, but so far this hasn’t turned out to be a disaster, because Rogue One is a prequel and I totally loved it.

Why did it succeed, in my opinion? Because it told the story from the point of view of different characters, which is why many of the prequel Star Wars books are good, too.

Why I Love: Actors from the original films could appear in the new films.

As we all know now, they did! (Except for Billy Dee Williams, which is disappointing.)

Why I Hate: How old I’ll feel when I see the original actors in the new films.

Yeah. I felt pretty damn old seeing the original actors. You know what? It was also an exhilarating experience to see them older and both changed/not changed by time. They also did a great job melding the old and new characters together.

Why I Love: George Lucas won’t be directing the new films.

This turned out to be a very good thing.

Why I Hate: George Lucas is unlikely to have a significant creative role in making the new films.

Apparently, this also turned out to be a very good thing.

Why I Love: A revived Star Wars franchise could inspire a whole new generation.

This statement seems a bit silly to me now, since subsequent generations have always had Star Wars, with the old movies, games, TV shows, etc. My niece is a Millennial and a big fan. She once even schooled me on the difference between Jawas and Sand People. (Hey, I’m getting older, I forget details sometimes.)

Why I Hate: A whole new generation could reject it.

Nope, didn’t happen.

Why I Love: Darth Vader might appear on Once Upon a Time.

Why I Hate: Jar-Jar Binks might appear on Once Upon a Time.

Considering I quit watching Once Upon a Time a couple of years ago, I’m not entirely sure either has or has not made an appearance. Honestly, no big deal to me now either way.

Looks like most of my worries turned out to be baseless. Here’s hoping the franchise continues to thrive under the Disney banner.

This was a fun way to celebrate my blogversary! Thanks to all who have visited over the last five years. Looking forward to many more years of blogging!

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Goodbye, Princess Leia

Many years ago when I first heard of the death of Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, I was sad.

Not crushed, but of course sad that he had died so unexpectedly and at a relatively young age.

Continue reading “Goodbye, Princess Leia”

Debbie’s Totally Random and Completely Insignificant Pop Culture Awards of 2016

Yay, awards time! As always, these are about my personal preferences and just for fun.

The Television Episode that Kicked the Ass of Anything in Movies Award:

The Battle of the Bastards, Game of Thrones

Continue reading “Debbie’s Totally Random and Completely Insignificant Pop Culture Awards of 2016”

Darth Vader & The Lure of the Dark Side

This post is part of the Great Villain Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin, and Kristina of Speakeasy. See the list of participants for this event HERE!

Do I need to give a SPOILER WARNING for the Star Wars movies? Here’s one in case you need it, especially for The Force Awakens. If you haven’t caught up with it yet there will be some MAJOR spoilers.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away. . . a mixture of influences from Kurosawa films, Flash Gordon serials, and American Westerns became a pop culture phenomenon to match few others. A space opera with strong elements of fantasy, the Star Wars franchise uses the Hero’s Journey to create a new mythology for the modern world.

It also features one of the great movie villains of all time. Continue reading “Darth Vader & The Lure of the Dark Side”

Book Review: Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

MINOR SPOILERS ONLY FOR THE BOOK STAR WARS: BLOODLINE, BUT THERE ARE SOME MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS:

In a recent blog post about The Terminator, I cited Ripley from Alien as the first modern film action heroine—and she is the first who was the protagonist. But it’s Star Wars’ Princess Leia, in a supporting role, who’s the true seminal character in modern film.

Continue reading “Book Review: Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray”

Writers, Know Your Archetypes: The Hero

dorothy1939

1. Heroes often have an unusual origin story.

In spite of some people nowadays groaning at the origin stories in superhero comics and movies, they have a mythological basis. In folk lore and mythology, heroes may have an unusual conception. (Zeus was always turning himself into various animals so he could get it on with mortal women; several heroes in mythology were conceived this way.)

Or, they may be related to royalty, but for some reason are separated from their family. For instance, Perseus and his mother Danae are tossed into the sea by her father the king, because he was told by a seer that his grandson would one day kill him. Percy Jackson is a modern interpretation of Perseus, with a similar origin story (though his father is Poseidon, not Zeus). Continue reading “Writers, Know Your Archetypes: The Hero”

Thoughts on Star Wars Episode VII Casting

episodeVIIcast

Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th Be With You! I thought today would be the day that Disney would finally announce the new Star Wars cast, but they beat me by almost a week. They announced it April 29. (Which, by the way, happens to be my birthday!)

I’m going to start with the awesome parts of the casting announcement. (Only actors were announced; we as yet have no idea who they’ll be playing, except, of course, for the veterans returning from the original Star Wars trilogy).

Continue reading “Thoughts on Star Wars Episode VII Casting”

Pop Culture Roundup April 2014

StephenColbert

1. Stephen Colbert will replace Dave Letterman as host of the Late Show.

Dave Letterman announced he would retire in 2015 and people barely got time to speculate about who would replace him. It was quickly announced that comedian Stephen Colbert, host of The Comedy Channel’s Colbert Report, would be the new host. Continue reading “Pop Culture Roundup April 2014”

Pop Culture Roundup March 2014

oscarselfie

1. The Oscar telecast didn’t totally suck!

I was not crazy about host Ellen DeGeneres’ opening monologue (look, Liza Minnelli is fair game, but don’t insult her to her face on live TV where close to 1 billion people can see her reaction) but otherwise she did a good job. I thought the “selfie” segment was cute, and so was calling up for pizza. Both moments had genuine elements, such as nominee Lupita Nyong’o’s brother Junior jumping in with some of the biggest stars on the planet for the photo and a real pizza guy distributing the pizza.

Continue reading “Pop Culture Roundup March 2014”

Pop Culture Roundup January 2014

jesseplemons1. The Star Wars screenplay is finished! The Star Wars screenplay is finished! Commence hysteria about casting and other production issues! Director JJ Abrams announced that he and Lawrence Kasdan have finished the Star Wars Episode VII screenplay. Carrie Fisher confirmed that she will be in the movie and that shooting is supposed to start this spring.

Casting rumors abound. Realize with a movie like this, they see EVERYBODY. So news items that they met with this mega-star and that rising starlet and this beloved character actor usually mean nothing except that some meetings took place. However, there was one rumor–Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad) auditioning for the role of the young lead–that may have a bit of heat to it. JJ Abrams took the trouble to confirm the rumor. Plemons was amazing as Todd the sociopathic aspiring meth cooker in Breaking Bad. Fingers crossed that they reach a deal.

Continue reading “Pop Culture Roundup January 2014”

Pop Culture Roundup October 2013

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1. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan have replaced Michael Arndt as writers on Star Wars Episode VII. Normally, this would have totally upset me, because Arndt is one of the best screenwriters working today. He also proved with Toy Story 3 that he could freshen up a franchise while staying true to its spirit. However, this means Lawrence Kasdan—LAWRENCE FREAKIN’ KASDAN—who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, is back writing in the Star Wars universe, baby! So I’m over it.

2. Disney then sent fans reeling by refusing Lucasfilm’s request to push Episode VII to 2016. Panic about the screenplay not being ready and production being rushed ensued. Accusations that Disney cares nothing for quality were hurled across the internet. Until someone pointed out that completion of The Empire Strikes Back screenplay actually finished with a shorter lead time into the production of the movie. Phew, I was worried for a minute there. (Not really, but a lot of people were.)

3. Hey, maybe those petitions worked, after all. Charlie Hunnam quit the role of Christian Grey in the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey. About fifty different reasons were then offered for why he quit.

4. Hunnam was quickly replaced by Jamie Dornan. As I’m not a fan of the books, I have no dog in this hunt, but thought he was awesome during the first season of Once Upon a Time and was bummed when they killed off his character. Odd coincidence: one of the top fan choices for the role was Ian Sommerhalder—whose character Boone was killed off during the first season of Lost. Some of the writers of Lost are now the writers/creators of Once Upon a Time. (O.K., it’s not a HUGE coincidence, but I thought that was an interesting connection.)

WickedLogo6jpg5. The musical Wicked reached its 10 year milestone on Broadway. The story of Elphaba, who became The Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz and Galinda, who became Glinda the Good Witch, is at its heart about how friendships can profoundly change our lives. It’s also a sly political satire, a serious contemplation of female empowerment and a delightful comedy, with fun references to both the book and the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz.

While I’d love to see the show run another 10 years, I’m getting a bit impatient to see a movie version. With the setting of Oz it’s a no-brainer for a screen adaptation. I get that they worry a film could cut into Broadway and national tour box office. Personally, if a movie version existed I would still want to see the show live again. So get on it, Hollywood.

6. An open letter to all those who have been writing open letters to Miley Cyrus:

Stop it. You’re playing right into her hands.

Seriously. Stop.

7. THIS is a much better response to the Miley thing:

8. Jessica Lange announced next season would be her last with American Horror Story. Which on the one hand is a crying shame, and on the other a marvelous opportunity for other 50 plus actresses. One of the best things about American Horror Story (it’s been even more the case with this season’s version, Coven) is how much Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk excel at writing for women, particularly women of a certain age. Maybe Michelle Pheiffer or Susan Sarandon could be persuaded to join the ever-expanding list of amazing actresses on this show, which now includes Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Emma Roberts, Taissa Farmiga and Gabourey Sidebe.

boardwalk-empire-michael-k-williams-chalky-white9. Boardwalk Empire’s fourth season is helping me get over missing Breaking Bad.

The show’s reconfiguration since last season has been nothing short of brilliant. The underused Michael Kenneth Williams (Chalky White) has finally been brought to the forefront, with a new occupation (owner/manager of The Onyx Club) and a big storyline.  The sublime Jeffrey Wright is this season’s sociopathic villain, his smooth and cool Dr. Narcisse the polar opposite of Bobby Carnavale’s hot-headed Gyp of last season. Van Alden (Michael Shannon) has been lost at sea for a while but they finally figured out what to do with him: make him a reluctant member of Capone’s gang.

Add to that a ruthless agent working for J. Edgar. Hoover, a surprisingly poignant death, the missing Margaret suddenly popping up and crossing paths with Arnold Rothstein, Nucky’s empire expanding to Florida, Richard reconnecting with his lady love Julia, Ron Livingston as Gillian’s new love interest, Eli’s son starting on a path disturbingly similar to Jimmy Darmody’s, and it’s a fine balm to sooth my Breaking Bad is Over Blues.

Rock and Roll Diary: 1967–1980
Rock and Roll Diary: 1967–1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10. Marcia Wallace and Lou Reed passed away. She is better known today for voicing the character of Edna Krabapple on the animated series The Simpsons (her character will now be retired). But to me, she will always be Carol Kester, Bob Newhart’s kooky receptionist on The Bob Newhart show. Lou Reed was a rock musician who influenced no less than three generations of rockers. He’s probably best known for the songs “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Sweet Jane.”

11. On a personal note, I’m not participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but I’m doing this instead:

Project Reutsway Writing Competition

I still don’t get why the inventors of NaNoWriMo picked November—the start of the holiday season—with the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel. But I like this competition Reuts Publications is doing, where they issue a challenge per week to write a 2,500 – 5,000 word short story. You don’t have to participate in every challenge. The prize is inclusion in an anthology, with profits going to benefit a charity.

The overall theme and first challenge has already been announced. You can probably still sign up to participate. Click the link above for rules, prizes, information about the charity and the first challenge.

Good luck!

Why I Love/Why I Hate Disney Buying Lucasfilm

Why I Love: More Star Wars films.

Why I Hate: More Star Wars films that may exist solely to squeeze every possible dime out of an existing franchise.

Why I Love: There’s a whole generation of filmmakers who grew up on Star Wars who could revive the franchise creatively.

Why I Hate: There’s a whole generation of filmmakers who grew up on Star Wars who could finish it off once and for all.

Why I Love: Disney ownership has not negatively impacted the quality of Pixar and Marvel films.

Why I Hate: This could turn out to be the exception to the rule.

Why I Love: The possibility of the story continuing in a future time frame.

Why I Hate: The possibility that they will do more prequels instead.

Why I Love: Actors from the original films could appear in the new films.

Why I Hate: How old I’ll feel when I see the original actors in the new films.

Why I Love: George Lucas won’t be directing the new films.

Why I Hate: George Lucas is unlikely to have a significant creative role in making the new films.

Why I Love: A revived Star Wars franchise could inspire a whole new generation.

Why I Hate: A whole new generation could reject it.

Why I Love: Darth Vader might appear on Once Upon A Time.

Why I Hate: Jar-Jar Binks might appear on Once Upon A Time.