The Threeway: Things We Want to See from Disney/Lucasfilm Merger (Adam’s Take)

I’ve been giddy for a few days now. The Disney/Lucasfilm announcement…it’s like Christmas and Halloween had a baby. I’m a big Disney fan and grew up on a steady diet of “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” I’m the kid that obsessed over that giant ILM book back in the day. I bought a LaserDisc player just to have the original Trilogy in unedited, digital form.

Thus, I have some thoughts on this buyout. I have a list of desires longer than a Wookie’s arm. Here are the Top 3:

1) Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. This was part of the announcement and I am totally on board. Even more, I’m OK with Lucas serving as a creative consultant. The problem with the Prequels wasn’t Lucas, it was that no one said “no” to Lucas. No one was there to keep him in check. He isn’t a writer. He isn’t a director. He is a storyteller though. The story, the concept, that was his gift (that and business management, apparently). Allow him to breath some life into the idea and then PASS IT OFF.

I want a solid core creative team involved (NOTE: Not Seth Green). A team that can do the story design, writing, etc., and then team with solid directors to bring it to life. It’s too bad that Joss Whedon is tied up (at Disney, oddly) with Marvel Phase 2, because he would be perfect. I don’t want Nolan either. Or Bryan Singer (who just signed back onto “X-Men”). I don’t think I want Favreau either.

There a few people I’d be OK with, but the top of the list is Spielberg. I know, I’m a devoted worshiper and I’m blinded. But Disney just made his one of his long time producers, Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm and he was BFF with George. Announcing him as director…I’d explode like the Death Star in the Special Edition.

2) Some “Indiana Jones” love. Whereas “Star Wars” has stayed alive and become commonplace in theaters (new movies, re-releases), TV (“Clone Wars”), game, action figures, etc., Indy is regulated to pretty much the back room. I’m not saying I need another film. But, a “Clone Wars” style cartoon could be interesting. An Indy ride at Disney World would be nice. Something.

1) “Star Wars” Land at Disney World. Last year when Disney announced “Avatar”-land for the Animal Kingdom I was confused. I guess Pandora can fit into the Animal Kingdom, but it seems like a waste of money. Disney is grasping at a straw to combat Universal expanding the incredibly popular “Harry Potter” world. Then it dawned on me – Disney should make a “Star Wars” land. But, putting that much money into something they didn’t own doesn’t fit their M.O.

Now, however, they can. Licensing fees would be easy to arrange. They already have Star Tours at the Studios. Plus, they blow that place up for “Star Wars” Weekends every May/June; Hollywood Studios gets overrun with fans every year. So, obviously, there is demand. They could easily retrofit some parts of the Studios while creating new attractions. Some free food for thought for the Imagineers:

  1. Turn the SciFi Diner into Mos Eisley.
  2. Retrofit Pizza Planet for a “Star Wars” theme.
  3. Use the space for the “Muppets” to create a new “Star Wars” attraction (NOTE – I love the MuppetVision 4D show – but its time has gone).
  4. Take out the “Pearl Harbor” esque opening of the backlot tour and replace with something “Star Wars” or ILM focused.
  5. Have a “Star Wars” themed character breakfast.
  6. Replace “Once Upon a Toy” (at Downtown Disney) with a “Star Wars” store

Essentially, use the assets to bring new experiences to the Parks. This was a great start:

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The Threeway: Best Post-Buffy/Angel Roles

This might, might, come as a surprise, but we here at Sweep The Leg enjoy the works of Joss Whedon. Now while you cinch your jaw back up and pick yourself up off the floor, I would like to point out that we understand that carrying a torch for a pair of shows that have been off the air for nearly a decade is unhealthy, maybe even foolhardy. So we are not going to obsess about “Buffy” and “Angel,” no.

We’re going to obsess about what the alum of those shows have been up to since!

3. Can we talk for a second how unrepentant of a nerd Seth Green is? That wall of action figures in Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” video?  His. The Twitter feed that’s littered with gushing send ups of NASA and various video games? Also his. That stop-action animation show where you’re just as likely to see Voltron break dancing as you are Clifford being castrated by a bucket crane? You bet your ass that’s his. Green’s greatest hat trick was getting cast as the “cool” kid on Buffy; because he could then use his spotlight to illuminate hardcore geekdom and somehow convince everyone else that it was just as “cool” as playing in a band and occasionally wolfing out and trying to eat your friends. “Robot Chicken” was his first big production credit after “Buffy” ended and it seemed incredibly niche: 80s nostalgia-bait, as depicted by their action figures, acting out the horribly inappropriate scenarios that all nerds have entertained themselves with since time immemorial. But it worked, because he knew what all nerds know, pop-culture characters acting in ways that go deeply off-script is damn funny. Just queue up the…OK, you know what, I just spent a good 15 minutes lost in “Robot Chicken” clips and can’t even remember which one I went looking for. It’s funny, it’s nerdy, and it’s the best thing Green’s done since “Buffy.” M’kay?

2. Ah, Wes. Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndham Price was by far my favorite character in “Angel.” So much so, that I wrote up a long treatise wherein I proposed that the underlying story of that series was more of a character development arc for him than for the main character. So maybe I’m biased. Scratch that, I’m biased. Still, his character on “How I Met Your Mother,” Sandy Rivers, is goofy fun personified. It’s not quite an “Anchorman” quality send-up of network news anchors; but the barely-believable American accent and over-exaggerated mannerisms come together in a way that’s wonderfully watchable and makes me wish that they’d get rid of Ted and replace him with Sandy.

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Don’t Take the Detour

There’s a great disturbance in the Force. As if we needed more proof that Lucas is off his rocker… now comes a new show for the Cartoon Network: Star Wars Detours. And…. holy hell:

Words fail me. This… this… SEE! NO WORDS! This makes “Attack of the Clones” look like sheer awesome. (BTW – I used “Attack” as my reference because it really is the bottom of the barrel of the Star Wars Saga. For those who think otherwise… you’re just wrong.) At this point, I think we can safely say that Star Wars has jumped the Rancor.

I can say that the child inside me is crying, but what’s the point? Honestly, the kid inside me no longer cares. Hell, my kids don’t even care. I’ve tried indoctrinating my five year-old into the Star Wars Universe more than once. We watched “A New Hope” at his school (with other kids). He liked it – but it wasn’t the Gateway Drug he needed. “Clone Wars” on DVD? Nope. Star Wars Weekends at the Disney Hollywood Studios? Meh, in his mind. I even shelled out for “Phantom Menace” in 3D. Again, there was enjoyment (as much as possible with that one) but no further love. My point is… maybe it is time we all just stop caring. Lucas obviously has.

Any rate, this… wow. Where to start? Let’s start at the top. I assume that King George isn’t really involved in this. He saw something shiny and jumped at it. What’s his end game here? I can only assume one thing… NEW TOYS! Seriously, what else is there? There’s no way anyone has watched this trailer and thought “yeah, we need for 13 episodes.” But, my big takeaway from that preview? New character design (wretchedly awful character design, but new character design nonetheless).

The bigger problem is in conception. “Detours” comes from Seth Green (although it is an official LucasFilm production). Seems like “Robot Chicken” caught the eye of Uncle George and he said “yeah, let’s make that.” Only he missed the point. “Robot Chicken” is funny in doses and when the topics change. The “Star Wars” specials had a diminishing margin of returns already with each sketch (that’s an economic term for ya. Google it if you need to be edumacated). Creating a second hand off shoot of that… Is like taking a detour when you don’t need to.