Well, it was bound to happen at some point. I was listening to NPR while driving and heard a story about Lucas selling off Lucasfilm to Disney for 4.05 billion dollars. George Lucas will be kept on as a creative consultant. Wow. They reported that Lucas felt it was time to pass on the torch to a new generation of star wars fans or something to that effect.
Now initially I had my doubts about the future of Star Wars being in the hands of Disney with George Lucas being kept on as a creative consultant. I mean it's Disney. They make tons of those direct to video/DVD/Blu-Ray sequels. They said they will be making episode 7 by 2015 with a schedule to release a new film every 2 to 3 years.
Disney seems to enjoy gobbling up the popular properties. They have acquired Marvel and Pixar . They seem to have treated those licenses pretty well. They created some entertaining films what were very popular, popular enough to avoid the direct-to-video-sequel route. If this is any indication of how they will treat another already popular license, then we can expect to see some great new Star Wars films come out.
Speculating on the merchandising...well, of course we will still have the action figures. Disney film characters are turned into action figures, dolls, plushies, clothes, food, books, and just about anything else a kid can play with, wear, or eat. Under Lucas the Star Wars license has seen the same treatment. My concern is over the smaller companies. Will the fees become so large that Sideshow and Hot Toys will lose their 12" licenses? Will we be left with Hasbro's less articulated, less detailed, cheaper, more play oriented, 12" action figure style? Will Dark Horse be forced to abandon the Star Wars comics line? Will Star Wars become yet another Marvel title (actually will it go back to Marvel since Star Wars comics started off at Marvel)? Will Disney cut Hasbro out of the action figure line and go with a cheaper company? I picked up some of the Tron figures. While they had some cool lighting effects, they were a bit lacking in quality (missing parts, bent parts, some shabby paint jobs). On the other hand, Disney seems to have no shortage of merchandise. They might light the fire under Hasbro's feet to get them in line with better production and distribution.
Also, how will this effect the fan fiction community? For better and for worse, Disney is very protective of its properties. Will we see an Empire-like force choke on creativity from fans as cease and desist letters start going out? What about parodies and pop culture references? Will Robot Chicken get a slap down? Will Family Guy still have so many references to Star Wars? So many questions, so much can go right and so much can go wrong. What are your thoughts and feelings on this?