Less than 48 hours after announcing their purchase of Lucasfilms (the production company responsible for the Star Wars franchise), Disney has unveiled a new character that will meld Pixie Hollow aesthetics with the power of the Dark Side.
Meet Fairy Princess Darth Vader:
Nah. I'm just yanking your chains, nerds.
That's me in my Halloween costume.
I'm including this photo because I want to make it clear: I like Star Wars. I don't love it as much as Star Trek, but I found Star Trek as a 10-year old dismayed to learn no further Star Wars films were in production.
Like most fans, I was giddy when -- after 16 Star Wars-free years -- the Phantom Menace was released in 1999. Unlike most Star Wars fans (especially those over the age of 35), I prefer the second trilogy (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith).
Episodes I, II and III are not perfect. But they are no more or less flawed than Episodes IV, V, and VI. The prequels have stunning visuals, nuanced narratives, complex themes, first rate actors, and fan-fucking-tastic special effects. In comparison, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are traditional, conservative, linear stories, with wooden acting and (even with remastered digital edits) they lack the sweeping magic of the later movies. "How much of the narrative did Lucas sacrifice because of budget and technological limits?," I often wonder. "Will we ever learn Biggs Darklighter's back story?"
Because of my preference for the later movies, and because I'm grounded in a fandom that is unsentimental, inclusionary and dynamic, I don't think Disney is going to ruin the Star Wars franchise. First of all, Lucas has long embraced the tenants of Disney's marketing department including big budget marketing, mass merchandising, and corporate tie-ins with fast food franchises. He was never a high-brow film auteur philosophically opposed to compromising his vision in the name of profit or notoriety. Secondly, Disney and Lucas have been working together since 1987 when the Star Tours attraction opened in Disneyland. Plus there are Star Wars Weekends at Disney World, the Jedi Training Academy shows and a huge souvenir shop in both parks with Star Wars kit. This has been a long time coming. Thirdly, the Clone Wars series shows that even without Lucas' micromanagement the franchise can thrive. Episode VII? Bring it on. Fourthly, Disney owns Marvel Comics, Pixar and the Muppets -- they know how to deftly handle brand ownership with minimal amalgamation.
It'll be fine. And if not, I'm going to sell this Princess Fairy Darth Vader idea to Disney for a few million dollars