The Rise of Reylo: The Toxic Heart of Disney's Star Wars

INTRODUCTION

Disney’s Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. Episodes 7, 8, and 9. The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker will go down as one of the most lucrative filmic trios ever made.  After buying the brand (along with the rest of Lucasfilm) in 2012 for a mere $4 billion US dollars, Disney immediately lurched into action, determined to churn out profit through the creation of a full three-film addition to the Star Wars “saga” by the end of the decade. 

But where The Force Awakens and its gross returns of more than $2 billion dollars only three years after the purchase suggested clear skies and smooth sailing for the franchise, Lucasfilm under Disney would soon find itself desperately searching for any port in the storm: The Last Jedi would be released to $700 million less than Force Awakens – Solo, another billion less than that. 

Correction was needed, and correction (of a sort) would be found in 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker, the end of what Disney would eventually call “The Skywalker Saga”.

But where the path to the dark side is quick, easy, and sometimes even successful, it is also corrupting, and with The Rise of Skywalker, Disney would eventually sell the soul of Star Wars…for a kiss. 

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Virtual Legality #38 – Lucasfilm Games, Electronic Arts, and the Future of Star Wars

With new job postings being made by Lucasfilm and Disney to staff up “Lucasfilm Games”, questions abound as to just what role Disney intends to have in the future of Star Wars video game production.

What is Lucasfilm Games, and what do the job postings have to say about the relationship between Disney and licensees like Electronic Arts?

How does an exclusive license to intellectual property (IP) work, when might Disney be able to get out of it, and most importantly, would it even want to?

What is brand management, and why do the job descriptions for the positions at Lucasfilm Games suggest a more robust licensor/licensee relationship rather than the opposite?

And what does it all mean for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the rest of the Lucasfilm portfolio?


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The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, and Heroism in the Age of Trump

While Rules of the Game is largely intended to reflect on the rules, regulations, and incentives that help influence our lives, occasionally something hits close enough to home that I feel compelled to write about it on this blog.  This is one of those times.

SPOILERS ABOUND

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NOW A (NOT SO) MAJOR MOTION PICTURE ON YOUTUBE!

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Let’s get this out of the way first.  The Last Jedi is a poor film (91% fresh!).  As a Star Wars film, it’s even worse.

Before breaking down The Last Jedi, I feel it’s important to make some disclaimers.  I have attended Star Wars Celebration.  Multiple times.  I have a robot BB-8 and a Millennium Falcon pillow. My wife dressed as Padme Amidala for the release of Episode II.  My Internet handle has been (and apparently always will be) a major Star Wars character.  From any angle in either my formal or home offices you can see something from Star Wars.

I am invested.

With that as context, I sat down last Thursday with hope in my heart ready to be taken on another journey to that galaxy far, far away.  While The Force Awakens was not my favorite Star Wars film, it was a decent enough re-entry for the franchise, and I was excited to see what the series could do outside of the long shadow of A New Hope.  I had no particular “theories” about where the story would go, or what Writer/Director Rian Johnson and Disney would do with some of the hooks that The Force Awakens had left to them.  I simply wanted to be told a good story.

Roughly three hours later, my excitement was largely dashed, and more than anything I was surprised to find how negative my reaction was.  I didn’t feel I had “over-hyped” the film in my own mind going in.  I knew that it had received strong critical reviews, but I had not read them, and I had been relatively luke warm (no pun intended) towards the two trailers I had seen.  But still, Last Jedi felt like a punch in the gut.

Only days later do I feel I’ve digested enough about the film to understand what I think went wrong.

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading “The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, and Heroism in the Age of Trump”