Star Wars Weekends have started at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – and this year, not only is the “Carbon-Freeze Me” back, but they’ve added a new one, and this one looks even better – you can have your head scanned and be made into a Stormtrooper figurine!
Inside The Magic’s Ricky Brigante is planning on doing it again this year…can’t wait to see the results! And follow us on Twitter as we’ll be there in a few weeks, and we’ll be taking lots of pictures, and perhaps see a few friends as well!
After having closed down LucasArts, who produced a lot of the games in the Star Wars universe along with others, Disney has signed an exclusive multi-year deal with EA to produce future Star Wars games, who will farm them out to its game studios.
This follows the “licensing model” that Disney announced when it closed LucasArts. LucasArts already did some licensing – including to EA, whose BioWare division produced the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.
From the press release:
BURBANK and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 6, 2013 — The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) and Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced a new multi-year exclusive licensing agreement to develop and publish globally new games based on Star Wars characters and storylines.
Under the agreement, EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories.
“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come,” said John Pleasants, Co-President of Disney Interactive. “Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.”
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
In another I’m-not-dead-yet production, Disney’s remake of it’s own 1980 critical failure The Black Hole, which we last caught wind of in 2009, is still a work in progress. Scribe Jon Spaihts, who wrote the pre-Lindelof script of Prometheus and is also attached to a remake of The Mummy, is now working on the script previously written by Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans).
Joseph Kosinski (TRON Legacy and the upcoming Oblivion) is still attached to direct.
LucasArts, the LucasFilm division and computer game studio that brought us some classic games including many of the Star Wars titles, has been closed. New corporate parent Disney, who has shuttered some of it’s own game studios, announced the move today, canceling in-progress games like Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault and laying off all the staff.
It appears that Disney will instead concentrate on licensing properties to other game studios, which LucasArts had also done – BioWare/EA produced the current MMO game Star Wars: The Old Republic.
LucasArts produced some of my favorite games of yesteryear: I remember their very first game, Ballblazer (and programming a clone on my C-64 at the time). Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Dark Forces II was the game for which I got my first 3D video card, and the difference was amazing (and I still have the mini-lightsaber that came with it, and it still works, with the original batteries.) Secrets of Monkey Island was one of the more interesting early graphical adventures. and I loved combat flight simulators, so I was thrilled to pilot an X-Wing against the Empire…
More recently LucasArts was hit-or-miss. While scoring decent hits with some Star Wars titles like Knights of the Old Republic, Battlefront and The Force Unleashed (starring our friend Sam Witwer, currently starring in Being Human), it seemed to have issues when producing sequels to some games, in some cases forcing their releases too soon. And the release of Kinect Star Wars for the XBox 360, what seemed like it would be a slam-dunk for the Kinect motion platform to have players swinging their lightsabers in combat, turned sour as critics and players panned it…I mean, did they really need to include a “Just Dance” clone? Did Han Solo ever look less studly as when he dances to his own song??
While this doesn’t mean the end of Star Wars games, it will be interesting to see where it heads. Disney still has one game studio working – Disney Interactive – which is concentrating everything on the upcoming Disney Infinity, an expandable/collectible game that will compete directly with Skylanders. Whether 1313 or First Assault will ever be released is unknown.
Update 1/26: Disney confirmed the news late last night.
“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”
“I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller,” Goerge Lucas said. “He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”
Previously: An official press release has not come out yet, but pretty much every news outlet is reporting that it is pretty much a “done deal” that J.J. Abrams, currently in charge of Paramount’s rebooted Star Trek movie franchise, will direct at least one episode of the Disney-revived Star Wars franchise. J.J. has reportedly signed (or is about to) to direct Episode VII, the first movie up and currently being written by Michael Arndt.
I’m surprised that either side would have wanted one person delving into both of the top science fiction saga franchises there are, but still I like the idea. Not as much as a “Joss Whedon is my master now” Episode VII, mind you…but Disney is planning plenty more.
Update: Roberto Orci appears to confirm the story on Twitter:
— roberto orci (@boborci) January 25, 2013
There are some questions as to what this means for the Star Trek franchise, especially since Paramount has historically not liked to share their talent. It remains to be seen, but Star Trek: Into Darkness might be the last one that involves Abrams.
Here are some of the big and our favorite stories we covered in 2012…
I’ve been asked many times since the announcement that Disney would acquire Lucasfilm what I think of the news. I just haven’t gotten around to finishing this article…now that the feds have cleared the acquisition, I remembered
It’s no secret that I’m a big Star Wars fan (and of other Lucasfilm productions – heck, I still see humor in Howard The Duck…), nor is it a secret I’m a big Disney fan. As I mentioned to a certain Disney Jedi friend of ours, it’s two of our worlds colliding!
But is it a good thing? I think so.
Disney’s Bob Iger confirmed during a conference call that Disney, with it’s acquisition of Lucasfilm today, have already for treatments for three new Star Wars films, with the first planned for a 2015 release (a little aggressive I think) and the next two at two- to three-year intervals – and possibly more beyond that. But Iger also says they plan to make use of the franchise in other areas, including their theme parks (Disney/SW fans have been wanting a Star Wars “land” expansion for years), games, and other initiatives. Speculation is that some television will be involved as well, although it still seems unlikely that that live action series that everyone was all a-Twitter about thinking they had already filmed it will be made, unless Disney has figured out something…
He didn’t elaborate on the treatments for the movies, but everyone seems to think this is the fabled “sequel trilogy”. A bit of history – back after the original Star Wars became a blockbuster hit, and the second run was modified to include “Episode IV” in the opening crawl, Lucas explained that he had plans for nine (to as many as twelve!) stories, and since the original was actually the fourth story he titled it as such. He then said that after making episodes V and VI, then visit the first three, and after that he would see.
Over time, however, Lucas began to disavow that he ever had plans beyond Episode VI, and that anything after that would be “made up”. However, his desire to not revisit the idea seemed like him being tired of the process of planning and filming a whole trilogy, which he said takes about 9 years of his life, as well as the poor feedback he got from doing the prequels. And he insisted no one else would make them either. It could be that since he won’t be directly involved now (he’d be credited at least as a “creative consultant”, but that could be an honorary credit) he handed over his treatments for them to develop more.
Now the BIG question – who will take the reins? The first word that came to my mind? Whedon. Joss is already at Disney playing in the Marvel universe…
In a blockbuster deal just announced, Disney will acquire LucasFilm for $4.05 billion in cash and stock. Kathleen Kennedy, currently the co-chair of LucasFilm, will become the President and report to Walt Disney Studios chief Alan Horn.
The deal appears to be in line with George Lucas announcing earlier this year that he wanted to step away from LucasFilm and go back to “hobby movies”. Lucas said as part of the announcement, “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come.”
It is also being reported that there will be a new Star Wars film, to be released in 2015! No details, and it seems a little soon for something no one has heard of yet, but George Lucas has been mulling various ideas for a while…
Stan Lee Media, Inc. (which isn’t really related to Stan Lee himself, since the company filed for bankruptcy back in 2001), is swinging for the fences. The company filed a $5.5 BILLION lawsuit against Disney, claiming that Disney does not actually own the rights to Stan Lee’s creations, and therefore want all the profits from the massive movie hits that Marvel, and now Disney since they acquired Marvel in 2009, plus a declaration of full control over the characters. This directly affects the Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men franchises, and several characters in The Avengers.
This appears to be a continuation of lawsuits that started back in 2007. SLMI claims that when the company was formed, Stan Lee assigned all rights to his characters to the company. But later on, Lee assigned the rights to Marvel, the company he originally created and published all those characters. It all hinges on what Lee actually gave to SLMI – was SLMI created to work on new properties, or to administer the old ones?