5 Horrible Ideas That Almost Killed Star Wars Forever
Imagine for a moment that George Lucas didn't sell the Star Wars franchise to Disney in 2012. Instead of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and the avalanche of other Star Wars movies about to get crammed down our throats, what would the franchise look like? What would the Star Wars fan experience be like now?
Would you believe it'd be a lot worse? Probably, yes. That sounds extremely plausible. Let's examine how.
Star Wars: Detours Would Have Plumbed New Depths Of Self-Mockery
There have been a lot of ridiculous parodies of Star Wars over the years, from Saturday Night Live sketches to Spaceballs to the time Donny and Marie fought disco-dancing stormtroopers with the power of song. But, with the possible exception of every home video re-release since 1997, George Lucas never tried to make fun of Star Wars himself.
But he was about to.
In 2012, months before the sale to Disney, Lucas announced a new Star Wars TV show called Star Wars: Detours. Not content with having some of the characters in Star Wars be ridiculous CG caricatures, Lucas enlisted Robot Chicken's Seth Green to distill his epic saga into a series of farcical cartoons. Think "stormtroopers complaining about the Death Star's lack of toilets" if you want an idea of the level of humor going on here.
That still too highbrow for you? OK, here's Obi-Wan Kenobi using his Force powers to hit on women.
That leads right to the dark side, Obi Wan. Come on, you know this.
The show was meant to have a Seinfeld-like setup, with all the characters hanging out in Dex's Diner, which you might recall as the bizarrely inappropriate '50s-themed restaurant from Attack Of The Clones. Just think that through for a second. Every episode would simultaneously remind the audience of both a better show and possibly the single worst part of the Star Wars universe.
"Are you still Sith master of your own domain?" -- a line which was fucking inevitable
But Detours was shelved after Disney bought the franchise, despite the fact that they'd already completed 39 episodes. Disney's reasoning was that they wanted new fans exposed to Star Wars through epic space battles of good vs evil, without diluting that experience with a show filled with ironic takes on their franchise's greatest heroes and villains.
Also, they may have been embarrassed by whatever the hell this is:
None of this is canon at all.
It's enough to make you wonder why diluting the franchise's value was no problem for Lucas. He was reportedly even pitching cannibalism jokes, and holy shit, we've been saying that about Star Wars for years.
Star Wars: Underworld Was Going To Be A Soap Opera About Mobsters
Announced way back in 2005, Star Wars: Underworld was going to be a live-action series about organized crime set on Coruscant -- which, if you don't remember, is the most populous and urine-soaked of all the Star Wars planets.
This was most decidedly not going to be a kid show.
It sounds incredibly ambitious -- something along the lines of The Sopranos, except with a bunch of rubber-masked gleep glorps in place of all the strong character actors. Lucas described the show as a film-noir-inspired "soap opera," and his producer called it The Empire Strikes Back "on steroids." And if that reads as "cliche-ridden," well, it seems they had actual writers on hand to smooth over that. Writers from24, The Shield, and even Battlestar Galactica's Ronald D. Moore were all involved with the writing, in addition to Lucas himself.
The finest writer of all time.
The show would follow original characters from warring mob families, but more familiar characters would also have cameos, including fairly significant ones. One writer revealed that Palpatine himself was going to show up, but as a more "sympathetic figure" who was "wronged by this fucking heartless woman."
Giving him the same motivation as the protagonist of many country songs.
Despite the fact that the team churned out 50 hours' worth of scripts, the show was eventually put on hold. Why? Well, back when it was his call to make, Lucas told his writers not to worry about budgetary concerns, which inevitably led to the creation of 50 hours of scripts with massive budgetary concerns.
Now the scripts are in Disney's hands, and while they haven't made any announcements on the matter, it seems likely that, given the potential production costs and their other ongoing plans, the backdoor dealings of Coruscant will have to remain confined to your Star Wars Monopoly games for the time being.
A FarmVille-Like iPhone Game ... But, You Know, Star Wars
The idea of a video game that makes you buy imaginary shit with real money sounds like the kind of cash-grabby brilliance George Lucas would have trademarked himself back in the '80s. But it wasn't him! And somehow, to this day, Star Wars still doesn't have a FarmVille knockoff in its roster of merchandise.
But it came close. At one point, LucasArts -- the game development branch of the empire which came packaged with Disney's purchase like those two-pack DVDs -- was developing Star Wars Outpost, a FarmVille-type game which would allow users to live out all their moisture farming fantasies.
Because that was the part of Luke Skywalker's life that we envied.
Leaked artwork also seemed to indicate you could play on Naboo, with the game presumably calculating land values based on your proximity to outdated racist stereotypes.
That canal goes through the center of the planet and adds +2 to Trade.
And of course, the game would also allow you to annoy the fuck out of your social media friends with invites, challenges, and requests.
And smug Jedi avatars.
More interestingly, the game would allow players to either support the Empire or the Rebels, and even "betray one another for resources." But before the world could descend into a series of fistfights over stolen moisture vaporators, the game was cancelled. We can't blame Disney this time, though -- LucasArts killed it before the sale, showing an uncharacteristic reluctance to tax the goodwill, joy, and enthusiasm of fans. But it doesn't seem like the kind of thing Disney's likely to revive, if you were holding out hope for the opportunity to send them several dollars an hour, for some reason.
The Star Wars Comics Were Really Getting Their Act Together When Disney Cancelled Them
Star Wars has had a checkered relationship with comics ever since some guy at Marvel decided that what the franchise was really missing was a giant green bunny rabbit character.
And you thought you knew Star Wars.
That's cherry-picking a bit, though. There have been many Star Wars comics with memorable high points as well. But those are no fun, so let's cherry-pick away. First, let's draw your attention to this the storyline which went way into the future to follow Luke Skywalker's drug-addicted descendant.
Or consider Star Wars Tales, which told non-canonical stories, such as the time Indiana Jones discovered Han Solo's rotting corpse.
Later, he'd become the biological father of both Jack Ryan and Dr. Richard Kimble.
Then there was the one in which Jar Jar Binks' dad shot himself in the head.
Can someone please do one non-horrifying things with the Gungans?
OK, that's enough low points. In 2013, Dark Horse, the publishers in charge of the Star Wars comic universe, decided to get back to basics with a series focusing on the original characters. Notably, it restored many of them to their original, most compelling characterizations. For example, Han Solo gets turned back into the cold-blooded badass we always wanted him to be. Even Chewie is horrified.
Unless that's an interrogative "Wharrr." Our Wookie is a little rusty.
And Darth Vader, whom we last saw cinematically as a whiny 20-something, is back to his evil, heart-stabbing ways.
Sadly, as soon as Disney obtained the rights, the series was cancelled and the Star Wars comics were handed back to Marvel. Yeah, the green bunny guys. They're back.
They've already given Han Solo an extra wife.
Up Until Disney Owned Star Wars, Disney Didn't Give A Shit About Ruining Star Wars
Probably the starkest illustration of how Disney's purchase will change the Star Wars universe is to look at how they were themselves handling Star Wars before. For example, you probably won't be surprised to learn that Disneyland will soon feature an entire Star Wars-themed section of the park, allowing visitors to enjoy the magic of flying the Millennium Falcon, visiting the Mos Eisley Cantina, or negotiating a trade dispute.
The lines will also stretch to a galaxy far far away.
But this won't be the first time Star Wars has appeared in their parks. First there was the Star Tours ride, and sure, that wasn't bad. But the same can not be said for Hyperspace Hoopla. Part of the Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Hyperspace Hoopla involved beloved Star Wars characters conducting dance-offs atop a stage built on the graves of all of our childhoods. How else do you explain both Darth Vader and Boba Fett doing Michael Jackson routines?
"That's no Moonwalk."
Despite being an abomination the likes the world had never seen before, the event became insanely popular and soon moved from its first home atop a tiny platform to a stadium-sized arena. It also apparently got way more sexual, as evidenced by this clip featuring Slave Leia dancing provocatively with her scantily-clad mother:
And here she is with -- sigh -- another goddamned Boba Fett.
Man, this isn't a theme park attraction, it's erotic slash fiction. And speaking of Slash:
"You're in the forest moon of Endor, baby! You're gonna die!"
Yup, that's Chewie dressed as Axl Rose and an Ewok dressed as Slash, because our culture can do nothing but regurgitate itself now.
The point here is that once Disney actually owned these characters and had a vested interest in the purity of the franchise, they shut all of this shit down, because it was terrible and stupid. Meaning that when you go to the new Star Wars Land, you won't be able to see Finn and Poe doing the Macarena on the Millennium Falcon.
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