Prequel Fans Have Heard The Dog Whistle

Friday’s San Diego Comic Con TFA panel was carefully constructed to generate positive, even ecstatic buzz. All of those panels are meant to do that, whether it’s a rare appearance from a huge movie star, the debut of a two-fisted trailer, an ensemble cast appearing together, or goofy surprise stunts like the new Spiderman showing up to ask a question in costume.

If you went by the happy, even joyous tweets from those who attended the panel and the free show afterwards (complete with fireworks) or the geek media reports, it was the best thing since sliced bread. I felt a bit stung that I’d missed out, especially on the concert afterwards. It was in an outdoor area where I could’ve seen and heard the event, even if I hadn’t attended the panel. As I put it on Twitter, it felt like a friend threw a party but didn’t invite me.

But it’s Monday and instead of every Star Wars fan chattering excitedly about what we’re getting in five months, a lot of prequel/saga fans in particular are steamed over the tone of the panel and the behind-the-scenes video shown to the mostly-unwashed masses in Hall H. There were things in that video we’d not seen before, like a MUCH better shot of TFA Leia and various creatures. Larry Kasdan at least had the decency to bring up George Lucas a couple of times and acknowledge his genius. The film’s villains were introduced for the first time. Having Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford together again in one place was a reunion most of us thought would never happen. The rest of it though was relentless emphasis on “practical effects,” “real sets,” “real deserts,” and “tangible” stuff. Plus the video confirmed the presence of prequel basher/bully Simon Pegg. We’ve heard it before at Celebration in April and in various interviews but there was something about this particular panel that broke the eopie’s back and many people noticed the shade being cast on the prequels. Look at some of these comments and memes…it’s not just me or just the people who comment on SWPAS. I didn’t tell these folks what to say or believe and I don’t know most of them:

Today Clone Corridor posted this piece that flat out calls the panel/video content prequel bashing. I posted a link this morning on the SWPAS Facebook page and now it’s all over my feed. I haven’t seen anything like it.

As most of you have realized, this is calculated. They’re the top echelon’s talking points about TFA and they are most certainly aimed at tickling the ears of those who hated the prequels. I have no doubt about it. They cannot come out and say, “The prequels were a horrible mistake, we’re really sorry, and we’re going to do it right this time.” It would humiliate George Lucas. So they are being more subtle, promising they are going back to the old cookie recipe of a “used world” look, 1970s-1980s visual effects, on location filming, and bringing back the Star Wars “we all grew up with.” Ah, that’s another popular talking point…this has everything we loved about the original movies. It’s like listening to that Weezer song “Back To The Shack”: we’re sorry for our previous efforts! We’re getting back to basics and our roots, guys!

The emphasis on practical effects over CGI and green screen deliberately plays off of the prequel haters’ argument that CGI and green screen were liabilities. It’s also deliberately contrary to the PR behind the prequels that emphasized all of the cool stuff one could do with digital effects. Most of you reading this know the prequels had a mix of digital and practical effects. Even ROTS, which was the only Star Wars film without on location principal photography, used real world shots mixed in with digital and practical effects. But why didn’t this panel or the one at Celebration or in any of the media interviews about the film make the point that this film isn’t doing anything different from its predecessors? Because they know if the anti-PT crowd hears “we’re doing the same thing as Eps I-III,” that crowd will turn on TFA in a hurry. Disney and Lucasfilm’s top brass live in mortal fear of the hateboys. They know what these keyboard barbarians are capable of doing. So the suits are putting on the charm offensive, hoping to win over those disaffected fans by promising to give them “their” Star Wars back. And part of that is relegating the prequels to the crazy uncle attic, where they can only come out for lesser-seen material like books and comics. In four days at SDCC, I saw virtually nothing prequel-related from the various licensed booths. I’ll bet a moisture farm you won’t see a single PT alum anywhere near any of TFA’s official premieres (meanwhile, OT alum did show up for prequel premieres).

Part of the reason they are going the “Back To The Shack” route is of course to gin up anticipation without having to tell anyone anything about the movie. Friday’s panel was very light on substantive information. But trying so hard to win over OT-only base and keeping the mystery box shut is kicking up the hornet’s nest of prequel fans. We’re not stupid. We can hear the dog whistles loud and clear. Even those willing to give the benefit of the doubt are none too pleased at the direction marketing has taken. I’ve written before they think they can get away with it because most of us will see TFA at least once anyway. After what I’ve seen online over the past weekend, I’m starting to wonder if Disney/Lucasfilm has gone too far and if fans continue to get riled up like this, they can’t taken for granted anymore.

What’s really dumb about this whole thing is that Disney and Lucasfilm should worry less about geezer fanboys and more about kids whose formative Star Wars experiences were with the prequels and especially Clone Wars. I know this is anecdotal evidence, but at SDCC yesterday I was sitting at a table eating lunch and across from me were two boys with their dads. The boys were around eight or nine years old and they’d just bought some Clone Wars stuff in the exhibit hall. They weren’t talking about the OT or TFA, they were talking about Obi-Wan and Anakin.

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141 Responses to “Prequel Fans Have Heard The Dog Whistle”

  1. piccolojr1138 Says:

    (I’m french, sorry for grammar mistakes)

    I agree, and I’m now woken up ! I used to believe some prequel fans were too negative, but the panel and the new video have changed my mind.

    But I think they do that campaign for the medias and big websites, not just for some fanboys on social medias.

    They absolutely know there are many fans of the PT and TCW, that’s why they keep it canon and that’s why Rebels, the books, Disney Infinity et al. all reference the prequel era.

    And they know there is fan outrage for every big franchise movie, not just the SW prequels. Look at the comments about Jurassic World, The Hobbit or whatever.

    But their worst fear was that the medias would ruin the promotional campaign of TFA, by bringing back the prequels controversy again and again. They didn’t want titles like “Will J.J. ruin our childhoods with CG again” everywhere. So they gave exactly the kind of talk which permits to avoid that.

    The worst consequence (and I didn’t predict that at all) is that it will certainly be permanent. With TFA, Abrams is creating a new Star Wars universe. This is 1999 again, in some ways. Abrams is doing an expansion of the original trilogy which completely ignores the sixteen last years of the franchise. Look at the teasers, the behind-the-scenes stuff, even the leaks and spoilers : there is absolutely nothing which comes specifically from I, II or III, not even an extra alien in the back.

    Once this brand new cinematic universe is created, they will care even less about the prequels. Some novel or comic stuff will tie the different eras together, but the films will follow TFA’s path. It’s over ! George Lucas’ vision is almost completely fucked… at least for the next decade.

  2. zch81721 Says:

    I’m glad to see this is starting to bite them in the ass. I think we are in for a huge disaster though. Sorry for this long post.
    1) Us. I’ve stated how my patience with Disney is running thin. I am going to still see this movie but I have the lowest expectations. After that and if this movie is as bad as I think it is I will be done. No sequels, no spin offs. Done. I was worried about everyone else but I am glad to see more people are coming out and talking about this. As you said we will still go see it but probably only once. And if our support starts dropping off so will their profit.
    2) The hateboys. I think they are going to be in a rude awakening that the hateboy population isn’t as large as they think it is. Of course they will go see it but then comes my next point. This movie has a lot of hype riding behind it. Not only is it facing the same amount of insane hype as TPM did but tact on 16 more years and the fact that this movie some how has to justify those 16 years of hatred. Yep that is not going to happen. If George Lucas couldn’t please these people what makes you think Abrams can. That guy is the master of disappointment. Couldn’t even fulfill the hype of his own sequel. I have a Star Trek friend who wants his head on a pike because of Into Darkness. Let’s also not forget the fact that Abrams is a liar. “No, Khan’s not in the movie guys.” I and many others know you can not do a film of this size without using CG. And let’s not forget how they’ve been keeping quit about the CG character. So as soon as this movie comes out expect them to turn hostile.
    3) The general audience. As I said yesterday in the open thread and on my facebook page I don’t know a damn thing about this movie’s story or characters. I think this spells disaster. Unless their marketing attitude changes general audiences won’t give a shit. Again as we’ve seen with Jurassic World the general audience doesn’t give a shit about practical effects. And the new kids, you know the ones buying the toys, aren’t going to give a shit about the fact that you got the original trio back because they don’t know these characters. I know people complain about trailers giving away too much but we’ve also seen what happens when you give too little. People just don’t give a shit because they don’t know anything about your movie. 2 examples of this are, Disney properties in fact, John Carter and Tomorrow Land. Now some will still go because of the brand but don’t be surprised if some familys decide not to go. How many companies had brands that they thought were secure but turned out it wasn’t as secure as they thought.
    4) Timing. If you follow box office trends you know that the Winter box office is a completely different ball game than the Summer. People are saying this will make maybe 500 million (those are the numbers I am hearing, probably worldwide). I don’t see it given the winter box office atmosphere. Hobbit: AUJ wasn’t able to make it to 100 million on it’s first weekend here. Also it’s not like geek media journalism has been wrong about box office before. Pacific Rim = whoops, Mad Max = whoops. Still made money but not to the degree they were thinking.
    So yeah I’m seeing warning signs all over the place. And as we’ve discussed Disney has a lot riding on this. It will of course make money off the brand but I have a feeling it won’t make as much as they are hoping. Case and point Amazing Spider-man 2. Sony had a lot riding on that film. They tried pleasing the fans, they tried pleasing the general audience. They thought they had a bullet proof brand. They had sequels and spin offs planned. And what happened. The movie was a disaster. It still made a lot of money but nowhere near what they were hoping for. Then they had a big enough drop off that they got beat by a R comedy frat boy movie. For a studio that is humiliating. I’m thinking the same thing will happen. With all these factors I just mentioned. I’m expecting an above average opening for a movie like this but not what they were expecting and a huge drop off the second week. That’s just my theory.

  3. Noah Says:

    “I was sitting at a table eating lunch and across from me were two boys with their dads. The boys were around eight or nine years old and they’d just bought some Clone Wars stuff in the exhibit hall. They weren’t talking about the OT or TFA, they were talking about Obi-Wan and Anakin” Even as a twenty-and-a-half year old, I am in the same boat as those little boys (and if any tumbler person is on hear and offended by the word “boys”, please go over to that corner with the anti-prequelers… okay). I was introduced to Star Wars via “A New Hope”, and before that played the arcade at Chuck E. Cheese (not knowing what it was), I have a more personal connection to “The Phantom Menace”, “Attack of the Clones”, and “Revenge of the Sith”. Even when it messed with the facts those films established, Dave Filoni’s “Clone Wars” was still a great show, and it even did matters that I-III did not (like further development of Jar Jar’s character. I can forgive AOTC, but he should’ve had a bigger “good-bye” in the film afterwards). Plus, that trilogy had amazing locations, lovable characters, awesome designs. They are one of the biggest inspirations for me for the fiction I create.

    • Frida Nyberg Says:

      I’m a “tumblrer”, but I have no idea why I should be offended at the word “boys”, or why I should go sit with the hateboys.

      • Noah Says:

        I was making a joke about the PC extremist on tumbler who get offended by EVERYTHING! I am aware of the nice decent tumbler people (some of my DA friends use tumblr). Plus, unless I am wrong, it is one of few or so average sites that shows love towards the prequels.

  4. Mindless Droid Says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. They lost me with how they treated The Clone Wars. First we were told it was “winding down” a nice little way to tamp down fan protests and has anyone official ever said the c- word.Then since animation is made somewhat ahead we were told we’d see some “bonus content” how is getting less a bonus. That will stick in my craw for a long time and then on top of that the “bonus content is released on DVD as “lost missions”. Really someone find for me in those 13 episodes anything that could be considered a lost mission. The lost missions are the episodes that weren’t made. It felt to me like this was done on purpose as an inside joke or something.
    How anyone not bias could look at the work being done on TCW and not see what was there seems impossible to me. So Rebels and I respect a lot of the people involved in that show this is more because of the decision makers/bean counters will always be that “you don’t want to watch TCW you want to watch this show” to me.
    What I don’t get is why they feel the need to do all this. The nostalgia factor alone would drive people to this movie. Plus it’s Star Wars. It’s like Nixon in 72 he was going to win why Watergate it.

  5. bansheegun Says:

    This would be easier if more fan sites and nerd blogs joined us and wrote about this. I fear that they are too afraid of losing precious Disney-Star Wars access to criticize the Sequel Trilogy and subsequent cash-cow films. I could see the Star Wars Underworld doing something, but they’re really not as legit as say a or a in the internets eyes and even they would have to have some convincing. And I doubt RebelForceRadio will, just based off their “whatever” reaction to the Gary Whitta controversy. It’s hard to have a voice when the ones who control the media are afraid to use theirs.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I think some sites want to be positive about the whole thing and don’t want to believe the worst. Some of them have been shellshocked by frequent fan whining and controversies, some of them want their Star Wars to remain full of sugar, hope, cupcakes, puppies, butterflies, kittens, macarons, and magic pixie dust. And yes, some really want to remain in the good graces of the suits.

      We’re a long way off from having someone on the Nerdist or God help us, i09, to really help us very much. Unfortunately.

  6. Keith Palmer Says:

    There are times when I fear all of this is just a matter of getting the ostensible tastemakers to interpret the final blend of effects as “good effects” instead of becoming hostile to them because they were offended by a character defined as a certain kind of special effect, and another assumption connected to that is that people like us who insist we’ve liked all six Star Wars movies obviously have no taste and will go and see anything anyway…

    Still, it did so happen that just this weekend I was reading a sort of “arts, culture, and history” magazine from 1960, and there was an article in it in which a movie critic suggested the drop-off in box office was because movie-makers weren’t using the “pan from a real close-up to a real vista” of D.W. Griffith, instead using process shots… “Plus ça change, plus c’est la mecirc;me chose.”

    • Keith Palmer Says:

      …And the more thing change, the more they really do stay the same, on seeing I mangled the second accent.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      LOL! As though audiences even know what the hell the critic was talking about.

      • Keith Palmer Says:

        I’m sure the response would be “it was all subconscious reaction, don’t you know?” 😉

        Again, though, I do sort of find myself wondering if someone who’s constructed a relatively detailed “prequel critique” would see this relentless emphasis on “effects” as even being aware of their negative interpretations of “plot,” “character,” and “dialogue.” Even they still seem to be asked to take everything else on faith. (At the same time, though, that does make me wonder if the emphasis has been “calculated,” and maybe even somehow “unrepresentative,” to the point where we’re overreacting too…)

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Nope, I don’t think we’re overreacting. OT-only fans are taking it the same way, only they see it as a plus not as a negative.

  7. Heidi Says:

    Disney has been dead to me since the Pixar takeover, that’s how long I’ve had my eyes on these guys, and how far back my distrust goes. My anger was only further cemented in the cancellation of Tron (twice, the show and the sequel) and our beloved Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The takeover of the franchise was when I realized how great the struggle was going to become here on out.

    What I just can’t understand about the prequel hate, and this absurd marketing campaign to maligned those movies only to boost their own is; I can’t remember a time I’ve seen a film (and the makers of) go to such lengths to bury another film. Why? Why can’t they just make their movie. All the PR I’ve ever heard from TFA starts out but dissing and pissing on the prequel trilogy? All this effort… it’s screams unprofessional. If I wanted to create a masterpiece, why would I waste my time dumping on another artist right up to the end. I thought one film would so time consuming there could be no room for such antics. And worst of all it’s Star Wars against itself, not some entirely different syfy franchise.

    I can’t stand the repeated arguments verbatim. Since when did CGI become a demon, it’s simply a tool. Pixar had to defend it’s self once when other companies complained that their computer animation techniques were putting animators out of business. Such nonsense, it was only ever a tool to tell a story, and excellent stories at that! George Lucas should be praised for his innovative use of CGI at it’s time, not hated.

    But then I hear, ROTS, which had the most effects shots and CGI use of the three, is the movie that is best received among the haters, I just can’t understand why? I thought CGI, in their opinion made the film worse?

    Does Disney really believe nobody has any love for the GL’s 1-3 movies? I heard Disney was releasing all six films over in China in preparation for TFA. For a country that has little to no exposure of SW, I can bet you they’ll be far more fond of the PT than the OT. For one, normal people don’t carry geek culture prejudices, so newer looking films will likely do better than older films, simply because they are relateable to young audiences. China’s best films right now are on par with Attack of the Clones for CGI. And two, I’ve seen so much love for PT come from the east. It’s such a different culture here in the west, I can see why people might presume the hate is so great when it’s bubbled in north america–a culture that wastes much time on the unimportant things in life.

    I won’t be seeing TFA, and I never was planning on it. At this point I can only see it as giving them what they want.
    For a company so big on “family values” I’m and intrigued and appalled at the same time when they start making statements suggesting one child’s memories are better, in fact more important than another’s.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I wish they could just make the movie and talk more about how this is carrying on the Skywalker legacy with another generation and weave a tighter tapestry of all of the films.

      • Heidi Says:

        That would be nice. I much preferred it when the hate wasn’t being generated by the franchise itself. I used to be content knowing that I could at least ignore the hate from the “fans”, the company itself was only ever happy to talk and dish about all six of their films, they would never hate on themselves.

        But that’s not the case since Disney bought out and took the lead. And Disney’s played dirtier than I’ve ever seen. It’s almost as if they couldn’t care about how they come across.

        I miss the old days when episode 1-3 was the SW for the new generation, linking the old.

    • Noah Says:

      Heidi, I have had it up to my eyes-and-ears with what The Mouse & Abrams are doing (and sadly Kennedy to). I don’t wish for something to fial, but seeing “The Force Awakens” may be giving them what they want! And I had hopes of seeing this with my youngest brother and sister (if it was PG… but, the next rating up is what brings in dough to the box-offices). Plus, I find obnoxious hypocrisy in their marketing. “Oooooooh we’re using PRACTICAL EFFECTS…” film has computer-images, “Only the ORIGINAL movies are canon!”, then why will JAR JAR’s bones be in the film if he never-existed? Also, they will be putting a Star Wars film out every single year! Having too-many spin-offs can hurt a cinematic series (that is my fear for X-Men, which FOX wants to turn into their own MCU) And yes, Disney is really stuck in a confused time…. canceling shows like Tron and having the SAME TEEN SITCOM CONTINUOUSLY REINCARNATED OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!

      (Also, Heidi? My friend from DeviantART, along with your sister Tiffany?)

      • Heidi Says:

        You make a good point about Jar Jar. A lot of their statements are rife with hypocrisy, but it’s all stemming from that same branch of hate the geek culture spews, which is in up to it’s eyeballs in hypocritical statements.

        It’s me. I had a hunch this was soniclone talking. 🙂

      • Frida Nyberg Says:

        Have they ever actually said they don’t consider the prequels canon?

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Noah, the actual quote from Abrams is, “We treated the films, especially 4, 5, and 6, we treated those as canon.” For one thing, Abrams doesn’t get to decide what’s canon…Eps I-VI were canon as he walked in the door. He doesn’t get to change that.

        On the one hand it can be argued that this movie is based more on the events of IV-VI because it’s a sequel to those films. On the other hand, it could be seen as yet more passive-aggressive PT haterade.

        But as I’ve been saying, intent doesn’t matter here as much as perception.

      • Noah Says:

        Lazypadawan, thank you for clearing that up, and forgive me confusion and conclusion-jumping.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        It’s okay. It was plenty misquoted in the lamestream media.

    • Noah Says:

      Thank you, and that is also a nic… a excellent…. a reasonable way to sum the same issue up.

      YAY! Glad to talk with you again 😀 😀 🙂

  8. Eduardo Vargas Says:

    I hope you are right Lazy, and that this comes to bite them in the ass!!

    Now if only someone like Bryan Young would interview JJ, and get the word on what the hell is really going on behind the scenes.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I don’t really wish this movie to fail and I hope it turns out for the best but there’s a part of me that’s never going to forget what they’re doing now.

      • Eduardo Vargas Says:

        Well yeah, I wouldn’t like for it to necessarily fail either, but I do hope with what you said that if they continue with the practical effects, they won’t be capable to take us for granted and they’ll have to address us

  9. Brian47 Says:

    I’d prefer to relax and be patient in this situation. Sure, the “Star Wars” pendulum has swung back to the OT, but even if somehow Lucas himself was still in charge and guiding this new trilogy it’d be the same because it would still feature the OT cast and occur post-ROTJ. This was bound to happen, but I’m sure there will be balance in the near future.

    TFA is just one project currently out there. “Rebels” pays homage and continues with many elements of the PT and TCW, plus there are the new novels and even the “Kanan” comic book series. That era has been minimized but has not been forgotten. This is just the first round of what will be many “Star Wars” projects in the future. I’m willing to allow and enjoy the OT indulgence, but as with all things it will run its course too. We may see a time when new movies on the Old Republic emerge or an Obi-wan stand-alone or perhaps even a live-action Clone Wars movie. The next few years are mapped out, admittedly, with the ST and next few anthology films but beyond the sky’s the limit, new people will start working on various “Star Wars” projects and that diversity will bring difference of opinion.

    • madmediaman Says:

      Sorry, under George’s reign I never had problems finding OT t-shirts, mugs, or other merchandise. Can’t find PT merch with a handful of exceptions.

      Like I’ve always said, Disney is fine putting PT references in books, comics, or in Rebels because the audience is extremely limited. But mainstream access to anything PT is pretty much dead.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I’d like to believe that buuuut….

      !) I’m in my mid 40s. I don’t want to have wait until I’m 92 years old and wearing diapers until Disney decides it doesn’t really hate the PT after all. For that matter, wouldn’t it be nice if there was broader appreciation for those films while LUCAS is still alive and not long after he’s gone?

      2) Shifting attention back to the OT-era is one thing but this is going way beyond that. And in any case, while the new flick stems from the OT era, it’s not the OT era any more than the PT (which also spring from the OT era) was.

      3) I think the story group has far more control over books and comics than it does over features, while features are in Alan Horn’s, Kathleen Kennedy’s, and JJ Abrams’ hands. Do you see any of them jumping at the gate to return to the same era? Rebels has Dave Filoni in charge, which is why the PT and CW are not ignored on that show.

      • madmediaman Says:

        If anyone seriously believes Disney’s Live Action Studio Division is going to be beholden to the Star Wars Story Group I’ve got some lovely beach front property in Phoenix, AZ to sell you.

        It’s the other way around; the Story Group WILL eventually conform to the wishes of the studio. I firmly believe what little Prequel related material or references out there are simply filler to keep younger fans happy.

        Disney Infinity revealed their hand with the Clone Wars related releases for the game. The reason they chose Anakin, Ahsoka, etc, is because kids are familiar with them, and they needed a stop gap since kids largely don’t care about OT related stuff.

        Eventually (or at least Disney hopes) Disney wont need to reference the PT at all since they will move forward with stories post-Jedi, or go further back in the Star Wars timeline… the PT will all but be a memory with practically ZERO references.

        Heck, at this juncture in about 3-5 years I’d love to approach Disney about a tee-shirt and poster license for ONLY PT related merchandise. Bet the license cost would be a throw away and I could make a mint giving fans what they want.

  10. PrinceOfNaboo Says:

    I won’t go to see TFA this year, that’s for sure now, and if only one “reliable” review gives the information they treated the PT nearly as bad in the movie as in the marketing, I also won’t go to see it in 2016.

    Sorry, but Disney, KK and JJ have just proven to have no class and I won’t support this.

    • Chris N. Says:

      Same. I just got tired of all this bullshit and hypocrisy. I’ll be voting with my wallet.

      “A real desert.”

      Such ignorance…

  11. Edward Diego Says:

    The preferred ‘Effects Method’ is one of the most important artistic choices a Director can make. The way the Effects are done is -hands down- the prerogative of the Director. So if we respect GL’s way how he did the Prequels, we should trust / wait how JJ is doing TFA. If he wants to go back and use some of the old methods i’m fine with that. I won’t judge TFA until i saw the whole movie. The Sequel Trilogy could be (in terms of technology) the best of both worlds: OT & PT. Remember what Mark Hamill said in the Comic Con Reel: the will use evolved technology (CGI) and keep one foot in the Pre-Digital World (Practical Effects).

    • Hunk a Junk Says:

      The problem, Edward, is that JJ’s “method” is a lie. The PT used plenty of practical effects and TFA will use TONS of CG. So the issue we’re having isn’t about what’s IN the movies, it’s about JJ and Kennedy boasting about “practical effects” when it’s such a blatant lie and really just a backhanded way of saying, “We’re not making the movies you hate, fans, like the prequels.” And the ironic thing about Hamill’s line in the reel about “real sets” is he says it right after a CG shot of the Falcon parked on the ground!!!

      • Edward Diego Says:

        I understand what you mean, but i think it’s harsh to denounce Abrams/Kennedys promotional TFA quotes as Lie. They never said that the PT did not use ‘Practical Effects’. It’s a subjective matter of us – the fans – that we tend to link their quotes to the PT haters. And i think that triggers so much fear & frustration towards TFA. Fear leads to Anger. Anger leads to Hate. Hate … you know what comes next.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Ah, but they didn’t say the PT used practical effects either. Why not just say, “What we’re doing is a continuation of what was done in ROTJ (actually the first film to combine computer effects and models) and the prequels?” Bryan Young told me he is writing something about the PT practical effects (either for or the Insider, not sure which) which tells me there may be some Lucasfilm-ites who don’t like any of this any more than many commenters here do, but it won’t get the quite the same fanfare as a Hall H panel.

    • Chris N. Says:

      But they aren’t “old” methods. They aren’t “returning” to anything. Pratical effects were used in all six movies, even more so in the PT. But they don’t want to educate the ignorant fans. They chose to feed on their ignorance and indirectly trash the prequels in the process.

    • piccolojr1138 Says:

      Lucasfilm and Disney aren’t naive, they know the medias will take it this way, and they do nothing to deny it.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I don’t care so much what Abrams’s artistic choices are, though Star Wars has always pushed the envelope of what’s possible and Abrams doesn’t seem terribly interested in that. But it’s obvious this is beyond Abrams’s usual MO and it’s being promoted as a huge selling point to geeks and older fans who want retro flair (never mind that was once cutting edge).

      • Edward Diego Says:

        It wasn’t Star Wars that pushed the envelope of what’s technically possible – the directors of those movies pushed the technical envelope. Star Wars is the outcome of artistic choices. For the Prequels George used the methods he needed to tell his stories and so will JJ use the methods he’ll need to tell the story of TFA. Different directors use different methods. Merging CGI & Practical Effects (well done by The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) can also be a technical envelope that needs to be new defined.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        “It wasn’t Star Wars that pushed the envelope of what’s technically possible – the directors of those movies pushed the technical envelope.”

        Semantics. Same result.

  12. Hunk a Junk Says:

    Kathleen Kennedy serves one master: Disney shareholders. It’s her job to put butts in the seats and make TFA the biggest hit possible. She knows (and Disney and JJ too) that people who liked the PT are going to see this film. They really don’t care about us. The people they’re worried about are the disaffected and the ones disappointed by the PT. They need THOSE people to not only come back but come back again and again and again. They need THOSE people shouting from the rooftops, “STAR WARS IS AWESOME AGAIN!” That’s what’s driving ALL of this. Kennedy knows damn well how much practical work was done on the PT — she was THERE! There are pictures of her visiting the Ep1 sets. LP, is completely right. This is just a dog whistle way for Kennedy and JJ to send a clear message to the fans that “we’re not making films like the prequels” without directly throwing George under the bus. The problem is that it’s such an obvious lie (the internet exists — there are pictures!) and they’re waaaaay overselling it to the point that their real intention is clear. I can understand their reasoning, from a business perspective, to a point — I don’t think it’s necessary and I think it’s a BS backhanded way of marketing — but I understand it. What I DON’T understand is sticking Simon Pegg’s smarmy face in there. THAT is a clear slap at George Lucas. Let’s put the poster boy for all the PT hate not only in the marketing but IN THE MOVIE! That, combined with George’s complete withdrawal from the project (early on it seemed he’d have some creative input), suggests that he and Kennedy might have a rift going on. Kennedy has had them before on other films, so it’s not out of the question. If Kennedy and Lucas were on good terms, there would be something coming out about Lucas visiting the set or stopping by to see the footage. At the very least she’d put out something cordial like, “George and I have talked about the story and he couldn’t be happier.” JJ has been happy to have his picture taken with Lucas in the past or be seen getting advice — but not now. On a Star Wars film. Simon Pegg now gets more mentions about Star Wars than George Lucas — from the people in CHARGE. That’s telling in a BIG way. We’ll know in early December when premieres and big PR events start happening. If Lucas is nowhere to be seen, then yeah, he and Kennedy have called it splitsville. Lucas will stay classy and release a statement saying he’s seen the film and liked it, “Good job, everyone,” but I’ll predict now there won’t be any pictures of Kennedy alongside her “executive producer” (assuming they still give him that credit). Maybe it’s because I’m a child of divorce, but I can always tell when mom and dad are fighting. The big tell is when they start loudly ignoring each other.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Interesting theory.

      But I completely agree…this is about winning back the PT haters and they don’t care if they have to step on those who loved them or worked on them to do it. Alan Horn, the head of Disney’s motion pictures division, is Kathleen Kennedy’s boss and there’s already a history of a issues between them. She’s got to deliver or else.

    • maychild Says:

      Kathleen Kennedy is so immersed in this “Practical Practical Practical!” hype that she actually said that there is no CGI in TFA at the SD Comic Con. To his (small) credit, JJ Abrams corrected her. Of course, we don’t hear anything about that. CGI will not touch that movie…Saint JJ would never allow that, insist the hateboys and their representatives in the media.

      Of course, the self-styled CGI bloodhounds gushed all over the teaser trailer for TFA, overlooking the blatant CGI in it, saying they don’t mind CGI if it’s used in a more limited capacity. Bullshit. They don’t mind it if it’s being used by anyone other than George Walton Lucas.

    • piccolojr1138 Says:

      If you have the source for Kathleen Kennedy visiting TPM set, I’d be very interested. Thanks in advance :

      • Hunk a Junk Says:

        I believe she’s in the “beginning” doc on the TPM DVD. I’ll look for some other pics. She was there with Frank Marshall and Spielberg.

    • Kim Says:

      I think they are taking a lot for granted in thinking that PT/Saga fans will go see TFA after all their nonsense. I grew up on the OT (8 years old when ANH came out) and love the PT. I have watched the movies countless times and spent ridiculous amounts of money on merchandise, for myself and various kids in my family. There are parts of the EU I loved, and parts I didn’t care for, but I have nearly all the (Legends) books. So it’s not that I was opposed to new stories, or enraged if I didn’t care for a particular story. I really liked Clone Wars, and the treatment of it by Disney alienated me. Then, all this hater crap at Celebration and SDCC has totally made me indifferent to anything to do with the “new” Star Wars. I don’t have any desire to hang out on the internet and bash the new films or books, etc., but I also don’t have the slightest desire to watch/read them, either. For me, I’ve got a complete saga that I love and EU stories to choose my personal canon from, and nothing they do can take that away, but I never would have believed a new Star Wars project would be imminent and I couldn’t care less.

  13. madmediaman Says:

    Reblogged this on One Saga – An Exploration of the Star Wars Saga and commented:
    Great article by Friend of the Blog… Lazy Padawan

  14. lazypadawan Says:

    If there was ever a doubt…here’s from one of the set designers who also spoke at SDCC, but on a different panel:

    “J.J.’s mandate from day one was authenticity and being as true to the original trilogy as possible. And he felt the prequels were flawed by the fact that they had every [CG] tool known to mankind and used everything at their disposal. I use the metaphor of disco when the synthesizer came about and everyone was using it in any way possible. And I think J.J. wanted to reconnect with how the original films were made.”

    • Hunk a Junk Says:

      To sum up: Star Wars is now just about nostalgia for 30 year old movies. Don’t break new ground, don’t push technology, don’t expand the vision of Star Wars — just remind people of what was, not what could be. Need a new spaceship? Just take a TIE fighter, slap a new antenna on it, make the solar panels white instead of black and viola! Aren’t we inventive and creative?!! Reading that production designer’s words just made me sad. He’s not being an artist. He’s putting a piece of paper over George Lucas’ art, tracing the picture and patting himself on the back for his creativity. Pathetic.

      • Hunk a Junk Says:

        The other thing is that much of the digital work on the PT, like set extensions, we done as a cost-saving device. George did this, in part, because he was spending his OWN money. JJ can poo-poo such measures all he wants because he’s got Disney’s bottomless piggy bank. The production budget on TFA is what, $250M plus? That’s more than George spent on all THREE PT films combined!

      • Heidi Says:

        “The other thing is that much of the digital work on the PT, like set extensions, we done as a cost-saving device. George did this, in part, because he was spending his OWN money. JJ can poo-poo such measures all he wants because he’s got Disney’s bottomless piggy bank. The production budget on TFA is what, $250M plus? That’s more than George spent on all THREE PT films combined!”

        Then it simply begs the question, are these “practical effects” really so practical. Seems like a huge costly endeavor just to ensure a small target audience.

  15. lazypadawan Says:

    Public service announcement…please don’t attempt to pass off a non-sequitur argument as a disguise for your trolling.

  16. Anonymous Says:


    Kinda two-sided of them that they’re doing this to Lucas while at the same time they’ll be giving him a Disney Legend Award:

  17. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Ironically, Peter Jackson is being castigated over the CGI/Practical Effects nonsense over the “LOTR” and “Hobbit” films by Viggo Mortensen of all people.

    • Heidi Says:

      Really? Aww, that makes my heart sad. I’ve never hated on any film for CGI use. If I disliked films that employ CGI, it’s only ever because they lacked lacked content & decent story-telling.

  18. madmediaman Says:

    I really don’t care what a filmmaker’s preferred method of delivering effects is. As Lucas famously said, “A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.”

    Now that the PT haters basically have someone in Abrams who is performing a certain sexual act on them, all the haters have the knives out. Now the standard argument is the PT/Saga lovers are whining.

    What’s funny about this assertion is they fail to grasp what most PT fans are… a lover of the ENTIRE Saga. I doubt most PT and TCW fans would be very wary of an on screen appearance of someone like Captain Rex or Ahsoka UNLESS IT MADE SENSE WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE STORY!!! I certainly DON’T want the movie filled with PT callbacks, and ocassional nod… maybe, but that’s the same way I feel about the OT. I don’t want endless callbacks to ground we’ve already tread. Most PT fans I know want the ST to MOVE ON. Tell NEW stories, with NEW characters. Unfortunately JJ is steeped in nostalgia and hackishness as a filmmaker and will rely on the nostalgia factor, and a number of standard JJ tropes to get him through story/plotting issues.

    My only real concern is whether, as I suspect, JJ is going to throw out what George was doing in the final Yoda arc of TCW… which was in essence laying a lot of the groundwork for the ST. Instead I suspect JJ wil basically “reboot” The Force so he completely severs the need for any of the previous six films at all. It’s basically a sift reboot of Star Wars as a whole.

    Speaking of preferred method of telling a story… let’s talk about JJ’s very tired use of what I like to call Standard JJ Tropes:

    Pay special attention for the use of these tropes in TFA because he’s used them in ALL of his films to generate audience sympathy for characters without actually developing any relationships in the films… they are just shortcuts to good storytelling:

    1) Flashbacks: JJ LOVES his flashbacks… they are present in pretty much everything I can even remember. Alias pilot (yup), MI:3 is told in flashback, Super 8 uses flashback, as do both Trek films. Based on rumors there’s a major flashback scene… why am I not surprised.

    2) Torture: Pretty much every hero, or someone close to the hero gets tortured: Alias pilot and MI:3 both begin with a torture scene which both kick off the story being told in flashback form, Super 8 has Dr. Woodward tortured to death by Colonel Nelec. Of course we also have the torture of Captain Pike in Trek 09, and Into Darkness has Khan essentially torturing Kirk and company (he resorts to breaking Carol Marcus’ femur to get Kirk to comply with his demands) when he gets control of the Admiral’s Dreadnaught. I fully expect one of the principals… probably Dameron to be tortured in the film.

    3) Someone Important ALWAYS Dies: Death can always be a great motivator in story telling, but JJ seems almost obsessed with it. Someone important to one of the major characters, or one of the major characters has to bite it (usually fairly early) to make audiences immediately buy in to what JJ is selling. In the Alias pilot Sydney’s finacee is killed early in the episode after we’ve seena beautiful “I’m in love” montage, and marriage proposal. In Trek 09 George Kirk buys the farm saving his wife and crew from certain death. In MI:3 we think Ethan Hunt’s wife has been brutally tortured and murdered. In Khan a bunch of people die early… poor guy with the sick kid and Admiral Pike. Super 8 starts with our young heroe’s mother having just died, then add the torture/murder of Dr. Woodward

    Pretty typical stuff from JJ. I expect no less from him in TFA maybe minus the early death. But there is an exceedingly dark and cruel streak that punctuates his films, and makes him, to me, wholly unsuited to direct Star Wars. What’s funny is I used to champion him, but when I went back and realized what a crapfest Into Darkness really was I started to rexamin JJ a little more critically..

    • Hunk a Junk Says:

      Actually, there IS an early death in TFA and we see evidence of it in the second trailer: the bloodstained hand on Finn’s helmet.

      • Jim Raynor Says:

        Don’t forget “mystery box.” JJ actually codified “empty hype” and “don’t bother showing things” into his own creative strategy. Aside from the “practical effects” dog whistle, so far, the entire TFA marketing campaign has been a big mystery box.

        And as for CGI in his movies, does anyone have a count of the digital effects shots in his Star Trek movies? Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure that it’s up there.

      • madmediaman Says:

        You are correct.

    • Keith Palmer Says:

      The last two items on the list, mind you, might be seen as “homages to the original Star Wars,” even if I could probably point to all three of them in Cloverfield (which I went to to see the first Star Trek teaser, which I fear was the most uplifting and satisfying part of that experience, or of that later movie for that matter… although I shouldn’t go too much further; we’ve all been through enough lately.)

      • madmediaman Says:

        Then he needs to get out of the homage business and actually do something original.

  19. Nick Skywalker Says:

    It’s becoming more and more obvious that Disney isn’t interesting in making a new, thrilling Star Wars. They want to make some generic, nostalgia loaded fanservcing flick that will make as much money as possible, even if that means ruining the whole reputation of the saga in the process. Star Wars has always pushed the boundaries and been innovative and it’s disheartening to see that somewhat come to an end.

    Nostalgia is good and nice but don’t make it so blatant. Jurassic World found perfect middle ground by having many nods to the original while subtle yet satisfying and managing to still have a somewhat original and new premise. Even though they won’t admit it, all these hateboys want is New Hope 2.0 and Empire Strikes Back 2.0 basically they want to go back to a time where they were kids and liked anything and the prequels never existed because then they were grown up and saw…wait for it…cracks in the armor. Newsflash, it ain’t gonna happen. They just need to accept the fact and stop getting their hopes up.

    It’s funny though, they do nothing but complain about how “whiny” Anakin is yet all they ever do is whine about movies that came out between 10-20 years ago. :p

    • Jim Raynor Says:

      The greatest irony of hardcore SW fandom is that they don’t actually get Star Wars. They’re so fixated on shallow memes like “practical effects” that they completely missed the big messages like “don’t give in to hate” and “grow the hell up.”

  20. Heidi Says:

    “Real Sets”
    “Real Desert”…

    “Real… film! With actual actors”

    “No more fakery, all legit PRACTICAL everything! Actual oxygen on set. For-real premiering in an ACTUAL theater, with tangible tickets. All locations, actually in space, it’s self!”

    “With REAL deaths!”

    Maybe someone should look up what the word practical means because last time I checked it had to do with the appropriateness of the situation. To use CGI can easily be practical.

    “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means” to quote a well known film.

    • Jim Raynor Says:

      A pro-prequel podcast I stated that the term should be “tangible effects,” because as you annd others have said over here, physical props and sets aren’t always practical.

      The way it is now, it’s just an overused buzzword in the SW fandom. People hardly talk about “practical effects” anywhere else. Who wants to bet on how many times the term comes up in the promotions for Disney’s Captain America 3 next year?

  21. M. Marshall Says:

    Well, this isn’t a surprise:

  22. Steve Bragg Says:

    Sounds like you’ve become a hateboy on the other end of the spectrum

    • Branislav Marček Says:

      With the difference that our “hate” is justified.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      No, Steve has a point. While our frustration is understandable, we should be careful what really say and write.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        We, not really. Autocorrect…

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Uh, no. For 16 years, everyone’s been telling prequel fans to shut up. We get to speak up now. That’s why I’ve been doing this site.

        Before you pull the equivalency crap on me, you tell me which prequel fans are now hounding the TFA cast on Twitter, sending death threats to JJ Abrams or openly praying for his death, and trolling other fans. I have no wish to do any of that and I hope most of us don’t go that route either. If I like TFA, I’ll say so though to be honest, I’m never going to forget all of this. It was the top brass at Lucasfilm’s choice to burn its bridges with its genuinely loyal and supportive part of the fan base simply because we just weren’t mean enough.

        I perm banned a guy who did nothing but post anti-TFA stuff over and over like he had Tourette’s of the keyboard, and had nothing else to contribute. I don’t want to turn SWPAS into a site whose primary mission is to attack the sequels.

        But if they are planning to promote this movie by burning the PT and its fans, do you realistically expect those who loved the prequels to be happy about that? This fandom has no respect for George Lucas and a lot of them spend their time trying to make fans like us miserable and you’re going to tell me I have to be “careful?” Please. Go tell them that, all right?

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        LP, I hope I have left the impression in the last months that I am everything but happy because of the marketing. And I trust you that this site will not become an anti-ST page.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Trust you = I am convinced that this site…

    • madmediaman Says:

      What exactly has Lazy said which constitutes “hate.” This seems to be the new tact of the OT-only crowd… see you’re all a bunch of haters.

      No, what Lazy said, quite eloquently I might add, and with little actual hate or spite, is that PT fans are being thrown under the bus by LFL simply to cater to a bunch of whiny fanboys who finally screamed loud enough, for so long that someone capitulated and is giving them everything they want.

      That’s fine, and that’s certainly Disney/LFL pervue as George is no longer involved in the films, and Disney owns the franchise. But don’t act shocked when a certain segment of the fanbase is no longer interested in what you’re pitching, and don’t be surprised when younger audiences who grew up with the PT and TCW all take a collective yawn at your 1970’s nostalgia fest.

      The vast majority of fans, are like Lazy and myself… Saga fans. So why does Disney choose to take an approach which only caters to a subset of fans who only consider 6 1/2 hours worth of some 58 1/2 hours of canonical Star Wars stories as valid, basically ignoring the rest. Then not only that, on not just one, but two panels the powers that be proceed to take cheap shots at the hard work of modelers, costume, and set designers who worked on the PT. Please, don’t tell me this was addressing “modern films” because then they would have specifically said, which would have been interesting as Disney is largely to blame for the flood of CGI blockbusters (Hello Pirates and Marvel). No, these were specific digs at the PT addressing the common myths perpetuated about the effects, sets, and creatures used in the films.

      So, at the end of the day should any PT/Saga fan really reward this kind of behavior by Disney?

      Only a few months ago I was of the opinion that, “No biggie, it’s just marketing/” But there’s no Star Wars fan by-law which requires me to attend TFA, or continue financing LFL by purchasing their products. I’m quickly losing interest in Star Wars 2.0, and frankly so is my daughter (she’s 20). THAT should worry Disney. And her interest level has nothing to do with my opinions because we hadn’t even talked about it.

      The first blow to my daughter, who is a huge Saga and Disney fan, came when Disney made the incredibly boneheaded decision to cancel one of her favorite shows on TV, The Clone Wars. The next blow came with Rebels… Truth be told I actually like the show, my daughter hates it. She told me one day, “There’s no drama on this show.” She explained how week in and week out she knew no one was in any danger at all. The show just falls flat with her, and based on the ratings it appears few kids are really watching the show (maybe 40 or 50 year old kids, but not the target demographic). Add to that both trailers for TFA have fallen flat with her… frankly she’s far more interested in SPECTRE, and of course the final Hunger Games film.

      My guess is my daughter is not alone, not only among younger Star Wars fans, but younger general audiences as well. I doubt some 16 year old kid wept tears of joy when Han said, “Chewie, we’re home.” And unless Disney does something to up the WOW factor with younger audiences this has the potential to be a movie that skews very old, which is not a good sign for the future of the Saga.

      • maychild Says:

        Hateboys/haters make it a point to harangue fans of the saga. They brag about trolling the Internet to “try and make the mindless fancreatures’ blood boil.” That’s a quote. They cannot STAND it when they see a positive or even neutral article that mentions the prequels, or just SW in general, and rush in to spew their hate, with the Red Letter Moron as their messiah — they are so infatuated with his idiotic videos that they think just mentioning said videos ends all conversation: “Watch these videos for proof of how bad the prequels are.”

        And they have the media and the Internet egging them on, proclaiming that Lucas is “the most hated filmmaker in the world” and “fans still haven’t forgiven Lucas for Episode I.” Artwork of Lucas being decapitated with a lightsaber is de rigeur, and don’t think the hateboys aren’t being influenced by it. I have seen threads wishing Lucas dead, wishing he’d died in 1998 “for the sake of the franchise,” and threads in which hateboys talk about what they’d do if they saw him on the street — assault him, throw rotten eggs at him, etc. I know the idiots would never actually do any of that, since it’s kind of ILLEGAL, but that they talk about it at all — that they are so filled with hate toward Lucas for making some movies they don’t like — is more than a little alarming. But when called on it, they simper, “Don’t take it so seriously, it’s just the Internet.”

        Of course, at the same time, they insist that their complaints, polemics, rants, etc. be taken VERY seriously, because “we represent the majority of SW fans.” And the media is only too happy to feed into that belief.

        Hateboys even try to attribute nobility to their actions: they “love” SW and hate what Lucas has “done to it,” so they’re trying to set things “right” by spewing their hate. And looky here, they’re being rewarded. JJ, Disney, et al are kissing their asses, making sure to specifically market TFA to soothe their dubious sensibilities with “Back to practical!” hype, no matter how disingenuously or flat-out dishonestly.

        I have yet to meet a prequel fan who is anywhere near as vile, nasty, hateful, and falsely self-righteous as the hateboys.

      • DR X Says:

        Rebels airs on Disney XD, not Cartoon Network. How much smaller is Disney XD’s market penetration compared to CN?

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Cartoon Network is available to 96.4 million households in the U.S.. Disney X D is available to 80,120,000 households in the U.S.. (Both stats come from Wikipedia, as of Feb. 2015).

      • madmediaman Says:

        XD’s penetration is small compared to CN, but not to Disney Channel where the show reairs. Generally the reruns on Disney also perform below Clone Wars. Clone Wars is interesting because for a long time it aired on Friday then reran the following morning, and for a couple of seasons the show was available for free on the day after it aired.

        I spoke with a couple of folks at the web site and the general consensus within Lucasfilm was that an average episode of Clone Wars, at its apex, had around 8-9 million individual viewers either via cable, the next day’s rerun, and the web site.

        Rebels has been averaging about 500K viewers on XD, and reruns on Disney Channel run about 2 million viewers. Disney has been suspiciosuly silent about views via the XD app, and services like iTunes and Amazon so I suspect those numbers are pretty low as well.

        Bear in mind Clone Wars for two weeks after it’s release on Netflix was the most viewed TV series on the service until the Season 2 premiere of House of Cards. It still remained in the Top 5 for a good three months, and to this day it still creeps inside the Top 5 from time to time. I’d argue that the release on Netflix greatly expanded the viewer base of the show among younger viewers.

      • madmediaman Says:

        BTW the smiley faces are because wordpress does something wonky with XD it’s X D I’m trying to say when the smiley face appears.

        Another BTW, the success of Clone Wars on Netflix is probably what gave the greenlight for highlighting Cad Bane as one of the bounty hunters in the Han Solo movie if those rumors are true…. the success of that show is also the reason Clone Wars was feature in Disney Infinity’s kickoff of the Star Wars license.

      • madmediaman Says:

        And Disney Channel, where Rebels reairs, is available to 96.2 million customers. So the market penetration is not the issue for the show.

        there’s a reason so many Clone Wars characters are reappearing in Season 2…and it’s not just Dave.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        One day, madmediaman, you must tell us about your connections… Is there anything where you don’t know what’s going on “Behind the Scenes”?

      • madmediaman Says:

        Oh, there’s all kinds of stuff. I briefly flirted with the Industry, but decided it wasn’t for me, but I still have lots of “friends.” One of my closet buddy works in marketing, and box office analysis for Universal, so I get lots of good info there. I have two friends at paramount who witnessed first hand the nonsense that went on between Kathleen Kennedy and Alan Horn during the production of Benjamin Button. Plus I own a handful of Disney shares I bought waaaaaayyyyy back during the days trying to help Roy Disney overthrow Michael Eisner… so I do have a vested interest in how Disney does. I have a number of friends with solid connections inside Disney who keep me posted on interesting stuff.

        But honestly if you really want to keep your pulse on the industry just follow the trades (like Variety and Hollywood Reporter), or keep up with They usually have the latest and greatest rumors.

      • madmediaman Says:

        I can tell you there was a lot of behind the scenes negotiation about the fate of Clone Wars. Warners wanted to renew for Season 6 and fully expected Disney to negotiate with them. For a while it appeared an agreement was going to happen… then money got in the way.

        Warner Bros felt (rightly I might add) they should be receiving a hefty chunk of residuals on syndication deals for reruns of the show. After Season 4 Clone Wars hand begun it’s syndication run on local stations, and by all accounts was doing quite well. Well Disney was having non of that. Their attitude was they owned the rights now, and any syndication should be handled through Disney and its station partners.

        That’s A LOT of what killed the show. Shortly after Disney acquired the license the show disappeared from syndication. I think the syndication rights terminate in another year or so. Lost Missions is a different case though which is why those episodes are showing in Australia right now (or very soon).

        I’ve heard rumblings that some people on the board went absolutely nuts when news of CLone Wars success on Netflix hit the board room, and people wanted answers why they just didn’t extend the deal since they owned the merchandising anyway, and would have taken a substantial pay out from Warners for them to continue airing the show on Cartoon network.

        Unfortunately, that’s where “marketing synergy” comes in, and many within the company had no interest in aother studio airing their property. It makes sense, but it certainly put the studio behind the eight ball when it came to trying to ramp up the marketing campaign for Star Wars 2.0

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Whoa! This is the first I’ve ever heard of this!

      • madmediaman Says:

        Yup, it was close. Disney had little interest in the property on networks, but they we okay with it on CN, but the numbers and distribution rights could never be agreed on and the deal died. That’s why the announcement of the cancellation kept getting delayed and delayed. Which allowed for Season 6 to get further along.

        Not sure how the money would have worked as the show was expensive, and I suspect Lucas would have stayed on as a consultant.

      • madmediaman Says:

        I can also tell you some interesting stories about George, Grady Ranch, and just how close we were to Lucas directing Episode VII himself and handing off VIII-IX for other filmmakers.

        Long story short… politicians suck, and Episode VII would have already been released and production underway on Episode VIII

      • Bob Clark Says:

        I’d be interested in hearing exactly how Iger negotiated this. I’ve always known him as the guy who royally screwed Twin Peaks.

      • madmediaman Says:

        This is going to be long… so forgive me:

        A lot of this goes back to Lucas’ plans for Grady Ranch which was abandoned after Marin County started dragging their feet due to complaints about the property:

        Some backstory here. Most of this is cobbled together from discussions I’ve had with people somewhat close to these events, or at least heard this from very reliable people close to these events. Also I was able to fill in a lot of the blanks from interviews by people like Dave Filoni and Steve Sansweet.

        This story goes back years, and if Lucas had been able to develop the property the studio would have been open for business by 2012 (2013 at the latest). Despite all of the retirement talk Lucas was heavily in development of his own movie studio on the Grady Ranch property he owned. It would have been a full studio with multiple stages for large sets and green screen stages.

        While publicly Lucas stated that he wanted to build a studio that his filmmaker friends and aspiring filmmakers could use for their projects, the fact of the matter is these stages were going to be used for future Star Wars projects.

        Let’s go back to the rumor mill during 2009. If you recall, in summer 2009 the trades started picking up rumors that Lucas was developing further Star Wars films… Lucas quickly denied these stories, and about a month later, out of the blue, the press started picking up stories about the impending release of Star Wars in 3-D.

        Now that part of the story is true; plans were well under way for 3-D releases of the Star Wars Saga, but Lucas was in fact beginning early development of the Sequel trilogy… he had caught the Star Wars bug again while working on Clone Wars (Filoni says as much in numerous interviews from 2009-2011… Lucas was heavily involved in its production early on). However, Lucas also really did want to retire and make his small films.

        Steven Sansweet gave a really interesting interview a few years ago to the Forcecast when Jimmy Mac and Jason Swank were still over there. he was asked about future films, and Sansweet basically said “You never know,” but he also revealed that he had talked to George on numerous occasions about the future of the franchise and studio. Sansweet essentially told Lucas the only way to ensure more dollars for the studio was more Star Wars. He was very vague about Lucas’ response.

        So here’s this man… close to retirement (or so he says), but still has the Star Wars bug, faced with the reality that in order to ensure your studio has longevity you really need to continue Star Wars in some manner. Oh by the way, during this whole time Lucas is also heavily involved in developing a darker Star Wars series with popular sci-fi TV producer/writer Ronald Moore which ultimately results in 50 production ready screenplays being finished. Lucas wasn’t moving AWAY from Star Wars… he’s was more heavily involved than he had been for some 6 years.

        2009 begins with Lucasfilm starting production of Red Tails, meanwhile the early stages of development of the Grady Ranch property begin. Later, in 2010 some fanboy sites start posting rumors there was preproduction art floating around for a new Star Wars movie. Most people dismissed the rumors as just fanboy wishes. However, there are some real developments of the Star Wars TV series front. Initially reports were Lucasfilm would try to shoot in Australia to keep production costs down, then reports started to surface that Rick McCallum was looking to make a long term studio deal in the Czech Republic with the studio that LFL was using for Red Tails. Rumors started to percolate that the Star Wars TV series might be a lot closer to reality than initially thought.

        So why is Rick McCallum looking for cheap studio space for a Star Wars series both he and George insist is simply way to expensive to produce? He wasn’t… I’ve talked to two people in separate conversations who told me flat out that by 2010 Lucas had a rough story fleshed out for a Sequel Trilogy, and had put the art department to work on pre-production for Episode VII. Lucas had come to the realization that he needed Star Wars to generate the kind of revenue necessary to get his TV project off the ground. The only way this was happening was with new movies.

        However, he really did want to retire… He had a girlfriend, and he wanted to start a new life. Traveling around the world to make more Star Wars was not something he was looking forward to… but driving five minutes from your house to your own movie studio WAS something he could do.

        A few months back, Jimmy Mac (again) reported on the fate of the Grady Ranch project, and basically confirmed all of this:

        George’s plan was to direct Episode VII himself using the Grady Ranch facility for all soundstage shooting with limited location shooting as the story warranted. Episodes VII-IX would be fully developed and Lucas would simply hand off the Saga to a new director, and a the new head of the studio. Disney was no where in this equation. The plan was to again, like the PT, offer up the distribution rights to whichever studio paid… Fox would be given the right of first refusal, just like the PT.

        During this time Lucas even began easing off his public position that Star Wars was over. he implied new stories could be told; maybe a backstory on Yoda, the Jedi. It looked like Star Wars was well on its way to becoming a reality.

        On the Disney front other things were happening. Iger was desperate to continue luring boys to the theater with action films. However, with the domestic performance of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, there was some concern that interest in the franchise was getting soft… they needed something else. They needed a property that was kid friendly and could be marketed to boys.

        For full insight into Disney’s mindset, and what they were trying to accomplish I really suggest everyone read John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood. it will really open your eyes about Disney, and Bob Iger.

        During this time Dick Cook was the head of Walt Disney Studios (now Alan horn), he had produced a string of hits for the studio, and had a great relationship with Jerry Bruckheimer, but now trend were changing. At World’s End was a hit internationally, but the future was uncertain. King Arthur had been a disaster, and other misses were starting to hurt Cook’s cache at the company.

        During this same time Jon Faverau was developing a John Carter Warlord of Mars movie at Paramount studios, and was close to shooting. The movie had a lot of buzz in the trades, but the film was stuck in development hell as the studio kept trimming the budget and delaying production. Eventually Favreau left the production and development withered, and more importantly, Paramount lost the rights to the character.

        Dick Cook saw a solution to his problem… buy a space fantasy franchise that was at its hearts one of the roots of Star Wars. Cook quickly scarfed up the rights, and development began. Eventually Andrew Stanton was selected to direct. It was an odd choice as Stanton had never directed live action before, but Cook believed in Stanton’s passion for the project. Iger was dubious of the project, and was concerned over the big budget.

        In 2009 Dick Cook was fired by Iger… Stanton’s one champion at the studio was gone, replace by Rich Ross, then president of Disney Channel. Iger probably would have pulled the plug, but the studio had already spent a good deal of money, plus the film was going to be in production soon, and he need another boy-centric franchise.

        Now, here’s where things get REAL interesting. I firmly believe Bob Iger intentionally sabotaged John Carter to get his hands on Star Wars, and I’ll explain how it happened.

        By 2009, Star Tours 2.0 is deep into production with an expected launch date of 2012. Iger’s not stupid, he reads the trades… Lucas is retiring, or wants to pretty soon; so what happens to Star Wars? I suspect Iger tried to persuade George even back then, and Lucas may have gone so far to reveal his future plans for Star Wars… clearly Disney would want in. At this juncture though we are probably talking distribution rights, not ownership of the property.

        So what does Iger do… he wants Star Wars, but he’s got this $200 million space fantasy already in production, and John Cater is by no means a sure thing… so what do you do. Well, of course you bet on Star Wars and do everything in your power to ensure John cater has NO future. Want some proof?

        1) Midway through production trades started to pick up rumors the production was in trouble, and the budget was spiraling out of control at the hands of a novice director. That was in FACT A LIE. John Cater was on budget. however, the studio was strangely quiet. They never rushed to Stanton’s defense, nor did they do anything to debunk the rumors.

        2) Later in production the trades claimed the film was in big trouble requiring major reshoots. Again, this was in fact A LIE. Stanton was used to directing a film the “Pixar Way” (which is oddly similar to what Lucas did during the Prequels). Stanton would shoot most of the coverage he needed, then would assemble a rough edit of the film… see if it worked, then go back and add scenes or fill in blanks as he felt was needed. THIS WAS ALL ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE BUDGET FOR THE FILM. But again Disney said nothing about this… said nothing about Stanton… and strangely the film had almost zero presence on social media which was starting to gain attention.

        3) After production wrapped Iger himself picked the team that would promote the film. he selected a firm whose only experience was New York fashion. They had never promoted a film, and had little experience with social media or the internet. it was this team that suggested the name change from John Carter of Mars to simply John Carter. it was also this team that decided to forgo the name John Carter on all promotional material and instead go with a JC logo. The promotion was a disaster.

        4) Rumors abound that the film was a train wreck and would sink the studios fortunes for the year… again no defense, no comments they believed in the work.

        5) Because the studio would do virtually nothing to promote the film, Andrew Stanton was left to promote the film himself via Twitter.

        6) Now for the kicker. The trades continued to claim the film was a mess. However, when the studio ran its first test screening (without finished effects) it received the highest test audience approval rating of ANY live action Disney film since 1970. A second test screening after some fine tweaking scored even HIGHER than the first.

        Again Disney did nothing… No additional money sunk into promotion, no social media push, no pushback against the trades… absolutely nothing.

        Instead, what Disney publicly did was take a very public $750 million dollar write off of the film. John Carter was sunk even before it hit theaters. Oddly the film still performed fairly well in spite of Disney’s lack of support, and years later after home video sales the studio quietly admitted the film had actually broken even. It’s funny, because when Disney allowed the rights to expire Paramount grabbed them right up again.

        So why on Earth would Bob Iger allow Disney to take a massive financial hit, intentionally let a film fail, and hang the film’s director out to dry for the film’s failure??? Well of course you would allow all that to transpire if George Lucas suddenly told you he was looking to sell his studio now.

        So back to George and Lucasfilm…

        During 2010 Grady Ranch was still moving forward, as was preproduction of the Sequel Trilogy. The 2011 hits, and suddenly Lucas is running into issues with residents who are not keen of having a big studio in their backyard (even though non of these residents lives within 5-10 miles of the location).

        Lucas’ hope was that he could still keep production costs down as these would all be HIS own costs… he wouldn’t be paying a higher rate for someone to provide craft services, or handle moving vehicles… everything could be handled internally by Lucasfilm, and still fall within union regulations… but politics were getting in the way.

        It was becoming increasingly clear Grady ranch was DOA. I’m sure George had ZERO interest in making another trek overseas to shoot away from home, his fiancée, and family. It was time to move on. George secured Kennedy to run his studio after he left, and now it was time to go shopping for a suitor… and in steps Disney, desperately wanting a sci-fi franchise after the John Cater fiasco.

        Bob Iger played a beautiful game, and landed the franchise.

        Now this is all speculation on my end, but I have a hard time believing Lucas only handed in three treatments to Disney when this deal was signed. There’s no way a film is in pre-production for some 3 years without more detail being fleshed out. I highly suspect that Episode VII at least had some form of rough draft finished by Lucas or another writer, with Episodes VIII & IX still in the treatment stage. When George recent spoke about Disney not using his story there seemed to be quite a bit of ownership of the Sequel Trilogy on his end… not something a writer would be prone to say if he had only handed over a rough outline of a story as Iger and Horn have suggested.

        Then of course JJ was brought on board,,, and the one thing JJ likes is control.

        So there you have it… the story of the development of the Sequel Trilogy as best as I can put it together from various sources.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Very intriguing! I wouldn’t doubt it.

        I’d wondered what made Lucas sell. Retiring is one thing, selling off the company is another. But this points to a very credible theory, that it all went back to the failure of the Grady Ranch project.

      • madmediaman Says:

        I think the failure of Grady Ranch just made him reassess what he was really doing, and what was really important to him at that point. If Iger was lobbying hard (which I suspect he was), then why not just relieve yourself of the headaches?

        You’re stepping down anyway, and you’re handing it off to a friend to run. Why not run away to Chicago where, as Padme put it: “No, more war, or talk of politics (so he thought). Run away while you still can.”

        You’re free from the endless fan bitching… it’s Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy’s problem.

        I kind of imagine George’s call to Rick McCallum went something like this:

        George: Rick, hey it’s George… I’m selling Star Wars to Disney.

        Rick: That’s effing awesome. I imagine they are paying you a ton of money?

        George: You could say that… Rick, we’re finally free!

        Rick: That is so effing awesome dude. I’m so happy for you man. What are you going to do?

        George: Live my life…

      • Bob Clark Says:

        Damn. We were so close. We could’ve had it all.

        Iger. First he torpedoes the greatest TV series of all time. And now, the greatest movie series…

      • madmediaman Says:

        Well, I think he has his own visions about what the franchise can be. But I think he did what a lot of shrewd businessmen would do. But Grady Ranch is really the key to this whole opus.

      • madmediaman Says:

        And yes, we were. Jimmy Mac heard rumors the planned release date for Lucas was Summer 2015 at the latest… so please spare me that George only handed in very rough outlines to Disney.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        What do you think the chances are that Lucas’ drafts/treatments/outlines/development-art/material are still in play at all, versus the prospect that it was ALL thrown out so Abrams could start from the ground floor? Really, this whole thing has kind of horrified and saddened me to see a huge corporate monopoly acquire the saga and use it to basically flood the market with OT-inspired nostalgia and fanservice, and nothing else. The only slight ray of hope is the possibility that Lucas’ story may still be in play (and that is very slight indeed, but if it’s not there and he only recieves a “Based on Characters Created By…” credit when the films rolls out, I may skip it entirely).

      • madmediaman Says:

        I think elements remain, but I suspect the core of the story was probably changed by Abrams. So I’m sure a character or two remains, but Lucas even said himself that the leads were in their teens… making them older dramatically shifts the tone of the work.

        I also believe Lucas was laying a lot of the groundwork (through Clone Wars) of how the Force would work, and how we got from balance to imbalance in Sequel Trilogy. I’m sure that’s probably all gone. Abrams would not want to tie himself down creatively to an animated show… so he’ll devise something else… which I suspect won’t neatly fit into established canon. The Story group will need to perform some logic gymnastics to make it all work.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        Man. We really do live in the darkest timeline.

      • Heidi Says:

        Oh my word. Thank you madmediaman, I’ve been wanting to know forever what happened, because I simply don’t trust a one-sided source(Disney), because I know what they are capable of. In fact, despite my anger I am relieved to hear more of what George had planned. To me it confirms how much he cared about his mythos. I wasn’t content to believe he handed it over because he just didn’t care anymore.

        In fact I wouldn’t put it past Disney that they had a hand in the Grady Ranch fiasco.

        Thank you again and again. I’ve got to look into that John Carter and the God of Hollywood thing. Even knowing more about that movie, makes me feel quite bad for what happened to Staton. I had know idea.

      • madmediaman Says:

        No the Grady Ranch thing was strictly local residents and government officials. Cali is a mess in that regard. Just look at the nonsense he went through getting his visual arts museum built at the Presidio. Then it shifted to Chicago where… more politics. Now the Presidio is back to negotiating AGAIN.

      • Keith Palmer Says:

        Now I’m just wondering how much pre-production detail “The Making of The Force Awakens” will go into (or be allowed to go into), or if it’ll wind up more like the paperbacks published back when TESB and RotJ first came out, which more or less started with people assembling at the studios… Certainly, if “early story treatments” happen to leak I just might pay more attention to them than I did to the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull script George Lucas seemed to be assigned the exclusive blame for turning down. I’ve been thinking for a while now, too, of the comics adaptation of an early Star Wars draft Dark Horse published not that long before it handed the Star Wars comics over…

      • madmediaman Says:

        I doubt Disney would ever allow something like that. The only way George’s original story gets out is some major leak, or if the franchise flames out in 5-8 years and maybe we get some unexpurgated Making Of book.

        Disney was already trying to spin the yarn through the trades that Arndt’s script was so problematic that JJ was forced to reassess the entire story. That one smelled to high heaven, and when Arndt was shown the door, and Hollywood Reporter stated that Lucas had “acquiesced” to JJ’s script changes, I knew George’s story had basically been jettisoned.

        Lucas’ statements during the press junket for Strange Magic, and his suspicious absence during any of the shooting made it clear that the parting probably wasn’t bitter, but it was probably less than amicable.

        I’m pretty certain this Disney Legends award (which BTW is a tremendous honor) is a bit of an olive branch to George since he could have been included in any of the earlier classes of awardees since this award is for his contributions with Captain EO, Star Tours, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        Why is it such an honor to get a Disney award? It’s just a corporate recognition thing, or have we really reached the full-on Devo Corporate Anthem level of monopoly statehood? Anyway, it’s a dubious honor, given that Bill Cosby had a statue at one of the Disney parks until recently.

      • madmediaman Says:

        Well, ok, there’s a Disney Corporate aspect to this certainly. But for most Disneyphiles, and people really immersed in Disneyana, and older Disney “culture” (i.e., the way the company ran when Walt was around), a Disney Legends award IS akin to the Presidential Award of Freedom, or a Kennedy Honor… it is a big deal.

        Sure, there’s the cynical part of me that says Disney is just trying to keep George a little more quiet than he’s been the past few months. But the Disney fan in me that loves Walt Disney, Disneyland, and the early days of the studio from the 30-70’s recognizes this a great accomplishment.

        George really invigorated a Park which needed a boost… it had been about 10 years (the opening of Big Thunder Mountain) since the Park had the kind of buzz around it that Star Tours brought. The park was in the middle of a slump, and George, his team, and Disney Imagineers really brought a bit of magic back to the Happiest Place on Earth, especially a land in the Park that was getting very tired and old. Star Tours ushered in a whole slew a great advances at the Park.

        So the Disney fan part of me is really excited for George.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        I guess I’ve just never really been a Disney fan. I like some of the things the company has done here and there (I liked Duck Tales as a kid, and Gravity Falls is a good show today). But mostly I grew up kinda bored by most of Disney’s output, and as time goes on I kinda like less and less what Disney represents, both as a studio and him as a person (even if you ignore the questionable content of some of his films or the accusations of racism, the fact that he collaborated with the HUAC and the Blacklist is really an ugly mark against him).

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Amazing insights, madmediaman.
        Personally, I have been a Disney fan since my childhood – on good days, the studio follows the tradition established by its founder. However, it is a rather generic media company on bad days…
        Just one information regarding Walt Disney & racism: for all that (real) experts know, he was neither an anti-Semite nor a racist. (Yes, he was obviously not a champion of civil rights, he was rather the “average American” when it came to such questions.) The HUAC stories are however more or less correct.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        As for the script, there is also the interesting blog post by LP herself:
        “Michael Arndt was the first screenwriter hired in 2013 to write the script based off of Lucas’s treatments. He was kicked from the project because he was unable to finish on time (joining Gary Whitta and Josh Trank in Lucasfilm’s Kicked To The Curb pile) so in November 2013, Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams took over screenwriting duties. They were finished in January 2014. Unless they spent the holidays on cheap speed writing a whole screenplay in just two months or it was really a slapdash effort, they had to have used a lot of the basic ideas of Arndt’s script. The question is, just how much of Lucas’s ideas were in Arndt’s script that carried over to the final version? Up until the movie comes out and Lucas has seen it, we just won’t know.”
        My impression is that this slightly “contradicts” what madmediaman has written (if I have understood correctly): The Arndt script seems to have respected GL’s treatments, but Kasdan & JJ only used some basic parts.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        I went by what I saw in the press. The timing in reality could’ve been different. Or it might not.

      • madmediaman Says:

        We don’t know. The story of what happened in early scripting is contradicted a number of times, even by Disney’s own comments. My best guess based on what I know and through trades and other outlets is that Lucas… like he’s done with every Star Wars film at least has a rough draft complete. At bare minimum it was as very detailed treatment he handed to Arndt. Remember two facts:

        1) Pre-production had been in the works for a few years. That doesn’t happen without some pretty established ideas for the story.

        2) Arndt wasn’t on the project very long… Like two months. So he clearly had something substantial he was working with.

        3) According to the Hollywood Reporter, JJ was brought in in January 2013. Arndt has begun writing around that time. By May of 2013 JJ and Disney had their sit down with George and Arndt, and basically decided they were going another direction. That’s an awfully fast decision. They didn’t even allow Arndt a chance at a rewrite.

        There’s no way Disney did not agree on some level to give JJ final approval of the script, and given the timeline of events I don’t think Arndt could have written ANYTHING that would have satisfied Abrams. He wanted to put his own stamp on this. So it’s more likely the studio already had some agreement in place to allow JJ to pen the film.

        The studio rejects the script and George and Arndt are effectively kicked to the curb. I wouldn’t be surprised if Abrams had already begun his own draft by May, and for whatever reason, the decision is made to being in Kasdan. Well, I know the reason… It’s because JJ’s script wasn’t working. So Kasdan is brought in later in the process… There’s probably a reason for the timing too. I think Kasdan would have had a difficult time immediately picking up the baton after George was essentially fired. That would have smacked of stabbing George in the back, and Kasdan has a great deal of admiration for George. But approaching him months later and saying, “Larry, the script isn’t working, George isn’t consulting anymore, and you’re were close to him. Help us make this script Star Wars.”

        Kasdan is a quick writer and could easily have worked out the issues in Abrams script to the point it was at least acceptable. Also JJ’s delays gave the production a few more months to polish the script.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Thank you for the clarification. madmediaman’s explanation seems plausible. Obviously, we don’t know what really happened – who knows whether this will be a topic in the ultimate Making-of book?

      • madmediaman Says:

        I doubt this gets the full blown treatment by Rizler… It would be nice.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Oh looky here, you only resurface to call other people hateboys. Read the rules of the house and from now on, you’re being moderated.

    • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

      It can appear that way to a casual observer because of how militant some can be, but LP is right – it’s US that have every right to be angry since we just want to enjoy these films in peace without the mainstream media and history books telling us we’re wrong.

      Haters are causing a big stink because they can’t accept certain things, and because they can’t enjoy it they’ll be damned if anyone else will. If we fight back, it’s because we’re not only defending ourselves and all our friends, but the people who put their blood sweat and tears into making these movies which are easily the most criminally underrated films in the history of the medium.

      So yes, we do need to be careful to not swing that pendulum completely and become what we hate. It’s something I struggle with daily. Some people just don’t see the difference. But we are not going to just take this injustice lying down. That’s what it is – an injustice. And before you say “it’s just some silly movies,” why don’t you try telling one of the haters that and see how they react? I guarantee that no matter how reactionary we can be, a hater’s response will make us look like Qui-Gon on valium!

  23. Hunk a Junk Says:

    On a different note, is there any enterprising video editor out there who can take the SDCC reel and replace every shot with a similar shot from the PT behind the scenes? I’d love to hear Mark Hamill waxing poetically about “real sets” as we see the sets from TPM or hear “we shot in a real desert” while seeing Lucas shoot AOTC in Tunisia. Come on, there must be someone out there! 🙂

    • madmediaman Says:

      If I had my old non linear editing laptop I used to edit films and commercials on… Alas, that chapter of my life has closed… but I’ll see if I can whip something up. Basically I just need to rip the audio of Mark off the SDCC video. Key moments I would select:

      1) Rick waxing on about how effing awesome this is. Then I’d take the idiot production designer talking about going to a real desert and use that as a V.O. for the great shot with Amhed and Natalie talking about how hot it is… then put in footage of the sandstorm detroying sets… Good stuff

      2) Show various stuff from the three films shooting on location as I continue to use the idiotic V.O.’s of production staff droning on and on about real sets, creatures and costumes…

      I might give it a whirl if I’m inclined.

      • Hunk a Junk Says:

        I think it can even easier than that. Just strip the SDCC soundtrack as is, and layer the PT images over it. Doesn’t matter is some of the location sound doesn’t match. The whole point is to show that every boast they’re making is BS. In fact, it would be cool if it could be done as a side by side comparison.

      • madmediaman Says:

        That’s not how I roll 😉 I would strip the audio from SDCC BTS trailer, and use footage from the various BTS documentaries to accentuate the real locations, costumes, creatures, etc that went into the making of the PT.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      I have to think of Palpatine: Someone, “Do it!”

  24. madmediaman Says:

    I’d definitely start the piece with Rick McCallum slating for the first shot saying: Let’s kick some ass…

  25. Hunk a Junk Says:

    This struck my eye in an article about how the trolls (of which hateboys are a big part) are winning the internet. “As the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was founded to help protect Internet civil liberties, concluded this year: “The sad irony is that online harassers misuse the fundamental strength of the Internet as a powerful communication medium to magnify and co-ordinate their actions and effectively silence and intimidate others.”

    I think Lucas understood this. That’s why he has never responded to trolls and kept to his guns about making his films the way he wanted to them. Disney certainly knows this too. The difference is that Disney will cave to every single troll demand and bullying tactic. They’ll fold like a 2 buck souvenir Micky wash cloth and Star Wars won’t be art, it will be reactionary troll-u-tainment.

  26. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    So this question is directly to MadMediaMan, and I’m posting this as a new “thread” just for ease of notice.

    Regarding the true story of VII-IX, John Carter, and the Disney sale – naturally if this was 100% confidential you wouldn’t have posted it on the internet, but would it be good form to reblog it and get the word out, or should this remain relatively hushed for legal/safety reasons.

    • madmediaman Says:

      I’ve thought about posting it on my blog. I’m not terribly worried about “sources” since one person no longer works for the company where he was privy to some of the info, and my other friend moved to a different division within Disney that’s not related to the Star Wars production.

      I’ll probably get around to it some day, but I was actually waiting to see if more information shook out regarding pre-production of Episode VII under Lucas. I’m not that big of a rumor guy anyway, but am a complete nerd for behind the scenes info about the making of film.

      Also, I really need to do a little more research of trade rumors and internet buzz from 2008-2011 so I can footnote a lot of this info.

      But one day…

      • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

        Really, really sad we won’t get to see the George Lucas version of Episode VII. From his statements about the ST in the past, I would have become interested even though I have never really cared for post-ROTJ stuff.

        I also think that George, without the nonsensical hate campaign, would have been able to win back some Prequel naysayers simply by having the old cast back.

        Very unfortunate. I would love to see a more detailed breakdown of your’s, including quotes from Lucas and others, in the furture!

      • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

        In that case, I will leave it to you to “blow the whistle” someplace other than this comments section when you feel the time is right. Just let me know so I can provide a link.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        Where is your blog?

      • madmediaman Says:

        Haven’t posted in about 2 months… need to get back on that. But every time I get the Star Wars bug, JJ and KK start opening their mouths and it goes away.

      • Keith Palmer Says:

        I was thinking myself your narrative might be worth “breaking out” from this ever-lengthening thread and preserving, but obviously wasn’t as fast to wonder if I could still mention it…

        Anyway, John Carter aside (I do seem to recall I saw a trailer for it, perhaps even when I went to see TPM in 3D; it didn’t look quite like what I’m interested in, but then I don’t go to a lot of movies and I’ve never quite felt compelled to read the original books either for all that Carl Sagan described having been inspired by them), when the sale of Star Wars was announced I did feel sorry for the people at Disney who were starting to talk about remaking The Black Hole. I think I’m just old enough to have vague memories of the original movie being promoted; certainly, in the years just after bits of it might have caught my interest just a bit more than the original Battlestar Galactica or any of the other “Star Wars-inspired” projects of that period…

      • lazypadawan Says:

        I remember reading about a remake of “The Black Hole” too.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        Honestly I think that the John Carter movie was sort of a wrong fit for Disney, anyway. You were never going to be able to get some of the most lurid pulpy aspects of it, like Dejah Thoris wearing nothing but jewelry (to put it charitably) or the extreme violence. And you were always going to have issues with the whole Confederate soldier angle. There’s a pitch reel that came out recently back when it was at Paramount from the “Sky Captain” director, and it didn’t look perfect but it seemed a lot better than the sanitized Disney take. Closer to the Frank Frazetta cover paintings that Andrew Stanton’s film seemed to actively avoid.

        That being said– I have no doubt that Iger sabotaged the movie with the long game of Star Wars in mind. It wasn’t great, but it definitely could’ve picked up enough of a following to get a sequel.

  27. maychild Says:

    More and more I’m thinking JJ Abrams is an opportunistic, faux humble, faux iconoclastic jackass who is very cynically pandering to the Internet malcontents so as to appear like an affable geek who really cares about the fans; after all, he is “giving them what they want.” They will love him for life as a result, and he knows it. He says whatever will benefit him at any given time, yet he’s played it so that he’s being lauded for his “bravery.”

    He’s certainly shown that he’s not above exaggerating or outright lying, as with the “back to practical” propaganda that the hateboys are just eating up, and the press is continuing to push. By the time TFA comes out, the short-memoried public will be thoroughly whipped up to be completely blind to any and all CGI in TFA — and I bet there will be lots of it — and instead marvel at how JJ Abrams really knows what SW is about, he knows better than Lucas, why couldn’t he have done the prequels?

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      While I agree with some of your points (more on that maybe another time), I have some issues the way you talk about JJ.

      But I am willing to bet 10 $ that there will be plenty of “this is how the prequels should have been” reviews.

  28. LadyJediScientist (@LJediScientist) Says:

    It’s a bit late, but I thought I would throw in my two cents. I am a bit tired of TPTB pitting the fan base against itself. They could have emphasized the craftsmanship of the new film, w/out slating towards prequel bashing. A better approach would have been to highlight how TFA continues the grand Star Wars tradition of great characters, great stories & exotic new worlds. Instead, we got a mud racking campaign.
    I am not sure at this point if I want to see TFA. Katie Lucas in the forward to Dark Disciple writes about how Star Wars a family affair-not just for her, but for the cast & crew that worked on the whole saga. Right now, Star Wars doesn’t feel like a family affair. It feels like the Hatfields & the McCoys. I really hope TPTB change their marketing tactics soon because their methods will not only ruin Star Wars for a lot of the current fans, but the next generation as well.

  29. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    133 posts! Where do these people come from? I guess there are more closeted prequel fans than we know. We are like the Jedi post-order 66. Just wait till TFA comes out.

  30. madmediaman Says:

    Stay tuned for my upcoming video release:

    Star Wars – Episode VII Official Comic-Con 2015 Reel (The We’re Filiming In A Real Desert Edition)

    Hopefully should be up by this weekend. Just took a while to gather all of the source material.

    • madmediaman Says:

      And I have some special Simon Pegg footage for the release… Going to be glorious.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Did you see Paul McDonald’s Pegg Edit of the same reel?

      • madmediaman Says:

        Yea. This is a full re-edit using audio and excerpts from the Comic Con trailer (“we went to and actual deseret” guy makes an appearance) and “reimagining” it with behind the scenes footage of the Prequels… throw in a dash of some Pegg footage, and viola!

  31. T Kt Says:

    I know I’m late to the party, as I just found this article yesterday. I just spent this weekend watching the PT again. While I’ll admit I can’t endorse TPM, I honestly can’t, I love AOTC and ROTS. Now some backstory, I am in my mid 40s, grew up with the OT, and loved it as I’m sure we all did. But somehow, like kids who went to middle school together, but hate each other in high school, OT and PT fans have become enemies. I don’t get it!

    I collected all the figures, magazines and books in the early ’90s until the prequels, when it became impossible to keep up with everything. So I stuck to 12″ toys, Koto and some busts for the prequels. But I was at the opening nights for every Special Edition and the Prequels. I even went to the toy events for every prequel movie. I have to admit the recession in 2006 did me in, and I was forced to sale all my Star Wars collection (minus the SW magazines I had collected all my life and a couple books). Things rebounded, but I did not want to start over so I kind of gave up on collecting. Enough about me though.

    TFA at first was not appealing to me, because I hated JJ’s Star Trek. Never saw the second one, but the first one was awful to me. So now he was being trusted to Star Wars? No thanks! But I admit the trailers look awesome, so I got hooked again. My reasons for being hooked are different than OT purists though. Seeing Finn, Kylo Ren and BB-8 excited me! It was Dark Empire all over, always wondering “what happened” to Luke, Leia, Chewie and Han yet seeing new characters too. So I am excited, but as a Star Wars fan and not a OT fan.

    Truth be told, my order of enjoyment is: ESB, ANH, ROTS, AOTC, ROTJ then TPM. In fact I’d put the Clone Wars cartoon above AOTC in that order.

    I’ll admit I ventured out Friday morning for Force Friday (had the long weekend off for the holiday) and picked up the 12″ figures and Kylo Ren’s FX lightsaber, along with BB-8 (Sphero and Target versions). I had no plans too, but they were there, it was 1999 all over to me and I could not resist! It was my first Star Wars figures/collectibles since ROTS! So though I am excited, JJ does still scare me. Lucas having zero involvement also scares me. But hey, I’m a Star Wars fan for life so I’m giving it a shot.

    The backhanded prequel hate? It’s annoying. I hate the “practical effects” BS. Giving credence to that misconception annoys me to no end and is insulting to Lucas. But the mouse p!sses on things all the time, so no shock there. I own both Making of AOTC and ROTS books, so I know the facts! I had to punk someone on a message board who was ranting “look how fake Vader’s CGI burn look is in ROTS, how hard is it to use makeup and not CGI???” I then scanned in the pages from my Making of book, showing Hayden with burn makeup all over his face. The response? “Whatever, that’s one thing I guess that wasn’t CGI!” Not surprised by the IQ level of that “fan”. needless to say.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Congratulations on getting the Sphero BB-8! Lucky you!

      I’m convinced most of those fans think there was less CGI in Pixar’s last movie than in any of the prequels.

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