Come 2021, Lucasfilm will have been around for 50 years! That’s a big deal, because Lucasfilm is a big deal. It’s changed the face of the cinematic landscape as we know it, and that’s definitely something worth honoring. But instead of talking about Lucasfilm’s major achievements, the announcement about the Lucasfilm 50th anniversary celebration is all about…toys. And other consumer products. So start saving up those galactic credits.
Let’s talk about Lucasfilm. Founded in 1971 by George Lucas, we have Lucasfilm to thank for Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, Pixar Animation Studios, THX sound in movie theaters, and more. The legacy of those creations cannot be overstated – they changed the face of entertainment as we know it. As such, it’s definitely worth celebrating the massive achievements of Lucasfilm next year when the studio – which is now owned by Disney – turns 50.
Which makes the official announcement about Lucasfilm’s anniversary all the more maddening. Over at the Star Wars website, the upcoming anniversary is heralded as…another excuse to sell you stuff. “Consumer products have always been an integral part of the Star Wars fan experience, and they remain a constant force in pop-culture today,” says Paul Southern, Lucasfilm senior vice president, Licensing and Franchise. “To commemorate Lucasfilm’s 50 years of storytelling, we look forward to honoring this consumer products legacy and bringing to life brand-new products, games, and publishing offerings that celebrate our future with Lucasfilm’s exciting feature films and Disney+ series ahead.”
Look: I get it. Movies are a business, and they exist to make money. That’s no secret. But if the first words out of your mouth regarding a major studio’s anniversary are, “Consumer products have always been an integral part of our fan experience!”, you’re doing something wrong. Or maybe not. Perhaps the fine folks at Lucasfilm deserve credit for not bullshitting us. For being upfront about what they want: money, money, money.
Anyway, as the site reports, the 50th-anniversary celebration “will kick off with commemorative, fan-favorite 50th anniversary Star Wars products. The launch starts in January and will continue throughout the year with special edition product releases.” They also include a big block of information regarding the studio’s many achievements:
Lucasfilm was founded in 1971 by George Lucas. Films such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones took the world by storm and revolutionized visual effects, sound design, animation, and other groundbreaking filmmaking techniques. The artists and technicians of Lucasfilm have never stopped innovating and continue to influence the film industry today. The Mandalorian is currently one of top series on Disney+. Across the Company, Lucasfilm has won 29 Emmy Awards, 38 Academy Awards, 32 Sci-Tech Awards, 18 Webby Awards, and 12 awards for ILMxLAB’s groundbreaking work in immersive entertainment. Lucasfilm Publishing has had over 180 books on the New York Times Bestseller List and has won a multitude of awards, including the 2020 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Comic Book. Lucasfilm Games has delighted fans across multiple platforms and genres with games that push the boundaries of interactive entertainment, winning numerous awards including BAFTA Game Awards, D.I.C.E. Awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and Game Developers Choice Awards.
And yep, all of that is great. But there’s something numbing about honoring all of this by trotting out “consumer products.” As for what those products are, well…we don’t know yet. But I’m sure there will be plenty of Baby Yoda merch since that’s all anyone cares about these days. Anyway, happy birthday, Lucasfilm!
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