The biggest entertainment news story of the week, and possibly of the year, came this morning when Disney and Fox announced a massive deal that would sell most of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets to the House of Mouse.
The news is huge for a number of reasons, from concerns over Disney's increasing dominance in Hollywood to the possibility of the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers one day finally uniting onscreen for the first time. That's all very interesting and exciting, but one other interesting detail has fallen through the cracks a bit:
Disney now owns all of Star Wars.
The Walt Disney Company has, of course, owned Lucasfilm -- the production company under which George Lucas made his space opera -- since 2012, and as such they control the rights to all of the various characters, worlds, and concepts contained in Star Wars. One thing they didn't own, though, was the distribution rights to A New Hope, the very first film in the saga. That's because Fox was granted those rights in perpetuity by Lucas, and even when it came time to sell his company to Disney, his hands were tied on that point. This meant that if Disney ever wanted to do something like a marathon screening event or a special Blu-ray release, it had to go through Fox to do it.
Now that obstacle will no longer exist, at least if regulators allow this deal to go through. Disney will have complete control of every Star Wars film, and they'll be able to distribute A New Hope however they like.
Of course, for many Star Wars fans, this brings to mind one question right away: Will Kathleen Kennedy finally do what we've been asking for 20 years and release a new cut of the original film, free of any Special Edition alterations? It's possible that will never happen, as Kennedy might take the position that whatever version of the films Lucas is comfortable with is the correct version. Still, on a very exciting news day, it's something to be hopeful about.
(Via The New York Times)