When Disney purchased Lucasfilm back in 2012, I was actually pretty positive about it. After all, Pixar and Marvel have thrived under Disney and one could argue they’re better than they’ve ever been. But under Disney Star Wars is experiencing a lot of issues that some people aren’t aware of, but they affect the fanbase that has been active for over forty years.
Attacking Fans Directly
Back in December, the week before The Force Awakens released, Star Wars Action news walked into their local Walmart and found the new Resistance Base Rey figure (with the lightsaber). They took a photo of the action figure that they legally purchased, and posted it to Facebook. Within a few hours Disney/Lucasfilm invoked their external copyright attack dogs and the DMCA law was abused to censor the fan, as Disney claimed they owned the photo that this fan took of their purchase.
After the story blew up in their face, the automated copyright film rescinded the claim, only to reinstate it a few hours later causing the fan to be suspended from Facebook simply for sharing a photo they took with their own camera of a toy they legally purchased at Walmart. Under Disney, Star Wars fans can no longer feel safe about sharing their enthusiasm for the franchise without the fear of the Mouse abusing DMCA to censor them and protect the Mystery Box.
The Rebels Bait & Switch
Just last week Disney kicked Star Wars Rebels fans in the face by changing the conditions of the Season 2 season pass people bought digitally on Amazon, iTunes and Google. When Season 2 was starting, people paid $30 for a package that they were led to believe included the entire second season of the show. Disney changed that last week by splitting Season 2 into Volumes 2 and 3, without crediting prior purchasers. Due to this bait & switch, people who paid $30 for the complete second season now have to pay an additional $20 to finish the season they were led to believe they were paying for a few months ago. Aside from a disclaimer added to some of these digital storefronts, Disney doesn’t seem to care that they committed what would be fraud if it were a retail setting.
Disarming the 501st
Also in December an email was sent to Star Wars costuming groups that informed them that if they plan to attend any “official” event in costume, they are not allowed to carry blasters or other weapons. This edict basically removed one of the pieces of the Stormtrooper costume, and appears to be a knee-jerk reaction by some cubicle person at Disney who didn’t realize what they were requesting. Even more bizarre, the Stormtroopers who work at Disneyland are allowed to carry blasters…but fan costumers aren’t.
Censoring Sites to Protect Their Marketing Plans
At the end of last year Blu-Ray.com learned that the Blu-Ray of The Force Awakens would be released on April 5th. The day after that was posted on their site, it had be removed. Just recently Amazon posted the same date, but then had to remove it as well. Sites that reported on the Amazon release date were asked by Disney to remove their stories.
This sort of bullying censorship is being done to protect their marketing plan, which likely includes some kind of big “exclusive” announcement on some mass-market outlet that fans really don’t care about. Disney knows that since it’s Star Wars they can pressure sites into staying quiet about stuff, because those sites don’t want to risk missing out on going to an advanced screening of the next Star Wars movie.
Back during the Special Edition and Prequel days, Lucasfilm never treated fans and fan sites in these ways. But it’s a whole new game under the Disney overlords, and it’s starting to sour many fans to Star Wars.