Disney to launch 4 new ‘Star Wars’ books

Disney Publishing Worldwide has disclosed plans to launch four new children’s books based on the original “Star Wars” trilogy, starting in October 2014. The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight, written by DiTerlizzi and illustrated with Ralph McQuarrie concept art, will kick off the series.

The picture book will be followed by retellings of Star Wars: A New Hope by Palacio in April 2015, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back by Gidwitz in July 2015, and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by Angleberger in October 2015.
Other authors include Tom Angleberger, Adam Gidwitz, and RJ Palacio.

The series is aimed at ramping up interest in anticipation of the December 2015 release of “Star Wars: Episode VII”.

“Disney Publishing couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to publish these books globally and to work with such an array of celebrated talent,” noted Jeanne Mosure, Senior Vice President and Group Publisher of Disney Publishing Worldwide. “There’s a genuine sense of enthusiasm and affinity that these authors have for this classic material, which makes this collaboration feel fresh, instantly synergistic and effortless.”

The new “Star Wars” books will be published by Disney-Lucasfilm Press, though it is yet not known how much the books would cost.

Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Promises More Star Wars

George Lucas is $4.05 billion richer after selling his100% owned, Lucasfilm to Disney who has promised to make a 7th Star Wars for release in 2015.

Lucas semi-retired in January 2012, wanting to focus on smaller, independently budgeted films. He said, “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come.”

Lucasfilm was started by George in 1971 and made its name with the ‘Star Wars’ films with little oddities along the way, like, Twice Upon a Time, Latino, Radioland Murders and unfortuntaly, Howard the Duck. I wonder if Disney will try and reboot that irritating gem.

From the sound of the news release, Disney plan to exploit Lucasfilm’s back catalogue to the hilt, “creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content (back catalogue) across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.”

Lucasfilm will now find itself back in the stable with Pixar the company it created in 1979, gobbled up by Steve Jobs in 1986 and sold to Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion, a transaction which made Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder. George didn’t foretell the future so well there.

Kathleen Kennedy, (a familar name on Spielberg movies) will move up to President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. The present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

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Is Disney’s Anti Open Source Kid Inspired By Bill Gates?

A popular Disney sitcom Shake it Up, which is telecast around the globe, attacks open source as a ‘rookie mistake‘. In a recent episode one character who is dressed up like mini Bill Gates a nerd was asked to fix the laptop (MacBook Air) of another character and the conversation between the two went like this:

Nerd: “Did you use open source code to save time, and the virus was hidden in it?”
Girl: “Maybe…”
Nerd: “Rookie mistake!”

Bad Timing For Disney

The timing of the show is bad for Disney who recently announced the release of Pixar’s Open SubDiv under the Open Source Microsoft Public License and this episode implies that open source is dangerous. Given the size of company Disney is, I won’t believe that it was an organized propaganda, but it does show the writer or R&D team of the show is living on some remote island without any connection to the real words.

Clueless Writer Or Propaganda?

We don’t know how this ‘rookie mistake’ ended up on a popular show. I don’t know, and I don’t imply why those lines were written. There are several possibilities. One possibility is that the writer of the show is either clueless about open source and just threw some jargons to show how ‘tech savvy’ the kid is.

The second possibility could be that the writer himself is some sort of anti-open source fanboy and wanted to use the show to cleverly send out this message to kids.

The third possibility is that the writer was portraying the kid as mini Bill Gates (notice the hair style and big glasses) who believed open source creates a system where no one can innovate.

Bill Gates

In a Wired story, Bill Gates declared that open cripples innovation.

Open source, he said, creates a license “so that nobody can ever improve the software.”

Irreparable Damage To Open Source

The episode has caused an irreparable damage to the Open Source/Free Software world. Next time when the kids, who watched this show, hear the word open source they will immediately think: Open Source means virus and refrain from using anything open source.

No apology or press statement from Disney is going to repair the harm as those kids are neither going to read such press statement or apology. The only way of right this wrong is by clarifying this in the future episode where some kid takes time to explain how secure and valuable Open Source is for human society, especially to kids who learn everything from each other and share knowledge.

Will Disney take some pains and do this in the future episode or will we see more such secret messages from Hollywood to give open source a negative image?

Edited by Zachary Bittner

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