Dear Disney: Now you own the original 'Star Wars', please restore its full glory
The history of Star Wars and the history of 20th Century Fox, the movie studio that Rupert Murdoch just sold to Disney as one part of a massive $52 billion deal, are intimately intertwined.
20th Century Fox executive Alan Ladd Jr., known to one and all as Laddie, is the main reason the original Star Wars exists. In the mid 1970s, when gritty pessimistic movies reigned at the box office, Laddie was the only Hollywood executive who understood George Lucas? vision of a blockbuster space fantasy for kids of all ages. He fought the Fox board tooth and nail to make sure it was made.
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The deal Laddie signed allowed Lucas full control over any sequels. So when Star Wars became the biggest movie of all time ? saving Fox from skidding into bankruptcy in the process ? Lucas was able to use Empire Strikes Back distribution rights as leverage. He gained control of all Star Wars merchandise that way, which is how he funded his own filmmaking empire.