Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Reel Opinion: Force for Change

In its 40-year history, STAR WARS has been through many phases; from its magnificent cinematic debut which altered the industry and culture forever, to its period of inactivity, to its era of questionable decisions and fan backlash. Hope was rekindled when series creator George Lucas sold the STAR WARS empire to Disney in 2012, and a new era of the series began.

This new era, which has so far produced two new films since 2015, has Disney expanding STAR WARS past the silver screen. Although the true heart of STAR WARS beats in the movie theatre, from day one the franchise has taken advantage of merchandising opportunities in TV, toys, and publishing. Disney has done just that, and besides the money-making ideas, one of their best efforts ventures into charity…with Force for Change. Launched in 2014, the charity program collects donations to fund solutions for global problems and works closely with UNICEF. The organization sells sweepstakes which goes towards charitable causes, and offers lucky fans chances to win cameos in future STAR WARS films.

But STAR WARS fans can be a finicky and entitled lot. Earlier this week, ABC’s daytime news program Good Morning America (GMA), began promoting a huge announcement for Tuesday’s program, dubbed as “40 years in the making”. Speculation around the massive STAR WARS fanbase ranged from a peek at footage from this year’s upcoming THE LAST JEDI, to a re-release of the first film in theatres for its 40th anniversary next month. Neither turned out to be true, as the announcement was the unveiling of a new Force for Change sweepstakes, with winners having a chance to appear in the upcoming as-yet-untitled Han Solo film, to visit the famed Skywalker Ranch with star Daisy Ridley, and to attend the premiere of THE LAST JEDI.

By far, this announcement was not worthy of the title “40 years in the making” (this Blogger blames the GMA producers; classic TV dirty trick), but the backlash from fans was, as usual, over-the-top. The largest complaint was that the announcement provided “nothing for us”, which is a lot of hot air. Force for Change does great work in a troubled world, and it gives people who need help the most the one thing that STAR WARS has always provided; hope. Since 1977, STAR WARS has meant a lot to many people, and Force for Change widens that meaning. And for those lucky enough to win the sweepstakes; appearing in a STAR WARS movie, visiting Skywalker Ranch, and seeing THE LAST JEDI before all their friends are tremendous opportunities which any fan would love to do. STAR WARS is in a new era now, one which is providing something new as we look towards the horizon…and that’s the way it should be.


Learn more about Force for Change HERE.

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