6 Things Disney Needs To Do With Their Marvel and Star Wars Licenses
As you can probably easily surmise, I am not the CEO of any Fortune 500 companies, nor do I have any sort of business acumen whatsoever. So I have no idea what goes into licensing deals, copyright agreements or ownership of beloved companies and franchises. What I am, however, is some schmuck who manages to string words and sentences together into a pop culture blog enjoyed by dozens every day. So if anyone is in a position to tell the overlords at Disney what to do with their Marvel and Star Wars properties, it’s me. Clearly.
Over the past few years, Disney has been on some kind of tirade, gobbling up several famous and beloved franchises to add to their already sizable pop culture family. Disney now owns The Muppets, Marvel Comics and Star Wars, among others. And while I have no idea what this means in the long run, I at least know that these companies and creations will have the support of the world’s largest entertainment empire. That’s got to mean a lot for longevity, right? We also know that Disney hasn’t rushed to dilute the purity and awesomeness of these brands. They don’t seem to want to interfere unless it’s too help. I can definitely get behind that.
But I can also get behind a greater exploitation of these brands. Because I am a man who built his own toy lightsaber at Disney World and have proudly displayed it on my wall. So here are 6 suggestions from little old me about what Disney should and could do with their Marvel and Star Wars properties.
6. New Badass Disney Princesses
I don’t have any daughters, but I have to imagine the Disney Princess brand is pretty strong. Backpacks, dolls, clothing, dresses; the whole princess thing has got to be huge, right? You’ve got Jasmine, Belle, Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, and so many others…so why not add a few more? I’m talking, of course, about Princess Leia, now the most badass princess in Disney’s kingdom. Give Leia the whole cartoon treatment, while maintaining her badass cred. Put her in a pretty dress, but make sure she has a blaster in one hand. Maybe even a lightsaber; she is a Skywalker, after all.
And not just Leia, what about some Marvel superheroines? Why not turn Black Widow and Scarlet Witch into princesses? And I’m not talking about making them too frilly. Why not add a new kind of badass princess? We’re living in a world where the line between boys and girls is eroding. There are some toy stores in this great country that are doing away with the specifically boy and specifically girl aisles. Girls can like Star Wars and superheroes. Disney should embrace this by mixing some of their new amazing female characters in with their classic female princess line. Because when I do have a daughter, I want her going to school with a Princess Leia backpack.
I want to walk into a store or gift shop that sells nothing but Marvel superhero merchandise. I want toys, costumes, clothing, accessories, shot glasses and whatever the heck else to line the walls and the shelves, with a Marvel movie playing on a big screen 24/7 and giant superhero models decorating every nook and cranny. I want the same thing for Star Wars, filled to the brim with more merchandise than I ever knew existed. I think the Star Wars ones already exist, I’m pretty sure I visited one at Disney World, but I want them in the real world. We’ve all seen the Disney stores in our malls, and they’re nice, but I want specialty theme stores for Marvel and Star Wars. I don’t even care if they don’t do good business. I want them and I want to walk around in them. And only Disney can make it happen!
4. More Crossover Disney Action Figures
These already exist to some extent – and I definitely bought the Donald Duck/Darth Maul figurine when I went to Disney World (all my souvenirs were Star Wars-themed). But I want to see more. I love action figures, and mixing Disney characters with Star Wars characters just for kicks and giggles is absolutely the kind of thing I love. I want to see Disney characters crossed with Marvel superheroes too. I want to see Wolverine Mickey and Cyclops Donald. I want to see Spider-Mouse and Iron Goofy. I want figurines and T-shirts and everything my fevered brain could imagine, plastered with fun combo characters. These are souvenir gold!
3. Kingdom Hearts Levels
This list evolved from an earlier idea I had about potential new Kingdom Hearts levels, but half that list would have been Marvel, Star Wars and Muppets. So I decided to expand the list idea, but definitely didn’t want to give up this genius suggestion. Kingdom Hearts 3 has already been announced, and I have to imagine there is still time to make sure Marvel and Star Wars are involved.
For those who don’t know, Kingdom Hearts is a video game series that combines the style and characters of Final Fantasy games with the world of Disney cartoons and movies. The hero, Sora, teams up with Goofy and Donald on an adventure across the Disney cosmos. They visit all of the popular movie and cartoon worlds, like The Little Mermaid’s undersea kingdom, Beauty and the Beast’s castle, Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the 100-Acre Wood, Agrabah, and so many more. So in the next game, the three heroes definitely need to visit the Marvel and Star Wars universes.
And while I’m at it, they also need to visit the Muppets Studio and Duckburg.
2. Crossover Comic Universe
I think the most obvious thing Disney can do is some kind of crossover comic, where the Marvel superheroes meet the Star Wars characters for some story. For example, the X-Men have teamed up with the Starship Enterprise crew on numerous occasions. But this is not what I’m suggesting. This kind of team-up would be a silly, done-in-one exercise of no creative or artistic merit. It would be incredibly dumb.
Instead, I’m suggesting that Disney create a whole new universe by merging the Marvel and Star Wars franchises into a new, awesome hybrid. Think Amalgam Comics, when Marvel and DC merged to create characters like Super Soldier, Dark Claw and Spider-Boy. I want to cross X-Men with Jedi, so that Wolverine with lightsaber claws becomes a legitimate character. I want to combine Doctor Doom with Darth Vader, Peter Parker with Luke Skywalker, Yoda with MODOK, Lando with Luke Cage; there are so many possibilities! Get the right creative team, get a fantastic artist, and let them build a whole new crossover comic book series just for the pure thrill of it. Think of the merchandising alone!
1. New Theme Park
They are worthy of the big time. Universal Studios already had an attraction starring the Marvel superheroes. And MGM Studios at Disney World has a bunch of cool Star Wars stuff. But I’m talking bigger. I’m talking the next corner of the Disney World compound. I’m talking a park on the same scale as EPCOT Center, MGM Studios, the Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom. A big, bombastic, amazing park dedicated to the future and space travel. The last big park they made, Animal Kingdom, was dedicated to the Earth and Mother Nature and animals – which are great, don’t get me wrong. But the next big park should be dedicated to outer space.
And who better to anchor that kind of awesomeness than Star Wars? Recreate entire planets. Build a Death Star to rival that big golf ball at EPCOT. Get NASA to partner up with them. Invent real lightsabers. This is Disney, we’re talking about! They employ people called Imagineers! If anybody can do it, Disney can, and that’s why it’s so awesome that they have control of Star Wars and Marvel. Can you think of two more forward-thinking, progressive, science-fictionly awesome franchises right now?
Sure, fads are fleeting, but the theme of outer space and science fiction will never go away. Star Wars and Marvel would only be the backbone of this new park. The rest of it would be about exploration and the amazingness of science. There could be exhibits about real life exoskeleton armors, like Iron Man. Or attempts to make real Spider-Man web fluid. And those are just the ideas off the top of my head.
Disney already got the ball rolling with Tomorrowland, so now it’s time to take that to its only logical conclusion: Disney-brand civilian space flights where you dress up like Jedi Spider-Man.
What would you like to see done with the Marvel and Star Wars brands? Could they be combined, or am I just being an idiot? Frankly, I think Star Wars merchandise reached its pinnacle with the build-your-own lightsaber booth I found at Disney World. But maybe there are a few more things the House of Mouse could do. What do you think?