1997-1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002+
A Chat with Lucasfilm
As you may remember, last month we posted a sound clip of Jar Jar. We
debated about whether to do so and if it would be OK with Lucasfilm. A day
later, we did receive contact from LFL. To our relief, it was not with the
legal department, but rather with LFL's head of Internet Marketing, Marc
Hedlund requesting a phone conversation with us and Jim Ward, head of
So on February 26, we (TheForce.Net staffers Paul Ens and Scott Chitwood) were
on a conference call with Jim Ward, Marc Hedlund and (to our pleasant
surprise) Lynne Hale. It was really only a short 15 minute conversation, so
here's the short version.
Jim started out by telling us they enjoyed the site and that they came by
often. He said that their fan base was extremely important to them, and
that they understand and value the role of fan sites in the world of
fandom. At the same time, the most important thing to Jim is the experience
that each individual fan will have when they see TPM in the theater. While
they naturally would prefer to contain leaked information, they are willing
to let most things go by. An example he gave was our shot by shot
description of trailer B. They weren't excited to see it, but at the same
time they felt it does not hurt the trailer because, as Jim said, "it will
blow you away".
The line they draw is at the posting of sound or video files from the film
because the non-controlled and out-of-context setting could hurt the
ultimate presentation of the film. Why? Because, people are making
judgments about the character, dialogue, and voices without the benefit of
having the music of the film, the special effects, and the full context the
dialogue is in. They don't want people having pre-conceived notions about
the character based on one little snippet.
According to Hedlund, making judgements about the film based on any such
clips would be like "judging a painting you've never seen based on one
color on the artist's pallette".
And they have a point. Remember some of the reactions? From loving it, to
hating it, to thinking we had another Ewok fiasco, to hoping Jar Jar
dies... all from one clip. Of course, this was not our intention, as we
simply wanted to share with you some depth toward this character we know
will be a fan favorite. Can you imagine if people had heard a clip of
Chewbacca before May 25, 1977? Or seen a picture? "It sounds like a
bear!" "He looks like Bigfoot!" "He sucks! He looks like a guy in a dog
suit!" "What kind of STUPID name is 'Chewie'?!?!" However, he remains one
of the most popular characters today.
The experience could have been very negative, as you can well imagine, but
in the end it was very positive. Had this been Paramount or Fox TV, we
simply would have had a fax from a lawyer to shut down. Lucasfilm
demonstrated great care and understanding and a desire to work with us for
the good of fandom.
Naturally, we will be respecting Lucasfilm's wishes
(there's no sense in risking "further action that neither of us want")
and will not be posting
more sound or video files before they are released on film. (Maybe at some
later date, we'll see.) The fuzzy line of what's acceptable has become
clearer for us, and LFL invited us to share this information with you.
Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens
September 3rd, 1999