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Talking Disney, Star Wars with ImagiNERDing’s George Taylor
As we near “Galaxy’s Edge,” and prepare for the Star Wars-themed lands to début in Disney’s domestic parks, I decided to reach back into my databank and re-connect with a guy who helped establish my personal knowledge base on Lucasfilm’s work with Disney. For years, George Taylor hosted Communcore Weekly, and along with co-host Jeff Heimbuch, comprehensively covered the Disney company via podcast, prose, and YouTube posts. George, in particular, was also interested in Disney books, with a proclivity for Star Wars titles. These days, George posts about a variety of topics on his site ImagiNERDing and on his own YouTube channel.
What is your earliest memory of Star Wars? What do you think drew you to the franchise?
“I was six years old, and my dad took me to see it in the theater. I carried around a yardstick all summer and pretended I was Luke Skywalker; also forced my mom to see it because I loved it so much. And I even remember my first two Star Wars figures: Luke and a Stormtrooper.”
Who was your favorite character? Why?
“Luke! Because we’re both blondes. There weren’t many blonde heroes on the 1970s. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be a Jedi? And I always wanted a land speeder…”
What is your favorite SW film?
“A New Hope will always be my favorite because it colored everything I did until 1984. It was my first obsession and will always bring back the best memories. Recently, I’ve been enamored with Rogue One. I think it’s comparable to A New Hope, but for a new generation. As much as I loved The Force Awakens, it was too much like A New Hope.”
How many Star Wars books have you read/reviewed?
“All of them!”
What is your favorite book in canon? In Expanded Universe?
“I’ve loved the more recent books ([amazon_textlink asin=’0553392905′ text=’Tarkin’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’makingnet-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2055c3c6-6bba-11e7-ab48-2990e6c90b12′] and [amazon_textlink asin=’1368013783′ text=’Lost Stars,’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’makingnet-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’48827eaa-6bba-11e7-a1ec-b139025639d8′][amazon_textlink asin=’1101885262′ text=’Bloodlines’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’makingnet-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’31d485f9-6bba-11e7-b3d1-5b44aa3396ba’]) since they are more coherent and are filling out the storylines. But I have to give props to the “Thrawn Trilogy” by Zahn. It was like running into an oasis after years of wandering in the desert.”
What makes up a “good” Star Wars book?
“Something that explains a character’s motivation, inside or outside of the film. [amazon_textlink asin=’1484780833′ text=’Rebel Rising’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’makingnet-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’6dd0d16d-6bba-11e7-8670-574b09c42e02′] (about Jyn Erso) is a great example because you finally get the backstory of Jyn and Saw. I also enjoy the books with political intrigue that help explain the machinations.”
Which book, yet to be published, are you most looking forward to?
“Whichever one is next on my review list!”
— George Taylor (@imaginerding) December 22, 2016
What do you think Walt would’ve thought about Star Wars in his parks?
I think Walt would love the energy and excitement that the films are bringing to the Studios and parks. It’s revived a love affair for so many people and created a larger community. I think he would be amazed with the ideas that are coming out. It’s bringing together generations and creating a shared experience for grandparents, parents and kids.
Has the integration of Star Wars into the Parks been successful?
“I think so. It’s still so merchandise heavy, but that’s easy to roll out. I think adding Star Wars to Disneyland is odd, especially the location. I think it should have been in DCA or Tomorrowland. But Disney is more about attractions that pull people in as opposed to keeping the fabric of the park. I’m assuming the ‘Guardians’ redo of ‘Tower of Terror’ will be amazing but it’s out of place, just like Frozen in Norway. But the ‘Frozen Ever After’ attraction is doing exactly what Disney wants and needs. Whatever Disney does will be gobbled up.”
Are you excited about Star Wars Land and the inclusion of SW-themed resorts, etc?
“Very excited. I think it’s going to be the ‘Potter Swatter’ that Disney has needed for a long time. Diagon Alley at Universal is one of the most perfectly themed lands and beats out most everything Disney has done. Star Wars should take that crown back. And it will be amazing to be immersed in the Star Wars Universe. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was six.”
Here are two of George’s Communicore Weekly Episodes. Recorded prior to the new canon, the specific canon-linked references to Star Tours are most likely no-longer accurate. I’ve also included two fun (and very detailed) product reviews. JB
Communicore Weekly, Episode 139
The co-hosts recite a comprehensive history of Star Tours…
Communicore Weekly, Episode 140
- Disney History: The official canon history of the Star Tours company in this week’s Disney History.
- Book of the Week: George reviews Star Wars: From Concept to Screen to Collectible for the Book of the Week.
- Five-legged Goat: Star Tours hides a bunch of Five Legged Goats!