When Disney acquired LucasFilm in October, coverage naturally, and rightly, focused on Star Wars. It’s important to remember, though, that LucasFilm and its sundry subsidiaries have been home to an enormous amount of talent over the decades, that a lot of that talent no longer works there, and that, consequently, Disney owns the fruits of that talent’s labor.
Such is the case of Ron Gilbert, creator of the classic Monkey Island games (and Maniac Mansion, and the SCUMM scripting language, all of which have produced little subcultures.) Obviously none of these properites are on the same level of cultural significance as Star Wars, but they’re indispensible parts of gaming history, at the very least, and Gilbert wishes Disney didn’t own them.
“It’s kind of sad in a way. Yeah, I wish I owned Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, you know? The fact that Lucasfilm owned them, I guess I was kind of OK with that, right? Because I made them there. But now that they’re owned by someone else–that kind of sits weird with me. It’s like, ‘Well, if someone else is going to own Monkey Island, it should be me that owns Monkey Island.’”
“My only fear with Disney is that they don’t need the money. It’s not like I could ever offer them enough money to make it worth their while for them. They just seem to be a company that hoards IP, and that kind of worries me. If it had been anyone else but Disney that bought them, I would try to go put together some money and buy them back. But because it’s Disney, maybe not. But we’ll see, you never know.”
Gilbert is probably right that Disney won’t do anything significant with Monkey Island, although the prospect of insult lighsabering is more than a little tantalizing, as is a Pixar LeChuck.