The senior attorney and chief business official for Lucasfilm is in charge of protecting and promoting the “StarWars” company’s intellectual property, which keeps him busy watching YouTube parodies and thinking about robot chickens. He spoke about movie marketing at the Cubberly Community Center Theatre in Palo Alto this week.
How did you get involved with Lucasfilm? I was an attorney doing intellectual property work in the Silicon Valley. It was about a year before “Episode I” came out, and someone from Lucasfilm called me and asked if I wanted to interview for a job at Skywalker Ranch. And, of course, I didn’t want to turn that down.
Why do you think “Star Wars” is still having an impact now? I think the basic themes of the stories are — it’s trite to say they’re timeless, but they’re relevant to every new generation that sees these films.
It still resonates culturally? It’s more imbued into cultural references than you even notice. So when Lynne Cheney goes on Jon Stewart’s show and makes a joke about her husband being Darth Vader, everyone understands what you’re talking about and why that’s funny. Lucasfilm — sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally — tries to reinforce that.
How? We’ve really embraced grass-roots and not Lucasfilm-generated content. For example, George [Lucas] saw [Seth Green’s “Robot Chicken Star Wars”] on YouTube and thought it was one of the funniest sketches on “Star Wars” he’d ever seen. So George loaned his voice to them for the George Lucas character.
When did you first see “Star Wars”? I didn’t admit this during my interview, but I saw it 17 times in the theater in 1977, when I was 8 years old.