The Death Of Star Wars & The Potential Rise of “Foundation” In The Age Of MX

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m developing and writing a novel and as such I have storytelling on the brain. The more professional in my mentality towards this endeavor, the less I want to talk about exactly what I’m doing and how.

But I do find the future of storytelling worth writing about while all of this is going on. It seems to me that the traditional film industry is about to have its Napster moment. Not because some punch in his bedroom creates and app that destroys the movie industry’s business model, but because at some point we’re going to find ourselves in the Ready Player One universe for real for real.

I just don’t see the titans of the movie industry being as fleet footed as the gaming industry. There’s going to come a point between now and, say, 2030, when some upstart gaming startup figures out a way to give us OASIS. When that happens, the passive movies will become the vinyl of Generation Z or beyond.

This is not something I look forward to. I love traditional movies, but the writing is on the wall as they say. All that needs to happen is for MX gear’s price point to be low enough and wireless broadband speeds to be fast enough that it makes economic sense. Traditional Hollywood film studios aren’t going to know what hit them.

Why watch Star Wars, A New Hope, when you can “play” it (or something similar) with a few million other people. The Star Wars universe is big enough that should a MX startup, say, buy Disney, they could create an OASIS-type environment large enough for that to happen. Now, I also love the Foundation series, so logically, it would make more sense for such a startup to buy the rights to Foundation, flesh out the saga’s universe in an MX environment and make $1 trillion.

But, sadly, no one — but no one — listens to me.

And, yet, this is on the horizon. This is happening. It’s just a matter of the details of how, exactly, it does so.

My Personal Vision For The Plot Of A Star Wars Movie To Save The Franchise

by Shelton Bumgarner

First Act

We open to learn that not only is Bubba Fett alive and well, but he has Ray trapped in carbonite. He looks at her frozen body, trapped in eternal agony and adjusts a few dials on her artificial frozen tumb.

Bubba Fett contacts a mysterious new villain whom we only hear the voice of in garbled form. We quickly learn that the First Order is gone now and there’s a new very powerful new super-Jedi like person who is quickly taking over the Galaxy. (LucasArts buys a big chunk of the rights to the Foundation Series from the Isaac Asimov Estate, so the following can happen.)

We learn that someone calling himself The Mule is at the center of this new empire and that he has many of the same abilities of a Jedi, only more so. He mysteriously can change someone’s mind subtly without them even knowing about it.

Inciting Incident

The inciting incident is when Bubba Fett’s ship experiences an unexpected malfunction going through hyperspace and when it comes out, Ray is gone. Ray has vanished somewhere out in the galaxy.

For the rest of the act, we see where the main characters of the new Star Wars films now find themselves as well are introduced to a new cast of cute little characters. I would also introduce a new Luke Skywalker-type dude who would be Ray’s heteronormative boyfriend because….let’s go back to basics folks.

So Neo-Luke wakes up to Ray’s frozen body out in the boonies of the galaxy and that’s the setup of not only a new Star Wars adventure, but long-term love interest for Ray. Maybe our Neo-Luke for some reason was raised by the cute little new characters for some reason. You’re smart, you figure it out.

Anyway, if you’ve finally stolen all the best bits of Foundation legally, you introduce to Star Wars the notion that the Elder Scrolls tell of a plan to bring peace and harmony to the galaxy under the watch of the Force. Or something. Maybe there’s a secret Second Jedi Council or something that watches from the shadows to ensure this plan works. The point of all this is at the end of the first act, the newly re-assembled main characters of the new Star Wars canon go to this site expecting to learn one thing, only to have the evil forces of The Mule capture them. Along the way they meet a goofy Jack McBrayer-type dude who plays a really cool instrument and runs around looking like a hippie. Before they’re attacked by the forces of The Mule, the New Canon Star Wars people learn about the home planet of The Mule and how it might help them defeat him. Meanwhile, our Neo-Luke has fallen in love with the frozen Ray. He makes up all these romantic stories about her and for this dude at the end of the first act, the evil forces of The Mule kill his family (the Star Wars fans go nuts) and his Hero’s journey begins when he barely escapes with the frozen body of Ray in one of those cool Black Imperial X-Wings.

Second Act

This act deals with two seperate things — one one hand the old people of New Star Wars Canon run around looking for The Mule’s home planet, not knowing Ray is still alive. Their goofy new friend cracks jokes and kind of lurks in the background as occasional comic relief. Our Neo-Luke struggles to find not only clues about Ray but the equipment to unfreeze her.


At the midpoint, you figure out a way so these two story lines meet.

The rest of the story is a continued search for the home of The Mule and finally we find it, only to find that Kylo Ren is there waiting for them. Ren is now a student of The Mule and here is where we get the be revel — the goofy Jack McBrayer character is The Mule!

Oh no, all is lost!

Third Act

The Mule is kind enough to unfreeze Ray and Ray uses her super-dooper Jedi powers against The Mule, barely allowing the New Star Wars Canon characters to leave. Maybe she loses and arm along the way.

We see her, in an homage to the end of Empire, getting a new arm, romantically cuddling with Neo-Luke along the way.

The End…for now!

Idle Mulling ‘The Mule’ Portion of ‘Foundation’ As A Movie Allegory About Trump

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’ve talked about this before and, as usual, no one paid me any attention. But I write this more for my own benefit than anyone else’s. There is a movie to be made about Trump in the most unlikely of places: the long forgotten Foundation saga of books by Isaac Asimov. The books heavily influenced Star Wars, so such an extent that adapting them might be nearly impossible. People would take one look at any such movie and scoff, saying it was a “rip off” of Star Wars when, in fact, the opposite is the truth.

And as far as I know, Foundation is in “development hell” somewhere in the bowels of HBO.

Having said all that, it is interesting that if you look at The Mule portion of the saga, you could probably produce a pretty epic movie. Like, under the right stewardship, you could not only produce a biting allegory of the Trump era, but use it as a jump start of a movie adaptation of the entire great Foundation Universe. It would be really, really cool. A huge amount of money is to be made if someone would just get their head out of their butt and do something with it.

I say all of this because of what happens with The Mule. In the series, The Mule is described as this annoying, comical character who everyone assumes is a fool until the very end when we discover he’s been slowly taking over the galaxy using his super special mental abilities. He’s call The Mule, because, duh, he can’t have children. But there are some pretty great scenes I can imagine in my head.

The whole thing would be amazingly great. You see, as I recall, you have four people zooming around the galaxy looking for information on The Mule, or somesuch. You have an older professor type, two young people and this weird annoying guy (who of course we learn is The Mule.) So, in my fevered imagination, you get a really great director with a very unique world view, an auteur, if you will, to create this universe. I suggest this only because if you get just a generic hack to make this movie, they’re probably just going to copy Star Wars and the whole thing will be moot.

But if you got a well known auteur, like Ridley Scott or even, say, Wes Anderson or Spike Jonze or Quentin Tarantino, to direct this movie something magical could happen. For the professor, who I just remember for saying “Great Galaxies!” a lot, I would get a well known older actor. Maybe Gary Oldman? For the two young people, I would suggest Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown. Casting The Mule is tougher. You need someone who could be the comic relief for most of the film, only to turn on a dime to a dark, sinister character who would become iconic.

There are a few people I could think of. Jack Black, maybe? Someone like him. Even Dave Chappelle might do the trick. But with the right writer and director, the character of The Mule could be quite meaty. Character defining. Add to this what a devastating indictment of Trump this movie could be, it would be one of the best movies of the decade if you did it right.

It seems obvious that the key to making a successful Foundation movie is it has to be different than Star Wars. It needs to be more adult. It wouldn’t be about selling toys to little kids, it would be about making adults think about the world they live in. Anyway, all of this is just me mulling an interesting concept. It’s not like I have a script of even the rights to the Foundation series. I guess this has to do more with my frustration with this storytelling goldmine just sitting there in plain sight and no one doing anything with it.

What is amusing is there are plenty of people who grew up reading the Foundation books who would love to see a Foundation movie. You’d tap into an unexpected fan base, I guess is what I’m saying. But no one listens to me. But it is definitely fun to write about.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va.