Disney and Lucasfilm, which produces the Starwars Franchise, recently inked a deal with Chinese Communist Party-linked Tencent to produce Star Wars content for China.
The unearthed agreement to produce an “authentic Star Wars story with Chinese characteristics” follows Disney firing actress Gina Carano, who starred in Disney+’s The Mandalorian, for sharing conservative posts on social media.
Disney and Lucasfilm inked a deal with Shenzhen-based Tencent and its subsidiary China Literature to “to license and distribute 40 translated Star Wars novels for Chinese readers.”
“We are very excited to be partnering with Disney and Lucasfilm on the co-development of a web fiction telling a story in a galaxy far, far away. From this collaboration we hope to create an innovative story immersed with Star Wars elements that resonate and also help to promote cultural exchange,” said Edward Cheng, Vice President of Tencent and CEO of Tencent Pictures.
The State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation has described Tencent as a “tool of the Chinese government,” noting the company has “no meaningful ability to tell the Chinese Communist Party ‘no’ if officials decide to ask for their assistance.”
It provides “a foundation of technology-facilitated surveillance and social control” as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s broader crusade “to shape the world consistent with its authoritarian model,” the report added.
Tencent’s CEO is also known to have direct links to the Chinese government, currently serving as a Congressional Deputy and member of the Standing Committee, a who’s who of the Communist Party of China.
He’s voiced support for blurring the line between the private and public sector, even opting to assist the Chinese Communist Party with “law enforcement and security issues” and collaborating on “patriotic” video games.
A China Daily story written just 10 days after the agreement between Disney, Lucasfilms, and Tencent was revealed describes the Chinese company’s plans to “release an epic film 1921 to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party of China.”
“It is also one of our first collaboration with a Chinese author who has been really given charge to help render a Star Wars story that speaks to them, speaks to the culture they’re from, and brings a very specific Chinese perspective to the world building,” Lucasfilm Vice President James Waugh noted.