On the return of Star Wars

By now, chances are you’ve seen the big news: Disney is buying LucasArts — and the Star Wars property with it.  It’s a whopping $4+ billion deal and represents a major shift in the direction for the Star Wars franchise.  Here are five reasons why this could be a great thing for fans of a galaxy far, far away:

1. A new Star Wars film is coming in 2015

Even with the lackluster prequel trilogy, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’ve always wanted more Star Wars films.  It’s a real shame that Lucas stopped after Jedi in 1983, especially if you consider that we could’ve had a couple more films with the original cast.  By 1999’s Phantom Menace, something was missing (many somethings, actually), but we were still happy to be getting new Star Wars after all those years.

A new film in 2015 is practically right around the corner.  I’ll be able to take my son to a first-run Star Wars film.  My last memories of a Star Wars movie won’t have to be whiny Anakin and “NOOOOOOO!”

2. There will be even more Star Wars movies after that

Disney said that it’s planning a new trilogy — episodes 7, 8 and 9 — although there are no details past that.  It did say that beyond those three, it plans to release Star Wars every “two to three years”.   By the time my kids head off to college, they might have more new Star Wars films than I ever did.

3. George Lucas is stepping down

This is probably the most significant part of the whole deal.  Sure, Disney could screw the pooch, mess up Star Wars forever, what have you.  But that’s an unknown factor, and compared to what is known, it’s preferable.  George Lucas has many talents as a businessman and an investor in technology, but writing and directing are not two of them.  The best Star Wars flicks were the ones where he wasn’t directing, and that’s pretty damning testimony, especially considering what happened with the newer trilogy.  Giving others a crack at Star Wars is something we’ve been clamoring for for years.

Plus, Lucas refused to budge on a new Star Wars movie past episode III, so this sort of deal is the only way we would’ve gotten new ones.

4. We’ll finally move past the Clone Wars era.

I don’t know about you, but I’m completely sick of the Clone Wars and what it represented for the franchise.  Lucas was obviously totally in love with the prequel setting, but it got to be overkill.  With the three movies, the micro cartoon series, the regular cartoon series, the Clone Wars movie, and the proposed live action show, it was mining an era that was pretty shallow to begin with.  Anakin and Obi-Wan were no Han/Leia/Luke, and it fills me with revulsion that kids have grown up thinking how awesome “Annie” is because he’s been shoved down their throats.

5. Disney has great storytellers on its side

I’m not going to sit here and say that Disney is a wonderful entity with no corporate greed or penchant for making big mistakes.  It does and have both of those.  But it’s also pretty well-known for storytelling, and that’s something that Star Wars needs now in spades, more than ever.

Whatever the new Star Wars film is going to be, it’s simply got to be way better than what’s come since 1999, because fans will be watching it so closely.  So closely indeed.

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15 Comments

  1. Well said. Despite the wailing of many over Donald Duck as a Stormtrooper (who’ve clearly never been to a Disney Park in the last 20 years), there really aren’t many companies besides Disney capable of curating our childhood memories. George Lucas certainly wasn’t. I, for one, am cautiously optimistic with this turn of events.

  2. Movies set post-Jedi, movies set in the SWTOR timeline, live-action TV shows, cartoons, animated movies, theme parks, Joss Whedon involved, this opens up endless possibilities for this franchise. I, for one, welcome our mouse lords of the sith.

  3. Meh – I’m not too wowed one way or the other. I know a lot of people love the franchise – and hell, I like it fine – but at this point, I’d say it’s had its day. I WILL say that if the new films turn out to be genuine sequels to the original trilogy as opposed to prequels, that can do nothing but good, because AARRGH, Anakin Anakin Anakin; I am so freakin’ SICK of him, and I haven’t even seen him in anything yet! I’d be interested in something new about Luke Skywalker, or even an ‘early days of Darth Vader’ thing, but Anakin as just plain Anakin has been WAY overexposed when even a very casual fan like me is fed up with him.

  4. I admit, I have hope for the House of Mouse and their treatment of the Star Wars universe. They’ve done well with the Marvel properties so far and if they follow that route, then there’s a lot of potential for Star Wars. However, it’s going to take one helluva good film to erase the stank of the prequels.

    • Yeah, one thing you can say about Disney is that they generally just let the companies they own do their own thing. They’ll happily take credit for it afterwards, mind you, but there hasn’t been any sign so far of all the things alarmists were predicting with Marvel – crossovers with Mickey and Donald, that sort of thing. (Although frankly, I think that would be awesome, but that’s just me.) Also, they are possibly the best in the business at making and keeping their characters iconic, so if anyone can properly market and exploit a good-old-fashioned Star Wars film, it’s them. Of course, first you need a good director, a good script, etc., so there’s any amount of room for things to go wrong, but if they go RIGHT – yeah, Disney will probably handle things well.

  5. I just had a weird thought… Disney owns Marvel, Howard the Duck was/is a Marvel character, Disney owns LucasFilms, Howard the Duck was a LucasFilms movie… does this mean there’s a remake and proper Howard the Duck movie coming in the future?

    • I’d say most likely not, unfortunately – to the non-comics-reading public, Howard the Duck is known mainly as ‘that one George Lucas film that was really pretty bad’. I’m guessing that wouldn’t make for a very large target audience. (Not to mention, of course, that Howard is WEIRD, and it would be a bit of a struggle to come up with any sort of a coherent in-movie story that would do the character justice.)

  6. I was 12 when the original Star Wars came out in 1977. Being a 12-year-old boy at the time when Star Wars was introduced to the world was one of the greatest experiences in the history of mankind.

    I’m wary about this new development. I actually expect Disney to do a good job, but there are pitfalls a-plenty they could fall into.

    With Disney’s money and talent, I’m expecting them to develop a real, working holographic chess set that they can market. If they don’t, I’m going to be really ticked off.

  7. One thing to be concerned about is their reaction to all the Star Wars parodies. Say what you will about the man, but Lucas has generally been a good sport about such things. Other holders of creative properties have not been so magnanimous. There have been plenty of instances where creators of parodies get threatened with lawsuits, even though the accusers don’t have a legal leg to stand on (as parodies fall under Fair Use). Most parodists don’t consider the courtroom expenses to be worth making a stand on legal principle and the bullies win by default. With Disney, it could go either way (though considering how pervasive Star Wars parodies are, it would be counter-productive to try to clamp down on such activities).

    • I think at this point a precedent has been set and for them to go up against it would be like beating their collective heads against a wall. If it were a few decades ago when the franchise was still new, then yeah, that might have been different, but at this point? EVERYONE has parodied Star Wars. They’d have to sue everybody from internet parodists to freakin’ Nintendo – it would be a never-ending parade of litigation, and one that even the mighty Mouse House couldn’t keep up forever. I’d say they’ll probably choose to turn a blind eye to such things.

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