The Gloriousness that Could Be Disney’s Star Wars

Unless you’ve been living under a rock on a remote moon somewhere, you’ve probably heard the big news that Disney has bought out Lucasfilm for a cool $4 billion, and all the rights to Star Wars along with it. Bigger news yet, they announced that Star Wars: Episode VII is coming in 2015.

My feeling when I heard the news? Pure, unadulterated fanboy elation. Why? I would have raised an eyebrow certainly if George Lucas had announced Episode VII himself, but that would shortly be followed by “it’s going to suck if he’s writing and directing it.” The prequel trilogy will never be forgotten for its unequivocal awfulness, and further chapters in the series would likely only damage the universe further. Our own David R, avid prequel trilogy defender for reasons still unknown to me, will likely have a different take on this tomorrow.

But I never thought I’d be so glad about a corporate takeover. Though Lucas is staying on as a “creative consultant” for the films, he is not writing or directing most likely, meaning, for all intents and purposes, Star Wars is free of George Lucas at last, for this movie, and anything else the series does from here on out.

The good ‘ol days.

That sounds stupid to many, as why would you want a series like this to be free of its genius creator? Well, to most it’s apparent that Lucas lost himself somewhere along the way. By Return of the Jedi, it was clear he was more interested in toys than in movies. By the prequel trilogy, Star Wars was such a behemoth that Lucas’s terrible ideas were left unchecked, when they had previously been challenged and rewritten in the original films. With no checks and balances, Lucas ran wild with bad ideas, and so Midichlorians and Jar Jar Binks were born.

But under Disney’s leadership, there is now the potential for absolutely anything to happen with the series. I never thought this day would come, as Lucas seemed destined to control his property with an iron fist until the day he died. I thought we might see a new Star Wars film in a few decades, but 2015? Unbelievable.

Already the internet is catching fire with speculation as to what’s in store for Episode 7, and more pressingly, what Disney can do now. With Lucas merely “consulting,” they have the freedom to hire absolutely anyone to take on this massive project, and few people would say no to a Star Wars movie. Looking to their in-house directors who have made hits for them you have names like Brad Bird, the Pixar legend who showed he could do live action as well with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.  There’s Jon Favreau, who did more than anyone dreamed imaginable with Iron Man. You also have Joss Whedon, whom they entrusted with their formerly biggest movie project, The Avengers. The idea of a Whedon directed Star Wars film is enough to make any nerd’s head explode, mine included.

And don’t say Firefly was Joss Whedon’s Star Wars. He could do great things here.

Of course, this could be bad news. Disney could mishandle the property and their involvement says to many that the series will look to pander to children even more than it does now. I don’t subscribe to that theory, as they will pander to anyone who will make them money. That includes children sure, and if Pixar wants to make another Clone Wars movie, they should. But that also means 18-40 year old geeks who grew up on the series and want a more mature direction for at least some aspects of the Star Wars universe, be they TV shows, video games or of course, movies.

Disney showed what they can do with another beloved giant of pop culture, Marvel. The Avengers was a triumph that left few fans disappointed. If they can devote that much time, money and talent toward a new Star Wars film? Again, there’s a reason this feels like Christmas to me.

I respect Lucas for his work creating Star Wars, but without a doubt it’s time he left the series and “passed it off to a new generation of filmmakers” as he said in the announcement. He was probably exhausted by all of it at this point, having to deal with constant criticism for anything new he did with the series (justified criticism, mind you), and felt turning it over to someone else was probably the best play. And four billion dollars may have had something to do with it too.

Why can’t I hold all these billions?

I’m looking forward not just to Episode VII now, but to all the games and shows we’ll be getting that don’t have to follow George Lucas’s master plan that has us permanently stuck in an endless loop of prequels. At last, the universe can move forward in ways other than the endless books that were written after the original trilogy, and the series can evolve into something fantastic again.

A while ago, I wrote that I was giving up on Star Wars for good. I must eat my words now as I never thought in a million years the series would be able to extract itself from Lucas’s grip anytime soon. I’m excited about Star Wars again, which is something I didn’t dare dream of being after being given false hope too many times before. But this feels like a fresh start to me, and I can’t wait to see what comes from it.

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  1. I too find myself excited for the first time in a long time. The potential for this to be amazing, or terrible, is massive.

    Will they try to adhere to the EU which has been considered canon up to this point, or will they treat it as a basis like they do with Marvel comics? There are valid reasons for both courses of action, and I can’t wait to see where we are a few years from now.

    Maybe we can finally get a new X-Wing VS Tie-Fighter?

    Personally, I would love to see them branch out into the non Jedi parts of the mythos, the Mandolorian culture, the fighter pilots, or even just the Trooper side of the perpetual conflicts.

    The Thrawn Trilogy, Yuuzahn Vong(sp?), Cade Skywalker, or Jacen Solo stories would be compelling movies as well.

  2. Well put, Paul! I totally agree and I am already busy trying to fight the narrow-minded and shortsighted arguments popping up everywhere, that Disney will screw it all up and make it into a kids show. I strongly disagree! Your example with Marvel hits the nail on the head. But I guess in this internet day and age, people’s memory is limited to the day before. Anything older is completely left out or deliberately forgotten 🙂

  3. I didn’t know the Marvel movies were Disney’s doing. I was entirely skeptical and even a little depressed when I learned of the takeover, but at the same time glad Lucas decided to let go of the franchise. But now that I’m privy to the knowledge that Avengers was made possible by Disney, the future’s seems a little brighter now.

    For a great example of what Lucas started doing to the Star Wars universe, look up The Maw on Wookieepedia and bask in the horrid re-write of its origins.

  4. I am in two minds about this.

    1. I am very happy that there will be a new Star Wars Trilogy, I was able to find the fun in the prequels even if I didn’t think they were anything more than average films. I am also very happy that George Lucas will not have the creative control he has previously had. The prospect (however remote) of Joss Whedon directing a Star Wars film is almost too good to consider.

    2. I am unhappy that Disney has bought the rights. I don’t think they will do justice to the Star Wars we all have dreamed we could have. I look at recent Disney flops like John Carter and tremble at their attempts at sci-fi. I also don’t believe that Disney will refuse to pander to children over and above making a good story.

    I also, though I know many won’t care, am disappointed that they have clearly stated already that the sequels will be “original” stories. This means that the entire Extended universe, which has not always been stellar admittedly, is defunct. Every story I have read is now non-canon and may as well not have existed. While I don’t care enough to rage about this, it is a little disappointing.

  5. Being a huge Disney and Star Wars fan, people forget that they already work close together. Has anyone ever been to Star Wars weekend in Disney’s Hollywood Studios? It’s an amazing event. How about Star Tours the ride? Also great. Just as Disney has done with Marvel, I know they’ll do a great job with Star Wars just with the fact alone that they’ve been working together for years.

  6. This will be interesting. It could be absolutely amazing, it could stink terribly. I think getting George Lucas off will have to result in some improvement though.

  7. *relieved sigh*

    Thanks so much for writing this Paul. I’m so fed up with all the blind hatred towards this acquisition and the mickey mouse analogies. I think this is awesome.

  8. Someone said it before that even though the Star Wars prequels sucked, they still “felt like Star Wars”. That’s always what has matter to me first. Ep. I was pretty terrible, but I did enjoy it, Ep. II was terrible, but I can enjoy it, and Ep. III I thought was actually pretty good.

    Disney in charge is double edged for me: They have a habit of whoring out franchises with ease, but at the same time, if they take the approach they went with Marvel, then we have something spectacular in store for us (even though I’m not the biggest fan of the Marvel films for the most part, they are well put together and thought out, at the very least).

    As for who should direct it . . . I’m leaning towards “not Joss Whedon”. His style is good, and worked well in . . . well, everythign he’s done, but I’m sort of scared of him taking away that “Star Wars” feel from the films. He has a habit of making everything sort of tongue-in-cheek and a little meta. Star Wars should NOT be that . . . humor is fine, but man, that would make my stomache sink. Not saying Whedon couldn’t to a great job – he could, if he didn’t put to much of his style into it – but I would much rather see Spielburg do it (the cliche choice).

    On another side note there aren’t many filmmakers who film in that “Lawerence of Arabia” style Star Wars has always shot in. Here’s hoping we find the man!!

  9. Your ads on here are getting out of hand. I get you need the ads to keep the site running, but they’re hijacking every article. It’s making me want to stop coming here.

  10. Thanks for the positive piece, Paul! I myself am pretty excited for this. You and everyone else here has pretty much echoed my sentiments.

    Keep in mind that Disney also owns Henson and Pixar. I think they know what they are doing.

  11. I couldn’t be more excited by this news. I grew up watching the original trilogy over and over again on VHS. I lost my mind when they announced the prequels and saw everyone of them multiple times in the theater. I won’t sit here and say the the prequels didn’t have their problems because they did. I’ve also read almost all the books that take place after ROTJ. How can any real fan of Star Wars not want to see more Star Wars movies regardless of whether or not the could possibly suck. Avengers could’ve sucked, the Dark Knight trilogy could’ve sucked would you rather they have just left those alone? I think the biggest travesty of all was that Lucas had a stranglehold on the franchise and wasn’t doing anything worthwhile with it. Now we get a chance to see something new and people are complaining that it might be no good? Get over it. Those of us that are real fans want to see more Star Wars movies, tv shows and video games regardless of whether or not they might suck.

  12. The Marvel films were all mapped-out, written, and whatnot before Disney took the brand name over so give them zero credit on that. I’m pretty shocked to see such excitement over something like this. However, this illogical optimism will make the beating of breasts and gnashing of teeth even more hilarious when the new films come out and they are even more kiddified than the franchise has become already. Oh Star Wars fans, you really are the most naive geek community of them all. Prepare for people to start referring to the prequels as “the good ol’ days”.

  13. I’m stoked on this. Hope they make a movie about bounty hunters or something. Don’t get me wrong I like Jedi, but I think it would be cool to have the main character not be in tune with the force.

  14. “The Marvel films were all mapped-out, written, and whatnot before Disney took the brand name over so give them zero credit on that.”

    This needs to be reiterated.

    Personally, I’m not holding my breath. I’m willing to check it out, but I don’t see it being punched up to anything amazing, and the emphasis towards a younger demographic will certainly not be lessened.

  15. Joss Whedon doing Star Wars would be awful. It’s not that he’s bad (he’s not), it’s just that his style is so pervasive in everything he does that it wouldn’t FEEL like Star Wars, no matter how hard he tried to make it so. It’s like Quentin Tarantino, who if he does a movie, you KNOW it’s HIS movie, whether he wants you to or not. It’s the same with Joss, just as it is with Woody Allen and Guy Ritchie.

    And yes, I am saying that The Avengers movie felt Jossed. Great movie, but it had his fingerprints all over it.

  16. i was going to read your article but when i saw that you wrote it i knew it would suck so i now ignore everything you write without giving it a chance

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