Unless you have been trapped inside a space slug for the last several weeks, you’ve probably heard that The Walt Disney Company is now the proud owner of Lucasfilm Ltd. That’s right! George Lucas sold his beloved child. The price tag? A whopping $4.05 billion. Tied to this purchase was the announcement of a new series of Star Wars films set to debut in 2015 with Episode VII. Needless to say, this has created quite a buzz amongst fans. But what does this mean for the future of the franchise? What can fans expect from this new chapter in the Star Wars saga? The prequel trilogy was a monumental failure in the eyes of most fans. But does that mean that franchise is irreparably tarnished? What should be done differently to ensure that history does not repeat itself? Can Disney save Star Wars? Call me scruffy-looking, but I believe it can.
Now, I know what some of you may be thinking. Now that Disney has control, we’ll probably see a lot more characters like Jar-Jar fumbling about for cheap laughs, that never come. But I, for one, believe that chapter in Star Wars has come to a close and an entirely new look and feel awaits fans in 2015. Consider the fact that Lucas, while he may be serving as creative consultant, will no longer have executive authority to impose his will. One might say the force is no longer with him. The new director, whoever it may be, will undoubtedly want to give the films their own unique spin. And why not? It worked with Star Trek.
Maybe that’s why Disney asked J.J. Abrams to take them helm as director of the new films. This move was a little surprising to me given the rivalry between the two franchises. Suffice it to say he turned it down. So who should take the director’s chair? When George Lucas made the A New Hope, he was, for all intents and purposes, a nobody. He had gained some recognition for American Graffiti but he was still coming into his own. I think that’s the approach Disney should take with this new series of films. Fans are looking for a fresh perspective, something they haven’t seen before. The only way to do that is bring in someone nobody knows about.
What about the story? Disney is off to a good start hiring Michael Arndt, (writer, Toy Story 3) to develop a screenplay for Episode VII. But what about the characters? There are rumors that the original cast has been asked to reprise their roles. If that’s true, I’m ok with it, so long as they’re not the focus of the story. We need new heroes that we can actually get behind. Not some whiny brat in a pod-racer. We need villains that aren’t just bad guys, but have unique, complex stories of their own and can freeze an audience in their seats. Personally, I would love to see Grand Admiral Thrawn (Heir to the Empire) on the big screen.
After the prequels were released, I thought that was it for Star Wars; “No way we see another Star War film after that castastrophe”. But alas, here we are! I can’t speak for everyone but I, for one, am happy Star Was is still alive. I’m excited to see what direction Disney takes the franchise. I’m excited that Star Wars will be something my kids will get to experience as I did when I was young. In fact, the only thing I’m not looking forward to is having to wait hours in line to buy tickets.