When you wish upon a galaxy far, far away...
I found myself in a state of pure shock last Tuesday. During my daily afternoon check of all of my favorite social media and nerdy news websites, I discovered a story I would have thought was a joke had it not appeared so consistently: Disney bought Lucasfilm. Even more shockingly, Star Wars Episode VII has a tentative release date of summer 2015. As a lifelong Star Wars geek — one who is still coming to terms with the fact that Disney just bought Marvel — I sensed a great disturbance in the force. It was as if millions of fanboys cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced... by a mouse.
After reading more, I eventually came to terms with the $4 billion buyout. Former owner of Lucasfilm, George Lucas, has apparently decided that his circle is now complete and is allowing the students to become the masters. In other words, he’s retiring — but not without the second highest share in Disney’s stock after the estate of Steve Jobs, as well as the job of creative consultant on the proposed new films. But what exactly does this mean for adoring fans?
On one hand, there are going to be new Star Wars movies. On the other, we all remember how lackluster the prequels were, to say the least. It’s a scary thought that the next trilogy could feel closer to Attack of Clones than Empire Strikes Back. Even if you didn’t find the prequels to be utterly awful, you have to admit they didn’t carry the charm of original triology.
Furthermore, for those of us who are really into the galaxy far, far away, this move seems to render pointless all of the many Expanded Universe novels, video games, and comics that continued the story of Luke, Leia, and Han well beyond the end credits of Return of the Jedi.
For instance, Star Wars fandom has considered the Grand Admiral Thrawn trilogy of novels (in which what remains of the Empire tries to hold on to the galaxy as Luke meets his wife, and Han and Leia have kids) the defacto Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. Yet now there’s no reason to believe those stories will be acknowledged, and in fact some reports, such as those from NBC, have explicitly stated that they definitely will not be adapted.
Sure, it’ll be exciting to see some new stories, but without a strong foundation there’s always the potential for another mistake like Jar-Jar Binks. Such a turn of events could lead to anger, which leads to hate, which in turn leads to the Dark Side.
However, I am actually pleasantly surprised at how everything’s turned out for Marvel after Disney acquired it. It’s hard to say how much Disney actually had a hand in that success, but the company hasn’t screwed anything up yet. So while a few days ago I may have felt as though Disney was attempting to slowly buy everything I loved, I now realize that even if that were the case, it could be a lot worse. It could be Michael Bay or M. Night Shyamalan making their marks, as Transformers and Avatar: The Last Airbender fans are all too aware of.
In case anyone still feels as though no good could possibly come of this purchase, Lucas has decided to set up an education trust with a significant portion of the money he’s earned in this deal. So if nothing else, at least some practical good will come out of this.
I, for one, would much rather see children getting the education they deserve than have my selfish wish for specific stories be met. And I’ll be the first to admit that come 2015, I’ll likely be waiting in line, in costume, at the midnight release of Episode VII. Given my namesake, it’s not like I have much of a choice.