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Disney may work its magic with Star Wars franchise

Disney officials announced last Tuesday that the company was buying Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and would release Star Wars Episode VII in 2015.

Created by filmmaker George Lucas, Lucasfilm produced the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, in addition to running subsidiary businesses in audio and special effects.

The acquisition of Lucasfilm presents Disney with a significant opportunity. The desire to expand the Star Wars movie universe with another trilogy of films may prove extremely profitable and successful, but may also backfire. However, if these films prove to be critical successes, they offer the potential to reinvigorate the Star Wars brand and restore faith in the franchise after three disappointing prequels.

Star Wars already suffered, not financially, but creatively, from these three prequels overseen by Lucas. While Lucas is only slated to contribute to the new series as a creative consultant, any more mishandling of the franchise may leave a permanent mark on Star Wars.

Despite the large amount of negativity and uncertainty surrounding this announcement, it is also important to acknowledge that Disney has proved to be a successful manager of other well-known brands. The most recent example is Marvel, which released the Joss Whedon-directed The Avengers to great critical and financial success. However, more involvement on Disney’s part does not always result in success, as Pixar’s latest offerings Cars 2 and Brave received less favorable receptions than any of Pixar’s previous works.

But Disney knows how to market a movie. Cars 2, despite being the worst-reviewed Pixar film, still turned a massive profit. For a franchise that has had a shaky recent history, this marketing skill could be valuable. But whether it will succeed in producing high quality Star Wars films, however, remains to be seen.

Disney is perfectly capable of creating quality films, and will reap the inevitable financial profits that will come from the release of a new Star Wars film.

Unfortunately, it remains unclear as to whether the company will try to do this or not. Let us hope that decent screenwriters and directors sign on for these movies and help to restore the magic of this classic franchise.