In my “real life,” I work third shift, which means I typically sleep from about noon until 8pm every day. So, seeing as how October 30th was just a normal day, I followed my usual routine, never thinking in a hundred years that I would wake up to a dozen different messages on my Facebook asking me what I thought about the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm and the new Star Wars movies.
First thing, I hit the movie websites and came across this video:
“Okay, so Disney is buying Lucasfilm. Big deal,” I’m thinking. Then they bring up Star Wars movies and this quote in particular hit me:
“I always said I wasn’t going to do any more, and that’s true. I’m not going to do any more. But that doesn’t mean that I’m unwilling to turn it over to Kathy to do any more. I have story treatments of 7, 8, and 9 and a bunch of other movies. And obviously, we have hundreds of books and comics and everything you can possibly imagine. So, you know, I sort of moved that treasure trove of stories and various things to Kathy and I have complete confidence that she’s going to take them and make great movies.”
Um, did he just say 7, 8, and 9?! Sounds like he did! A quick scouring of the internet, and sure enough, STAR WARS: EPISODE VII is heading to theaters in 2015!
Frankly, I can’t believe it. I actually did a double check of the date to make sure that it wasn’t April 1st. Then I hit myself to make sure that I’d actually woke up. I’m still not convinced that I have.
Here’s a rundown of some of the articles I’ve read on the matter (I’ll follow up with my own thoughts):
- The Official Press Release at StarWars.com
- Star Wars is Saved! by Devin Faraci at Badass Digest
- So, STAR WARS… What Happens Now? by Nordling at Aint It Cool
- BREAKING: Disney Buys Lucasfilm – New Star Wars Films Coming in 2015 by Swank-mo-tron at Big Shiny Robot
I’ve read a handful more, but they’ve all more or less just repeated the news.
I’m not going to lie: I’m still kind of wrapping my head around it. I mean, I have always hoped that Star Wars: Episode VII would happen sooner or later, but I’d kind of given up thinking that it’d actually come about in my lifetime. Now, I haven’t been a fan of the Expanded Universe of novels, comics, and video games since about the time Rogue Planet was released, so that hasn’t been doing it for me as far as keeping my fandom alive (Mr. Bear, it has nothing to do with your writing. It has everything to do with about that time, I realized that apart from a few entries, the EU didn’t really match up with the cinematic Star Wars universe and that really bugged me). And while I really enjoy The Clone Wars, I think that it is too often dismissed by most Star Wars fans I know, and therefore not strong enough to carry the franchise forward on its own.
But… If new Star Wars movies are coming to theaters and there are television shows on the air too (as per Disney CEO Bob Iger), then I think the franchise has a chance to bounce back, especially with fresh creative blood in the mix.
Let’s not lie here: the prequels are not very well received. Sure, there are a number of fans who love them, but there are just as many that hate them. Me, I’m more or less in the middle: while I don’t think they come close to being as good as the Original Trilogy, I don’t think they are anywhere near as bad as some people claim (I feel there are much worse blockbusters out there being successful: namely, the Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean films). I honestly think they are only so/so because of Mr. Lucas. I’m not trying to bash on the guy, but when he did The Phantom Menace, he hadn’t directed a film since A New Hope. I feel like his skills in the writing and directing chair were rusty, and that if he was insistent on doing both of those things, he probably should have directed one of those smaller, experimental films he always mentions as a warm-up.
That’s not to say that I don’t think he’s a good idea guy, though. Dave Filoni (supervising director of The Clone Wars) has often said that Lucas is the driving force of the stories on Clone Wars, and there have been some pretty damned good ones (when they aren’t stretching an idea that’d make a good episode into two episodes… I’m looking at you, first half of the recent Onderon arc). And the prequels are filled with good ideas that could have been amazing in the hands of a filmmaker playing his “A” game. So, I’m actually excited by the notion that George wrote his treatments of the sequel trilogy and is handing them off to other writers and directors to make into movies. Here’s hoping they bring back Mark Hamill to play an older Luke passing the baton to the next generation of Jedi (as Lucas used to say was the story of the sequels back before Episode I when he actually admitted that they existed).
I’m also excited by the idea of Star Wars films outside of the saga. Joe Johnston (Captain America, The Rocketeer, Jurassic Park 3) has been saying for over a year that he’d like to make a movie about Boba Fett. That’d be awesome. A friend of mine mentioned the idea of Nathan Fillion as Dash Rendar. I’d love to see that movie! I think it’d be great if Ahsoka lived through the Clone Wars show and they did a movie showing her surviving Order 66 and being hunted down by Darth Vader. Or they could do one set during the rise of the Sith. Or directly before the prequels. Or a 100 years after the saga. There are so many possibilities.
Whatever they do, I hope that the film and television series continue to take a page out of the Clone Wars playbook and cherry pick good ideas from the Expanded Universe without feeling the need to be constrained by them. I think it’d do Disney a lot of good to say, “The movies and television series are Universe A. Everything else – books, comics, games, etc. – exist in a parallel universe, Universe B.” The EU has gotten so convoluted and overpopulated that trying to remain faithful to it would probably make for some lackluster movies, nevermind be off putting to new fans.
That’s not to say that I think they should entirely ignore the EU. There are a few gems in there, and I’d love to see Disney copy Warner Bros. and their DC Animated movies and take the best stories from the EU and adapt them into direct-to-video animated films. The Thrawn Trilogy, Force Unleashed, X-Wing series, and Crimson Empire come to mind. Shoot, I’d love to see an animated Shadows of the Empire or Darth Plagueis. But even in these adaptations, I think it’d be a good idea to make changes (where necessary) to the story to better tie them into “Universe A.”
Then there’s Star Wars T.V. Perhaps we will, at long last, get to see the live-action show that was to be set between Episode III and IV. And I’m willing to bet that Detours heads to Disney XD. And if there’s any truth to the rumor that this weekend’s “Young Jedi” arc of The Clone Wars is a backdoor pilot for a new series, I bet it winds up there too. I’d love to see more animated shows in the vein of Clone Wars. A Rebellion era show filling in the gaps between A New Hope and Empire would be killer. Maybe even a young Dooku and Qui-Gon having adventures.
Regardless, this has been a very exciting day for Star Wars and its fans. The possibilities where the franchise can go in Disney’s hands is limitless. They’ve so far done a good job with Marvel (see The Avengers and the hiring of Joss Whedon to oversee Phase 2 of those films as proof), so they’ve earned a bit of trust from me. It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here and what comes of it.