Ok, so I know this happened two days ago, but you see, sometimes things are best discussed after they’ve been allowed to simmer, kind of like (enter some type of food of your choice – I don’t know how to cook). Plus, there have been some developments, so now I can adjust for that. Plus again (ultra plus? super plus?), I’m off today, so I actually have the time to put together my own thoughts about the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, the great and powerful.
Here’s the first thing – this appears at first glance to be the biggest 50/50 endeavor in recent history. This is either going to be the greatest development for movies, specifically Disney, or its going to make those whole prequel things look like the original trilogy. Yes, the bar has been set low by those aforementioned three whiny-Anakin movies, but the main thing here is that everyone is absolutely fine with the amount of Star Wars that exists. Do we really NEED more? And this comes from someone who knows more about Lucas’ universe than is probably healthy.
Disney purchased Lucasfilm (and all of its entities, which includes the fantastic ILM and Skywalker Sound) for just over $4 billion (that’s with a B, ladies and gentlemen), a total reached by a combination of one big-ass check and some stock options for Mr. Lucas. I hope you all know that this was $4 billion in order for George to Get. The. Hell. Away. The plan here is to start a new era of Star Wars, with the currently-labeled Episode VII (more on this in a bit) releasing in 2015 and then subsequent films every two years. Now, fans of the series will tell you that Lucas had always claimed to have planned out 9 films at the beginning (although he has claimed a lot of things – plus, you cannot tell me with a straight face that he knew that Luke and Leia were going to be siblings in Jedi with the way he wrote their relationship – and had them kiss several times – in the first two films) and that the logical decision would be to basically film those three post-Trilogy films next.
However, the most recent reports has Disney going in their own direction (shocker!) and looking for talent to come in and write new material in order to film a new extension of the series. Now, while it is important to remember that many people outside of the Star Wars universe has contributed to said universe (the massive amount of novels alone that exist gives so many potential storylines that it’s ridiculous) and that we can all agree that the number one culprit when it comes to messing with our beloved Star Wars is Lucas himself (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!… Need I say more?), I am a bit wary of bringing in random Joes to create new stories from a galaxy far, far away.
This is where it all starts to come to life… it all depends on who they get to take this over. Many have tried to argue that since Disney owns Marvel now and The Avengers was fantastic that we shouldn’t be worried. I have to disagree. Joss Whedon made The Avengers fantastic and its because of both him and the cast that something that had such a high possibility for failure came through in the end. This is why it is imperative that Disney finds someone who not only likes Star Wars or respects it, but LOVES it. You see, the biggest critics of Lucas’ meddling the past, we’ll say, 15 years (although we could also just say “since-the-originals-were-released ”) has been the fans. We are the ones who have no problem pointing out that you’d think that the Empire should have put more thought into the construction of the second Death Star, and probably not made the thing that destroys the whole space station BIGGER than the tiny porthole that the first Death Star had.
Let me make this point though: I do not want to see the original actors in any sort of main role in any way, whatsoever. I made the joke on Twitter that we all know that Harrison Ford is willing to rehash his old roles no matter what. Time has not been kind to either Mark Hamill (there’s a reason all he does is voice work) or Carrie Fisher (enter fat/cocaine-addict/ugly joke here) or even Billy Dee Williams, who last time I checked, looked like he had eaten Lobot (that’s the bald guy from Cloud City who looked like Principal Strickland from Back to the Future who served as his aide). If you want to put them in the new episodes, it better be a quick cameo and then they’re done. We all saw Indy 4… we don’t need Han Solo ruined, too.
I’ve heard some names for the possible director already: Guillermo del Toro, for one, is extremely interesting, but he’s already on the bill for a few things for Disney already (including a Pinocchio remake of some kind, not to mention the completion of Pacific Rim). There have been jokes, too (most notably, Michael Bay, which… you know, I’m not even going to address). But for me, the first name that popped into my head was Brad Bird. He brought his animation-prowess to the likes of Ratatouille (my favorite animated movie of all-time) and The Incredibles and then transferred that skill to breath-taking results in last year’s Mission: Impossible 4 – Ghost Protocol. Put him in the director’s chair and give him a writer that knows the nooks and crannies of the Star Wars universe and let’s go for it. Make it the 50% chance that this is going to be the best thing to happen to Star Wars since “I am your father.”
Now, for Lucas, apparently this has become much more than just a retirement plan. As of yesterday, it has been reported that he has expressed his intention, in the event the deal closes, to donate the majority of the proceeds to his philanthropic endeavors, which mainly includes the education field. The man himself has said that “For 41 years, the majority of my time and money has been put into the company. As I start a new chapter in my life, it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy.”
This is truly admirable, and as a current Masters of Education student, I’m relieved to hear that news. No field can use funds like that more than teachers. And, hey, the guy has $4 billion (not to mention the fortune he had already accumulated)!!! I’m sure he can take the hit…
There’s so much to discuss and nothing but time, so please, sound off below. I’d love for this to be the highest commented-on post here at MAN, I LOVE FILMS, because, well, it’s Star Wars, and as the proud owner (well, semi-proud is closer to reality) of hundreds of Star Wars Customizable Card Game (or CCG) Cards, I’d love to lead this discussion into the future… a future that now includes more Star Wars films.