Disney, LucasFilm, and Star Wars

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that this week the Walt Disney company purchased George Lucas.  Okay, they didn’t buy George Lucas himself, but they bought the entirety of LucasFilm which includes the intellectual rights to Star Wars, Industrial Light and Magic, and Skywalker Ranch.  The price tag was the low, low price of only $4 Billion.  Yes, Billion, thats $4000 Million.  No sooner did people’s jaws hit the floor from this announcement came another shocker, Disney is moving full steam ahead on a concluding trilogy of the Star Wars saga.  Plans are already in motion to make Episodes 7, 8, and 9 and have the first installment ready by 2015.

For those of you younger than I who are no doubt screaming that this is an obvious ploy to make more money off the Star Wars franchise by making 3 more inferior films, you should know that as far back as the early 80s, George Lucas said that the Star Wars saga was always supposed to be 9 episodes.  The “original” trilogy was supposed to be the middle saga of a much larger story.  Lucas changed his tune over the years, and as recently as 2008 had said there would never, ever be any more Star Wars movies.  Well, I guess $4 Billion has a way of changing someone’s mind.

You can literally type the letters “D” “I’ and “S” into Google and auto-complete will already start pushing you towards tons of stories on the Internet about this story.  As I’m sure you’re all aware, Star Wars fans such as myself are VERY passionate about our movies.  The original trilogy, consisting of Episodes 4 through 6 are the holy grail to many people.  When Lucas made the “new” trilogy back at the beginning of the last decade, fans were not pleased.  Episodes 1 – 3 were far inferior to their original counterparts.  With the exception of Episode 3, most fans all but ignore the first 2 movies.  Even part 3 which is definitely the best of the bunch does not hold a candle to the original movies.

So, this brings me to the point of my post.  What do I think about all of this?  Personally, I am elated.  I have always felt that George Lucas lost touch with reality long ago.  His obsession with the Star Wars characters and his never-ending tinkering of the original cuts of the original movies, and his life-long ban on future Star Wars movies has gone against what the fans have wanted.  Lucas himself envisioned Star Wars to be an homage to the sci-fi films of the 50s and 60s that he grew up with as a kid.  George Lucas was a fan of these movies before they were even made.  He hit that rare balance of perfection.  An epic saga, great characters, great casting, and an amazing story.  The original 3 Star Wars movies were perfect in their original incarnations, yet Lucas was never happy.  I have never met the man, but I get the impression he is a conflicted person to his very core.  I have no doubt that if Lucas himself ever tried to make Episodes 7 – 9 they would be just as inferior as the last trilogy he tried to make.

If there is a studio out there who could possibly pull off a new Star Wars trilogy, I actually think Disney is the right studio.  Why, you ask?  Well, here are two words, “Pixar” and “Marvel”.  Of course, I am speaking about Pixar and Marvel Studios who have been responsible for some of the most amazing movies of the past 15 years.  Pixar has an almost perfect track record (the lone exception being Cars 2) of making absolutely brilliant movies with great characters and an amazing story.  Marvel is a recent acquisition by Disney, so they can’t lay any claim to the great X-Men movies, or even the first two Iron Man movies, but it was under Disney’s watch that the stories behind the Avengers, arguably one of the best comic book to silver screen translations of all time, came to fruition.  Disney saw the larger picture and put together the stories of Thor, and Captain America as a prelude to the Avengers.  Disney will be holding the reigns of the next Avengers movie, Iron Man 3, and I believe yet another reboot of the Hulk (hopefully they bring Mark Ruffalo back this time).

One thing I really like about Disney is that they know when they have something good, and they don’t mess with it.  The guys behind Pixar obviously know what they’re doing and have a good handle on things.  Disney lets them do what they got to do.  When looking for a director for the Avengers, they wisely chose the brilliant Joss Whedon for the director.  I truly believe that such wise decision making will be put into place for whomever is responsible for everything behind the next 3 Star Wars movies.  My expectations are high.

In the interest of keeping my thoughts separate, I will make a follow-up post with my thoughts on what Episodes 7, 8, and 9 could be about.

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