I couldn’t sleep last night.
Holding tightly on my stuffed Wicket, I laid in bed fighting off thoughts of Mickey Mouse in an epic lightsaber dual with Darth Vader.
There are few things in life that I love more than Star Wars.
So when I heard the news that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm and had started pre-production on a Star Wars: Episode VII, my initial reaction was to throw myself into a Sarlacc pit.
What were they going to do with our beloved characters? Would they recast roles for Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia? Would they continue the tradition of picking whiny mediocre actors to play Skywalkers? Would they stick to the George Lucas universe or start creating their own storylines?
Using a line from the old and wise Obi-Wan Kenobi, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”
What if Disney made the films more cartoonish? Then I thought, “Wait … hasn’t Lucas already done this?”
And he has (SEE: Binks, Jar Jar).
Don’t get me wrong, I love George Lucas.
I’ve always loved that Lucas controlled this galaxy, his galaxy, and was always proud that as long as Lucas was at the helm Star Wars wouldn’t go the way of James Bond, Superman, Spider-Man and Batman, with different young actors coming into play the part of my boyhood idol, the man I named my first-born after, Luke Skywalker. Yes, it’s true. I am Luke’s father.
Sure there’s the whole “Han Shot First” thing (which has been a pain to explain to my young Luke. “Seriously son, Han shot first. See how his head tweaks like that? It’s impossible to do that in real life – at least as a human, which Han is.”) and the weak dialogue in the prequels, but what he did was amazing. Historical. He changed the film industry.
He financed Star Wars himself then owned all the rights to all his characters and all the merchandise. And now he walks away with $4 billion! Brilliant!
More importantly he hands over story treatments to three (and possibly) more films. That means once again combining his brilliant storytelling but having others writing the scripts (a la, perhaps the best film of them all, “Empire Strikes Back”).
Lucas, and newly appointed chairman of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, gave me a new hope (pun intended) when Lucas said, “I’m doing this so films have a longer life, and so that more fans and people can enjoy them in the future. It’s a very big universe I’ve created and there are a lot of stories that are sitting in there.”
Kennedy confirmed that, “The main thing is to protect these characters and make sure they still continue to live in the way (Lucas) created them.”
You can watch the whole interview here: The Future of Star Wars Movies
What types of things can we look forward to with this new merger?
For one, new movies!
I was born months after EPIV was released (though I am happy to say that the No. 1 song when I was born in October 1977 was Meco’s “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” disco tune). The first film I saw in theaters was Return of the Jedi, in 1983.
When they announced the prequels would be released in the late-90s I was happier than Chewbacca sniffing out a piece of meat on Endor.
If Disney does what they’ve done with Marvel, who they acquired in 2009, we should be more than OK.
“Avengers” was a hit not only at the box office but with fans, new and old. Ask young Luke, he skipped over the Vader outfit this Halloween for Iron Man, as did most other younglings.
This also means that Princess Leia surpasses Cinderella as my favorite Disney Princess. This too was hard to explain, this time to my 4-year-old daughter Lia (pronounced Le-ah, not Lei-a). Yes, dear, Leia is now a Disney Princess. “But she doesn’t wear all those nice dresses,” she replied.
“But she does wear that bikini I’m always trying to get your mom to sport,” I answered.
I’ve always had a dream of attending a Star Wars theme park. Could this be in our future? If not a full Star Wars park, at least transforming Tomorrowland into a galaxy far, far away.
The best part of this all is that I’ll be able to share in future movies with my three youngsters. I’ll be able to take them to midnight screenings, wait in line (and in the rain) for them like my mom did for us before Episode III.
I do have a couple concerns, one being what will happen with the 501st Legion, an all-volunteer authentic costume organization that does so much in the way of charity work. Though a statement on their website said that they have “a solid foundation with Disney and are looking forward to continuing their relationship with Lucasfilm and Disney.”
Second, what will happen with the fan films. One of the best things about the Star Wars craze are the fan films. Will Disney allow Family Guy or Robot Chicken to continue making their Star Wars specials?
Will Disney disallow this?
I know, important things to be worrying about.
Overall I’m feeling better about the acquisition. We get more Star Wars films, more often, what’s not to like about that?
And maybe, one day, my long, lost dream of attending a Star Wars themed park will finally come true.
I guess I can only wish upon a star … even if it’s just the Death Star.