The words, “Star Wars: Episode 7” pack a punch. So does “Disney buys Lucasfilm.” The Star Wars Saga is one the biggest fandoms in existence, with a scope that rivals that of Middle Earth. The stories are complex and rich, full of all the classic storytelling elements: loyalty and betrayal, power and corruption, good versus evil. It is comprised of two different film trilogies, the first of which was released in 1977 (through 1983) and then re-released in 1999 (through 2005), all together earning $4,382,359,868 worldwide. The merchandise is outrageous; books, clothing, toys, graphic novels, the list goes on and on.
Simply put: we love our Star Wars.
However, the second batch of films is largely considered a let-down in comparison to the original three and the television series, “The Clone Wars” was not famously successful either. Still, the fandom remains intact. After all, nothing can change the awesomeness that is the original trilogy.
It’s been fairly quiet for the last few years, without much “new” coming from the Star Wars Home Planet, except being released on BluRay, more books, and re-release of the DVDs with even more post-production revisions.
And now this.
Much like with the recent DC Nation fiasco, I find that I am not especially surprised by this turn of events. It makes sense. Star Wars is a money-making machine and with the lackluster conclusion of the “Prequel Trilogy” leaving fans wanting, a new feature film, following the end of the Original Trilogy, seems entirely plausible. Not necessary or wise, mind you, but understandable.
My first reaction to hearing this news was to skip right over the whole issue of the rights changing hands from Lucas to Disney and, instead, I wondered if the plan for this “seventh installment,” is to produce Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. I have only read part of it; my father, the real Star Wars fanatic of the family, has been talking about since he first introduced me to A New Hope. If they were to do that, then both he, I, and several other fans would be quite happy, but I realize that it’s more likely the film will be Lucas’ own storyline.
Except that it’s hard to say, because in the fandom now, at conventions and stuff, Mara Jade, Luke’s eventual wife, will show up and be part of the show/entourage – she came from Zahn, not Lucas. So did the city of Coruscant, which is in the prequel FILMS.
The problem, of course, with the Zahn stories is that they would have to recast the major characters. After all, the first book takes place only 5 years after Return of the Jedi. I, personally, think it could be done. If the stories are transformed for the screen well-enough, then I would even prefer it. But I have a feeling that I might stand alone in that sentiment; or at least in a very small group. Most fans, I fear, would go absolutely bonkers at that idea. Which doesn’t bode well.
The concern, though, that Disney is buying up all the “fan fun items,” forcing to commit to them again, seems ominous. They now own Marvel AND Star Wars? What’s next? DC Comics?
Still, in my humble opinion, the prequels were pretty God-awful. The television show did very little for me as a fan and seemed like a cruel reminder of the prequels that none of us liked. Well, some people liked it, but for the most part, those three films are pretty hated across the board. Partly because there are elements to them which actually had some merit, but were executed SO badly. If they had cast someone else as Anakin, the second and third films might have been VERY different. The scripts would have been the same, but at least the bad acting wouldn’t have been such a perpetual and obvious a distraction.
So at this point, Disney can do – pardon my French – whatever the f*** they like with Star Wars. I really don’t see how it could be any worse than what we’ve already been through, directly from Lucas himself.
There is the idea, too, that they might use a similar method to their more recent production of Tron: Legacy (the off-shoot television show for which, paradoxically, I think IS far superior to the feature-film source material). I would hope that if they do that, though, they would take what they learned from Legacy (all the criticism the film got, from fans and critics alike) and sort of treat this like a do-over. In many ways, that could be kind of awesome.
And, lastly, the people spearheading this film project are likely to be geeks, long-time fans who might just obsess over the details that got lost in those other films. No serious Star Wars fan would have forgotten that Leia told Luke that she remembered her mother, then have Amidala DIE right after childbirth.
So, in that case, with sci-fi, Star Wars nerds at the helm, then it might stand a chance.
I’m certainly hopeful.