The news that Disney has purchased LucasFilm Ltd. for 4 billion dollars has caused quite a stir in the geek community. It seemed like just yesterday Disney had just purchased Marvel. Now, along with the likes of The Avengers, such popular film franchises now live under the mouse-eared shadow of Disney. So far, the reactions I've seen have ranged from happy surprise to good old fashioned nerd rage.
Anyone who knows me knows that I was one of the few people whose reaction to when Marvel was bought by Disney was a mix of apathy and apprehensiveness. However, as time went on it was clear to see that, at least for the Marvel films (I can't say much for the comic portion of the industry, I don't keep a finger on that pulse as much as I should), nothing really changed. It actually got better, in fact, I mean we got the Avengers and look at how successful that movie was! So who is to say the same Disney magic could work for film series that desperately need it, like the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchise?
I know I must sound like a nerdy broken record when I go on about how horrible the Star Wars prequels were, or how horrible the fourth Indiana Jones film was. So I just won't go there. What's been said has been said. However, I was well aware that more films for both franchises were inevitable. The fact of the matter is that there is nothing bigger, or more recognizable, than the Star Wars franchise. George Lucas made enough money to buy his own country on the merchandising alone. The impact the franchise has had on popular culture is still resonating with us, even though the first film came out in 1977!
That is a level of brand recognition no self respecting businessman can ignore.
Now, I know I may seem like I'm painting a gloomy picture with money hungry businessmen sucking what blood remains in the carcass of the Star Wars films after George Lucas took it out back and shot it with a double barreled shotgun. But I'm not, I'm really not. The fact of the matter is that, yes, I am excited to see what the future holds for Star Wars. I grew up watching the original, untarnished, trilogy. So understand that I am just as big a Star Wars fan as anyone else.
This whole thing, Disney buying LucasFilm and planning on doing more films, is very good news.
Why? Well, because we know what not to do. Just look at the prequels, they're basically a trilogy of "How Not To Screw Up Star Wars Sequels." If there's anything good that came out of the prequels it's that, but it's more than just that. The potential for good is just as likely as bad and here's why I think it's more good:
1. Bringing in new blood.
"It's now time for me to pass on Star Wars to a new generation of filmmakers." George Lucas said this in a statement after the news broke. This is the best thing I've heard him say in a very, very, long time. I really don't want to offend Lucas, because he's been given enough flack over the years, but him letting some new filmmakers cut their teeth on Star Wars is the best news since they announced they would be re-releasing the original, untarnished, trilogy on blu-ray (what do you mean they haven't? Then there's the first thing Disney can do!)
2. New movies means new characters and a new story.
While I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some actors like Mark Hamill or Billy Dee Williams reprise their roles in any new films, it's most likely we'll see a new slew of characters come in to take the reigns. Who these characters will be remains to be seen, they could be the descendants of our heroes (much like the novelizations), or completely new characters. In either case, these characters will need a new enemy to face, and new worlds to explore. The Star Wars universe is full of its share of scum and villainy, and with any potential film coming out in time to face The Avengers sequel along with whatever Christopher Nolan's cooking up next the characters and story have to be grand and epic!
For the time being, it's a good day to be a Star Wars fan. In spite of whatever you may think about Disney, or the Star Wars films, this is a big win. After Jar Jar Binks, you can only move up.