What does Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm mean for the future of ‘Star Wars’?

Like many “Star Wars” fans, I’m still trying to process the announcement that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm and now will be at the helm of the “Star Wars” media empire. Maybe it’s just me, but this news took me completely by surprise, and I certainly didn’t see it coming. As a movie buff, I normally monitor movie news websites and magazines fairly closely, but I didn’t hear any rumors about this sale before it happened.

It’s a major purchase — worth about $4 billion dollars — and it’s one Disney plans to quickly put to use: a new “Star Wars” movie, Episode VII, is slated for release in 2015, and other “Star Wars” related projects could soon follow. Overall, I’m feeling pretty positive about the announcement of this sale, and I think Disney has strong potential to successfully continue the “Star Wars” franchise.

Once I recovered from the shock of this announcement, a couple concerns and reservations did come to mind. My main fear is that Disney will try too hard to make too much money off the franchise too quickly. Although Disney has made many great films throughout its history, on a few occasions I feel the company has sacrificed art for profit. For example, I enjoyed the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, even though some fans didn’t like the second and third films, and I thought the third film was a good way to end the series. Then, Disney decided to make a fourth Pirates film. It was still a fun movie, but it didn’t have the same magic as the previous films. Disney tried to push the franchise too far, and I don’t want to see this kind of situation happen with “Star Wars.” I’d like to see them develop quality new “Star Wars” films and not try to rush the process or keep the focus more on profit than product.

That said, I feel the risk of commercializing the saga would have been there regardless of which company purchased Lucasfilm, and I do think Disney will respect the franchise. It’s rare to have such a long-running franchise with such a rich mythology, and I believe Disney will seek to do it justice.

I also don’t want to see film makers try to remake or reboot the saga — and I don’t think Disney will let this happen. Some films lend themselves to remakes or reboots, but the original “Star Wars” trilogy is too much of an iconic classic. The films are a piece of cinematic history that just can’t be recreated. Harrison Ford IS Han Solo, Carrie Fisher IS Princess Leia, and Mark Hamill IS Luke Skywalker. These are roles you just can’t recast. It’s possible there could eventually be a prequel in the style of J.J. Abrams’ recent “Star Trek” film, going back and following the characters while they’re young. A film featuring the adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca in their younger days might be interesting, but then again, it’s tough to think of anyone but Harrison Ford playing Han Solo, so I don’t know if this concept would work or not.

I don’t know many details about the 2015 “Star Wars” film, but it presumably will take place after the events of “Return of the Jedi.” I’d been hoping film makers would adapt one of the “Star Wars” expanded universe novels for the films, but I’ve heard this probably won’t happen. Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy, a fan favorite, would have made a strong film, as would the more recent “Legacy of the Force” series, featuring Jacen Solo (Han and Leia’s son) and his decision to turn to the dark side.

However, I still hope the script for this new movie will draw on some of the material in the expanded universe novels, or at least acknowledge it and still treat it as canon. I’d like to see certain characters from the novels — such as Mara Jade, an Imperial assassin who later marries Luke; Ben Skywalker, Luke’s son; and Grand Admiral Thrawn — make appearances in this new film saga. My hope is also that Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill would return to play older versions of their characters.

I’m probably getting a little carried away, but as a long-time “Star Wars” fan, I’m very excited about the possibility of new “Star Wars” projects. Perhaps Disney will continue work on the proposed live-action “Star Wars” TV show, as well (a gritty, noirish series about bounty hunters or the Empire’s rise to power might be interesting).

I think if Disney plays its cards right, it will be able to continue the “Star Wars” franchise for many years to come. As long as it respects the franchise, I believe fans will be more than willing to come along for the ride.

So, what do you think about Disney’s announcement? Do you think this is a good move for Lucasfilm? What future “Star Wars” projects would you like to see?

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7 thoughts on “What does Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm mean for the future of ‘Star Wars’?

  1. LOL @ the thought of “Star Wars” becomming over-commercialized. Toy aisles have been flooded with Star Wars toys for 40 years now!

    I’m with you, I was shocked by this. They kept this ULTRA hush hush. Hard to believe they were able to spring a deal this size on everyone without any leaks!

    I doubt they’ll “remake” the franchise, but a reboot is easily forseeable. Brand new stories, set in the world of the force, Banthas, landspeeders and lightsabers. Its coming.

    I think I’d almost prefer that than the story of Han and Leia’s kids. It would be easier to divorce the new ones from the old, to me.

    • “LOL @ the thought of “Star Wars” becomming over-commercialized. Toy aisles have been flooded with Star Wars toys for 40 years now!” – OK, I’ll concede that point. You have me there. 😉

      I’m really curious to see where they’ll take this. I’m excited to see what director they choose for the project.

  2. I too have to LOL at your commercialization comment because, and I know it’s before your time but, Disney learned it from Star Wars. Sure there were Disney products and the Mickey Mouse Club & stuff since the 40’s but until Star Wars saturated the stores with toys, games, clothes, there wasn’t a brand like that. McDonalds Burger King, sodas, cereal, furniture. At one point there was a Star Wars version of EVERYTHING. Nail clippers, Toilet paper, Towels, condoms seriously commercialize the saga? Disney learned that from Lucas. He’s a rich as he is not from the movies but from the merchandising.

    But in answer to your question I love this deal. Disney gets it done. Of course they may have to re-edit Revenge of the Sith so that there is no slaughtering of children in it. (And Han Solo shot first. It was a gun fight. Han was quicker and Greedo couldn’t get a shot off)

    I don’t think you can bring back the old cast for anything though. No one wants to see that. They look so weird now. Nathan Fillion as Han Solo, Ginnifer Goodwin as Leia & maybe I don’t know Joseph Gordon Levitt as Luke. But I do want these characters back & not some next generation stuff however I have absolutely no idea what they will be going for.

    But what i do know is that a lot of people will be arguing about it on the internet when it leaks.

    • Good point about all the Star Wars products. I’ll concede that point. 😉 lol

      At first I was really opposed to the idea of a re-cast, but the more I think about it, the more I’m OK with the idea. I like your idea of casting Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Luke. Nathan Fillion would be a good choice for Han. A friend of mine also suggested Joe Flanigan, who played Lt. Colonel John Sheppard in Stargate Atlantis. I was thinking maybe Michelle Dockery, Lady Mary from Downton Abbey, might be an interesting choice for Princess Leia.

      And I agree – Han did shoot first. 😉 I was always a bit mystified why that was changed. I think I recall George Lucas saying something like, he thought it made Han seem more like a “good guy” if he didn’t shoot first, but Greedo was a bounty hunter and like you said, Han saw what was coming and was quicker on the draw. It fits better with his character, anyway.

  3. I have faith in Disney and really, all Disney has to do is whore out everything Star Wars except a film to make money. The licensing is all they really need to make a ton of money. Playing with films or TV shows is just an added bonus to possibly really bank in. I mean, all Disney needs is a Star Wars theme park.

    There is plenty of expanded universe material to draw from and they really should take advantage of that. Not that someone couldn’t write up a fairly stand alone script, but there just so much already out there and if nothing else Disney can attempt to gain brownie points by catering to the more hardcore nerds.

    Disney really should make a Boba Fett film. I’d really like to see a Monkey Island movie, preferably by Pixar. Actually, I just want Pixar to do a bunch of stuff with the Lucasfilm rights.

    • I’d really like to see Disney take advantage of some of the expanded universe material. Even if they don’t directly adapt one of the books, they could maybe at least use some of the characters and plot ideas.

      I’d love to see a Boba Fett stand-alone film, also. It might be interesting to see what a director like Christopher Nolan could do with the character.

  4. Pingback: The good, the bad and the ugly: Looking back at five years of hits (and misses!) at Box Office Buzz | Box Office Buzz

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