A day after the unexpected announcement spread like brushfire through the Web, we all know that The Disney Corporation is buying Lucasfilm Ltd. along with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, ILM, and Skywalker Sound. $4.05 billion is what it cost Disney to acquire the license for one of cinema’s most beloved and lucrative sagas. This is exciting news, as much as it is frightening at this early stage. No one has a clue about the future of Star Wars. Where will the new story lead? Which characters will return, and in what capacity? What happens to long-standing plans for a live-action TV series? What happens to the expanded universe canon? These and many more mysteries are whirling around on countless forums and websites.
Without a doubt, I am excited. This morning here in Sweden I was barely awake when I read the news. Not in the slightest am I concerned, though, because I know there are very talented and dedicated minds working at Disney. Creatively speaking, this is exactly what should’ve happened before the prequels. Like with Episode V, George Lucas should have only produced and come up with the basic plot framework while letting a talented writer and director fill in the gaps. This is precisely what is happening now, and the franchise will have more room to breathe.
On various occasions, George Lucas has said that there wouldn’t be any new films. Now, against all expectations, he sold his baby to Disney. But that’s not all! Star Wars: Episode VII is coming in 2015, followed by Episodes VIII and IX, probably before 2020. Yet there’s another interesting bit from the official press release on the Star Wars website: “Additional feature films are expected to continue the saga and grow the franchise well into the future.”
I wait with bated breath to see what kind of story the “extensive and detailed” treatment tells that Disney also purchased. This means that George Lucas has personally prepared a storyline for the third trilogy of the Star Wars saga. Another happy side-effect is that Lucas will not write or direct the new films. He still acts as a creative consultant, though, and he wrote that mysterious treatment that no one knew about.
With Kathleen Kennedy taking the helm at Lucasfilm and producing the new Star Wars films, the franchise is in good hands. She is a famed producer who has been behind so many great films in her career. Among her new responsibilities is bearing the title of brand manager for Star Wars. George Lucas may not be the most talented writer, but he’s a great magnet of talent and creativity. Many things can be said about the six Star Wars films, but their artistic value in cinema history is indisputable. Not only did they push film technology forward, but also inspired thousands of fans to make their own films.
Yes, Disney owns the franchise now. Technically it means that the last big franchise formerly owned by the artist who created it becomes a commercial commodity. However, Disney also has a track record of respecting legacies, as seen with Tron and the Pixar films. Lucasfilm will be financially backed by Disney, but left alone to create the upcoming trilogy for a new generation of filmgoers. We just have to trust in Kathleen Kennedy, and the yet-unannounced director, to want to make a good film for the sake of personal pride, and not only producing the largest possible profit.
Regardless of the polarity this news has caused, Star Wars: Episode VII is coming in 2015, and, whether you like it or not, there are many millions of fans who will line up to see this new adventure in a galaxy far, far away…
Here you can read the full press release: Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm Ltd.