The future of the Star Wars franchise rests on Disney
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I almost stopped giving a shit about Star Wars, Almost!
Then they announced there was going to be another trilogy, and after 31 years (yes since birth, I Force Pushed my way out of the womb) of devoted fandom I still had to pay attention.
However if I can’t give up on Star Wars entirely I can sure as hell be critical of it.
After hundreds of hours watching movies, reading books, playing games and getting tattoos I think I’ve earned my say. The idea of making Star Wars films beyond the original trilogy has always been something that’s filled me with a mixture of excitement and dread, even before the decade-long disaster of prequels began to accost me and millions of other fans world wide.
These mixed feeling are the results of long hours spent reading dozens of post Return of the Jedi books and comics, the only window into the Star Wars galaxy after the death of Emperor Palpatine until the prequel trilogy.
The expanded universe, as it is now, is more influential to some fans—myself included—than the original films. It is where stories, characters and the universe and have been allowed to develop largely unhindered by any external influences, even that of George Lucas.
The possibility of a new trilogy extending into the era of the New Republic has always been a hotly contested topic among hardcore fans.Where would they start? Would it feature the original characters?And most importantly would they stay true to the extended universe timeline?
While there are still a lot of unknowns about the future of the galaxy’s next appearance on the big screen, there are some things that make me hopeful. Sadly, one of the greatest weaknesses with Star Wars has always been George Lucas.
His departure from ownership and control of the films should be seen as a positive step forward for the franchise’s development. A fantastic visionary and film innovator, Lucas deserves credit for how he has advanced filmmaking over the past 30 years.
But even in the original series it was clear he wasn’t the right person for the directing chair. His exit and the announcement of new films together bring a new hope moving forward.
Surprisingly Disney is not a terrible company to take over ownership of the Star Wars brand. Acquiring Marvel comics in 2009 Disney has not fundamentally changed or corrupted the characters and their universe.
When it comes to films, they have also stayed true to Marvel’s comic roots. With Star Wars being such a large and internationally admired product, it is difficult to imagine Disney doing anything to disrupt the seemingly endless stream of revenue it must generate. If anything, Disney’s resources should let it grow.
Most importantly however, is the announcement of J.J. Abrams as director for Star Wars 7. After the huge success of his Star Trek revitalization, Abrams is an excellent choice to bring a new voice, vision and focus to the tarnished reputation of Star Wars films. Though not as prolific a director as others, he has a long list of successful films and television shows he has written and produced, demonstrating his ability and experience to envision what fans desire from stories they feel connected to.
Star Wars has reached new creative hands, something fans have been after for a long time. While I’m not excited for the next trilogy I’m also not terrified. I am however, powerfully trepidatious, which I feel is an appropriate stance to hold after the horrors of the prequels.
Star Wars 7 will set the tone for the remainder of the new trilogy; it is our only hope, but could become our phantom menace very easily.