In the twelve hours since news of Disney purchasing Lucasfilm broke, I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback with regards to the new Star Wars films being made. I’ve heard a lot of things like “Hasn’t it been desecrated enough? When will it end?!?!” and “Why God why must they continue to destroy my childhood?!”

The way I see it, Disney is going into this deal with the mindset of “Ok, let’s save Star Wars.” Because, let’s be real here, it needs to be saved. In 1999, George Lucas took everything that was awesome about Star Wars, made a list, and said to himself, “Ok we don’t need any of this.” The interesting intricate story, well written fleshed out characters, and adventurous atmosphere of the original three movies were nowhere to be found in the prequels. It’s almost as if they were made by a different person. What a lot of people don’t realize is, they kind of were.

In 1977, when George Lucas was making A New Hope he was 33 years old and had only made two movies. Fox Studios was not about to let him make this huge production and allow him complete creative control. The studio reigned in some of his ideas and that really did shape Star Wars into what it was. As a writer and a director Lucas really is someone who shouldn’t be allowed to do whatever he wants because, and the proof speaks for itself, he has a lot of bad ideas. He was going to make Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to be about a Haunted Castle, but Spielberg wouldn’t let him because he knew that was a stupid idea. Then, when you look at Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Lucas didn’t really have anything to do creatively with either of those movies. He stepped back and produced while he allowed others to write and direct.

Fast forward to 1999, George Lucas is directing not only his his first Star Wars film since 1977, but his first film in general since 1977. The difference is now; he’s been attributed with creating the Star Wars Trilogy; which, at the time, was the highest grossing film franchise ever. So who was Fox Studios to step in and tell him how to make his movies? Lucas had made them so much money, why should they step in and hinder his creative process? So they didn’t. Now here was George Lucas stepping back into a franchise which hadn’t really been his for over twenty years, and trying to figure out what was what again.

The finished product we wound up with was a set of three truly awful movies that make Oscar winning and nominated actors (Liam Neeson, Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman) look like some of the worst actors ever. I really think that what happened was somewhere along the line, he forgot how to make movies. You can really see how blatantly this is the case simply by pulling any scene out of the prequels and looking at, not only the writing and acting, but also even the staging of the shots, as well as the exorbitant use of CGI. It’s “How Not to Make Movies 101 with George Lucas.” Through this he was able to make ridiculous amounts of money, and make a lot of men living in their mother’s basements very very unhappy.

Now there is talk of a seventh, a further continuation of the Star Wars Saga. This is different though, George Lucas is stepping aside, he is allowing someone else to take his franchise and continue it without him. I don’t know why people aren’t seeing the opportunity here. If this franchise was to be given to someone who is not only an adept filmmaker, but also someone who loves Star Wars, we could be seeing the best Star Wars movie since the Empire struck back. I know people are turned off by the fact that Disney is the company that now owns the rights, worried that it’s going to be even more kid-friendly than it was in the prequels, and that it’s going to be lame. To those people all I have to say is go watch The Avengers. Disney bought Marvel and that relationship seems to be working out just fine for all parties involved. All Disney’s involvement is going to mean is a virtually unlimited budget and endorsements, as well as a shelf in the Disney Store.

Personally, I staunchly believe that the perfect candidate to direct this new movie would be J.J. Abrams, only because of how well he handled Star Trek. He took a series that was dead, and made it accessible to everyone, have it get great reviews, and it made a lot of money to boot. Handing the reigns of Star Wars over to him would be the equivalent of handing Marvel over to Joss Whedon, and we all know how well that worked out.

I really do think this is something to be looked at positively. It means that our last memories of Star Wars aren’t going to involve Hayden Christiansen, and if the movie sucks… then at least George Lucas will have someone to share the blame with.

See also:

Original announcement: Disney purchasing Lucasfilm, creating more Star Wars films.
George Lucas and Mickey Mouse: A relationship decades in the making (a pictorial).
Hypable Opinion: Disney’s purchase of LucasArts offers gaming potential.
The 19 funniest, most insightful tweets about Disney purchasing Star Wars.

Cassandra Clare keeps expanding the Shadowhunters’ universe, with the first adult books of the chronicles just announced!

Clare announced via press release this morning that she’ll publish a trilogy about Magnus Bane, the fan-favorite warlock who’s appeared in every single one of her books and already received a collection of eleven spin-off novellas all about him (The Bane Chronicles). There is no word yet on whether the new books will tie in with the stories told in The Bane Chronicles.

Interestingly, this trilogy will be Clare’s first foray into adult literature, after writing extensively in the YA realm. She always pushed the boundaries of YA, though, with the inclusion of “Dirty Sexy Balcony Scenes” and the like. The first Shadowhunter book, City of Bones, was published in 2007, and the teens who picked it up back then will feel right at home in the adult section of a bookstore today.

Also of note, the series will be co-written with Wesley Chu (author of The Lives of Tao). Clare seems to like having co-writers when dealing with Magnus Bane; The Bane Chronicles are the only other Shadowhunter books that have other authors attached.

The first Magnus Bane book is expected to be published in November 2017. This means that Cassandra Clare will have three Shadowhunters series being published concurrently… The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours, and this Magnus Bane series.

If various sources are to be believed, all three will have an installment published in 2017. The second Dark Artifices book, Lord of Shadows, is expected in April. The Magnus Bane book, as mentioned above, is due in November. And the official site of the Shadowhunter Chronicles still says that the first Last Hours book, Chain of Thorns, is expected in 2017. Clare has a sixth series planned after getting some of these finished, The Wicked Powers, so there’ll be more Shadowhunters coming to a bookstore near you at least through the early 2020s.

Perhaps the decision to publish the Magnus Bane trilogy was based on the character’s success on the Shadowhunters TV show, where the fan favorite is portrayed by Harry Shum Jr. Shadowhunters was renewed for a second season by ABC Family, and it looks like they may have many seasons ahead of them.

Clare said, “Over the years writing the Shadowhunter books, Magnus Bane has emerged as one of the most fun and fascinating characters for me to bring to life… There are so many things we don’t know about Magnus, from the story of his first love to the secrets of his parentage, to the beginning of his relationship with Alec. All those are things I was able to touch on in The Bane Chronicles, but I’m excited to dig in even more deeply in these three volumes devoted to Magnus, his past, his future, and his present.”

Are you excited for three books all about Magnus Bane, or is this Shadowhunter overkill?

The Boxcar Children are heading to the big screen for a new movie series.

Many of us grew up with the wonderful Boxcar Children book series when we were kids. The stories by Gertrude Chandler Warner follow Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who live in a train boxcar as they search for a home. As kids we all wanted to live in that boxcar (or at least I did — I thought it was so cool to live in a train car with friends!).

According to a press release from Shout! Factory Studios and Legacy Classics, work on a new Boxcar Children animated movie series is well underway, with the first movie aiming for a release in 2017 (which marks the 75th anniversary of Boxcar Children #1). Two more Boxcar Children stories are also in development.

If the animation quality is at the Sunday-morning-cartoon level I probably won’t be very excited about it, but if it’s a more mature animation style (like a Pixar or a Coraline) I can imagine myself loving it.

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The Boxcar Children movie series is poised to do well thanks to the overall success of the books they’re based on. The novels have collectively sold over 70 million copies worldwide, with over 160 books (?!) in its arsenal. The two most recent books are titled The Legend of the Irish Castle and The Celebrity Cat Caper, which were both published this year. Looking through the history of the series, roughly four Boxcar Children books have been published annually. The original author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, only wrote the first 19.

A low-budget animated Boxcar Children film debuted two years ago, but today’s announcement marks a reboot with a new studio at the helm.

Arrested Development‘s fourth season aired three years ago today. To celebrate its legacy (and to try to forget how much we’re missing it right now), let’s rank the best recurring Arrested Development jokes!

It’s really no secret that Arrested Development has some of the best recurring jokes and gags of all time. Even people who don’t watch the show are familiar with things like “There’s always money in the banana stand” and “I’ve made a huge mistake.” The jokes in this show are just so understated and catchy that it would’ve been crazy had they not have caught on. Thanks to Arrested Development‘s recurring jokes, pop culture has never been quite the same.

To celebrate our undying love for Arrested Development, we decided to forgo the banner (sorry, everyone) and instead put together a list of all of the gags and jokes that we think are the best ones the show’s ever done. Not only that, but we’re leaving it up to you to rank them!

How to play: Love a certain joke and think that it should be at the top of the list? Upvote it. Really hate another joke and don’t understand how it got on the list in the first place? Hit that little downward-facing arrow. Don’t care either way for some of these gags? Then you can just leave them untouched. It’s all good! We just want to know what YOU think! With everyone participating we’ll be able to build a definitive list of the best Arrested Development jokes!

So, grab your denim cut-offs and hot ham water, and maybe even do a little chicken dance to get yourself pumped up (but not with the hot ham water in your hand, please). If you’re an Arrested Development fan, you’re sure to love ranking these jokes.

(Just be careful about which arrow you hit. You don’t want to hit the wrong one and find yourself saying “I’ve made a huge mistake.”)

Are there any ‘Arrested Development’ jokes missing from the list? Add them below!

 
Related: Arrested Development season 4 drinking game