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.
– 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.