This is part of Disney’s plan for the Star Wars franchise that was released along with the information that they had acquired Lucasfilm Ltd., formerly 100% owned by George himself, for the hefty sum of $4.05 billion.
Lucas’ rationale behind the sale is his desire to have the company be a part of a larger entity “that could protect it”, he said in an interview. He is also optimistic about the ability of said entity to expand the franchise with a level of resources unmatched by nearly any studio.
This is Disney’s third major acquisition of this kind in the past six years, having been preceded by that of Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion in 2009 and Pixar (itself an offshoot of Lucasfilm) for $7.4 billion in 2006.
Special effects companies Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound were also included in the deal, as they are subsidiaries of Lucasfilm. And let’s not forget about that other classic franchise: Indiana Jones.
What does this mean for the future of Star Wars (and Indy)? Should fans be rejoicing or recoiling with horror? It’s hard to say. Both series are regarded as cultural phenomena, and especially in the case of Star Wars, ones which partly defined an era (for science fiction fanatics, if no one else).
On the other hand, recent film entries in both series have largely been lambasted. Even recognizing the existence of Episodes I through III is enough to strongly upset some serious Star Wars die-hards.
Fans also deride the bizarre and unnecessary alterations to the original films, the worst offender likely being the insertion of Hayden Christensen into the final scene of Episode VI. With Lucas having been kingpin up until now, these changes were logically all by his hand.
Is this a shot at redemption for the galaxy far, far away? An original story not following existing canonical material has been confirmed, after all, but it’s already far too late for the original trilogy to be untainted by the release of more official movies anyway. At the very worst we’ll be served up another set of slop that we simply have to ignore.
We could also get lucky. New writers and directors means a departure from Lucas’ more recent “visions”, which in itself is promising. The best we can do is hope for someone faithful to the spirit of the classics to be put in charge of the project; in fact, it’s our only hope.