The world of Star Wars is unfathomably huge. Ever since George Lucas introduced us to stars of death, obese alien mobsters, self-pitying robots and evil father figures, the movie franchise has racked up $20 billion in box office tickets, DVD sales and an enormous amount of merchandise. Not to mention, hundreds of books and video game spin-offs, including an arguably successful cartoon. The story, both and off the screen, is epic. And it just got bigger.
George Lucas recently announced that Disney will buy Lucasfilm for $4 billion, adding Hans Solo and Luke Skywalker alongside Buzz Lightyear and Jack Sparrow on the long list of Disney heroes. But what does this mean for the film franchise?
Disney has announced that Star Wars Episode VII is already in the early development stages, but can Disney pull off a successful transition with such an obsessively beloved classic or will they butcher the storyline? Will they try to continue the journey of Luke, Leia, and Solo, or will they branch off to some other far reaches of the galaxy?
These questions are racking the brain of anyone who has ever heard of Star Wars and is aware of the effects the major motion picture has had on society since Luke Skywalker made his Jedi début in 1977. Since its première, the franchise has catapulted the closet nerd into full-blown stardom, creating a whole new breed of science fiction fans.
However, the relationship between Lucas and his fans became stilted after the premier of Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace in 1999. This is where some fans turned their backs and others turned psychotic. The final three installments to the franchise were a disappointment for some, to say the least. Besides angry letters to Lucas and even death threats (psychotic), the final three films were successful in the box office, but not successful among die-hard fans. Lucas’s reputation preceded him and, for some, did not deliver the nicely wrapped Star Wars continuity package they were expecting, but instead got Jar Jar Binks.
The transition to Disney now has half of Star Wars fans cringing and the other half cheering, but all very curious. Disney is one of the most beloved film companies in the industry, so it only makes sense for them to own one of the most beloved films of all time. Sure, Disney isn’t perfect as evident by box office failures John Carter and Treasure Planet, but it’s Disney. Their list of failures is not worth comparing to their list of successes; Pirates of the Caribbean, Chronicles of Narnia, Toy Story. The list goes on and on.
Furthermore, this is not Disney’s first major purchase.
We all know what happened with Marvel Entertainment when Disney became its legal guardian back in 2009. We were introduced to the successful The Avengers live action epic, which grossed over $200 million opening weekend. There is no reason to believe Disney can’t pull the same successful stunt with Star Wars. In fact, because of the wide range of possible storylines the world of Star Wars offers, it would be easy and down-right fun to create new characters and tales from that galactic realm. Luke Skywalker could make an appearance. We could find out what happened between Leia and Hans. Jar Jar Binks might even come back. Or Disney could go further than Lucas has ever gone before. Die-hard Star Wars fans need not worry. Lucas is staying on in a supervisory role with the next Star Wars installment. The classic film franchise is in good hands and even if Disney finds a way to butcher the story beyond repair, there is no need to fret. It’s only a movie.