So the Net was all a flutter with the news revealed this week that Disney Corp. had purchased Lucasfilm for over $4 billion, with the subsequent announcement that Disney is planning a new live action film, subtitled Episode Seven, the first of new trilogy, due in 2015. What first struck me after the initial report, as I browsed the comments on various sites, was the difference in reaction to this news than when Disney bought Marvel Comics a few years ago. Many Marvel fans seemed to be more apprehensive to that news, while Star Wars fans seem to be mostly positive. That definitely speaks to the direction of the Star Wars franchise in recent years. Marvel fans were happy with the direction Marvel Comics had been going in, both with the comics and the burgeoning film franchises, so there was some worry, which has turned out to be totally baseless so far, that Disney would hurt that momentum by “watering down” the product, to make it more “Disney-like”. On the other hand, many Star Wars fans have been unhappy with George Lucas’ handling of the Star Wars franchise, especially in regards to the prequel trilogy, but also with his tampering with the original trilogy. So they’re actually glad that someone else is taking over, hoping that they’ll do better.
Despite being a major lifelong science-fiction fan, I’ll confess that I was never a huge Star Wars fan. I saw and enjoyed the first trilogy as a wee lad but my interest didn’t really grow beyond that. I never got any of the official comic-books or novels or anything. When the prequels were first announced, I wasn’t that interested, I recall my first thought was that I’d always hoped more for sequels, instead of prequels. I eventually saw Episodes 1-3, but waited until each one was on cable to watch them. And, no, I was not impressed with any of them. But this news does intrigue me, particularly because they are moving forward, with an all new story. I think this COULD be very good, if done right.
I think it’s best that they are not adapting any of the existing Expanded Universe material, and are planning an original story. Because you want something completely new, where the entire audience is surprised by what’s coming next, not where someone can just say, read the book and you’ll see what’s coming. I think that was part of the problem with the prequels, even if we didn’t know the exact details, we basically knew how the story would end, unlike the original trilogy. Nevertheless, I have, over the years, looked up the details of some of the Star Wars Expanded Universe material, and I think there are some good ideas within, which could be mined for the next trilogy. Grand Admiral Thrawn sounds like a compelling villain, not a carbon copy of Darth Vader of the Emperor, who could be the big bad guy of a new trilogy. I also like the concept of the Yuuzhan Vong, an alien race from another Galaxy who are somehow immune to The Force, and are coming to conquer. And then there are the various children of the original characters, such as Han and Leia’s son Anakin Solo, and Luke’s son Ben Skywalker, who could be used in a new trilogy.
As for using the original characters, I’m of two minds on that. Part of me just naturally wants to see as much of the original cast as possible return again. But they definitely can’t be the main stars, they’re just two old now. That’s simply a sad fact of life. But you can bring in Mark Hammil, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, I’d also bring back Billy Dee Williams, for smaller parts/cameos, while the focus is on their children as the stars of this. But then another part of me says that even that connection to the original trilogy is too much of a nostalgia thing, and that if they really want to create something NEW, they should jump forward in time, set the new film a few hundred years after the end of Return of The Jedi, where characters like Luke Skywalker are fondly remembered as legends in the distant past, and focus on a whole new generation of Jedi Knights, who are protecting the Galaxy.
Those are just my thoughts. To get a film of this magnitude out in 2015, Disney must have been planning this in advance for awhile, so I have to assume they’ve already got some story idea, if not a working script, already in development. We’re just going to have to trust that they know what they’re doing.