Not so long ago, right here in this very galaxy, Disney bought Lucasfilm, and a new “Star Wars” movie was born.
Disney’s latest acquisition and the announcement of “Star Wars Episode 7″ is easily one of the most energizing and polarizing pop culture announcements in recent history. A seventh film in the “Star Wars” series has long been rumored, and soon, it’ll be a reality, under Disney’s supervision no less.
But with the news only hours old, many questions still surround the return of the Jedi to the silver screen. Here are five of them.
The implication of the “Episode 7″ title is that we’re out of prequel territory and into the land beyond the original trilogy. That’s scary turf for a few reasons, one of the big ones being… well, who’s going to return? It’s hard to imagine Harrison Ford getting on board with a Han Solo reprise given his cold stance towards “Star Wars” over the years, unless a Millennium Falcon-load of cash arrives at his front door. It’s easier to see how other franchise mainstays — like C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels or Chewbacca himself, Peter Mayhew — might return without the promise of similarly massive paychecks. There’s also this dreaded possibility: recasting. We shudder to think.
Playing It By The Books
Even though the theatrical story ended with “Return of the Jedi,” the “Star Wars” saga has continued in the form of novels, comic books, video games and beyond. There are countless stories chronicling the continuing adventures of Luke Skywalker and friends to mine from — but will Disney feel obligated to honor a continuity known only by the most faithful of “Star Wars” fans, or will they bring their own stories to bear upon a greater mainstream audience?
What About George?
Many fans will feel that the founder of this franchise needs to have his say in the ongoing story. Others, like those who were burned by the prequel trilogy and Lucas’ seemingly endless “Star Wars” alterations, are likely yub-nubbing in their finest Ewok attire right now. No matter how involved Lucas is going forward, this much is clear: he just handed the keys to one of the biggest film franchises of all time over to one of the biggest corporations of all time. To riff on Darth Vader’s own words, Lucas is the student, and Mickey is the master now.
Who Is The New George?
If Lucas is no longer repping the Rebellion, who does Disney get to step into the franchise’s spotlight? A big name is needed to spearhead “Star Wars” going forward, someone with name recognition, a person with credibility in the geek community. “Star Trek” helmer J.J. Abrams is an obvious, but otherwise committed, choice, as is “Avengers” director Joss Whedon — though he already has his hands full with a Disney-owned franchise of his own. Regardless of who Disney selects, it can’t just be Joe the Director; they need a name who will reassure fans that one of the most precious genre stories of all time is in safe hands.
This Is The Apocalypse, Right?
Has the Empire won? Like, did Luke and Leia and Han and everyone fail and all that is wrong in the world is happening now? Let’s not get carried away. Disney’s “Star Wars” is a scary idea, sure, but it’s not necessarily a bad one. Heck, it might even be a good one. Think about the possibilities: Pixar-animated “Star Wars” yarns, the unaltered original trilogy on Blu-ray (where Lucas was stubborn on this point, Disney will only see dollar signs), and brand new adventures starring some of the most iconic characters in the history of cinema. More “Star Wars” comes with lots of risk, but also lots of potential reward. As Yoda so wisely called it: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” For better or worse, Disney is doing it. And that takes some seriously sized space-balls.
Tell us what you think of the “Star Wars” news in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @roundhoward!