Two freight trains, each stuffed to the brim with very separate, but equally beloved, childhood memories hurtled towards each other this week when the House of Mouse came away with George Lucas’ Big Box of playthings. Disney buying Lucasfilm means that the Supercompany can do what it wishes with Star Wars and Indiana Jones, not to mention the Monkey Island franchise (of Lucasarts who also release the Star Wars video games, including the much anticipated 1313) and more new media and merchandising opportunities than you can shake a lightsaber at.
It is, however, the further news that a new trilogy of Star Wars films (episodes VII-IX) will be released over the next few years that has worked twitter-happy fanboys’ fingers bloody in a cacophony of geek-jokes and poster mash-ups (guilty). More than with any other franchise, fans of Star Wars who grew up with the original trilogy tend to treat those films as if the ownership is theirs. These fans took it personally when Lucas started changing the past with the 1997 Special Editions as if he was pissing all over a present he had once given them. The distrust of the beard began here (one might argue it was instigated earlier when a bunch of furry bears had a party on Endor) and the ill-conceived prequel trilogy truly cemented Lucas as a ‘bad guy’, a creative Boogeyman with a fondness of CGI critters.
So, this new development in the life of Star Wars has provoked two big conflicting opinions. 1) A beloved franchise has been bought by the Death Star of Hollywood commercialism (“booooooooo”) but 2) any further films that are made will not be directed by George Lucas (“yaaaaaaaay”). As fans, we are so wrapped up in our love for the originals and our disdain for their younger, brattier siblings, that it may be easy to ignore the possibility that someone out there with whom the force is strong (remembering that Disney also have Marvel and Pixar in that toybox) might be able to have some fun in this universe and make Star Wars great again. Will it happen? We cannot know until those ten magical words written in blue - once the promise of two hours of action, adventure, unadulterated celluloid joy - grace our screens for the seventh time. We will be waiting.