The way that title ends depends on who you talk to.
I will admit, I was a Star Wars fanatic back before any talk began of the prequel trilogy. Back in college, we played in the role-playing system that utilized the Star Wars universe, we listened to soundtrack highlights from the films made back in the 70’s and 80’s, we speculated about Anakin Skywalker’s lava-induced downfall, about which little authentic information really existed at the time. I had fabulously talented friends who painted speculative illustrations on the Star Wars Universe. People looked at us like we were crazy for digging into the minutia of films made twenty years ago (at the time), but we still dug with glee.
Then The Phantom Menace released in 1999, and while I found it reasonably entertaining and was happy to get a dose of big-screen Jedi, the pleasant feeling didn’t last. The next two Star Wars movies to be made elicited performances from otherwise excellent actors that were about as dynamic as a half-eaten bowl of oatmeal that’s been left out all day. (I won’t even dignify Jar-Jar Binks with further mention of him beyond this parenthetical.) My romance with Star Wars was officially over, and I became about as pleasant as a woman scorned when the subject arose.
As many of you have likely heard, in a four-billion-dollar transaction, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm last week. Memes of Leia ‘tooned up like a Disney Princess, long social media rants, and squealing geek-outs ensued. As an ex-Star Wars obsessor, I do agree with one meme I saw.
It pictured the holographic projection of Princess Leia that Luke discovered while cleaning R2, and it read: “Help me Joss Whedon, you’re my only hope!”
That little piece of snark actually gave me a glimmer of hope. Joss Whedon (in case you’re scratching your head saying, “Who?”) is the genius responsible for The Avengers screenplay this past summer. When it comes to writing for an ensemble, there’s nobody like him in today’s cinema world. (Something Firefly fans have been trying to say for the past decade.)
At first, I threw my hands into the air and said, “What? Disney? Is this a joke?” But the more I thought about the Marvel franchise, also owned by Disney, the more a glimmer of hope grew in my soul. As much as George Lucas got a phenomenon rolling, and we do owe him much for the vision he had for the Star Wars universe, it’s no secret that some fresh vision for the concept is desperately needed.
There are people all over the film industry who deeply love the core concepts in the Star Wars mythos. The right combination of these people, coupled with Disney’s buying power, have the potential to breathe some life back into a universe that clearly has enough material out there to build an even bigger entertainment empire, but needs a deft hand to re-hab it.
The fact of the matter is, the Star Wars franchise has good bones, but Disney bought a four-billion-dollar fixer-upper.
So what do you think? Disney fueling the continuation of Star Wars films–a good treatment plan for what ails the franchise, or a recipe for disaster?