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Star Wars Episode VII: A New Hope? Part 1

When I learned that Disney had bought Lucas Film, I was very surprised. I thought that George Lucas would take his creation to the grave. That he would allow anyone (other than himself) to mess with his beloved franchise was astonishing to me. Since the deal was announced I’ve taken the time to think it over and decided that I am cautiously optimistic for the future of Star Wars. Here are the reasons why:

1. It will not be directed by George Lucas

I have nothing against George Lucas. In fact, I think back when he directed the original Star Wars (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) he may have been one of the best directors in Hollywood. But after years of passing off directing to others (Episodes V and VI were each directed by people who I will refer to as Not Lucas 1 and Not Lucas 2) his skills declined sharply. In fact, his only credited directorial films are THX 1138, American Graffiti, Star Wars Episode IV, and the Star Wars prequels. There is a 22 year gap between Star Wars Episode IV and the prequel films. In those 22 years, Lucas morphed from a film maker into a very talented business man, but a business man is not a director. I think that his rusty directorial skills certainly contributed to the poor quality of the prequels. This can be avoided in the sequels. Now that he has sold his company and is confirmed to be a “creative consultant” he is free to give ideas and whoever winds up directing will be free to shoot down the bad ideas and use the good ones.

2. Disney has money

I know that no one is going to say that Disney doesn’t have a mountain of cash, but this is still a fair point to make because most people have no idea just how much money Disney has stored in that fairytale castle. Disney isn’t just a theme park/awesome animated movie-making company. They own ESPN, ABC, Touchstone Pictures, Pixar, Hyperion Books, Hulu, Avalanche Studios and Junction Point Studios, the Muppets, a little thing called Marvel, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. They can hire any director, actor or actress, provided that they are not otherwise engaged in a different film. They have a lot of money to throw around and if any company can throw enough money at a franchise to do it justice, it is Disney.

3. There is a huge list of what NOT to do

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages that Disney has in making another Star Wars trilogy is that it has seen the disaster wrought by the prequel films, what happens when you milk a successful franchise dry with Pirates of the Caribbean, and its own failed attempt at a sci-fi epic in John Carter. I’ll go more in-depth on what Disney should avoid in a sequel trilogy later. They have tons of constructive criticism at their disposal and hopefully the people in charge of the project will be able to listen and take it into account while creating the future of such a beloved property.

4. Disney has experience crafting successful blockbusters

Pirates of the Caribbean, The Avengers, Tron: Legacy, Up, Toy Story 3, Lion King, Finding Nemo, the list goes on. Disney has tons of experience in making strong, memorable, and profitable films. Sure, they put out some flops from time to time like Prince of Persia or The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, but no one was suckered into those movies… right? Anyway, (I hope) people often know films like The Shaggy Dog or Beverly Hills Chihuahua are going to stink, but Star Wars… that is another thing entirely. You can expect that Disney wants very badly for Star Wars to be a long running, successful investment and will treat it (at least core entries, remember Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure?) accordingly.

5. People besides George Lucas love Star Wars

With the director’s chair vacant for the moment we are free to speculate on who might be available to shape Star Wars for a new generation of fans. I assume that the people gunning for this job will have a healthy respect for the original films. For many people around when Star Wars came out it was revolutionary. The film single-handedly created the term “blockbuster” and a legion of fans devoted to a lot of things that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. With someone who can treat the original material respectfully and a bit of leeway to take the series in a unique and interesting direction we could see something truly wonderful.

This is all speculation, of course. I don’t have any hard evidence to support the way I feel about a movie that will be released three years from now. But crap dang does it feel good to make a list!

Originally appeared on 11/06/12

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