I went to bed last night a different person; I was a person who didn’t know that new Star Wars films were on the horizon. It was mind blowing enough that Disney announced their acquisition of Lucasfilm yesterday, but I really lost it when I scrolled further down into the press release and saw the words “Star Wars Episode VII.” I blinked. I double checked the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. I started reading again. It was right there. The saga would continue in 2015. That’s just three years away.
I had a moment. This was the biggest news I’d ever received as a Star Wars fan, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
I barely had time to frantically tweet and look at tweets from my friends who work at Lucasfilm before the public conference call at 1:30pm. Bob Iger and CFO Jay Rasulo broke down the basics of the deal and the news. I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but the biggest item of note is that we will get not only Episodes 7, 8, and 9 but we will get a new Star Wars feature film every 2-3 years after that. My hands were so shaky with excitement when they announced that information that I could barely tweet.
Iger emphasized that he and George Lucas built the foundation for a solid relationship when they developed the Star Wars and Indiana Jones attractions for the Disney parks. He also stated that they started discussing the possible acquisition about a year and a half ago. It’s no secret that Lucas was thinking about retirement – he’s been considering it for the past 4-5 years – but he wanted to put the right caretakers in place.
I had a hunch something big was coming when Kathleen Kennedy joined Lucasfilm. I figured it took more than an animated series to entice her to join the company, and I wasn’t sure the prospect of a live action Star Wars series was enough. Still. I sure as heck wasn’t expecting this.
Iger and Rasulo went on to cover the basics: they will be expanding the merchandising footprint internationally (collectors: go ahead and buy more shelves and clear wall space now), they will take great care with the iconic characters and understand that Star Wars comes with a passionate group of fans, they will be incorporating the franchise into their theme parks even more (Iger specifically mentioned the Hong Kong and Shanghai locations), as far as gaming they will probably focus on developing social and mobile platforms rather than console ones, and they really like the potential of Star Wars on TV and think the Disney XD channel would be a good home for that.
However, I find it interesting (and maybe a little concerning) that though Iger did mention Star Wars on television, he did not specifically call out The Clone Wars or Detours or even mention the live action series that we’ve been hearing buzz about for a while. If you’ve been paying attention to Detours, you probably noticed they’ve never announced a network or premiere date. Maybe this is why. I don’t know if Clone Wars will make the transition to XD or not.
It’s a lot to digest. The sarlacc could spend tens of thousands of years chewing on it, but we don’t have that long. Overall, I’m optimistic. At the end of the day, I get new Star Wars. I’m okay with that; I’m practically screaming from the rooftops about that. And I think George Lucas is best as the idea guy. He will be on board as a creative consultant for the upcoming trilogy, and that works. People often point out how great Star Wars: The Clone Wars is and how Lucas isn’t involved in it – but they’re wrong. Lucas is deeply involved and is constantly discussing details with Supervising Director Dave Filoni. Having Lucas in the wings is a good thing.
And I think he’s passing on the torch to more than capable hands. I don’t think Disney will “Disney-ify” the Star Wars universe. I do not think Leia is suddenly a Disney princess. I think they will work with Lucasfilm and respect the franchise. I do have a few concerns because I’ve seen some less than stellar sequels to their animated features. I don’t want the subsequent films to start having that inferior copy of a copy feel, but I’m willing to wait and see what they’ll do. Fans who are doing nothing but just saying “Noooooooo” really get my knickers in a twist. After all, we weren’t exactly happy with things the way they were.
I’m also incredibly excited about the prospect of more Star Wars at the Disney theme parks. I’d move into Disneyland if I could, and I even have an upcoming trip planned with the specific purpose of riding Star Tours over and over to hit as many combinations as possible in a single day. I get just as jazzed about the idea of a whole Star Wars park as I do about new movies. I’d consider moving next door to that park if it’s ever built.
My biggest worries about this transition are what will happen to the Expanded Universe (EU) and to the relationship Lucasfilm has with their fans. I’m guessing the books will probably stay with the current publishing companies such as Del Rey, but there are also Star Wars comics. Dark Horse Comics currently holds the license for them, but Marvel used to publish them back in the day. It wouldn’t surprise me if the comics went back to Marvel, and I have no idea what that does to current and upcoming series.
As far as costumers and fans, I have my fingers crossed that it won’t change significantly. I saw a friend in the Rebel Legion post that they had heard from Mary Franklin, Sr. Events Lead at Lucasfilm, that it was business as usual. Nothing is confirmed, but it seems as though they and the 501st Legion can keep going as if nothing’s changed. I can’t imagine what the next Star Wars Celebration will be like, but it’s bound to change as is the D23 Expo.
I know I’m missing things (like Indiana Jones), but it comes down to this: I trust Disney. They’ve done good things with the Marvel franchise, and I believe they can shepherd our beloved Star Wars saga well into the future. It really is forever, and even – Force forbid – if they screw it up, it doesn’t change the past and the things we love.
(via The Walt Disney Company)