Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi!
On October 30, I took a five-minute break at work to browse the headlines. What I read came as a horrible shock. George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm Ltd. to Disney for 4 billion dollars. The sale included Star Wars and all the licenses, movies, TV options, games, etc and so on and so forth. I almost cried. Seriously. I was almost in tears. My co-workers, should they ever be interviewed for my reaction, would tell you that I sat there mumbling to myself for a good 5-10 minutes saying “No, nononononono noooooooooo” over and over again. I felt a dull sort of crack form in my cold little heart. Something stable and solid and foundation-like in my life had suddenly changed.
I didn’t know which part of the news headline upset me the most. The fact that Uncle George sold Lucasfilm was bad enough. He had Kathleen Kennedy on board as his heir to the kingdom. I thought things would just pass along to her. Then the Disney aspect upset me. Disney is, in many ways, the evil Empire. Yes, they bring good, but all I could see was High School Musical and the crazy Disneyfication of beloved characters. Would they now appear in a Kingdom Hearts video game alongside Mickey Mouse? I don’t think I could survive Han Solo sitting around with Donald Duck or Goofy. The next part that upset me was the 4 billion part. In my mind, Star Wars alone is worth much, much more. But I’m not a film executive. Maybe that was a hefty fee. Who knows? Also, I was and still am concerned about the other Lucas companies. From what I understand Lucasfilm Ltd. is the parent company for Industrial Light & Magic, LucasArts, and Skywalker Sound. Does that mean that Disney now owns those as well? [Note: If someone can let me know, that would be super.]
So yeah, I was upset. For several days I pretty much felt like I had been betrayed. I don’t know a world without Star Wars. The original trilogy is this holy set of movies for me. To think that someone who isn’t George Lucas now has control over them is really scary to me.
So let’s fast-forward a few days. The news had sunk in a bit. A couple of friends of mine (who were also initially upset) pointed out that the prequels were pretty bad. I hate to say it, but it’s so true. Phantom Menace aside from the groovy Darth Maul and a cool light saber fight at the end, was a kids’ movie. And I HATE little kid Anakin Skywalker. I hate him and his “yay, I’m a slave!” mentality and his little bowl haircut. This kid does not deserve to grow up to be Darth Vader. Nope. Attack of the Clones wasn’t much better. We were stuck having to watch the lack of chemistry between Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen. When we weren’t doing that, we were stuck watching Christiansen’s teenage Anakin start to delve into his darker side. Not dark enough though. I saw no motivation. Revenge of the Sith wasn’t that bad. I enjoy parts of it—specifically any scene with Ewan McGregor. I’ve found that if you skillfully fast-forward the right scenes, you can enjoy what I like to call Star Wars Episode 3: The Adventures of Obi-Wan.
Right, so the prequels were definitely not all they could have been. Most of the blame for that can be aimed at Lucas who wrote and directed all three films. Maybe if other directors had been brought in, the movies could have been so much more. But they weren’t. Oh, and Jar Jar Binks is just wrong!
I was conflicted. I was angry at Lucas for selling the company, but I was also upset about the way the prequels turned out. I was also sort of relieved that Lucas wouldn’t be able to hurt and tweak the movies any more. I prefer the original, hokey Ewok song. Special Edition versions of the movies still don’t feel necessary to me. But at the same time, Lucas is the man who created the Star Wars universe. Without him, we wouldn’t have Obi-Wan, or Luke, or Lando. There would be no Millennium Falcon or Death Star. I didn’t have a solid opinion. Confusion!!!
And then there was a beacon of hope in the form of my hero, Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill was interviewed about his opinion of the sale, and he was onboard with it. Well, if Luke Skywalker says it’s okay, then I’m okay. So I decided that since (obviously) there was nothing I could do, I might as well just get over myself and see what happens.
But wait! There’s more! Announcements were made about three more Star Wars films. Episodes VII, VIII and IX? How could it be done? Our three leads are still active in their professions, but it’s been 30 years! How far in the future would these sequels be set? And what will the story be about? For about a week now, I’ve been brainstorming plot ideas with a buddy of mine. We have a few good ideas but only time will tell. I just have to have faith that since Disney now owns Marvel Studios and they didn’t screw up any films out of that universe, they’ll treat the Star Wars universe with the same respect.
In some ways, I feel like a hypocrite. On October 30 I was ready to join the mob of angry villagers with my pitchfork and torch. Two and a half weeks later, I’m looking forward to 2015 (the year of Episode VII). Maybe the whole thing is one big Jedi mind trick. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. These new films could go in one of two ways. They could be super-awesome, most excellent sequels and live on as wonderful Star Wars films. They would be known as worthy successors to the franchise. OR…they could go the way of the prequels as highly anticipated yet ultimately disappointing to the masses who grew up with only Original Trilogy. [I do understand that there are whole populations of children and teenagers who know the prequels as the main films of the series. *shudder*] Now would be a really good time for Yoda to do a little bit of future-checking.