Next month will see the second anniversary of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm from chairman and founder George Lucas for a planet shattering $4.05 billion. For many Star Wars fans, including myself, this purchase was a milestone in our lives. It wasn’t something that would just affect us as fans; we knew it would change our lives forever. It’s one of those life-defining moments that we’ll never forget and always remember where we were when it happened. If you’re as much a fan of The Wars as I am then its quite likely Star Wars is in the top 5 things you appreciate most in life.
When the news first broke I was at home drinking the early morning glass of orange juice while catching up on a bit of news before heading off to work. As I was thumbing through the BBC news feed on my phone, two words caught my attention – Star Wars. Huh? I scrolled back up. “Disney buys Star Wars maker Lucasfilm from George Lucas”. I must admit, despite it being late October, my first thought was – is this some kind of April fool? I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. Episodes 7, 8 and 9? Stand-alones? A new Star Wars movie every year!? WHAT!? I started to receive text messages and posts from friends to tell me about the news and ask my thoughts. In truth I couldn’t have been happier.
Why was I so happy then, and why am I even happier today? Well, it’s very simple for me – more Star Wars. That can only be a good thing. Not only more Star Wars, but a continuation of the Saga that I hold so dear to my heart. Nothing can deter me from my excitement. If these aren’t the Star Wars films you’re looking for then that’s fine, move along, move along. If you’re not looking forward to new Star Wars adventures then I accept your opinion and I accept that you’re not a fan of what Star Wars has to offer. That’s fine; there are plenty of movies out there that I don’t like. I get on with my life and avoid dwelling on negative thoughts.
Would we have seen more Star Wars movies if Lucasfilm hadn’t been sold? I very much doubt it. The six Star Wars movies were essentially independent movies funded by Lucas himself. This year Lucas had his 70th Birthday. Would he really want to fund another trilogy of movies out of his own pocket, without taking creative control? Would he really want to spend another decade of his life devoted to making another trilogy of Star Wars movies, especially after the backlash of the Prequels? I really don’t think so.
Disney is the perfect organisation to take Star Wars forward. We only need to look at what they’ve done with the Marvel universe and Pixar to see the creative potential. We have to look at Disney as the facilitator in this situation. It’s not like they’ve taken over Skywalker Ranch and put Mickey in George’s chair. Disney CEO, Bob Iger is giving Lucasfilm the means to create the best Star Wars movies possible and ultimately get return on investment. Disney is not calling the creative shots here – it’s a business decision. Rest assured the super talented people at Lucasfilm are leading the way, with Kathleen Kennedy taking overall responsibility for delivering the future of Star Wars.
The Internet is a wonderful thing. It brings us all closer together and gives everyone a voice. Unfortunately it does often feel like those with a negative voice do tend to shout the loudest. I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve read online that ‘Disney is going to destroy Star Wars!’ ‘They’re going to turn it into a kids film!’ ‘Ezra is just Disney’s Aladdin!’ You get the idea.
First, Disney is one of the most successful businesses in the world today. They will do everything within their power not to destroy Star Wars. They know the best way to achieve this is to let the people who know how to make Star Wars, make Star Wars. I honestly believe Lucasfilm know what the fans want and are able to deliver on that. They get us, and embrace us. You only need to look at Dave Filoni as a shining example of how true fans are leading the way at Lucasfilm.
Secondly, Star Wars has always been a kid’s film. Whether people accept that or not is up to them, but Lucas has always made that clear from the get go. As some fans grow up they naturally want to see their Star Wars grow old with them, and perhaps tackle more realistic and mature themes. Star Wars doesn’t grow old, it’s forever young. That’s the magic of it right there. It’s aimed at the optimistic, adventurous child in all of us. In this respect Star Wars couldn’t be more at home than it is with Disney.
Finally, the whole Ezra is Aladdin point just doesn’t wash with me. Yes, he has similar hair and yes, he’s part street urchin, but that’s a far too one-dimensional way of looking at things. Most people haven’t even seen the show yet! To these people I would say cool your exhaust ports and give the new Disney and Star Wars relationship a chance. I personally couldn’t be happier that Disney is giving Lucasfilm the means to bring us new Star Wars adventures for many, many years to come.