So this news yesterday of Disney buying out Lucasfilm for $4 billion (the same as Marvel's acquisition) came as a surprise to many, and a shock to some (like me). When I heard of the merger, my first thought was "why?" Why would Disney invest in Lucasfilm, a company that had basically run its creative course and retired with the ending of the last Star Wars film? Immediately following this question was a small spark something you may have heard of: hope. Wait a minute, would they, could they, possibly be thinking of making more Star Wars movies? Eeeep!
Of course, I immediately headed out to Google and read all about it on several different sites. I'm not gonna cover all the info, because there are better outlets than me that number in the thousands. Let's just say that George is retiring for real and will only be involved with future projects as a consultant. But I do want to say what I feel this could mean for me, the viewer and former Star Wars fanatic.
Oh, and yes, this does mean there will be more Star Wars movies, starting in 2015. Since George is calling it Episode 7 in interviews for now, we have to assume that these would be sequels, not prequels, to the original trilogy. As in, Luke, Leia, and Han post-Battle of Endor. Now, before you get your panties in a bunch, I realize that there is no concrete evidence to support that assumption. Even if there was, the logistical nightmare of getting the original cast back together, all these decades later would be monumental. Possibly impossible. Harrison Ford, for one, has always said he was glad when his role in Star Wars was over. Plus, they're all old. Have you seen Mark Hamill lately? The point is, we don't know.
But I can hope. Here are some things I think and wish they would do.
First (and what I think is most likely), they could easily take one or two actors from the original trilogy (the least ancient) and bring them along as cameos. Think Mark Hamill in a beard and robes, teaching a new generation of Jedi at the Jedi Temple on Yavin 4. Or Carrie Fisher back in her simple white dress trying to wrangle the New Republic into some semblance of order, long after the Empire fell. If those don't work, they could go lower and bring in some of the people with even smaller roles, just to help bridge the gap between the two casts. Of course, the cameo idea would dictate new characters and most likely a completely new story idea other than simply The Empire vs. Alliance Take 2. The Extended Universe (books and comics) has a multitude of story lines they could draw on.
Second, they could go a whole different direction and introduce a completely new set of actors and a timeline well outside of Luke, Leia, and Han's lifetimes. This would mean an entirely new cast, and no real on-screen ties to the original trilogy (please leave C3-PO and R2-D2 out of it). I'm thinking a focus on Luke and Mara Jade's/Han and Leia's kids would work. It would definitely feature an antagonist other than the remnants of The Empire. Once again, the Extended Universe has already gone here. This option wouldn't be bad, but I don't prefer it.
Third, they might choose to simply throw the whole original trilogy away and go with a spin-off, such as a Boba Fett movie (which they ruined already with the Clone Wars origin they gave him), or some other new Jedi doing stuff in space. Maybe even the Old Republic, a la Star Wars: The Old Republic game (I hate this idea). I really hope they don't continue to move backward in time, only forward. These are better than nothing, but not ideal at all.
Fourth, and least likely, they could actually manage to get the original cast together and make the movies I've been waiting for since I was 12 years old. Granted, instead of 10 years after the Battle of Endor, the story would have to take place quite a ways after to match the original casts' current ages, but it would be worth it. This option fills me with glee, even though I know I'll be disappointed.
And fifth, they could simply recast the roles from the original trilogy and move onward directly after the Battle of Endor with a new cast. This one would be risky, and would upset a LOT of people. I might be okay with it, just to see the characters again, but it would be really hard to pull off. I don't think this is likely, because Star Wars is a continuing story, not prone to (semi)reboots like Star Trek or some others out there. If this were the case, I'd love to see the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn come into play. Those were great books and introduced some of the best Extended Universe characters hands down. A complex Admiral Thrawn would really fit into what we like as villains nowadays, and a conflicted Captain Pallaeon would add intellectual depth the prequels were lacking. Like I said, this is really unlikely, and I'd be really cautious about it, but the storyline options it would open up are exciting.
Aside from all that, I also wanted to briefly discuss what they could do (and are already planning to do in some cases) to kind of "fix" the problems the prequels brought into play. First off, George Lucas will not be directing or writing the scripts. This is huge, and as much as I hate to say, the best thing for Star Wars. The original trilogy was directed by 3 separate directors, only one of which was George. By far the best 2 of all 6, are Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. They were directed and written by people who knew how to accomplish what the story called for. If I had my way, each of the new movies would follow that model and switch out directors, so the talent would match the need of each movie's story. I dream still of a Spielberg directed Star Wars. We'll see. Heck, even JJ Abrams or someone else like that.
Second, the prequels suffered from "earnest syndrome". Everything and everyone was so damn earnest all the time. Romance, drama, the fighting, even "comedic" lines were delivered with complete seriousness. Everything was supposed to be dire and important. It all comes down to this: where the heck was the Han Solo character? Why are all the actors staring at me through the screen like I killed their dog? The new movies desperately need a rogue, a pirate, or a thief. Someone to bring real sarcasm and biting humor back to the universe. The movies can be serious as all get out, but they can't take themselves too seriously. Bring back the Han Solo!
Third, get rid of the politics. The prequels were a huge mess of dry and thoroughly uncomplicated maneuvering by people wearing latex and makeup. We don't watch Star Wars for the politics. Sure, those can be running behind the scenes, maybe even poke their heads out every once in a while. But don't make the whole story line revolve around it. Bring back some action and adventure. Let's get some opera back in the Space Opera.
Fourth, no more puns. Enough said.
Fifth, focus on things we haven't seen before. Let's get some space walks, Jedi Special Ops, kids training in jungles where they get beat up by the wildlife and sweat to death like Luke on Dagobah. Let's see some space plagues or Hutt gangster action. Stop bringing back characters just for the sake of it, stop making everything tie in. Let some things expand the universe, not just make it into a huge loop. Let's see some prominent female characters that kick butt (hint, hint, Mara Jade). One thing I would like to revisit is the grunge. Star Wars used to be a grungy future, but the prequels kind of glossed that over a bit. Let's get gritty.
Sixth, the Force needs to be magic again. Star Wars is not sci-fi, it's fantasy set in space. Trying to make the Force fit into science just doesn't work. Mystify it once more, make it MAGIC. Also, take a note from the Star Wars Unleashed video game, and really go for it as far as Force powers go. Explore it.
Seventh, focus a bit more on practical effects and make sure the CGI looks and feels real. The prequels were a little too close to video game for my tastes. I think the new Star Trek did a great job hitting the spot when it comes to effects.
Eighth, try to forget the stuff from the prequels, please. Don't rely on the aliens you made in those movies, come up with new ones. Don't keep referring back to the Trade Federation or Naboo. Don't retconn stuff in the original trilogy to fit the prequels when you make the sequels (sorry for that).
And finally, try to keep in mind your ENTIRE audience, not just the kids. There are adults who want an awesome, complex movie to enjoy. The prequels were way too closed off when it came to adult viewership.
Anyway, those are my thoughts, and I hope to see some awesome things happening in the next few years. What do you think will happen? Disagree with me anywhere?