In one of the biggest production deals of the last few years, The Walt Disney Company shocked people across the globe. At the end of October it was announced that the company had purchased George Lucas’ production company for a whopping $4 billion in stocks and cash.
Lucas was the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm and earned 100 per cent of the profit from Disney.
The house of mouse is now in control of Lucasfilm productions, including the most profitable and beloved sci-fi franchise of all time – Star Wars. In an even more shocking move, Disney announced that it was fast tracking Episode VII, a sequel to the original trilogy projected for 2015, with Episode VIII and Episode IX to follow in the coming years.
In the official press release, Lucas commented on the sale saying, “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” agreeing it was time to pass on Star Wars and see it continued for future generations.
Over the last few decades Disney has expanded from a small animation studio to a massive media empire and brand. In a similar move in 2009 Disney purchased Marvel Studios, also for $4 billion, as well as Pixar in 2006.
Fans had similar reactions when Marvel was purchased; fearing future Marvel films would be horrible. However, Disney has continued the success of Marvel Studios turning out the massively profitable Avengers, which became the fastest film to ever hit $1 billion worldwide, and the highly anticipated Iron Man 3 coming spring 2013.
So what does this purchase mean for Star Wars fans? Since the first film came out in 1977 Star Wars has become a pop culture phenomenon and essentially a culture in the geek world. At first fans were horrified at the news wondering if this would destroy the franchise by turning out another installment in the series without Lucas directing. However, as the shock of the news settle down and people took into account how good Avengers was under Disney, this might not be such a bad thing.
Considering Episode I-III which were prequels to the original trilogy done in 1999-2005 under George Lucas were an underwhelming disappointment. With annoying characters like Jar Jar Binks and stiff acting performances from Hayden Christiansen as a young Anakin Skywalker, they couldn’t live up to the original trilogy.
With a new episode coming out it could either continue from Episode VI or be a whole new storyline; there are many untold stories in the Star Wars universe to choose from between the comics and cartoons. This also gives us a chance to have a Star Wars film directed by some new and modern directing talent that we have today, opening up a multitude of possibilities.
Names have already been thrown around by fans such as Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Ben Affleck, Ridley Scott, Brad Bird and Kevin Smith.
With this announcement, fans should be excited that this isn’t the end of our beloved Star Wars franchise. There is a New Hope for the adventures in a galaxy far, far away to continue and perhaps introduce the series to a younger generation.