Word came down this afternoon that Disney was purchasing Lucasfilm, and that a new series of Star Wars films is on the way, beginning with Episode VII in 2015. I'm a big Star Wars fan, but I'm not plugged into the grapevine on stuff like this; I have no idea if there were rumors of this swirling in the wind or not. So I was taken aback when I read the news.
My first reaction, to be honest, was dismay. The Disney name immediately calls to mind the (decent to good, granted, but often overwrought) children's fare they're generally known for. Not exactly the direction I'd like to see Star Wars go. I also don't want to see it turn into a cheesefest like John Carter (which, ironically enough, after seeing the trailer, I referred to as Tim Riggins and the Battle of Geonosis) appeared to be.
Upon further reflection, however, I've upgraded my outlook to "cautiously optimistic," having been reminded that Disney runs some ventures that do pretty cool work, like Pixar and Marvel. I think they probably run out too much Marvel product (and I don't pretend I've seen it all), but they have made some pretty cool movies. So long as they get the right people involved, it's certainly possible that future Star Wars movies won't completely suck.
And really, it's not like the prequel trilogy set a standard that will be hard to live up to. The original trilogy was great because Lucas came up with the story and then involved some other talented folks to help out with writing and directing. His insistence on doing it all himself for the prequels really dragged them down. I appreciate his involvement, because he takes seriously things like mythology and continuity, but he just isn't a good director or writer of dialogue.
Honestly, I probably would have reacted better initially to the announcement if they had said the first project would be a remake of the prequels from scratch, complete with a new story. But since they're moving ahead with a new trilogy, it raises the question of exactly what the new movies will be about. Since they refer to it as Episode VII, I assume the story will take place after the events of Return of the Jedi, but really, there's no way to know at this point. If that's the case, I wouldn't mind seeing them adapt Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy of novels. If they don't, I'm not sure what stories they could tell involving familiar characters that wouldn't completely destroy the expanded universe created in the books and other non-movie media. I have no idea if that's a consideration, though, and I'm not necessarily saying it would be a bad thing if it happened.
And that raises further questions of exactly how this acquisition affects the non-movie media and properties. I don't know if the deal involves just Lucasfilm, or includes the whole Lucasarts umbrella. What will happen with the Clone Wars series currently airing on Cartoon Network (a Time Warner property)? Are there still plans for a live-action TV series? How will this affect future books, video games, etc.? No idea, but I suppose we'll all find out eventually.
One thing is for sure, though: Star Wars is an extremely valuable property, and Disney's investment pretty much ensures that we're going to be seeing a lot of it--in theaters, TV, everything. Until I'm convinced otherwise (and I'll take some convincing; I'm pretty die-hard), I'll just tell myself that's a good thing.