Movie Editor's Blog

Movie Editor's Blog

Star Wars Disney sale: a New Hope for beleaguered franchise

So, George Lucas has sold 'Star Wars'. It's the biggest movie story of the decade.

Some fans might be sad, melancholic even, to see this plucky, independent filmmaker (okay, he is a billionaire) cede control of his brainchild to the evil empire - in this case the Disney corporation. We're sure the irony is not lost on Lucas.

[Related story: Disney buys Lucasfilm]
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But the naysayers are wrong. The sale of Lucasfilm to Disney is the best thing to happen to 'Star Wars'; it will breathe new life into an entertainment franchise that had been systematically tarnished by Lucasfilm since the 1990s.

According to the statement, Lucas will still remain a 'creative consultant' on the series. Sadly, we hope the role is as limited as it sounds.

Flog it... Lucas has sold empire (Credit: PA)

The man displayed genius for creating the first 'Star Wars' trilogy. In the 1970s he was a visionary. But his credit with 'Star Wars' fans ran out sometime in the summer of 2005, when — during 'Revenge Of The Sith' - the reborn Darth Vader ridiculously lurched from his hospital bed, fists aloft, screaming "noooo!".

It was Lucas' last real chance to redeem himself, after the Midi-chlorians, the Special Editions, Greedo shooting first, the Holiday Specials and much, much more. The final prequel film botched this chance.

Since then things got worse, as once-precious characters were pimped out; Yoda to Vodafone; Darth Vader to Currys/PC world.

Even worse, this happened.

Humiliating... Darth Vader roped into PC World ad (Credit: YouTube)

'Star Wars' was Lucas' baby, and it was his right as an artist to do whatever he wanted with it. Unfortunately, he ran it into the ground and infuriated the people who made him his billions — the fans.

Which is why the news that the franchise has been yanked from his fingers should be celebrated.

Disney has been in the acquisitions business for the past few years, hoovering up franchises and talent. First there was Pixar, for $7.4 billion — a response to their own in-house animation studio floundering.

Marvel followed, for $4 billion, and it is the way they've handled the comic brand that should warm the hearts of 'Star Wars' fans.

That deal happened in 2009, but the first film from the partnership emerged this year — some flick called 'The Avengers'.

Sure, it made a ton of money and proved Disney's marketing chops. But it was the daring decision to let Joss 'commercial poison' Whedon spearhead the superhero mash-up that really showed their dedication to getting Marvel right.

Proper job... Avengers got great reviews (Credit: Disney)

He delivered a brilliantly written superhero epic that was also sensitive to the comics on which it was based. The result was more than a billion in the bank, but also glowing reviews and a spate of sequels in the pipeline.

We hope Disney will take a similar approach with their latest catch. Let new talent cast their eyes over 'Star Wars' lore. Allow original voices to riff on the universe.

Apparently parts 7,8 and 9 will be based on story treatments written by Lucas himself, but that still gives scope for directors and screenwriters to bring something new.

How cool would a Christopher 'The Dark Knight' Nolan 'Star Wars' flick be? Or a James Cameron iteration? What could talented young sci-fi talent like 'Chronicle' helmer Josh Trank or 'District 9' director Neill Blomkamp add? Fresh perspectives revitalised Marvel and Batman, and would surely benefit 'Star Wars'.

Finally, we hope that with Disney onboard, some long-gestating 'Star Wars' projects will finally get done. We know Lucas has been mulling a sequel trilogy for decades, but had seemingly decided it was a non-starter. Disney has immediately resuscitated it by setting a 2015 start date, which means pre-production must surely start almost immediately.

And remember the live action TV show, in the works seemingly forever (2005 to be precise)? Set to bridge the two trilogies and focus on criminal shenanigans in the aftermath of 'Revenge Of The Sith', 50 scripts were reportedly written in 2011.

But Lucas delayed production because, bizarrely, he thought it would be too expensive. Now he's stepped aside, the coast is clear for Disney to once again just get it done.

It's actually to his great credit that Lucas has gracefully stepped aside from 'Star Wars', and admitted that a "new generation of filmmakers" is what the franchise needs.

It's a testament to the enduring appeal of his original creation, its continued hold on the popular imagination, that 'Star Wars' is bigger than one man. Roll on 'Episode 7'.

We still love you guys... original Star Wars cast (Credit: PA)

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