Disney’s Star Wars.
Think about that for a second.
“Disney’s Star Wars”
That is what it will be known as from now on. This will be a day long remembered.
With the exception of the existing six episodes in the current saga, there will no longer be the iconic 20th Century Fox logo with Alfred Newman’s trumpeting fanfare preceding “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”
Instead, the curtain on Star Wars will now open with the Magic Kingdom to the tune of “When you wish upon a star” as it transitions into that galaxy far, far away.
I am indifferent about Lucas selling out to Disney. Frankly, I’m over all of it. If nothing else and for no other reason, I am just glad that he has finally let it go and moved on. He will no longer be able to get his meddling hands on the Original Trilogy again and tinker with the films my generation saw when we were children. There’s a good chance that Disney will resurrect the Original Trilogy and restore them back to their unaltered theatrical versions because they know there is a demand for it and a market potential to sell more DVD’s and Blu-rays to appease the older fans as well as indoctrinate the younger generations who only grew up with the Lucas imposed Special Editions. It’s no longer Lucas’ to say which version we can or can’t watch. For that I am very hopeful and thankful. Enjoy your retirement George. I’d only wished you had done this 20 years ago. Perhaps my faith in Star Wars would still be intact and the Prequels and Special Editions wouldn’t have soured and tarnished my enthusiasm at the prospect of new Star Wars films on the horizon.
The news that Episodes VII, VIII and IX are finally going to happen fills me with ambivalence. After the dismal and disappointing Prequels, I’m really not excited or hopeful at all. Granted Lucas isn’t writing or directing them which can only be a sigh of relief for most fans. The damage has already been done. Things couldn’t possibly get any worse, right? There will be stories told from a fresh new cadre of filmmakers with their love of Star Wars but it still won’t be the same as the trilogy that I grew up with. I feel that Lucas has already diminished the magic that those films held for me as a child with the infuriating Special Editions and cringe inducing Prequels and the “Disneyfied” Clone Wars cartoons that paved the way for the Mouse’s acquisition of the Star Wars brand into their mega-monopolistic IPO. Disney is a company bankrupt of any original ideas of their own, incorporating and assimilating the intellectual properties of everyone else to keep their imperialistic machinations prospering under the reign of Emperor Iger. If you thought that George Lucas and Lucasfilm were the Evil Empire, you haven’t seen anything yet.
After mismanaging the potential epic science fiction franchise-in-the-making that was Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter, I really have no faith that Disney will act as responsible custodians and caretakers of Lucas’ franchise under the auspices of Lucas’ self-appointed chairman, Kathleen Kennedy. Ironically, there would be no Star Wars at all if it wasn’t for John Carter. Disney should have been more respectful of what they had and treated John Carter like a precursor to their premiere of Star Wars films. Unlike the misfired and mis-marketed John Carter you had better believe though that they are going to exploit Star Wars for every last penny of their $4 billion dollar investment and that means milking it even more than Lucasfilm ever did with their omnipresent merchandising and media. I really don’t want to be greeted at the gates of the Magic Kingdom by Princess Leia, Snow White, Goofy, Jar Jar Binks and Mickey Mouse. Too much Star Wars is not a good thing. It’s overkill. It diminishes and dilutes the magic of the original films as they become lost in the middle of two lackluster trilogies whose sole purpose is to profit upon the artistic integrity of the original mythos by waving it incessantly in your face.
Really, what more can be told about Star Wars that we haven’t already seen again and again and again? Joe Johnston's proposed Boba Fett movie? The thing is, Boba Fett's mystique and appeal comes from being a mysterious character who appeared only briefly onscreen and had only a couple of lines of dialogue. He was cool then. The Prequels already told us too much about him that we didn't really need (or want) to know. Lucas says there is 20,000 years of stories in the Star Wars universe waiting to be told that hasn’t already been explored and beaten into the ground by the Expanded Universe in the comic books, video games, novels and cartoons. Who are the characters in this new trilogy going to be? Will we see Old Mark Hamill appearing as Old Luke Skywalker in an Obi-Wan Kenobi type role overseeing a new generation of Jedi Knights protecting the New Republic from the tyranny of a new Darth Wannabe? It’s more of the same-old-same-old. I know the lightsabers are going to be out for me on this one, and I don’t really care, but I’m sure the majority of devout fanboys out there will lap it up and willingly shell out their cash for the toys and line up to be among the first to see the new films but my enthusiasm for it all is gone. I said my goodbyes to Star Wars with the end credits of Episode III in 2005 and found closure. Like Lucas, I closed that book. That story was told. The door is opening for a new generation and new stories and endless possibilities but it’s just not my Star Wars. Lucas said Star Wars films can continue on now for a hundred years. I’ll be long dead. There comes a point where you just have to cherish the ones you love and preserve that sense of nostalgia and let it go.
To evoke the words of Bill Murray, “Star Wars. Nothing but Star Wars.”
There’s just no stopping the juggernaut. Star Wars is forever. Yay. May the Force be with you. Always.