Star Wars: The Next Generation
Disney has bought Lucasfilm for 4.05 Billion Dollars, has the dark side won or is this Star Wars' "Next Generation" moment?The quote from George Lucas is very inspiring to me.
What we are witnessing is George planning his retirement, and one of his pressing concerns is who will be the guardian of his child Star Wars? George will be 70 when the planned "Star Wars VII" is released in 2015 and it is very clear that he wants the franchise to outlive him. Star Wars is his legacy, from the almost grass roots production in '77 to the billion dollar empire it has become there is no denying the cultural impact of Star Wars. The Disney giant is poised to add this legacy to its already impressive portfolio of Pixar, The Muppets, and Marvel. While there are thousands of questions swirling between Star Wars fans and Disney fans about the implications of this merger I believe it is a new hope for the franchise, and I'll tell you why.
Marvel - Disney has done incredible things with the Marvel franchise of movies. The Avengers master plan took advantage of the popular Iron Man release in 2008, leading up to the billion dollar Marvel's The Avengers this past summer. Marvel is in safe hands and will bring us a new installment of the Avengers in 2015, alongside Star Wars VII.
John Lasseter - This man is a powerhouse of good ideas and good execution of those ideas. When he became the Chief Creative Officer in 2006 he was also granted green-light powers by Roy Disney. Lasseter is exactly the kind of man I want with a direct input on Star Wars. As principal creative advisor at Walt Disney Imagineering he has influence over expanding Star Wars' presence in Disneyland and Disney World parks.
501st and Mickey Mouse - This is where my first concern with Disney purchasing Lucasfilm lies. The president that George has set with his fanbase over how they use Star Wars material is nearly the polar opposite on the stance Disney takes with their fans. With Lucas' terms fan costume groups like the 501st Legion has expanded to include over 10,000 members and raise millions and millions of dollars for charity. Compare this treatment of fans with how Disney deals with those it feels uses "Mickey Mouse" in a way they don't like... This is my first fear, that Disney will put the kibosh on Star Wars fan costuming and place the franchise square under its iron curtain of intellectual property.
There is a chance that since it is an existing fan base and cultural phenomenon that Disney has the smarts to leave the fans alone. Perhaps George made a simple stipulation in the agreement for certain groups like the 501st. One can only hope.
Detailed Treatment - Star Wars VII is flying towards us through hyperspace and will be landing in 2015. No official information has been released except the release year and the fact that Disney acquired a detailed treatment for the next three “Star Wars” films as part of the acquisition. I read this as code meaning "George gave us his thoughts on the films and that will have an influence." One way to take this is that the man behind the prequels has a hand in 7, 8, & 9. But I like to say that the company behind The Avengers and who is smart enough to listen to John Lasseter now is turning out new Star Wars.
Parks - If there ever was to be a Star Wars theme park, Disney would be the one to pull it off. With The Wizarding World of Harry Potter a beautiful success in Florida I really believe that a Star Wars park will one day come into being.
The Next Generation - Star Wars VII should not be a prequel, and it should not be the story of Anakin Skywalker, the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi, or the story of Luke Skywalker. Those stories have been expertly told in a bond of silver nitrate and history. I believe Star Wars VII, VIII and IX need to take a page from Star Trek: The Next Generation. When ST:TNG aired in 1987 it was attempting to continue the story set down by Williams Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. The Original Series or TOS had been the definitive Star Trek universe until then. The stories of Kirk and Spock on the USS Enterprise established a mythos and history. How could anything top that show? By not trying to top it, but by become its successor. ST:TNG told a bold new story within the Star Trek universe and kicked off an 18 year run of Trek on the TV.
If Star Wars VII pushes the established universe forward and tells the story of a new group of heroes then there will be no one to stop it this time.