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He Said, She Said Review Site

The Sale of Star Wars - This Fan's Reaction

What he has to say:

He

We all know by now that Star Wars has been sold. And if by some chance you did not hear then you must live under the rock at the base of a mountain; because this is some of the biggest news in entertainment history. George Lucas has decided that it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation. It’s shocking that it happened, but it also shouldn’t be a total surprise. After all, Star Trek didn’t cease to exist when Gene Roddenberry passed away. Disney has made more movies since Walt Disney’s death than during his lifetime. Big franchises don’t simply go away if there’s still interest from the public. I think most of us simply assumed this wouldn’t happen until Lucas was gone or on his deathbed. This is the same guy who continually tinkered with the beloved original trilogy by adding unnecessary scenes, effects, and other stuff that mostly pissed people off; especially the later additions. The thought of him letting Star Wars go was unthinkable.

I guess I should start with what we know, which isn’t much. One thing we do know is that Lucas and his inner circle claim that outlines for episodes 7-9 have already been written (and seem to have been for a while). I highly doubt he has whole scripts written, but wouldn’t be shocked if he had a rough sketch. One of the reasons I say this because Mark Hamill has recently confirmed that he and Carrie Fisher had lunch with Lucas in August. In that meeting, Lucas informed him he’d like to see more Star Wars movies. You know he’s not having a meeting like this without some ideas already floating around in his head. The other reason I believe it is because the storylines supposedly have Luke in his late 30s or early 40s, and since Hamill is much older than that, I don’t think that was something Lucas recently wrote knowing that Hamill is 61. Either he wrote them long ago and is only recently acting on it or….he plans on recasting Luke, Leia, and maybe even Han (which hopefully isn’t true). The latter seems unlikely, because he wouldn’t have invited two of them to his place for lunch if he were going to recast their parts. He would have simply done it without their knowledge or permission. He owns (or did own) the franchise and could do whatever he wanted. He included them because he felt they should be involved.

Episode 7
The folks over at the Conan O'Brien show have found these posters from the next Star Wars movie.

Speaking of the age thing, as I just mentioned, Mark Hamill is 61. Additionally, Carrie Fisher is 56, Harrison Ford is 70, and Billy Dee Williams is 75. If Lucas has written an outline for another trilogy, they’ll have to be tweaked or scrapped all together. The actors are much older than the characters they’d be portraying. They simply couldn’t pass for people in their 30s and 40s.

When I think of their age a couple of things come to mind. None of them are spring chickens. Can they handle a physical role? Star Wars has more than its fair share of action. I realize Harrison Ford still does some more action-oriented roles, but he could be as old as 72 when the movie starts filming. Billy Dee Williams will be pushing 80. That’s several years older than the last time William Shatner played Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations (he was 63).  I also have to wonder whether audiences even have an interest in watching a cast (in action roles) that consists characters all on the other side of 50. It’s not totally out of the question. Star Trek still made movies with Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the rest when they were that age. Red (review here) was a successful movie and a part of that was actually because most of the cast was older. The other part of me thinks of how Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair can barely move in the wrestling ring, but still keep trying.  It could go either way to be totally honest.

This really got me thinking about the whole thing. What would the movies be about? What role would the old characters play in them? Then it hit me. They are (likely) going to play smaller roles. The trilogy ends with Han and Leia confirming their feelings for one another and when the Millennium Falcon is a rockin’ don’t go a knockin’. The characters would have gone on to have kids. Everybody thought that. Some of the Expanded Universe even touches on that. Luke even gets married in the Expanded Universe. All of their kids are the next generation of the Jedi Order. And the prequels also showed us that people aren’t afraid to make Star Wars movies that don’t focus on the same characters. The prequels are mostly about Anakin, Padmé, and Obi-Wan. The original trilogy focuses mostly on Luke, Leia, and Han. This new trilogy is very likely to introduce a new set of characters; only this time around they’re fortunate enough to be able to use some of the original cast to help the storyline progress. It makes sense really. Think of how Star Trek (review here) used Leonard Nimoy in a smaller role to help usher in a new cast. I’d put money on it.

The announcement from Lucas.

As far as the actual storyline goes, I don’t have much. Nothing about it has been leaked and I couldn’t even begin to figure out what goes on in Lucas’ mind. I have no idea what his outlines consist of and don’t have any good guesses; especially after such a drastic decline in quality in the prequels. The only thing I can think of is some kind of conflict in the Skywalker family. Maybe one of the grandkids takes after Pop-Pop Vader? One thing is for sure, this is going to be an original story. They are not borrowing any major plot points from any comics, books, or video games in the Expanded Universe. I think that’s a smart move. Some of the Expanded Universe is downright awful. There are others that are actually quite good. I have a few comics and books I enjoy very much. The Thrawn Trilogy is actually quite popular. I read it and liked it, but I have a feeling people will simply complain if the movies don’t follow the books close enough, which would be funny considering those books were inspired by the original movies. Plus, I think it’s nice the two remain separate. The books and comics were always somebody else’s interpretation of a continuation of the movies story and I’m glad it’s staying that way. That way you don’t have people complaining about stories contradicting one another or something like that.

The big question that remains is how do you feel about this? Is this a good idea? The fan base is obviously divided. Some people are ecstatic over the fact that Lucas will never get his hands on a Star Wars movie again. I can certainly understand that. While I do not hate all of the prequels, most of us can agree they did not live up to expectations. Lucas simply lost that magic touch he had when he created the original trilogy. Great movies are usually a result of a particular set of circumstances. Maybe after so much success of the originals – along with Indiana Jones – he simply lacked that creative drive it took create the first three? Or maybe his mistake was directing the prequels instead of writing and producing them, like with the originals. He’s not a very good director; that is pretty obvious. So, I think this is a very valid point. Having him step back and letting someone else tell the story could result in a better product. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but I do know that I don’t want to see him personally make and more of the movies (and I think a lot of people would agree with that).

There are others who feel this is the worst thing that could ever happen to the franchise. I’ve seen people online vent their feelings in a most candid way. You people saw the prequels right? Lucas created them and we all know how they turned out. Don’t tell me Disney will ruin Star Wars. In the eyes of many fans Lucas did that all on his own with the prequels.

“But it’s Disney!”, you say? What, you mean the highly successful company that has been producing critically and commercially acclaimed movies since 1937? Are you going to tell me how Disney only makes kids movies next? Well first of all, that isn’t true.  This past summer they made a little movie called The Avengers (review here) and critics and audiences loved it. They also made The Muppets (review here), which was another success.  You might also want to remember Pirates of the Caribbean.  I realize there’s several of them and each one got worse reviews, but the first one is excellent.  It is actually probably a really good measuring stick, because like Star Wars it is filled with both adventure and laughs. Your concerns about them not being able to make a live-action movie have no merit.

If you still have a bad taste in your mouth because Disney mostly makes animated features – or movies that are generally for a younger audience – grow up. Animated or not, some of them are very good movies and have the good reviews to back it up. The Incredibles was a very good movie and also another good comparison to Star Wars. Its yet another example of how Disney can handle action and adventure.

I’m not telling you this is guaranteed to give us good movies. These might end up being bad movies. But I am telling you there are reasons to be hopeful. Let’s give this thing a chance. Wait for a set photo, trailer, or even a storyline before you start shitting all over it.

One thing I am concerned about is Harrison Ford. He was the most successful person coming out of the original trilogy. He doesn’t need this and if some of the rumors are believed to be true he doesn’t want it either. There has been speculation for years that is not a fan of the series. He has distanced himself from the franchise almost entirely. He even wanted his character killed in Return of the Jedi. He supposedly had disagreements with Ridley Scott over the ending of Blade Runner. He’s an eccentric and sometimes difficult guy and could totally refuse. If he does, can audiences accept that?

Stay tuned for future news.

This article was written for your reading pleasure on November 4, 2012.