November 9, 2012 • 03:40:06 p.m.

Why Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ is a good thing

This story isn't completely about technology, I know. But the geek in me felt compelled to write something about it.

Since the announcement of this incredibly surprising acquisition, there's no doubt you've been privy to a proverbial onslaught of opinions courtesy of the internet. Fanboys and girls the world over will be debating whether or not Disney will handle the franchise with their best interests in mind, all the way up until the midnight release. While I have my reservations on both sides, I do ultimately think that this is great news for fans. Here's five reasons why.

1. George Lucas won't direct
I think most of us can agree that George Lucas is a sub-par director, as well as an abysmal writer. I find it extremely hard to be upset about this new development when it means that we won't have to suffer through cheeseball romantic dialogue like the stuff spewed from Anakin and Padme in Episode II. The fact is that Lucas works best when he's surrounded by other creative minds. Looking back at the original trilogy, Lucas only wrote and directed A New Hope. Both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi had different directors, not to mention people helping him with the script. Unfortunately, the prequels were made in a vacuum of his own ideas and "yes" men, with little to no collaboration with other professionals. With the new films, Lucas will become a consultant of sorts, limiting his decision power extensively. So now, we have a treasure trove of extremely talented directors and writers chomping at the bit to be a part of these movies.

2. Lucasfilm is still alive
Many fans have been claiming that Disney will "ruin" Star Wars. However the only arguments for this claim I've seen are based on assumptions that Disney makes nothing but kids movies. This ignores what Disney, as a company, has become in recent years. The perfect example to illustrate this point is how Disney has owned Marvel Entertainment since 2009. The Avengers was a monumental success, both financially and as a superhero movie. Disney let's President of Production Kevin Feige handle all the Marvel movies. While Disney obviously has a hand in the production of the movies, their basic role is to give Marvel money and let them churn out the best entertainment they can. Disney kept the creative minds behind Marvel when they bought the company because it makes sense. The Lucasfilm acquisition is almost no different (not to mention it was almost the same amount of money). Lucasfilm, ILM, Lucasarts, etc. are for the moment still completely intact.

3. The Expanded Universe
Over the years, the Star Wars franchise has continued to tell the story it started in the original trilogy through novels, comics, and video games. Fans call this collective the "Expanded Universe". The day after the announcement of the buyout, it was stated that the new film will be based on an original story, likely taken from the script outlines Lucas himself has devised for episodes VII, VIII and IX. However, they also mentioned that the entirety of the expanded universe will be at the disposal of Disney, Lucasfilm, and the writers they choose to hire for these new movies. Understandably, fans are concerned that the plot they have been following through other forms of media will be quashed by this new trilogy. I'm a huge fan of the novels and comics that have come into existence over the years, but I don't consider this turn of events to be the apocalypse some people see it to be.

As attached as we are to some of these stories, we all want the best movie possible. I believe the best way to accomplish that is to pick great ideas from the entire expanded universe. I also doubt that the stories we've grown attached to over the years will be snuffed out completely. While we'll likely have to wait for more info on the subject, I think the logical thing to do would be to continue  producing the novels and comics and consider it an alternate timeline. There's also the question of when in the chronology the new films will take place. If any of the original actors end up returning, or if tid bits gleaned from Lucas' treatments over the years are to be believed, we can expect a 30 to 40 (or more) year jump since the end of Return of the Jedi to match with the ages of the actors today. Speaking of the actors...

4. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher knew about Episodes VII, VIII and IX
The day after the announcement, it was made known that both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were appraised of the plan to make the new films in August of last year. This is a pretty serious piece of information, because it insinuates that these stars will be involved in the new films, possibly even as actors. Even Harrison Ford is open to the idea, despite being as vocal as possible over the years about distancing himself from the franchise.

5. Kathleen Kennedy is kind of awesome
Earlier in the year, George Lucas named Producer Kathleen Kennedy to be Co-Chair of Lucasfilm. This basically means that she was being groomed to be his successor, so someone can take over when he retires. This transfer of power has been expedited a bit since the buyout, with Kennedy being put in charge of making these new movies happen. She has been a producer on a slew of incredible classic films, including a large amount of Steven Spielberg's movies over the years. She's certainly got the resume to back herself up.

As a huge Star Wars fan, I won't deny that I feel a bit apprehensive about a new trilogy. Like other fans, Star Wars is important to me. But we all knew that the franchise wasn't going to lay down and die anytime soon. We knew there would eventually be more movies, and Disney and Lucas making it possible for a whole new generation of filmmakers to take a shot at these stories has me unbelievably excited for the future.

What's your opinion? Email me at zwalters@shawmedia.com or find me on Twitter @geekfeednews.


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